Reflections

Verse from a time of conquest

About this time last year, several media outlets reported on six lines of Greek poetic verse dating to around the 2nd century AD. These lines were inscribed on a gemstone that was found in the sarcophagus of a young girl who was wearing it at the time of her entombment: Λεγουσιν | They sayα θελουσινContinue reading “Verse from a time of conquest”

Homer’s Calypso

What are your thoughts on Calypso? One of the passages I worked on recently was Calypso’s final speech to Odysseus. There’s something equal parts chilling and poignant about her. On the one hand, she is keeping Odysseus hostage. She offers him unending pleasure, ageless youth, eternity, but he does not want any of it. HeContinue reading “Homer’s Calypso”

A Penelopiad

The more time I spend translating Penelope’s speech and scenes, the more “heroic” she seems to become—possessing superhuman strength, pursuing fame, potentially being the recipient of cult honors. It makes me wonder what she meant to the historical women of archaic and classical Athens. Three potential clues might be 1) the existence of women cultContinue reading “A Penelopiad”

Ajax and Achilles

Did Achilles have a choice? In Iliad 9, Achilles famously reveals that two options are available to him: either he can remain in Troy, die in battle, and be immortalized, or he can return home and live a long but unremarkable life. The debate over whether he actually has control is one of those deliciousContinue reading “Ajax and Achilles”

Gods in the age of Empire

What happens to the gods in the age of empire? This week, I’ve been reading David Raeburn’s translation of Metamorphoses by Ovid, arguably the most influential ancient myth retelling on modern myth retellings. To clarify, I’m not challenging the view that, overall, Homer remains the most influential ancient poet. But as far as how mythologyContinue reading “Gods in the age of Empire”

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