Questions while viewing Greek myths and rituals through the lens of Pausanias, I: Did Athena, goddess of Athens, belong only to the Athenians?

2020.04.17 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In conversations about the ancient world, my sorely-missed friend Emily Vermeule was fond of asking this rhetorical question: in Mycenaean times, was Athena a goddess who was worshipped only in Athens? And there can be variations on such a theme. For example, I have a related question, formulated from a diachronic point of view. That is to say, I have a question that is… Read more

Ecumenism and Globalism in the Reception of Ferdowsi and his Book of Kings: Evidence from the Bāysonghori Preface

2020.03.02 | By Olga M. Davidson The focus here is on two Persianate texts. The first is the monumental poem of a poet retrospectively named Ferdowsi, or ‘man of paradise’, who lived in the late 10th and early 11th century CE. The second text is in prose: it is a comparably monumental preface to a lavish new edition of the Shahnama that was commissioned in 1426 CE and published in… Read more

I am a scribe who writes letters, and my writing gives me power: variations on a theme in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East

2020.01.24 | By Gregory Nagy §0. There is a story about a scribe who succeeded in seizing political power, at least for a while, precisely because he was a scribe. And this scribe could not have had even such a limited degree of success if he had not been a scribe. His name was Maiandrios son of Maiandrios, and his story is told by Herodotus, so-called father of history. According… Read more

Some missing links in my efforts to trace continuities as well as discontinuities in Minoan-Mycenaean scribal practices

2020.01.17 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The picture I show here, which is a photograph of a legal document composed in the Aramaic language and written on papyrus, illustrates a point I hope to make on the occasion of an event planned for the future. The event, organized by Giulia Sissa, will take place in the spring of 2020 at the Johns Hopkins University. Papers written in honor of Marcel… Read more

Echoes of a Minoan-Mycenaean scribal legacy in a story told by Herodotus

2020.01.10 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This posting for 2020.01.10 picks up from where I left off in the posting for 2020.01.03, where I analyzed some aspects of ongoing research by experts who study the practices of scribes using the Linear A and Linear B scripts in the Minoan and Mycenaean worlds of the second millennium BCE. There I focused on a scribal practice, as reconstructed by these experts, of… Read more