How are the epic verses of the Hesiodic Suitors of Helen relevant to Achilles in our Homeric Iliad?

2021.07.05 | By Gregory Nagy §0. This essay picks up from where I left off in a succession of two previous essays (Nagy 2021.06.14, linked here, and Nagy 2021.06.21, linked here). In both those essays, I concentrated on evidence that I gathered from the surviving fragments of the Hesiodic composition known as The Suitors of Helen. On the basis of that evidence, I ended the second of the two essays… Read more

What on earth did Helen ever see in Ajax, her former suitor?

2021.06.21 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In our Homeric Iliad, there is a scene, traditionally known as the Teikhoskopiā or ‘View from the Walls’, where Helen of Sparta, described here as daughter of Zeus, is looking down from where she is standing, high up on the walls of Troy, and, as we view her, she in turn is viewing from up there, from her lofty vantage point, the leaders of… Read more

On the eclipse of Ajax as a most eligible suitor of Helen

2021.06.14 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In fragments from Hesiodic poetry, we read that the hero Ajax was one of many heroes who came together in Sparta to compete with each other as rival suitors of Helen, who was being “given away” as a bride by not only her mortal would-be father Tyndareos but also by her semi-immortal twin brothers Kastor and Polydeukes (Castor and Pollux). Though he entered the… Read more

Getting over Odysseus

2016.09.28 | By Keith DeStone Why does the epic narrative allow Telemakhos, whom it shows on a quest to connect with his father, to remain emotionally unaffected by the stories about Odysseus that he hears from Helen and Menelaos in Odyssey 4? Read more

Revisiting the question of etymology and essence

2016.06.02 | 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… Read more