Pindar

Pindar

Overview
Pindar (ca. 522–443 BC), was an Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 lyric
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

 poet. Of the canonical
Western canon
The term Western canon denotes a canon of books and, more broadly, music and art that have been the most important and influential in shaping Western culture. As such, it includes the "greatest works of artistic merit." Such a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism and the...

 nine lyric poets
Nine lyric poets
The nine lyric poets were a canon of archaic Greek composers esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria as worthy of critical study.They were:*Alcman of Sparta...

 of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian
Quintilian
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing...

 described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, and his rolling flood of eloquence". His poems however can also seem difficult and even peculiar.
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Encyclopedia
Pindar (ca. 522–443 BC), was an Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 lyric
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

 poet. Of the canonical
Western canon
The term Western canon denotes a canon of books and, more broadly, music and art that have been the most important and influential in shaping Western culture. As such, it includes the "greatest works of artistic merit." Such a canon is important to the theory of educational perennialism and the...

 nine lyric poets
Nine lyric poets
The nine lyric poets were a canon of archaic Greek composers esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria as worthy of critical study.They were:*Alcman of Sparta...

 of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian
Quintilian
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing...

 described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, and his rolling flood of eloquence". His poems however can also seem difficult and even peculiar. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis
Eupolis
Eupolis was an Athenian poet of the Old Comedy, who flourished during the time of the Peloponnesian War.-Biography:Nothing whatsoever is known of his personal history. There are few sources on when he first appeared on the stage...

 once remarked that they "are already reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning". Some scholars in the modern age also found his poetry perplexing, at least up until the discovery in 1896 of some poems by his rival Bacchylides
Bacchylides
Bacchylides was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets which included his uncle Simonides. The elegance and polished style of his lyrics have been a commonplace of Bacchylidean scholarship since at least Longinus...

, when comparisons of their work showed that many of Pindar's idiosyncrasies are typical of archaic genres rather than of the poet himself. The brilliance of his poetry then began to be more widely appreciated. However his style still challenges the casual reader and he continues to be a much admired though largely unread poet.

Pindar is the first Greek poet to reflect on the nature of poetry and on the poet's role. Like other poets of the Archaic Age, he has a profound sense of the vicissitudes of life, but he also articulates a passionate faith in what men, by the grace of the gods, can achieve, most famously expressed in his conclusion to one of his Victory Odes
Epinikion
The epinikion or epinicion is a genre of occasional poetry also known in English as a victory ode...

:

Creatures of a day! What is a man?
What is he not? A dream of a shadow
Is our mortal being. But when there comes to men
A gleam of splendour given of heaven,
Then rests on them a light of glory
And blessed are their days. (Pythian 8)

His poetry illustrates the beliefs and values of Archaic Greece at the dawn of the classical period
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

.

Sources


Five ancient sources contain all the recorded details of Pindar's life. One of them is a short biography discovered in 1961 on an Egyptian papyrus dating from at least 200 AD (P.Oxy.2438). The other four are collections that weren't finalized until some 1600 years after his death:
  • Commentaries on Pindar by Eustathius of Thessalonica
    Eustathius of Thessalonica
    Archbishop Eustathius of Thessalonica was a Greek bishop and scholar. He is most noted for his contemporary account of the sack of Thessalonike by the Normans in 1185, for his orations and for his commentaries on Homer, which incorporate many remarks by much earlier researchers.- Life :After being...

    ;
  • Vita Vratislavensis, found in a manuscript at Breslau, author unknown;
  • a text by Thomas Magister
    Thomas Magister
    Thomas, surnamed Magister , also known as a monk by the name Theodulos Monachos, a native of Thessalonica, Byzantine scholar and grammarian and confidential adviser of Andronicus II Palaeologus ....

    ;
  • some meagre writings attributed to the lexicographer Suidas.

