New and Notable
The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours, available July 2013
The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours (Harvard University Press)
The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours explores what it means to be human today by studying what it meant to be a hero in ancient Greek times. Readers will experience, in English translation, some of the most beautiful works of ancient Greek literature and song-making spanning over a thousand years from the the eighth century BCE through the third century CE: the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey; tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; songs of Sappho and Pindar; dialogues of Plato, and On Heroes by Philostratus. Nagy has carefully selected and translated over 250 passages from these works with special attention to the subtleties of the original language. Throughout his analysis, Nagy models techniques for "reading out" of these works in an inductive way. This approach allows readers with little or even no experience in the subject matter to begin seeing this literature as an exquisite, perfected system of communication. Based on the popular Harvard University course Nagy has taught and refined since the late 70's, this volume presents the very latest research from a scholar who is equally committed to pursuing good teaching and good research.
Video: Nagy's video introduction to his latest book and the associated MOOC at edX.
Available in Online Publications at CHS
Gregory Nagy, The Epic Hero, The Sign of the Hero: A Prologue to the Heroikos of Philostratus
Ellen Bradshaw Aitken and Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean, (trans.), Philostratus, On Heroes
Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, To Encounter a Hero: Localization and Travel in Hellenistic Hero Cults
The Homer Multitext project, the first of its kind in Homeric studies, presents the textual transmission of the Iliad and Odyssey in a historical framework. It offers free access to a library of texts and images, a machine-interface to that library and its indices, and tools to allow readers to discover and engage with the Homeric tradition.
In Focus: πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς, 'many steadfast souls' detail of Iliad 1.3 from the Venetus A (urn:cite:hmt:chsimg.VA012RN-0013:0.161,0.277,0.214,0.0158). For more on this phrase, see Leonard Muellner's "Discovery Procedures and Principles for Homeric Research."
"The Ancient Greek Hero" at edX
It's not too late to join The Ancient Greek Hero, taught by Harvard Professor and CHS Director Gregory Nagy. Launched on March 13th and accepting new participants through late July, The Ancient Greek Hero is an open access course offered through edX (www.edx.org), the online learning initiative founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
This course uses the latest technologies to help participants engage with poetry, songs, and stories first composed more than two millennia ago. Featured literature includes the Homeric epics, a selection of early lyrics, excerpts of prose history, seven tragedies, two Platonic dialogues, and the intriguing but rarely studied dialogue, On Heroes by Philostratus.
The text for the course is Nagy’s The Ancient Greek Hero in Twenty-Four Hours. This book is also available on the course website and in dynamic e-book form. For more information, see the course announcement. Or enroll now!
Hour 7 of The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours includes readings of visual art as well as verbal art. Sample the videos by watching this dialogue about the "double exposure" moment depicted on the Boston Hydria. (See image below.)
Illustration: "Boston Hydria." Attic black-figure hydria: Achilles dragging the body of Hector. Attributed to the Antiope Group. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 63.473. Drawing by Valerie Woelfel.