Word Study

Core Vocab: hubris

Our Core Vocab term this time is hubris [ὕβρις], defined as "‘outrage’; the opposite of dikē [δίκη]." Gregory Nagy further discusses the term: "dikē or ‘justice’ is straight and direct or unidirectional, whereas hubris as the opposite of justice is crooked and indirect or multi-directional ... In the human realm, hubris refers to acts that provoke a sense of moral outrage, which calls for a response by humans and gods… Read more

Core Vocab: thūmos

Our next exploration of Core Vocab terms is about thūmos [θυμός] ‘heart, spirit’ (designates realm of consciousness, of rational and emotional functions). Here Professor Nagy explains the meaning a little further: "The word thūmos, which I translate here as ‘heart’, expresses in Homeric diction the human capacity to feel and to think, taken together. ... In other Homeric contexts, on the other hand, thūmos is pictured as the vital force… Read more


Gold: a precious metal that seems to shine like the sun, and does not tarnish or rust. No wonder it is associated with the gods. We see this, for example, when the gods meet: "Now the gods were sitting with Zeus in council upon the golden floor while the goddess Hebe went round pouring out nectar for them to drink, and as they pledged one another in their cups of… Read more

Connections: merimna, the Argo, Jason, and More

Classical Inquiries has published an article by Gregory Nagy asking, "What is on Homer’s mind?" In that posting, Nagy argues that "all humans have on their minds both the ship Argo and the hero Odysseus." A key word for Nagy's argument is merimna, which he defines as a 'care, concern, a troubled thought', or even 'a song that is on one's mind'. We are happy to share a curated selection of passages designed to help readers… Read more

Core Vocab: moira

For this month's Core Vocab I thought it might be interesting to look at the word moira (plural moirai), defined in the Core Vocab as 'portion; portion of meat divided at a sacrifice; lot in life, fate, destiny.' Just that range of meanings in the definition is intriguing. I am curious to see whether it appears that all those meanings are in play when the word is used, or whether… Read more