Marcel Detienne

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

On Herakles as a model for the athlete Milo of Croton

2019.05.10 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The death of my friend Marcel Detienne on March 21, 2019 has been a very sad loss. Included among the many who mourn this loss are those devoted colleagues of his who follow his lead in pursuing comparative studies that combine the disciplines of classics and anthropology. Marcel had been ailing for some time, and I, as one of those colleagues whom I just… Read more

About Greek alētheia ‘truth’: Marcel Detienne challenges Martin Heidegger

2018.10.11 | By Gregory Nagy §0. In the book Sein und Zeit (1927) and in other works by Martin Heidegger, the etymology of the Greek word alētheia ‘truth’ is explained as a negativizing of the element lēth-, attested as the verb lanthanein, which is used primarily in the sense of ‘escape the notice of’ in ancient Greek texts. Accordingly, Heidegger interpreted the basic meaning of alētheia as ‘unconcealedness’—to cite a… Read more