Gregory Nagy is the director of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington DC, a position he has held since 2000. He continues to teach at the Harvard campus in Cambridge as the Francis Jones Professor of Classical Greek Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature. From 1994 to 2000, he was chair of Harvard's classics department.
Nagy was born in Hungary and raised in the United States. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1966. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry, which was awarded the Goodwin Prize by the American Philological Association in 1982.
He is also the author of more than 100 scientific articles written in English, French, German, Greek, and Italian. He is the general editor of the monograph series Mythology and Poetics and of the Roman and Littlefield series Greek Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches. With Stephen A. Mitchell, he has been the co-editor of the Milman Parry Studies in Oral Tradition since 1995. He received the Petra T. Shattuck Excellence in Teaching Award for the 1989-1990 academic year.
He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1977 and served as president of the American Philological Association in 1991. He was the Sather Classical Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley in spring 2002. In fall 2006 he was awarded the Onassis International Prize for the promotion of Hellenic Studies in recognition of his work at the Center. In 2007, he was honored for 25 years of teaching in Extension.
Trained in general and comparative linguistics as well as in classical philology, he has applied his linguistic training to the study of archaic, classical, and Hellenistic Greek poetry.