Thinking comparatively about Greek mythology IX, Further rough patches for Hēraklēs

2019.09.20 | By Gregory Nagy §0. Picking up from where I left off in my essay TC VIII in Classical Inquiries 2019.09.13, I continue here in TC IX with further observations about difficulties or “rough patches” to be encountered in any attempt to reconstruct a prototype for the hero Hēraklēs on the basis of the various different ancient Greek myths that were told about him. Such difficulties, as we just saw… Read more

A placeholder for the love story of Phaedra and Hippolytus: What’s love got to do with it?

2018.06.21 | By Gregory Nagy §0. When Phaedra sees Hippolytus for the very first time, she is already falling in love with him. That is what Pausanias seems to be saying as he retells the myth. The ancient Greek word that he uses in this context is erasthēnai, which is conventionally translated as ‘fall in love with’. I think, however, that this translation can be misleading—unless the relevant contexts are… Read more

A placeholder for the White Goddess

2018.05.25 | By Gregory Nagy The Greek name for the mythological figure whom we recognize as the White Goddess was Leukotheā—a name that actually means ‘white goddess’. In the ancient myths that tell about this figure, however, she was not always a goddess: once upon a time, she was a mortal woman named Ino, wife of the hero Athamas and mother of the child-hero Melikertes. This Ino was considered to… Read more