By Gregory Nagy

Who is the best of heroes, Achilles or Odysseus? And which is the best of epics, the Iliad or the Odyssey?

2015.04.10 | By Gregory Nagy I propose here to revisit one of my all-time favorite passages in Homeric poetry. This passage is a kind of micro-epic, basically ten verses in length, and we find it embedded in the narrative of Odyssey 8. We see in that part of the Odyssey what can best be described as paraphrases of three songs performed by Demodokos, the blind singer of the Phaeacians. The micro-epic… Read more

On Traces of Hero-Cults for Socrates and Plato

2015.04.02 | By Gregory Nagy I go back to what I published in H24H, almost two years ago, about the last words of Socrates. As I already mentioned in the posting on 2015.03.27, I had quoted and analyzed in H24H 24§45 the passage in Plato’s Phaedo 117a–118a where Socrates dies—and where his last words, as transmitted by Plato, are directed at all those who have had the unforgettable experience of engaging… Read more

The Last Words of Socrates at the Place where he Died

2015.03.27 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In H24H 24§45, I quote and analyze the passage in Plato’s Phaedo 117a–118a where Socrates dies. His last words, as transmitted by Plato, are directed at all those who have followed Socrates—and who have had the unforgettable experience of engaging in dialogue with him. Calling out to one of those followers, Crito, who was a native son of the same neighborhood where Socrates was… Read more

A Roll of the Dice for Ajax

2015.03.13 | By Gregory Nagy The Greek lettering on the vase shows ΑΧΙΛΛΥΣ over the head of Achilles and ΑΙΑΣ over the head of Ajax. In front of Achilles is a vertical inscription ΤΕΤΑΡΑΦΕΡΟ, meaning ‘I have four’, while the inscription in front of Ajax shows ΔΥΟΦΕΡΟ, meaning ‘I have two’. The goddess Athena, indicated by the lettering ΑΘΕΝΑΑΣ to the right of her head, gestures toward Achilles. Achilles is… Read more