History

The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours

The ancient Greeks’ concept of “the hero” was very different from what we understand by the term today, Gregory Nagy argues—and it is only through analyzing their historical contexts that we can truly understand Achilles, Odysseus, Oedipus, and Herakles. In Greek tradition, a hero was a human, male or female, of the… Read more

The Cypria

The Cypria, so named because its poet supposedly came from the island of Cyprus, was an early Greek epic that is known to us primarily through quotations and references to passages by later authors, as well as through a prose summary of its plot and contents. Malcolm Davies uses linguistic… Read more

Literary History in the Parian Marble

Inscribed some time after 264 BCE, the Parian Marble offers a chronological list of events with an exceptional emphasis on literary matters. Literary History in the Parian Marble explores the literary and historiographical qualities of the inscription, the genre to which it belongs, and the emerging patterns of time. Endorsing the hypothesis… Read more

The Theban Epics

In antiquity, the story of the failed assault of the Seven against Thebes ranked second only to the Trojan War. But whereas the latter was immortalized by Homer’s Iliad, the account of the former in the epic Thebais survives only in fragments preserved in later authors. The same is true of the Oedipodeia and Epigoni, which… Read more

Plato’s Four Muses: The Phaedrus and the Poetics of Philosophy

Plato’s Four Muses reconstructs Plato’s authorial self-portrait through a fresh reading of the Phaedrus, with an Introduction and Conclusion that contextualize the construction more broadly. The Phaedrus, it is argued, is Plato’s most self-referential dialogue, and Plato’s reference to four Muses in Phaedrus 259c–d is read as a hint at the “ingredients” of philosophical discourse,… Read more

Divine yet Human Epics: Reflections of Poetic Rulers from Ancient Greece and India

The central character of Divine Yet Human Epics is the developing conception of epic itself. Its story unfolds as the ancient Greek idea of epic originates with Pindar and Herodotus on the basis of the Iliad and Odyssey. While this notion eventually leads their Sanskrit counterparts, the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata, to be understood selectively in modern times, medieval… Read more