Although these sources are based on a much older literary tradition, going as far back as Chamaeleon of Heraclea
Chamaeleon (philosopher)
Chamaeleon , was a Peripatetic philosopher of Heraclea Pontica. He was one of the immediate disciples of Aristotle...

 in the 4th century BC, they are generally viewed with scepticism today: much of the material is clearly fanciful. Scholars both ancient and modern have turned to Pindar's own work – his victory odes
Epinikion
The epinikion or epinicion is a genre of occasional poetry also known in English as a victory ode...

 in particular – as a source of biographical information: some of the poems touch on historic events and can be accurately dated. However the 1962 publication of Elroy Bundy's ground-breaking work Pindarica led to a change in scholarly opinionthe Odes were no longer seen as Pindar's personal thoughts and feelings, but rather as public statements "dedicated to the single purpose of eulogizing men and communities." It has been claimed that a biographical interpretations of the poems is due to a "fatal conjunction" of historicism and Romanticism. The pendulum of intellectual fashion however has now swung back part of the way, and cautious use of the poems for biographical purposes is considered acceptable once more.

The biography in this article is an amalgam of old and new approaches – it is naive in its reliance on the odes as biographical sources and it even includes a few clearly fanciful elements from ancient accounts. Some of the problematic aspects of this traditional approach are then illustrated in notes at the end of relevant paragraphs. Moreover, the biography progresses backwards in time as an example of Pindar's unique literary methods – he often demonstrated particular themes by narrating episodes from traditional myths, sometimes in reverse chronological order: an aspect of his risk-taking approach.

Story is vast in range: new ways to find
and test upon the touchstone,
Here danger lies.The Odes of Pindar, Geoffrey S. Conway, J.M.Dent and Sons (1972), page 212. The three lines here, and in Bowra's Greek, are actually two lines or stichoi in Greek prosody. Stichoi however are often too long to be preserved as single lines in published form and they are then broken into metrical units, or cola , the break indicated by indentation. This practice is observed both in Greek and in translations but it is a modern convenience or preference and it has no historical authority: "...nullam habet apud codices auctoritatem neque veri simile est Pindarum ita carmina manu propria conscripsisse." (Bowra, page ix)

Post mortem


The ancient Greeks cherished the memory of Pindar. His house in Thebes became one of the city's landmarks, especially after Alexander The Great demolished the city but left the poet's house intact out of gratitude for some verses praising his ancestor, king Alexander I of Macedon
Alexander I of Macedon
- Biography :Alexander was the son of Amyntas I and Queen Eurydice.According to Herodotus, he was unfriendly to Persia, and had the envoys of Darius I killed when they arrived at the court of his father during the Ionian Revolt...

. Some of Pindar's verses became an attraction in Lindos
Lindos
Lindos is an archaeological site, a town and a former municipality on the island of Rhodes, in the Dodecanese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Rhodes, of which it is a municipal unit. It lies on the east coast of the island...

, Rhodes, where they were inscribed in letters of gold on a temple wall. At Delphi, the priests of Apollo exhibited an iron chair on which the poet used to sit during the festival of the Theoxenia. "Let Pindar the poet go unto the supper of the gods!" they intoned each night while closing the temple doors (he had once been elected to the priesthood there). One of his female relatives claimed that he had dictated to her some verses in honour of Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

  after he had been dead for several days!

Death and old age


Pindar lived to about eighty years of age, and died around 440 BC while attending a festival at Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

. His ashes were taken back home to Thebes by his musically-gifted daughters, Eumetis and Protomache. Nothing is recorded about his wife and son except their names, Megacleia and Daiphantus. In one of his last odes (Pythian 8), celebrating a victory by an athlete from Aegina
Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

, Pindar reveals that he lived near a shrine to the oracle Alcmaeon storing there some of his wealth. In the same ode he says that he had recently received a prophecy from Alcmaeon during a journey to Delphi "...he met me and proved the skills of prophecy that all his race inherit" but he doesn't reveal what the long-dead prophet said to him nor in what form he appeared.
Note: Pindar doesn't necessarily refer to himself when he uses the first person singular. A large proportion of his 'I' statements seem to be generic, indicating somebody engaged in the role of a singer i.e. a 'bardic' I. Other 'I' statements articulate values typical of the audience, and some are spoken on behalf of the subject celebrated in the poem. The 'I' that received the prophecy in Pythian 8 therefore might have been the athlete from Aegina, not Pindar. In that case the prophecy probably concerned his victory in the Pythian Games, and the property stored at the shrine was just a votive offering.


