Homer

How a Classical Homer occasionally downgrades the heroic glory of Ajax in order to save it: Part 3

2021.06.07 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Here in Part 3 of my three-part essay, I take up the argument I introduced at the end of Part 2 (Nagy 2021.06.01, linked here): in “our” Iliad and in “our” Odyssey, the heroic glory of Ajax needs to be safeguarded—but it cannot be completely vindicated. (Hereafter, I will stop using quotation marks in referring to these two epics, which I have also been… Read more

How a Classical Homer occasionally downgrades the heroic glory of Ajax in order to save it: Part 1

2021.05.24 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay, as in two previous essays posted in Classical Inquiries( (Nagy 2021.05.10, linked here, and 2021.05.17, linked here), I posit again the idea of a “Classical Homer,” that is, the Homer of “our” Iliad and Odyssey as reflected in the textual tradition that has survived down to our own time. The myths represented by this Homer of ours correspond, more rather than… Read more

How Pindar’s Homer might save from harm the heroic glory of Ajax

2021.05.10 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In this essay I attempt to explain, though only in its barest outlines, Pindar’s poetic project of picturing ‘Homer’ as a potential savior of the glory deserved by Ajax, hero of Salamis—despite this Homer’s generally indiscriminate taste, it is claimed, for greedily savoring all the delicacies of all the myths cooked up for him by way of epic poetry—I use the word ‘myths’ here… Read more

How Homeric poetry may help us achieve a keener appreciation of Sappho’s wedding songs

2020.09.25 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Back in the year 2013, which was the original publication date for my book The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (hereafter H24H), I took the risk of drastically expanding one of the 24 “Hours,” making it twice as long as the other 23 “Hours”. What made that one hour—Hour 5—really more like two hours in length is that I added to the part… Read more

A statue who shakes her head no

2019.06.05 | By Manon Brouillet §1. In 1966 the popular French singer Michel Polnareff reached his first audience with the song La Poupée qui fait non. A big success, the song has been translated into Italian (“Una bambolina che fa no, no, no”), Spanish (“Muñeca que hace no”), and German (“Meine Puppe sagt non”). This doll, who has never learnt to say yes, keeps shaking her head from side to… Read more

Homeric Ainoi in Latin Literature, Part I: Homer

2018.10.19 | By Miriam Kamil §1. I was a Teaching Fellow in the 2017 run of Greg Nagy’s annual course at Harvard, The Ancient Greek Hero. In this class, we examined the use of riddles in Homeric epic. The students learned about a sort of riddle called αἶνος, transliterated as ainos. Related to the verb αἰνέω (aineō) ‘to praise’, the word means, ‘praising speech’, or more basically, ‘speech act’.[1] But… Read more