Posts Tagged by Achilles
|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 | 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 the fleeing Trojans left and right. 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.
|June 2, 2016||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
When I say etymology here, I mean the procedure of reconstructing a form by way of linguistics. This procedure is expected to start from a current phase of the given form and then to move back in time to an earlier phase—ideally, all the way back to the earliest phase. In terms of the etymology of the word etymology, what linguists hope to recover by way of such reconstruction is the ‘genuine meaning’, which is how I translate the ancient Greek words étumos and lógos—and which is what I mean when I say essence in the title here. In what follows, I face the question of “etymology and essence.” And, at the end, I offer comments relevant to various different etymologies proposed for the name of Helen, who as I mentioned in my posting for 2016.05.02 seems to be a heroine in the Homeric Iliad even though she is worshipped as a goddess in places like Sparta. My concluding question, then, will be this: what is the etymology or étumos lógos ‘genuine meaning’ of the name of Helen, Greek Helénē (῾Ελένη)?
|October 29, 2015||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, H24H, HeroesX|
In this posting, I show the thinking that went into a self-evaluation exercise that I had put together for “Heroes X.” In putting together the wording for this exercise as I wrote it in 2013, I was thinking of things that never made it into the book version. So, my thinking about Iliad 18.54–56 is being shared here in public for the very first time.
|June 10, 2015||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, HeroesX|
This posting of 2015.06.10 continues from where I left off in the posting of 2015.06.03, where I was focusing on the audience’s reception of the first song of Demodokos. The song, as we saw, is paraphrased at verses 72–83 of Odyssey 8; and the reception, as we also saw, is described at verses 83–92, which I translated and analyzed in the previous post.