His fame as a poet drew Pindar into Greek politics. Athens, for example, the most important city in Greece throughout his poetic career, was a rival both of his home city, Thebes, and of the island state Aegina
Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

, whose leading citizens commissioned about a quarter of his Victory Odes. There is no open condemnation of the Athenians in any of Pindar's poems, but it is claimed that he sometimes smuggles in some criticism. For example, the victory ode mentioned above (Pythian 8) is said to covertly celebrate a recent defeat of Athens by Thebes at the Battle of Coronea
Battle of Coronea (447 BC)
The Battle of Coronea took place between the Athenian-led Delian League and the Boeotian League in 447 BC during the First Peloponnesian War....

 (447 BC), imaginatively represented as the downfall of the giants Porphyrion
Porphyrion
In Greek mythology, Porphyrion was a giant, one of the sons of Uranus and Gaia. After the Olympian gods imprisoned the Titans in Tartarus, Porphyrion was one of twenty-four anguipede giants who made war on Olympus....

 and Typhon
Typhon
Typhon , also Typhoeus , Typhaon or Typhos was the last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus, and the most deadly monster of Greek mythology. He was known as the "Father of all monsters"; his wife Echidna was likewise the "Mother of All Monsters."Typhon was described in pseudo-Apollodorus,...

 and the poem ends with a prayer for Aegina's freedom (which had long been threatened by Athenian ambitions).
Note: Covert criticism of Athens (traditionally located in odes such as Pythian 8, Nemean 8 and Isthmian 7) however is now generally considered to be highly unlikely, even by scholars who allow for some biographical and historical interpretations of the poems.

Middle age


Pindar seems to have used his odes to advance his, and his friends, personal interests. In 462 BC he composed two odes in honour of Arcesilas, king of Cyrene
Cyrene, Libya
Cyrene was an ancient Greek colony and then a Roman city in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar...

, (
Pythians 4 and 5), pleading for the return from exile of a friend, Demophilus. In the latter ode Pindar proudly mentions his own ancestry, which he shared with the king, as an Aegeid or descendent of Aegeus
Aegeus
In Greek mythology, Aegeus , also Aigeus, Aegeas or Aigeas , was an archaic figure in the founding myth of Athens. The "goat-man" who gave his name to the Aegean Sea was, next to Poseidon, the father of Theseus, the founder of Athenian institutions and one of the kings of Athens.-His reign:Upon the...

, the legendary king of Athens. The clan was influential in many parts of the Greek world, having intermarried with ruling families in Thebes, in Lacedaemonia
Lacedaemonia
Lacedaemonia may mean:*Laconia, a modern prefecture of Greece*The ancient region of Greece of the same name; see Laconia *Lacedaemonia, the name borne by the city of Sparta from Late Antiquity to the 19th century....

, and in cities that claimed Lacedaemonian descent, such as Cyrene and Thera
Santorini
Santorini , officially Thira , is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about southeast from Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera...

. The historian Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 considered the clan important enough to deserve mention (Histories IV.147). Membership of this clan possibly contributed to his success as the poet, and it informed his political views, which are marked by a conservative preference for oligarchic governments of the Doric kind.
Note: It is possible to doubt Pindar's claim to be an Aegeid on the grounds that his 'I' statements do not necessarily refer to himself. The Aegeid clan did however have a branch in Thebes, and his reference to "my ancestors" in Pythian 5 could have been spoken on behalf of both Arcesilas and Pindar – he may have used this ambivalence to establish a personal link with his patrons.


He was possibly the Theban proxenos or consul for Aegina and/or Molossia, as indicated in another of his odes, Nemean 7, in which he glorifies Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus was the son of the warrior Achilles and the princess Deidamia in Greek mythology. Achilles' mother foretold many years before Achilles' birth that there would be a great war. She saw that her only son was to die if he fought in the war...

