Homer and Comparative Mythology

By Dr. Gregory Nagy Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature Professor of Comparative Literature Director, Center for Hellenic Studies Harvard University Still under the spell of Heinrich Schliemann’s rediscovery of Troy, students of ancient Greece have been accustomed to regard the Greek epic tradition of Homer as a reporting of events that really happened in the[…]

The Cult Hero in Homeric Poetry and Beyond

Detail of a relief depicting the “Apotheosis of Homer,” attributed to Archelaos of Priene, ca. 225 BCE–205 BCE. In the British Museum. / Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen / 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 “olbios” “Ulysses Departing[…]

The Mind of Odysseus in the Homeric Odyssey

Odysseus departs from the Land of the Phaeacians, painting by Claude Lorrain (1646) / Louvre Museum, Paris 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 “noos” This diagram shows the medieval understanding of spheres of the cosmos, derived from Aristotle, and as per the standard explanation by Ptolemy.[…]

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 /[…]