Questions tagged [greek-literature]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the Greek language, regardless of whether they were written or published in Greece or elsewhere.

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Did the play “Prometheus the Fire-Bringer” provide an aetiology for a festival honouring Prometheus?

The Wikipedia article on the lost play Prometheus the Fire-Bringer attributed to Aeschylus tells us: Finally, Athenaeus wrote of a contemporary Athenian festival dedicated to Prometheus: Aeschylus ...
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What evidence confirmed a late date for Aeschylus’ “The Suppliants”?

The Wikipedia article on the play The Suppliants by Aeschylus tells us: It was long thought to be the earliest surviving play by Aeschylus due to the relatively anachronistic function of the chorus ...
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How could the old woman's lover become rich, if it goes against the play's comic project?

I just finished reading Pluto by Aristophanes. The comic project of the play is to obtain a more fair distribution of richness which is at the beginning given only to dishonest people (or to people ...
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Would the chorus leader typically speak/sing along with the chorus in classical Greek plays?

I had assumed that the chorus leader would speak along with the chorus. He is a part of it, after all. However, when I asked my literature professor on a whim he wasn't completely sure. Doing my own ...
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Why was it necessary to put out Patroclos' pyre with wine in the Iliad?

In Book XXIII of the Iliad, after Patroclos' body has been burnt, Achillês tells the Greeks to put out the pyre with wine: Now the people were all gathering round Agamemnon. They made such noise and ...
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What does this passage about the sun and Hera mean in the Iliad?

In Book XVIII of the Iliad, after Patroclos's body has been recovered, there's this passage about the sun setting: Then the Achaians were glad indeed to draw back the body of Patroclos out of the ...
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Why is it so important to Aias that he die in the light as opposed to the mist in "The Iliad"?

In Book XVII of The Iliad, when Patroclus is killed and Zeus has turned the tide to the favor of the Trojans, we have this statement by Aias: Aias and Menelaos also saw that the victory was passing ...
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Why are all of these things described as "ambrosial" in "The Iliad"?

In Book XIV of The Iliad, when Hera is preparing to distract Zeus on Mount Ida, her preparations are described: She closed the doors, and first she washed every speck and stain from her lovely body ...
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What does it mean when Scully's translations of Sophocles use center-aligned text?

Short version: I am reading The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. In both of Scully's translations (Aias and Philoktetes), though none of Bagg's, sections of ...
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Why does Odysseus decide to leave without Philoktetes?

I am reading James Scully's translation of Philoktetes (also known as Philoctetes), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. At one point, after getting ...
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Purpose of the stage direction "Burst of light, fading. Distant rumbling." in "Philoktetes"

I am reading James Scully's translation of Philoktetes (also known as Philoctetes), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. There was a stage direction which ...
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Why does the chorus pray to Rhea in "Philoktetes"?

This is from James Scully's translation of Philoktetes (also known as Philoctetes), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. After Neoptolemos tells ...
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On what basis are lines attributed to the whole chorus or just the chorus leader?

I was cross-referencing my translation of Aias*, James Scully's from The Complete Plays of Sophocles (translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully), with a free online translation by Ian Johnston. I ...
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Why is Philoktetes specifically hunting "doves"?

I am reading James Scully's translation of Philoktetes (also known as Philoctetes), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. Twice it is mentioned that the ...
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Why are "doves" used in this simile from "Aias"?

This is from James Scully's translation of Aias (also known as Ajax), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. Son of Telamon, rock of Salamis towering up ...
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How is Aias's initially informal reintroduction speech reflected in the original text?

I am reading James Scully's translation of Aias (also known as Ajax), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. When Aias enters for the second time, during the ...
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What does it mean when the chorus speaks "severally" in "Aias"?

I am reading James Scully's translation of Aias (also known as Ajax), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully. Eleven different times, per the search function ...
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What does it mean to "graze on the fizzy air"?