, who was revered in Aegina and Molossia. According to tradition, Neoptolemus died in a fight with priests at the temple in Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

 over their share of some sacrificial meat. Pindar diplomatically glosses over this. The ode ends mysteriously with an earnest protestation of innocence – "But shall my heart never admit that I with words none can redeem dishonoured Neoptolemus" – and possibly this was said in response to anger among Aeginetans and/or Molossians over his portrayal of Neoptolemus in an earlier poem, Paean
Paean
A paean is a song or lyric poem expressing triumph or thanksgiving. In classical antiquity, it is usually performed by a chorus, but some examples seem intended for an individual voice...

 6, which had been commissioned by the priests at Delphi and which depicted the hero's death in traditional terms, as divine retribution for his past crimes.
Note: Some doubt this biographical interpretation of Nemean 7 since it is largely based on some marginal comments by scholiasts and Pindaric scholiasts are sometimes unreliable; the fact that Pindar gave different versions of the myth simply reflects the needs of different genres, and does not necessarily indicate a personal dilemma. Nemean 7 in fact is the most controversial and obscure of Pindar's victory odes, and scholars ancient and modern have exercised ingenious and imaginative in their attempts to explain it, so far with no agreed success.


In his first Pythian ode, composed in 470 BC in honour of the Sicilian tyrant Hieron, Pindar celebrated a series of victories by Greeks against foreign invaders: Athenian and Spartan-led victories against Persia at Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

 and Plataea
Battle of Plataea
The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes...

, and victories by the western Greeks led by Theron of Acragas
Theron of Acragas
Theron , son of Aenesidamus, was a Greek tyrant of the town of Acragas in Sicily from 488 BC. He soon became an ally of Gelo, who at that time controlled Gela, and from 485 BC Syracuse. Gelo later became Theron's son-in-law....

 and by Hieron against the Carthaginians and Etruscans at the battles of Himera
Battle of Himera (480 BC)
The Battle of Himera , supposedly fought on the same day as the more famous Battle of Salamis, or on the same day as the Battle of Thermopylae, saw the Greek forces of Gelon, King of Syracuse, and Theron, tyrant of Agrigentum, defeat the Carthaginian force of Hamilcar the Magonid, ending a...

 and Cumae
Battle of Cumae
The Battle of Cumae was a naval battle in 474 BC between the combined navies of Syracuse and Cumae and the Etruscans.Hiero I of Syracuse allied with Aristodemus, the tyrant of Cumae, to defend against Etruscan expansion into southern Italy. In 474 they met and defeated the Etruscan fleet at Cumae...

. Such celebrations were not appreciated by his fellow Thebans: they had sided with the Persians and had incurred many losses and privations as a result of their defeat. His praise of Athens with such epithets as bulwark of Hellas (fragment 76) and city of noble name and sunlit splendour (Nemean 5) induced the authorities in Thebes to fine him 5000 drachmae, to which the Athenians are said to have responded with a gift of 10000 drachmae. According to another account, the Athenians even made him their proxenus or consul in Thebes, though this claim is now largely discredited. His association with the fabulously rich Hieron was another source of annoyance at home. It was probably in response to Theban sensitivities over this issue that he denounced the rule of tyrants (i.e. rulers like Hieron) in an ode composed shortly after a visit to Hieron's sumptuous court in 476–75 BC (Pythian 11).
Note: Pindar's actual phrasing in Pythian 11 was "I deplore the lot of tyrants" and though this was traditionally interpreted as an apology for his dealings with Sicilian tyrants like Hieron, an alternative date for the ode has led some scholars to conclude that it was in fact a covert reference to the tyrannical behaviour of the Athenians, although this interpretation is ruled out if we accept the earlier note about covert references. According to yet another interpretation Pindar is simply delivering a formulaic warning to the successful athlete to avoid hubris
Hubris
Hubris , also hybris, means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power....

.


