About Euripides the anthropologist, and how he reads the troubled thoughts of female initiands

2021.02.20 | By Gregory Nagy §0. I have long admired what I would call the anthropological insights of Euripides into aetiologies, that is, into myths referring directly to rituals that frame these myths. Of course the very idea of applying even the term “anthropological” to the life and times of Euripides is inaccurate in its anachronism, but the actual insights of Euripides into the interweavings of myth and ritual—as anthropologists… Read more

Are Zeus and Hērā a dysfunctional couple?

2018.07.27 | By Gregory Nagy A sampling of comments on the Iliad and Odyssey includes an attempt of mine to analyze a scene in Iliad 14 where Hērā has a sexual encounter with Zeus on the heights of Mount Ida. In my comments on the wording of the goddess at the moment when she initiates her encounter with the god, at verses 200–210, I argue that this wording “derives from… Read more

Revisiting the question of etymology and essence

2016.06.02 | By Gregory Nagy When I say etymology here, I mean the procedure of reconstructing a form by way of linguistics. This procedure is expected to start from a current phase of the given form and then to move back in time to an earlier phase—ideally, all the way back to the earliest phase. In terms of the etymology of the word etymology, what linguists hope to recover by… Read more