This is from James Scully's translation of Aias (also known as Ajax), in The Complete Plays of Sophocles, translated by Robert Bagg & James Scully.                      Dear boy may you be ...
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English translation of Hermias' commentary on Plato's "Phaedrus"

Does there exist an English translation of the Commentary on Plato's Phaedrus (In Platonis Phaedrum Scholia) by Hermias of Alexandria?
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What does "reet fain" mean in Poseidon's message to Agamemnon in the Iliad?

In Book XIV of The Iliad, when Poseidon is encouraging the Greeks while the Trojans are attacking their ships, he says this to Agamemnon while disguised: But the famous Earthshaker kept no blind man'...
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Why is Helen's speech here in the Iliad described as being given "warmly"?

In Book VI of The Iliad, when Hector has come to try to get Paris to fight, Helen chips in with her point of view: Hector answered nothing, but Helen said warmly: "Brother dear, I am ashamed; I ...
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What does Nestor's love of a "good horse" have to do with anything?

In Book IV of The Iliad, there's a part where King Agamemnon is going through the soldiers and talking to everybody. He speaks to Nestor at one point: He passed on to Nestor, and found him among his ...
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Which ancient Greek politician punched a teacher for failing to carry his copy of Homer?

When I first studied the Iliad in middle school, I remember a story about about a politician in Athens punching a traveling tutor for the sin of not carrying his copy of Homer on him at all times. ...
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Is there a connection between Achilles's talking horse in the Iliad and Balaam's talking donkey in the Bible?

At the end of Book XIX of The Iliad we find that Achilles's horse spontaneously begins talking to him: Automedon, whip in hand, sprang up behind the horses, and after him Achilles mounted in full ...
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Why do Athena and Talthybios speak "plainly" in the Iliad?

In Book IV of the Iliad, there are several instances where the translation refers to someone speaking "plainly": Athena now took the form of a Trojan, the doughty warrior Laodocos Antenor's ...
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Why does Aphrodite speak like this while disguised as the old woman?

In Book III of The Iliad, there's an incident where the goddess Aphrodite disguises herself to speak to Helen. The translator wrote her speech like this: Now she took the shape of an old woman who ...
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What is the difference between the narration of the Fall of Troy in The Aeneid, The Iliad, and The Odyssey?

I have not fully read Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey and I'm only in the Book 3 of The Aeneid. All I know is that in the Iliad, there is the fighting of the Trojan War. In the Odyssey, there is a ...
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Is Anathem a version of Plato's Republic?

Is Neal Stephenson's novel Anathem a version of Plato's Republic? Those who have read the novel and have a little Plato will understand why I ask. We often point to Swift as the originator of modern ...
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Why does this copy of the Iliad mention "the will of God"?

In my copy of the Iliad, which is a Mentor Book published in April 1938, it opens like this: An angry man—there is my story: The bitter rancour of Achillês, prince of the house of Peleus, which ...
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Are all Aesop's fables available in English?

There is an index of all Aesop's fables, called Perry Index, that was organized by Ben Edwin Perry in the 20th century. But some stories are nowhere to be found, like "579 - The Sword and the ...
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Where does Tomyris promise to retreat?

I'm trying to understand this passage in Herodotus's Histories (Book 1 chapter 208): So these opinions contended; and Cyrus set aside his former plan and chose that of Croesus; wherefore he bade ...
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Translation of Onomasticon by Julius Pollux of Naucratis

Is there an English translation of the Onomasticon by Julius Pollux of Naucratis?
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Has any writer claimed that Hector, not Achilles, is the true hero of the Iliad?

From his farewell to his wife Andromache in Book VI to the splendid description of his funeral with the which the epic concludes, Hector exhibits many of the hallmarks of the archetypal protagonist of ...
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What does "branch of Ares" mean in book II of "The Iliad"?