Lyric verse was conventionally accompanied by music and dance, and Pindar himself wrote the music and choreographed the dances for his victory odes. Sometimes he trained the performers at his home in Thebes, and sometimes he trained them at the venue where they performed. Commissions took him to all parts of the Greek world – to the Panhellenic festivals in mainland Greece (Olympia, Delphi, Corinth and Nemea), westwards to Sicily, eastwards to the seaboard of Asia Minor, north to Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ia and Abdera
Abdera, Thrace
Abdera was a city-state on the coast of Thrace 17 km east-northeast of the mouth of the Nestos, and almost opposite Thasos. The site now lies in the Xanthi peripheral unit of modern Greece. The municipality of Abdera, or Ávdira , has 18,573 inhabitants...

 (Paean 2) and south to Cyrene on the African coast. Other poets at the same venues vied with him for the favours of patrons. His poetry sometimes reflects this rivalry. For example Olympian 2 and Pythian 2, composed in honour of the Sicilian tyrants Theron and Hieron following his visit to their courts in 476–75 BC, refer respectively to ravens and an ape, apparently signifying rivals who were engaged in a campaign of smears against him – possibly the poets Simonides
Simonides
* Simonides of Ceos, , a lyric poet* Semonides of Amorgos, an iambic poet* Flavius Simonides Agrippa, son of Roman Jewish Historian Josephus* Constantine Simonides, 19th-century forger of 'ancient' manuscripts...

 and his nephew Bacchylides
Bacchylides
Bacchylides was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets which included his uncle Simonides. The elegance and polished style of his lyrics have been a commonplace of Bacchylidean scholarship since at least Longinus...

. Pindar's original treatment of narrative myth, often relating events in reverse chronological order, is said to have been a favourite target for criticism. Simonides was known to charge high fees for his work and Pindar is said to have alluded to this in Isthmian 2, where he refers to the Muse as "a hireling journeyman".
Note: It was assumed by ancient sources that Pindar's odes were performed by a chorus, but this has been challenged by some modern scholars, who argue that the odes were in fact performed solo. It is not known how commissions were arranged, nor if the poet travelled widely: even when poems include statements like "I have come" it is not certain that this was meant literally. Uncomplimentary references to Bacchylides and Simonides were found by scholiasts but there is no reason to accept their interpretation of the odes. In fact some scholars have interpreted the allusions to fees in Isthmian 2 as a request by Pindar for payment of fees owed to himself.

Adulthood to infancy


The early to middle years of Pindar's career coincided with the Persian invasions of Greece in the reigns of Darius and Xerxes
Xerxes I of Persia
Xerxes I of Persia , Ḫšayāršā, ), also known as Xerxes the Great, was the fifth king of kings of the Achaemenid Empire.-Youth and rise to power:...

. During the invasion in 480/79 BC, when Pindar was almost forty years old, Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 was occupied by Xerxes' general, Mardonius, who with many Theban aristocrats subsequently perished at the Battle of Plataea. It is possible that Pindar spent much of this time at Aegina. His choice of residence during the earlier invasion in 490 BC is not known, but he was able to attend the Pythian Games for that year, where he first met the Sicilian prince, Thrasybulus, nephew of Theron of Acragas. Thrasybulus had driven the winning chariot and he and Pindar were to form a lasting friendship, paving the way for his subsequent visit to Sicily.

Pindar was about twenty years old in 498 BC when he was commissioned by the ruling family in Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 to compose his first victory ode (Pythian 10). He studied the art of lyric poetry in Athens, where his tutor was Lasos of Hermione, and he is also said to have received some helpful criticism from Corinna
Corinna
Corinna or Korinna was an Ancient Greek poet, traditionally attributed to the 6th century BC. According to ancient sources such as Plutarch and Pausanias, she came from Tanagra in Boeotia, where she was a teacher and rival to the better-known Theban poet Pindar...

. It is reported that he was stung on the mouth by a bee in his youth and this was the reason he became a poet of honey-like verses (an identical fate has been ascribed to other poets of the archaic period). He was probably born in 522 BC or 518 BC (the 65th Olympiad
Olympiad
An Olympiad is a period of four years, associated with the Olympic Games of Classical Greece. In the Hellenistic period, beginning with Ephorus, Olympiads were used as calendar epoch....

