A political term in a paraphrase of Homer by Plato

2016.09.21 | By David Elmer The verb ep-eu-phēmeîn (ἐπευφημεῖν) at I.01.022 is virtually a hapax legomenon in the Homeric corpus: it occurs only here and in Achilles’ repetition of the line when he recounts for Thetis the poem’s opening scene, I.01.376. It is an exceptional, one-off substitute for ep-aineîn (ἐπαινεῖν) ‘approve’, the expected term, within the Iliad’s “grammar of reception,” for the collective approval of an audience in scenes of… Read more

The Vow of Socrates

2015.04.17 | By Gregory Nagy In Plato’s Phaedo 118a, we read this description of the very last seconds before Socrates died from the poison that pervaded his body after he was forced to drink the potion of hemlock that the State had measured out for his execution: Then he uncovered his face, for he had covered himself up, and said—this was the last thing he uttered—“Crito, I owe the sacrifice… Read more

On Traces of Hero-Cults for Socrates and Plato

2015.04.02 | By Gregory Nagy I go back to what I published in H24H, almost two years ago, about the last words of Socrates. As I already mentioned in the posting on 2015.03.27, I had quoted and analyzed in H24H 24§45 the passage in Plato’s Phaedo 117a–118a where Socrates dies—and where his last words, as transmitted by Plato, are directed at all those who have had the unforgettable experience of engaging… Read more

A Roll of the Dice for Ajax

2015.03.13 | By Gregory Nagy The Greek lettering on the vase shows ΑΧΙΛΛΥΣ over the head of Achilles and ΑΙΑΣ over the head of Ajax. In front of Achilles is a vertical inscription ΤΕΤΑΡΑΦΕΡΟ, meaning ‘I have four’, while the inscription in front of Ajax shows ΔΥΟΦΕΡΟ, meaning ‘I have two’. The goddess Athena, indicated by the lettering ΑΘΕΝΑΑΣ to the right of her head, gestures toward Achilles. Achilles is… Read more