I have been reading the Iliad in the Penguin Classics edition (translated by Emile Victor Rieu and Martin Hammond), and in the second book, when Homer is naming the groups of Achaeans and Trojans, the ...
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Meaning and addressees of Hector's threats

The scene: Zeus and Apollo have just revived Hector who received a near-fatal blow from a boulder thrown by Ajax. Apollo and Hector then lead a refreshed Trojan onslaught on the Greeks, compelling ...
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Oribasii Collectiones Medicae in Greek/English

I'm seeking a Greek-English translation of Oribasii Collectiones Medicae. I'm specifically looking for the section describing the setting of a dislocated limb where an interesting Greek verb (...
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Vultures and wives? What does this expression mean?

Extract from Pope's translation of the Iliad, Book XI, describing Agamemnon's rampage during the third battle: Wide o’er the field with guideless fury rolls, Breaking their ranks, and crushing out ...
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Is Ant-Man a Myrmidon?

The Myrmidons, the soldiers from Achilles's homeland of Thessaly who are under his command in the Iliad, get their name from myrmex or ants. Achilles himself is the arch-Myrmidon. In Shakespeare's ...
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Why does Aristotle reckon that the secret to humor is surprise?

Supposedly, Aristotle said: The secret to humor is surprise. Why does Aristotle reckon that the secret to humor is surprise?
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2 answers
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What does Heraclitus mean by "if you do not expect the unexpected"?

I lit upon this quote on p. 177 in National Geographic's photo book Sublime Nature, that I riffled through based on recent posts. Goodreads has it. I don't know any philosophy, and don't understand ...
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Examples of Zeus's Immoral Nature [closed]

In The Odyssey, Zeus happily allows Poseidon to turn a ship into stone, killing everyone aboard. I think it's safe to say most people alive today would consider this immoral. What are some other ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Can the Odyssey be consumed independently of the Iliad?

The Odyssey is largely a sequel to the Iliad, both of them being attributed to Homer and describing events which are roughly part of a single overall story (Odysseus first fighting in the Trojan War ...
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Does the Greek or Latin "Corpus Hermeticum" exist online anywhere in text format?

Looking for the original latin or greek Corpus Hermeticum online somewhere in text format (i.e. not a PDF). Does such a thing exist?
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Was the Moon an emissary for the Gods in greek mythology?

I'm an astrology student and, in order to better understand the explanation for the meaning of certain phenomena, I'm investigating greek mythology. Right now, I'm trying to understand why void moons....
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What manuscript was the first printed edition of the Odyssey based on?

The Wikipedia article about the Iliad says that this work was first printed in Florence in 1488/89. The Wikipedia article about the Odyssey does not mention when this epic was first printed, but it ...
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How did the Greeks anger Pallas Athena?

During the Iliad several of the gods take sides in the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. For example, Ares, Apollo and Aphrodite side with the Trojans, while Pallas Athena, Hera and Poseidon ...
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Why did Archilochus affiliate the hedgehog with just knowing one big thing?

Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University. (2017 4 ed). p 50. In an observation that is now so clichéd, you won’t be able to believe how much I hate myself for repeating it, ...
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What does "Do you think falsehood is less powerful than bile or a rabid dog?" mean in Marcus Aurelius's Meditations?

So I'm reading Gregory Hays's translation of Marcus Aurelius's meditations and there's a section I'm fairly stuck on. The full section (book 6, section 57) is: Honey tastes bitter to a man with ...
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Is Odysseus a hero in the Odyssey?

Is Odysseus a hero in the Odyssey? From what I’ve read, the answer seems to be a pretty clear yes. The definition of an Ancient Greek hero seemed to revolve around pure talent and ability to fight. ...
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What does Athena’s statement to Zeus at the beginning of The Odyssey reveal?

I was told to analyze this passage in book 1 of The Odyssey, having read only books 1-4: And sparkling-eyed Athena drove the matter home: “Father, son of Cronus, our high and mighty king, surely he ...
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