) in Cynoscephalae, a village in Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

, not far from Thebes. His father's name is variously given as Daiphantus, Pagondas or Scopelinus, and his mother's name was Cleodice.
Note: Corinna's dates are disputed, and the extant poetry attributed to her actually belongs to the 3rd century BC.

Works


Pindar's strongly individual genius is apparent in all his extant compositions but, unlike Simonides
Simonides
* Simonides of Ceos, , a lyric poet* Semonides of Amorgos, an iambic poet* Flavius Simonides Agrippa, son of Roman Jewish Historian Josephus* Constantine Simonides, 19th-century forger of 'ancient' manuscripts...

 and Stesichorus
Stesichorus
Stesichorus was the first great poet of the Greek West. He is best known for telling epic stories in lyric metres but he is also famous for some ancient traditions about his life, such as his opposition to the tyrant Phalaris, and the blindness he is said to have incurred and cured by composing...

 for example, he created no new lyrical genres. He was however innovative in his use of the genres he inherited – for example, in one of his victory odes (Olympian 3), he announces his invention of a new type of musical accompaniment, combining lyre, flute and human voice (though our knowledge of Greek music is too sketchy to allow us to understand the full nature of this innovation). Although he probably spoke Boeotian Greek he composed in a literary language that tended to rely more on the Doric
Doric Greek
Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

 dialect than his rival Bacchylides
Bacchylides
Bacchylides was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets which included his uncle Simonides. The elegance and polished style of his lyrics have been a commonplace of Bacchylidean scholarship since at least Longinus...

, but less insistently than Alcman
Alcman
Alcman was an Ancient Greek choral lyric poet from Sparta. He is the earliest representative of the Alexandrinian canon of the nine lyric poets.- Family :...

. There is an admixture of other dialects, especially Aeolic and epic forms, and an occasional use of some Boeotian words. He composed 'choral' songs yet it is by no means certain that they were all sung by choirsthe use of choirs is testified only by the generally unreliable scholiasts. Scholars at the Library of Alexandria
Library of Alexandria
The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the...

 collected his compositions in seventeen books organized according to genre:
  • 1 book of humnoi – "hymn
    Hymn
    A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

    s"
  • 1 book of paianes – "paean
    Paean
    A paean is a song or lyric poem expressing triumph or thanksgiving. In classical antiquity, it is usually performed by a chorus, but some examples seem intended for an individual voice...

    s"
  • 2 books of dithuramboi – "dithyrhambs"
  • 2 books of prosodia – "processionals"
    Prosodion
    Not to be confused with prosodyProsodion in ancient Greece was a processional song to the altar of a deity, mainly Apollo or Artemis, sung ritually before the Paean hymn. Prosodia had been composed by Eumelus of Corinth and Limenius, as well the various winners in art competitions...

  • 3 books of parthenia – "songs for maidens"
  • 2 books of huporchemata – "songs for light dances"
    Hyporchema
    The hyporchema was a lively kind of mimic dance which accompanied the songs used in the worship of Apollo, especially among the Dorians. It was performed by men and women...

  • 1 book of enkomia – "songs of praise
    Encomium
    Encomium is a Latin word deriving from the Classical Greek ἐγκώμιον meaning the praise of a person or thing. "Encomium" also refers to several distinct aspects of rhetoric:* A general category of oratory* A method within rhetorical pedagogy...

    "
  • 1 book of threnoi – "laments"
  • 4 books of epinikia – "victory odes
    Epinikion
    The epinikion or epinicion is a genre of occasional poetry also known in English as a victory ode...

    "


Of this vast and varied corpus, only the
epinikia — odes written to commemorate athletic victories — survive in complete form; the rest survive only by quotations in other ancient authors or from papyrus
Papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 scraps unearthed in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Even in fragmentary form however they reveal the same complexity of thought and language that are found in the victory odes.

