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Honoring Zoie Lafis: a brief encomium from Greg

2021.09.19 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This all-too-brief encomium is meant to honor Zoie Lafis, Executive Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, with whom I worked for 21 years in my role as Director of CHS, from the beginning of July 2000 to the end of June 2021, and in my earlier role as Senior Fellow of the CHS, from 1997 to 2000. During all those years, “Zoie and… Read more

Honoring Angelia Hanhardt: a brief encomium for Lia from her admiring colleague Greg

2021.09.13 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The date of this posting, 13 September 2021, marks the last day that Angelia Hanhardt works for the Center for Hellenic Studies. Every Monday, for the longest time, this treasured young colleague of mine has been editing my weekly essays submitted to Classical Inquiries in her capacity as Assistant Editor of C.I. In my case, I have usually succeeded in submitting my own weekly… Read more

Thoughts on Classical Studies in the 21st Century United States

Abstract: This paper consists of three complementary parts. The first section describes three instances where very technical scholarship on Greek literature overlaps with, and draws attention to, particularly dramatic historical contexts. This section describes an aspect of Greco-Roman studies that is both too demanding and too narrow — too demanding because it assumes that anglophone researchers work with scholarship in languages such as French, German, and Italian, but too narrow… Read more

Trying to read Sappho out loud without running out of breath

2021.09.07 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the classical Athenian vase painting that I have chosen as the lead-off illustration for my essay here, the painter has pictured a woman, seated, reading out loud. Her mouth is part-open, and her lips are moving, it seems. She is reading from a scroll of papyrus—sometimes called a roll—and the painter has fancifully indicated, with stylized dots, the lines of the song that… Read more

A question of “reception”: how could Homer ever outlive his own moments of performance?

2021.08.30 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the cover illustration for this essay, a painter is picturing Homer at a moment of performance. Or, I could even say that we see Homer here in—not just at—a moment of performance. Homer sings, accompanying himself on his lyre. Viewing him and listening to him most attentively, in the imagination of our painter, are poets from Homer’s future “reception.” Most visible is old… Read more

How myths that connect the hero Philoctetes with the goddess Chryse are related to myths about a koúrē ‘girl’ named Chryseis

2021.08.16 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In two previous essays posted in Classical Inquiries (Nagy 2021.08.02 and 2021.08.09, linked here and here), I analyzed myths that connect the hero Philoctetes with the goddess Chryse, arguing that these myths can be traced back to Aeolian traditions. Here I go further by arguing that such myths are related to another myth—this one is featured prominently in the Homeric Iliad—about a koúrē ‘girl’… Read more

Glimpses of Aeolian traditions in two different myths about two different visits by Philoctetes to the sacred island of the goddess Chryse

2021.08.09 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The cover illustration for this essay is a drawing, made in the early nineteenth century of our era, which copies with some clarity and flair a picture painted on a vase manufactured in Athens in the fifth century BCE and now housed in Vienna. A follow-up illustration, immediately below the drawing, is a photograph of this ancient painting, and further below is an overall… Read more

Hermes, by Rachel Hadas

  Messenger, courier, bearer of commands, he is the god assigned to dart down to give Calypso the unwelcome news she must release Odysseus from her island. Having said his piece, he gets to zoom back up to Mount Olympus. As for the mess that nymphs as well as men… Read more

Sappho’s Aphrodite, the goddess Chryse, and a primal ordeal suffered by Philoctetes in a tragedy of Sophocles

2021.08.02 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The common thread, as it were, for this essay is the meaning of the epithet poikiló-thronos gracing the goddess Aphrodite in line 1 of Sappho’s Song 1. The persona of Sappho is addressing the goddess here, and I now interpret the epithet—hardly for the first time—as ‘[you] who wear [your] pattern-woven dress’. But how is such a ‘dress’ to be imagined if we think… Read more