By Gregory Nagy

Girl, interrupted, and some possibilities for linking the hymeneal songs of Sappho with the etymologies of two Greek words, humḗn (ὑμήν) and húmnos (ὕμνος)

2020.10.23 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Ιn Fragment 114 of Sappho, we read the words of a girl who is lamenting her loss of girlhood: ‘where oh where, my girlhood, my girlhood, have you gone off to, leaving me behind?’ (παρθενία, παρθενία, ποῖ με λίποιc’ ἀποίχῃ). Diana Gibson (1996), in a thesis slated for re-publication online in Classical Inquiries, has convincingly shown that such examples of wistful singing by girls… Read more

Percy Jackson’s visit to Lotus Hotel, viewed through a Homeric lens

2020.10.09 | By Gregory Nagy §0. As I was reading through the first volume of Rick Riordan’s five-volume series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Lightning Thief (2005), the story that is told there about a visit to “Lotus Hotel” by Percy and his companions Annabeth and Grover (pages 257–265) made me think of the passage in the Homeric Odyssey, Rhapsody 9 verses 82–104, where Odysseus and his companions visit the… Read more

Thoughts about modulations in color from purple to red and from purple to blue while previewing a seminal work by Morris Silver, with afterthoughts about the color yellow

2020.10.02 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Over many weeks now I have been previewing, not yet reviewing, a heretofore unpublished work by Morris Silver, The Purpled World: Marketing Haute Couture in the Aegean Bronze Age. This work, by an economist whose vast learning includes an acute understanding of historical and archaeological approaches to the ancient world, has profoundly influenced my thinking about the Aegean Bronze Age, as he refers to… Read more

How Homeric poetry may help us achieve a keener appreciation of Sappho’s wedding songs

2020.09.25 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Back in the year 2013, which was the original publication date for my book The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (hereafter H24H), I took the risk of drastically expanding one of the 24 “Hours,” making it twice as long as the other 23 “Hours”. What made that one hour—Hour 5—really more like two hours in length is that I added to the part… Read more

An Iliadic Odyssey as a song of the Sirens

2020.09.18 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This essay, overtly about the Odyssey of “Homer,” is a playful experiment. But it is based on a draft of a short essay that is quite serious in intent. I am about to submit for online publication a text of that essay to a colleague whose work on comparative epic I very much admire - and whose identity I cannot yet reveal because the… Read more