Guest Post

Two librettists, unsung heroes of Puccini’s La Bohème

2018.11.16 | By Gregory Nagy and Martha Cowan §0. This essay is a kind of dialogue between Martha Cowan and me. Paragraph §2, subdivided into §2a §2b §2c... all the way through §2k, is by MC, while paragraphs §0 §1 §3 are by me, GN. Our dialogue centers on the two writers credited with the libretto for the music of Giacomo Puccini in his opera La Bohème, first performed in… Read more

Homeric Ainoi in Latin Literature, Part II: Quintilian

2018.10.19 | By Miriam Kamil §1. In the first part of this essay, I examined a passage from the Odyssey referred to in the text as an ainos. This was the improvised story told by Odysseus to the swineherd Eumaios in Odyssey 14, wherein Odysseus’ fictitious persona forgets and then obtains a cloak while out on ambush during the Trojan War. Eumaios intuits that he is hearing an ainos and correctly interprets its… Read more

Homeric Ainoi in Latin Literature, Part I: Homer

2018.10.19 | By Miriam Kamil §1. I was a Teaching Fellow in the 2017 run of Greg Nagy’s annual course at Harvard, The Ancient Greek Hero. In this class, we examined the use of riddles in Homeric epic. The students learned about a sort of riddle called αἶνος, transliterated as ainos. Related to the verb αἰνέω (aineō) ‘to praise’, the word means, ‘praising speech’, or more basically, ‘speech act’.[1] But… Read more

Chariots on the Lelantine plain and the art of taunting the losers, Part 3: Winning the Lelantine War

2018.05.29 | By Natasha Bershadsky §0. After their victory over the Chalcidians and the Boeotians in 506 BCE, the Athenians dedicated to Athena a bronze chariot drawn by four horses. The sculpture was accompanied by an epigram. This study argues that the chariot portrayed the Athenians as victors in the age-old Lelantine War, while the epigram was constructed to taunt the defeated enemies of Athens by parodying their local traditions… Read more

Chariots on the Lelantine plain and the art of taunting the losers, Part 2: Enter Theseus

2018.05.22 | By Natasha Bershadsky §0. In 506 BCE Athens defeated Chalcis in battle and annexed the lands of the Chalcidian hippobotai. The ritual confrontations between the hippobotai and the Eretrian hippeis, and any attendant chariot-riding, must have come to an end. Intriguingly, however, it is possible to show that the young Eretrian democracy attempted to harness the power and prestige of the obliterated aristocratic tradition, rerouting the chariots onto… Read more

Chariots on the Lelantine plain and the art of taunting the losers, Part 1: Riding into the reenactment

2018.05.17 | By Natasha Bershadsky §0. This inquiry reconstructs the role of chariots in ancient Greek ritual reenactments of primordial battles fought over the Lelantine plain on the island of Euboea from ca. 750 to 506 BCE (the so-called “Lelantine War”). It also considers the possibility of a homoerotic connection between the Euboean charioteers and apobatai, operating in the framework of their progression toward full adulthood. Read more