Word Study

Core Vocab: kharis, kharites, part 2 | The Graces

"Not even the gods arrange dances or feasts without the holy Graces, who oversee everything that is done in heaven." We continue this month's Core Vocab discussion of kharis [χάρις], plural kharites [χάριτες], ‘reciprocity, give-and-take, reciprocal relationship; initiation of reciprocal relationship; the pleasure or beauty derived from reciprocity, from a reciprocal relationship; gratification; grace, gracefulness; favor, favorableness; gratitude; for the sake of’. This time we focus on the personification of… Read more

Core Vocab: kharis | part 1

Khairete! As we approach Thanksgiving, it seems apt to choose for this month's Core Vocab discussion a word that includes this concept among others: kharis [χάρις], plural kharites [χάριτες] which Gregory Nagy glosses as ‘reciprocity, give-and-take, reciprocal relationship; initiation of reciprocal relationship; the pleasure or beauty derived from reciprocity, from a reciprocal relationship; gratification; grace, gracefulness; favor, favorableness; gratitude; for the sake of’. In part 1, we explore the word… Read more

Core Vocab: mētis

Following on from our discussion of biā / biē it seems natural to continue with another, contrasting Core Vocab word: mētis [μῆτις] glossed by Gregory Nagy as ‘artifice, stratagem, cunning intelligence’. It's a word I immediately associate with Odysseus, and in particular his cunning ploy with the Cyclops. But to which other heroes, and in what contexts, does it also appear? Read more

Core Vocab: biā / biē

This month's Core Vocabulary discussion is on "biā (biē in the language of Homeric poetry) ‘force, violence’." What kinds of force are exhibited? Does biā or biē require other qualities for it to be effective without the person descending to the nature of a beast, and how can it be stopped or redirected? Are there occasions when it is admired, or harnessed effectively? Which heroes display this quality, and when? Read more

Core Vocab: nemesis

Gregory Nagy says that "nemesis indicates the process whereby everyone gets what he or she deserves." Here are some passages in which the word is used, as a starting point for further exploration and discussion of the word and its use both as a process and in its personification as a goddess. How did the ancient Greeks view nemesis? Was it seen negatively, or as a necessity? What situations triggered… Read more