Death of an Amazon

2020.08.14 | By Gregory Nagy §0. The picture I show for the lead illustration of this essay is a close-up of the face of a dying Amazon. She is Penthesileia, daughter of the war-god Ares. The close-up comes from an ancient Athenian vase painting that pictures this Amazon at the moment of her death, killed by the hero Achilles, with whom she is engaged in mortal combat, one-on-one. And, at… Read more

About a defeat of the Centaurs, and how to imagine such an event in Olympia

2019.04.19 | By Gregory Nagy §0.This posting, written 2019.04.19, picks up from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2019.03.22, rewritten 2019.04.17. In the last paragraph of that posting, I focused on a myth that told about a defeat of the Centaurs, beastly hominoids who were half horse, half man. Such a mythological event is pictured in the sculptures of the west pediment of the temple of Zeus in Olympia,… 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

Smooth surfaces and rough edges in retranslating Pausanias, Part 1

2018.06.14 | By Gregory Nagy §0. My experiments with translating Pausanias, as reflected in several essays I have posted in Classical Inquiries, have by now reached a point where I have finished retranslating most of Pausanias Scroll 1. In the present posting, I explain what I mean by “retranslation,” showing a sample. In this sample, I retranslate the original Greek wording used by Pausanias as he briefly retells a myth about… Read more

Chariots on the Lelantine plain and the art of taunting the losers, Part 2: Enter Theseus

2018.05.22 | By Natasha Bershadsky §0. In 506 BCE Athens defeated Chalcis in battle and annexed the lands of the Chalcidian hippobotai. The ritual confrontations between the hippobotai and the Eretrian hippeis, and any attendant chariot-riding, must have come to an end. Intriguingly, however, it is possible to show that the young Eretrian democracy attempted to harness the power and prestige of the obliterated aristocratic tradition, rerouting the chariots onto… Read more

Toward a more extensive commentary, on Pausanias 1.27.4–1.29.1

2018.04.26 | By Gregory Nagy This posting for 2018.04.26, on Pausanias 1.27.4–1.29.1, is a continuation of the posting for 2018.04.05, on Pausanias 1.24.8–1.27.3, but the format will now change. Besides the more focused comments that have characterized the postings on Pausanias so far, I will start to add some abridged comments that are more tentative, in need of more precision. A case in point, as we will see, is an… Read more