Below are texts, commentaries and more for Concepts of the Hero in Greek Civilization. The course is offered as both a Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and Division of Continuing Education (DCE) course. This page does not include archival texts content, and only the most recent texts are available here. Within the archival areas of this site, however — for example in the Notes pages — you may find links to older version of course texts. Refer to this page for the current texts.
Sourcebook, Volume 1
Last updated 9-7-11
Sourcebook, Volume 2
Last updated 8-30-11
Apobatic moment and Sappho image library
Philostratus, On Heroes
“Les Contes d’Hoffmann” Libretto (1907)
The Tales of Hoffmann (film plus commentary by Gregory Nagy)
"The Sand-Man" (Harvard ID and PIN required)
Introduction 1: Facts about the “Heroes” course (a five-minute sketch)
Introduction 2: Relevant facts about ancient Greek history (a five-minute sketch)
Introduction 3: “The Epic Hero,” by Gregory Nagy (also in PDF)
“Introduction to the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey” by Gregory Nagy (PDF, from Sourcebook)
“Lyric and Greek Myth” by Gregory Nagy
“Did Sappho and Alcaeus ever meet?” by Gregory Nagy (PDF)
“Homer and Greek Myth” by Gregory Nagy
“An apobatic moment for Achilles as athlete at the Festival of the Panathenaia” by Gregory Nagy
“The Shield of Achilles: Ends of the Iliad and Beginnings of the Polis” by Gregory Nagy
“Notes on Athenian Tragedy” by Gregory Nagy (PDF, from Sourcebook)
“Transformations of Choral Lyric Traditions in the Context of Athenian State Theater” by Gregory Nagy (PDF)
“The fragmentary Muse and the poetics of refraction in Sappho, Sophocles, Offenbach” by Gregory Nagy (PDF)
“The ‘New Sappho’ Reconsidered,” by Gregory Nagy (PDF)
The Tales of Hoffmann: commentary on chs.1-5 (PDF)
The Tales of Hoffmann: commentary on chs. 6-29 (PDF)
“The Sign of the Hero: A Prologue to the Heroikos of Philostratus” by Gregory Nagy (PDF)
The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry (Johns Hopkins University Press; 2nd ed. 1999), by Gregory Nagy
Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past (Johns Hopkins University Press 1990), by Gregory Nagy
“Dream of a Shade": Refractions of Epic Vision in Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes and Pindar’s Pythian 8” by Gregory Nagy (also in PDF)
Nagy’s informal commentary on the Herakles of Euripides
An Introduction to Close Reading, by David Schur (PDF).
Diotima is a site devoted to the study of women and gender in the ancient world. It contains several types of links to resources on related topics.
The Perseus Project is a database of classical Greek and Latin texts, translations, lexica, images of classical art and archaeology, archaeological site plans.
Read a condensed version of Thomas Martin’s An Overview of Classical Greek History at The Perseus Project.
The Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature
Professor Nagy recites passages from the Iliad, including the first sixteen lines and two attested shorter variants of those lines.
Comics by Glynnis Fawkes, representing the Homeric Hymn to Demeter
Paintings by Christine Banna, depicting Polyxena and Iphigeneia in their moments of death, plus commentary by the artist
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, makers of the film version of The Tales of Hoffmann, also made a film entitled The Red Shoes, starring many of the same actors and dealing with themes that are very relevant for the Heroes course. For your reading pleasure, here are links to two articles about the film, which has recently been remastered and re-released.
Film review in The New York Times
Op-Ed in The New York Times