Achilles as Epic Hero and the Idea of Total Recall in Song

Triumphant Achilles dragging Hector’s lifeless body in front of the Gates of Troy, from a panoramic fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion, painting by Franz Matsch, 1892 / Photo by Dr.K., Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Gregory Nagy Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director, Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University The[…]

Learning to Read the Classics

A Reading from Homer (1885) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1885 / Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Jean Bollack (deceased) French Philosopher, Philologist, and Literary Critic When I started out, I found it hard to distinguish writing projects from re-elaborations of subject matter, and I failed to pay sufficient attention to the breaks, large or very[…]

The Homeric Iliad and the Glory of the Unseasonal Hero

Ajax defending the ships of the Greeks. After a drawing by John Flaxman / Image via H.P. Haack, Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Gregory Nagy Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director, Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University The meaning of kleos Achilles and Agamemnon, Scene from Iliad Book I.  Mosaic, Pompeii /[…]

An Introduction to Homeric Poetry

By Dr. Gregory Nagy Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director, Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University Iliad, Book VIII, lines 245–53, Greek manuscript, late 5th, early 6th centuries AD / Public Domain Homeric poetry is a cover term for two epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey. The major part of this introduction will deal[…]

A Journey through Homer’s Odyssey

Nestor’s Sacrifice (1805). Engraving after John Flaxman (1755-1826). Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996. / Creative Commons By Louise Taylor / 05.06.2013 TEFL Educator Southwest France Books One through Eight Telemachus’ Troubles Books I through VIII of Homer’s Epic is where the story of[…]

Greek and Roman Mythology – What is Myth?

The Dance of the Muses at Mount Helicon by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1807). Hesiod cites inspiration from the Muses while on Mount Helicon. / Alte Nationalgalerie By Louise Taylor / 06.21.2013 TEFL Educator Southwest France What is Myth? Mythologies come from many different cultures across the old world but we are going to concentrate on the Greeks and the Romans. “Myth” is one[…]

The Story and Labors of Hercules

The Tower of Hercules overview / Wikimedia Commons One of the most popular of Greek heroes, Hercules (“Herakles”) was celebrated in stories, sculptures, paintings, and even in the geography of the ancient world. Perseus Project Classics Department Tufts University The Life and Times of Hercules Stories about the gods, called myths, were made up thousands[…]

Pliny the Pessimist

By Dr. Thomas E. Strunk Associate Professor of Classics Xavier University, Cincinnati Greece & Rome 59:2 (2012) Introduction ‘He is always enthusiastic, almost invariably cheerful, and amiable, and quite correct. One can well imagine how a sunny-tempered man of elegant tastes and universal humanity must have won easily the regard of a great number of[…]

Revisiting the Question of Etymology and Essence

By Dr. Gregory Nagy / 03.13.2015 Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University Classical Inquiries Center for Hellenic Studies Helen and Menelaus on a vase / Louvre Museum, Paris When I say etymology here, I mean the procedure of reconstructing a form[…]

A Roll of the Dice for Ajax

By Dr. Gregory Nagy / 03.13.2015 Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University Background In the Homeric Iliad, the hero Ajax is second best in comparison with Achilles; in the Homeric Odyssey, he is second best in comparison with Odysseus. In the[…]