Posts Tagged by Achilles
|September 22, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, H24H||
2018.09.22 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. One of the most popular songs in the vast history of opera is a two-man aria sung by a tenor and a baritone in Les pêcheurs de perles, or The Pearl Fishers, by Georges Bizet, with libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré. The formal title of this aria, commonly known in English as “The Pearl Fishers Duet,” is “Au fond du temple saint”, which I translate as “In the inner sanctum of the holy temple.” The première of Pearl Fishers took place on 30 September 1863 in Paris. Bizet had not yet even reached the age of 25. Only ten years later, there will be Carmen. And it will be only even later that the popularity of the “Duet” eventually takes hold. Nowadays, in any case, this aria is universally celebrated for its singular beauty as a self-standing piece of music. I focus here on one special feature of the musicality that is built into the “Duet”: the music of this aria, words and all, compresses the entire story of the opera into a single song. What I find most remarkable about such compression is an artistic effect that I will describe here as lyrical. And the lyric compression of this aria, I will argue, can be enhanced visually in the art of film making.
|August 29, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, H24H||
2018.08.29 | By Gregory Nagy
§0. For studying the ancient Greek hero, I think that the kinds of things we see in the storytelling of films and other such contemporary media can be “good to think with.” The expression I have just used here derives from a commonly-used paraphrase of wording once used by the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss in his book Le Totémisme aujourd’hui (1962). He was referring to the many different espèces or ‘species’ of animals in our world as bonnes à penser. His point was, animals are “good to think with” in mythmaking. I apply here this same expression to the “replicants” that populate the story being told in the film Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott (1982; there was also a sequel in 2017, Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve). These replicants, as we will see, are comparable to the heroes that populate the myths that were being told and retold in ancient Greek civilization.
|March 26, 2018||By Thomas Scanlon listed under Guest Post||
2018.03.26 | By Thomas Scanlon
An exploration of the figure of Achilles in Euripides’ Iphigeneia in Aulis in relation to its historical context, particularly the Peloponnesian War.
|October 5, 2017||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pindar commentary|
2017.10.05 | By Gregory Nagy
Pindar’s Isthmian 8 highlights the hero Achilles, who is for us defined primarily by the Homeric Iliad—though he had been a prominent figure also in other epic traditions, as we see for example in the surviving plot-outline of the Aithiopis, ‘the song of the Ethiopians’, which was an epic belonging to a body of poetry commonly known as the epic Cycle. Also highlighted in Isthmian 8 are two epic opponents of Achilles: they are (1) Hector, the hero who is for us defined primarily by the Iliad, and (2) Memnon, a prominent hero in the Aithiopis, whose ‘Ethiopian’ identity is conventionally signaled in ancient Greek vase-paintings by portraying him or his attendants as “African” or “black” in appearance. The use of these two descriptive words is problematic, however, since they may suggest a racial reading in contexts where no racism had been intended.
|January 3, 2017||By Gregory Nagy listed under Homer commentary||
2017.01.03 | By Gregory Nagy
The Homeric Iliad as we have it refers at least two times directly and two times indirectly to the tomb of Achilles, while the Odyssey refers to it one time directly. In the direct references that we see in the Iliad, it is made clear that this tomb starts off as a small-scale structure, located at the same place where a funeral pyre is constructed for the cremation of the body of Patroklos, and that the original function of this tomb is to enclose the bones of that hero after his body is cremated. But it is also made clear, in both the direct and the indirect references as we see them in the Iliad, that this same tomb will in a future time enclose the bones of Achilles as well, which will then be mixed together with the bones of Patroklos inside a golden jar. In this future time, when Achilles too is dead, it will be his own body that will need to be cremated at the same place and then entombed in the same structure. For this new entombment to happen, however, the small-scale structure that had enveloped the bones of Patroklos will now grow into a large-scale structure, exponentially larger than the original. Such is the tomb of Achilles as pictured in Odyssey 24.
|December 16, 2016||By Gregory Nagy listed under Homer commentary||
2016.12.15/ update 2018.09.20 | By Gregory Nagy
The momentum of Achilles continues to heat up. The Trojans are now retreating as fast as they can, heading back toward Troy to find safety there within the sacred walls of that ancient citadel. In their hurry to get away from the field of battle, their hasty retreat has quickly turned into a chaotic and humiliating rout. Achilles is right behind them, in hot pursuit, slaughtering left and right the fleeing Trojans. The hero seems unstoppable. But Achilles meets his match when he provokes the river god Scamander, whose clear streams he has polluted with the gore of countless Trojans that he slaughters while they are desperately attempting to ford the god’s river.