Victory odes



Almost all Pindar's victory odes are celebrations of triumphs gained by competitors in Panhellenic festivals such as the Olympian Games. The establishment of these athletic and musical festivals was among the greatest achievements of the Greek aristocracies. Even in the 5th century, when there was an increased tendency towards professionalism, they were predominantly aristocratic assemblies, reflecting the expense and leisure needed to attend such events either as a competitor or spectator. Attendance was an opportunity for display and self-promotion, and the prestige of victory, requiring commitment in time and/or wealth, went far beyond anything that accrues to athletic victories today, even in spite of the modern preoccupation with sport. Pindar's odes capture something of the prestige and the aristocratic grandeur of the moment of victory, as in this stanza from one of his Isthmian Odes, here translated by Geoffrey S. Conway:
If ever a man strives
With all his soul's endeavour, sparing himself
Neither expense nor labour to attain
True excellence, then must we give to those
Who have achieved the goal, a proud tribute
Of lordly praise, and shun
All thoughts of envious jealousy.
To a poet's mind the gift is slight, to speak
A kind word for unnumbered toils, and build
For all to share a monument of beauty. (Isthmian I, antistrophe 3)


His victory odes are grouped into four books named after the Olympian, Pythian
Pythian Games
The Pythian Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, a forerunner of the modern Olympic Games, held every four years at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi....

, Isthmian
Isthmian Games
The Isthmian Games or Isthmia were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were named after the isthmus of Corinth, where they were held...

, and Nemean Games
Nemean Games
The Nemean Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were held at Nemea every two years ....

 – Panhellenic festivals held respectively at Olympia
Olympia, Greece
Olympia , a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, comparable in importance to the Pythian Games held in Delphi. Both games were held every Olympiad , the Olympic Games dating back possibly further than 776 BC...

, Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

, Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 and Nemea
Nemea
Nemea is an ancient site near the head of the valley of the River Elissos in the northeastern part of the Peloponnese, in Greece. Formerly part of the territory of Cleonae in Argolis, it is today part of the prefecture of Corinthia...

. This reflects the fact that most of the odes were composed in honour of boys, youths, and men who had recently enjoyed victories in athletic (and sometimes musical) contests at those festivals. In a few odes however much older victories, and even victories in lesser games, are celebrated, often as a pretext for addressing other issues or achievements. For example, Pythian 3, composed in honour of Hieron of Syracuse, briefly mentions a victory he had once enjoyed at the Pythian Games, but it is actually intended to console him for his chronic illness. Nemean 9 and Nemean 10 celebrate victories in games at Sicyon
Sicyon
Sikyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day prefecture of Corinthia...

 and Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

, and
Nemean 11 celebrates a victory in a municipal election on Tenedos
Tenedos
Tenedos or Bozcaada or Bozdja-Ada is a small island in the Aegean Sea, part of the Bozcaada district of Çanakkale province in Turkey. , Tenedos has a population of about 2,354. The main industries are tourism, wine production and fishing...

 (though it also mentions some obscure athletic victories). These three odes are the final odes in the
Nemean book of odes, and there is a reason for their inclusion. In the original manuscripts, the four books of odes were arranged in the order of importance assigned to the festivals, with the Nemean festival, considered least important, coming last. Victory odes that lacked a Panhellenic subject were then bundled together at the end of the book of Nemean odes.

Style


Pindar's poetic style is very distinctive, even when the peculiarities of the genre are set aside. The odes typically feature a grand and arresting opening, often with an architectural metaphor or a resounding invocation to a place or goddess. He makes rich use of decorative language and florid compound adjectives. Sentences are compressed to the point of obscurity, unusual words and periphrases give the language an esoteric quality, and transitions in meaning often seem erratic, the images seem to burst out – it's a style that sometimes baffles but also makes his poetry vivid and unforgettable.
Some of these qualities can be found, for example, in this stanza from Pythian 2, composed in honour of Hieron:
God achieves all his purpose and fulfills
His every hope, god who can overtake
The winged eagle, or upon the sea
Outstrip the dolphin; and he bends
The arrogant heart
Of many a man, but gives to others
Eternal glory that will never fade.
Now for me is it needful that I shun
The fierce and biting tooth
Of slanderous words. For from old have I seen
Sharp-tongued Archilochus in want and struggling,
Grown fat on the harsh words
Of hate. The best that fate can bring
Is wealth joined with the happy gift of wisdom.


