Hayden Pelliccia is a Professor of Classics at Cornell. (October 2017)


The Art of Wrath

‘King Priam Begging Achilles for the Body of Hector’; drawing by Henry Fuseli, circa 1770–1771

The Iliad

by Homer, translated from the Greek by Peter Green

The Iliad

by Homer, translated from the Greek and with an introduction and notes by Barry B. Powell, and with a foreword by Ian Morris
The very first line of the Iliad forces any English-language translator to decide immediately and to declare conspicuously whether he would rather be caught betraying his poet or his own language. The opening word, mēnin, wrath, is the subject of the long poem that follows, but not of the long sentence it begins. This word order in the original creates a markedly stylized but not a strained effect. Poetic Greek can bring off putting the potent single thematic word first and then proceeding to other parts of the sentence, placed in an order that satisfies the demands of rhetoric and versification. Not English, where “man bites dog” means that man bites dog and not the other way around.

The Ancient Delights of the Epigram

Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Sappho and Alcaeus, 1881

The Greek Anthology, Books 1–5

translated from the Greek by W.R. Paton and revised by Michael A. Tueller
In its present version, The Greek Anthology comprises about 4,500 short poems, composed by authors ranging from the third century BCE to the fourth century CE (with outliers on either end) and including works by many of the most brilliant figures of Greek literature, especially from the Hellenistic period (323–31 …

Where Does His Wit Come From?

Diego Velázquez: Aesop, 1640

Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose

by Leslie Kurke
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 Aeneid

by Virgil, translated from the Latin by Robert Fagles, with anintroduction by Bernard Knox


by Virgil, translated from the Latin by Stanley Lombardo, with anintroduction by W.R. Johnson
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?

The Argonautika

by Apollonios Rhodios, translated from the Greek with an introduction, commentary, and glossary by Peter Green
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

Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond

by Gregory Nagy

Homeric Questions

by Gregory Nagy
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 …