Core Vocab: mētis

Following on from our discussion of biā / biē it seems natural to continue with another, contrasting Core Vocab word: mētis [μῆτις] glossed by Gregory Nagy in The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours[1] and the associated Sourcebook[2] as ‘artifice, stratagem, cunning intelligence’. It’s a word I immediately associate with Odysseus, and in particular his cunning ploy with the Cyclops. There are two words for ‘not’ in ancient Greek, depending… Read more

Nestor’s Epic Success?

Bourdelle, Telemakhos at Nestor’s Palace in Pylos, Plaster (1883) Bourdelle Museum Nestor in the Odyssey is home in Pylos. He got a safe nostos, he  is surrounded by his beloved wife and his children: six boys and several daughters and  daughters-in-law. He seems ageless. In this passage from the Sourcebook, a wonderful scene with his guests and family is shown. The setting  is perfect. The sacrifice is detailed beautifully. Athena herself is… Read more

Open House | Charioteers, with Kevin McGrath

We were pleased to welcome Kevin McGrath, Associate in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University, to discuss how charioteering and charioteers are emblematic—if not signal—of warrior song and culture in the Mahābhārata. Our discussion included reference to focus passages from the Iliad and Mahābhārata noted below, as well as McGrath’s article on Kṛṣṇa in Mahābhārata. Focus Passages & Scholarship Iliad 2. 545ff Iliad 4. 297ff Iliad 5. 239ff… Read more

Under discussion: Did Odysseus return to Troy?

~ A guest post by Laura Ford ~ Did Odysseus return to Troy after his initial departure? And if so, why? The Iliad, which ends before the fall of Troy, gives us no information about the sack of the city or the departure of the Greeks. But there are some scanty details offered in the Odyssey and in the summaries of the poems of the epic cycle. In Odyssey 3… Read more