Hayden Pelliccia is a Professor of Classics at Cornell. (November 2012)

Where Does His Wit Come From?

Diego Velázquez: Aesop, 1640
One of the ancient biographies of Aesop begins: The fabulist Aesop, the great benefactor of mankind, was by chance a slave but by origin a Phrygian of Phrygia, of loathsome aspect, worthless as a servant, pot-bellied, misshapen of head, snub-nosed, swarthy, dwarfish, bandy-legged, short-armed, squint-eyed, liver-lipped—a portentous monstrosity. In addition …

‘Let Virgil Be Virgil’

The Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid are the holy trinity of classical European epic, and Robert Fagles and Stanley Lombardo, with their recent versions of the Aeneid, have translated all three. But the Aeneid is very different from the other two. The Homeric poems report from a misty prehistoric …

Was Jason a Hero?

Everybody has heard of the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece, and yet its poet is obscure. If Apollonius, the third-century BCE Alexandrian author of the Argonautika, could boast one reader today for every thousand who have read the Iliad or the Odyssey, he would have to count himself …

As Many Homers As You Please

Homer was poor. His scholars live at ease, Making as many Homers as you please. And every Homer furnishes a book. —J.V. Cunningham The Iliad and the Odyssey, traditionally attributed to Homer, may be the greatest epics in Western literature, but no one really knows where …