Posts Tagged by Commentary
|May 4, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.05.04 | By Gregory Nagy
Amphiaraos, a hero who is most prominently featured in ancient Greek epic narratives about the so-called Seven Against Thebes, has a special place in the writings of Pausanias, as we can readily see from a search for this hero’s name in a retranslation of Pausanias that has been made available online for free in A Pausanias Reader in Progress. Here I focus on a passage where Pausanias first mentions the existence of hero cults established in honor of Amphiaraos. In the context of this passage, we see also the traveler’s first mention of a myth about this hero.
|April 26, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.04.26 | By Gregory Nagy
This posting for 2018.04.26, on Pausanias 1.27.4–1.29.1, is a continuation of the posting for 2018.04.05, on Pausanias 1.24.8–1.27.3, but the format will now change. Besides the more focused comments that have characterized the postings on Pausanias so far, I will start to add some abridged comments that are more tentative, in need of more precision. A case in point, as we will see, is an abridged comment on what Pausanias at 1.28.7 says—and does not say—about the Cave of the Furies, situated at “ground zero” underneath the Areopagus in Athens. A photograph of that cave is shown here at the start of the post. Standing somewhat tentatively in front of that cave is the writer of all the comments that follow.
|April 20, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy|
2018.04.20 | By Gregory Nagy
The comments in this posting about the Herakles of Euripides derive from a set of compressed notes I had started writing in 1999. These notes were meant as a companion to the Herakles as translated by Robert Potter—his translations of Euripides first appeared in two volumes, 1781 and 1783—and as adapted by Casey Dué and Mary Ebbott in 1999.
|April 5, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.04.05 | By Gregory Nagy
I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.03.01. I will highlight here a ritual noted by Pausanias at 1.27.3 involving two Athenian girls who are selected annually to serve the goddess Athena. The word that refers to these girls in their overall role as servants of Athena is arrhēphoroi, hereafter transcribed as Arrhephoroi. After the annual service of the two Arrhephoroi is concluded, they are replaced by two new Arrhephoroi, and the cycle is repeated, notionally for all time to come. The concluding event of the service performed by these two annually renewed Arrhephoroi is the ritual that I will highlight when I get to my comments on Pausanias 1.27.3. In this ritual, as he describes it, the two Arrhephoroi descend from the top of the Acropolis to a sacred space down below—while carrying on top of their heads containers that contain things that cannot be mentioned. Pausanias is being ostentatiously guarded here about revealing the full significance of the ritual, which as I argue can only be understood by way of correlating it with the myth about the daughters of Kekrops—a myth to which Pausanias himself refers at 1.27.2, and this reference occurs, most pointedly, right before his description of the ritual. The aetiological connection of ritual and myth here, as I also argue, is in some details so old as to reveal traces of a Mycenaean tradition.
|March 1, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.03.01 | By Gregory Nagy
I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.02.21. I picture here a modern version of the face of the goddess of Athens, Athena Parthenos, whose statue was seen by Pausanias, as he says at 1.24.7. This picturing of the statue surely cannot do justice to the “real thing” as seen by Pausanias. The experience of seeing a colossal gold-and-ivory statue of a divinity is comparable to experiencing a Wonder of the World, as Pausanias is moved to say indirectly at a later point, 5.10.1-2, 5.11.9-10, with reference to the statue of Zeus at Olympia. We read there the impression that Pausanias experiences when he sees at Olympia another colossal gold-and-ivory statue that matches in wonder what he saw earlier in Athens. He says that no measurements, no objective descriptions, can come to terms with the infinite grandeur of such absolute divinity.
|February 23, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pausanias commentary, Pausanias reader|
2018.02.21 | By Gregory Nagy
I continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2018.02.01. I focus here on a myth, highlighted by Pausanias at 1.21.3, about the eternal weeping of Niobe, petrified in her grief over the killing of her children by the twin divinities Apollo and Artemis. I show here on the cover page a close-up from a modern painting that pictures this Niobe as a towering rock with the craggy face-yes, face-of a grieving woman whose sunken eyes are flooded with tears transformed into an eternal flow of fresh water pouring down from the mountainous heights above. Pausanias at 1.21.3 refers to this myth as he sees it visualized in artwork adorning a grotto embedded in the South Wall of the Acropolis and looming over the Theater of Dionysus. At this point, our traveler pauses for a moment to reminisce about a version of the myth that was local to his own homeland in Asia Minor, at Mount Sipylos near the city of Magnesia. Pausanias tells about a spectacular sight to be seen there: it is a natural rock formation that conjures, he notes guardedly, the sad profile of the eternally weeping Niobe.