Odyssey

Helen, Counter-Ambush Expert

2016.05.01 | By Mary Ebbott and Casey Dué In addition to her superlative beauty, Helen in the Iliad and Odyssey has exceptional talents. Here we will add two skills that she has not received enough credit for: Helen knows both how to spot an ambush in the making and how to tell a great ambush story. Read more

Penelope’s great web: the violent interruption

2016.03.10 | By Ioanna Papadopoulou In the absence of Odysseus Penelope’s fate becomes unstable. Her weaving and unweaving the famous web is emblematic of this instability. Being at the same time a married woman and a numphē (young girl at the age of mariage), and refusing to solve this aporia, she invests weaving with its full metaphorical potential: Penelope rules over the destiny of Ithaca by “analysing” her web each… Read more

Just to look at all the shining bronze here, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven: Seeing bronze in the ancient Greek world

2016.02.18 | By Gregory Nagy In Odyssey 4, as soon as the young hero Telemachus arrives as a visitor to Sparta, home of king Menelaos and his queen Helen, he feasts his eyes on all the shining splendor of their royal palace. As he takes it all in, he cannot resist saying out loud that he has never before seen anything quite so dazzling. My essay here is about the… Read more

What is on Homer’s mind?

2016.02.11 | By Gregory Nagy In the verbal art of Homeric poetry, we find two passages where Homer actually says that he has something on his mind. The first something is the good ship Argo in Odyssey 12.70 and the second something is the hero Odysseus himself in Odyssey 9.10. Read more

Pindar’s Homer is not “our” Homer

2015.12.24 | By Gregory Nagy I argue that the figure of Homer in the lyric songmaking of Pindar is envisioned as the poet of all epic, not only of the Iliad and the Odyssey as we know them. At the core of my argumentation here is the earliest reconstructable meaning of the word kuklos (κύκλος) as applied to the Epic Cycle. In terms of such an application, kuklos refers to… Read more

A Cretan Odyssey, Part 2

2015.09.24 | By Gregory Nagy In the posting for 2015.09.17, I showed what can be reconstructed as a Minoan-Mycenaean version of Ariadne. Here in the posting for 2015.09.24, I now turn to later versions, as reflected especially in the visual arts of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. In these later versions, we can see more clearly the connectedness of Ariadne with idea of thalassocracy—an idea inherited from Minoan-Mycenaean civilization. Read more