In this installment of Faculty Insight, produced in partnership with Harvard University Extension School, ThoughtCast speaks with the esteemed Harvard classicist Gregory Nagy about one of the earliest and greatest legends of all time: Homer’s epic story of the siege of Troy, called “The Iliad.” It’s a story of god-like heroes and blood-soaked battles; honor, pride, shame and defeat. In this interview, we dissect a key scene in “The Iliad,” where Hector and Achilles are about to meet in battle. Athena is also on hand, and she plays a crucial if underhanded role, with the grudging approval of her father, Zeus.
And Nagy is the perfect guide to this classic tale. He’s the director of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC, as well as the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard. We spoke in his office at Widener Library.