The stanza begins with a celebration of divine power, and then abruptly shifts to a darker, more allusive train of thought, featuring condemnation of a renowned poet, Archilochus
Archilochus
Archilochus, or, Archilochos While these have been the generally accepted dates since Felix Jacoby, "The Date of Archilochus," Classical Quarterly 35 97-109, some scholars disagree; Robin Lane Fox, for instance, in Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer , p...

, Grown fat on the harsh words of hate. Archilochus was an iambic
Iambus (genre)
Iambus was a genre of ancient Greek poetry that included but was not restricted to the iambic meter and whose origins modern scholars have traced to the cults of Demeter and Dionysus. The genre featured insulting and obscene language...

 poet, working within a genre that licensed abusive and scurrilous verse – a regrettable tendency from the viewpoint of Pindar, whose own persona is intensely earnest, preaching to Hieron the need for moderation (wealth with wisdom) and submission to the divine will. The reference to the embittered poet appears to be Pindar's meditative response to some intrigues at Hieron's court, possibly by his rivals, condemned elsewhere as a pair of ravens (Olympian 2). The intensity of the stanza suggests that it is the culmination and climax of the poem. In fact, the stanza occupies the middle of Pythian 2 and the intensity is sustained throughout the poem from beginning to end. It is the sustained intensity of his poetry that Quintilian refers to above as a rolling flood of eloquence and Horace below refers to as the uncontrollable momentum of a river that has burst its banks. Longinus
Longinus (literature)
Longinus is the conventional name of the author of the treatise, On the Sublime , a work which focuses on the effect of good writing. Longinus, sometimes referred to as Pseudo-Longinus because his real name is unknown, was a Greek teacher of rhetoric or a literary critic who may have lived in the...

 likens him to
a vast fire and Athenaeus
Athenaeus
Athenaeus , of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek rhetorician and grammarian, flourished about the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd century AD...

 refers to him as
the great-voiced Pindar.

Pindar's treatment of myth is another unique aspect of his style, often involving variations on the traditional stories. Myths enable him to develop the themes and lessons that pre-occupy him – in particular mankind's exulted relation with the gods via heroic ancestors and, in contrast, the limitations and uncertainties of human existence – but sometimes the traditional stories were an embarrassment and were carefully edited, as for example:
"Be still my tongue: here profits not / to tell the whole truth with clear face unveiled," (Nemean 5, epode 1); "Away, away this story! / Let no such tale fall from my lips! / For to insult the gods is a fool's wisdom," (Olympian 9, strophe 2); "Senseless, I hold it, for a man to say / the gods eat mortal flesh. / I spurn the thought," (Olympian 1, epode 2). His mythical accounts are also edited for dramatic and graphic effects, usually unfolding through a few grand gestures against a background of large, often symbolic elements such as sea, sky, darkness, fire or mountain.

Structure


Pindar's odes typically begin with an invocation to a god or the Muses, followed by praise of the victor and often of his family, ancestors and home-town. Then follows a narrated myth, usually occupying the central and longest section of the poem, which exemplify a moral, while aligning the poet and his audience with the world of gods and heroes. The ode usually ends in more eulogies, for example of trainers (if the victor is a boy), and of relatives who have won past events, as well as with prayers or expressions of hope for future success. The event where the victory was gained is never described in detail, but there is often some mention of the hard work needed to bring the victory about.

A lot of modern criticism tries to find hidden structure or some unifying principle within the odes. 19th century criticism favoured 'gnomic unity' i.e. that each ode is bound together by the kind of moralizing or philosophic vision typical of archaic Gnomic poetry
Gnomic poetry
Gnomic poetry consists of sententious maxims put into verse to aid the memory. They were known by the Greeks as gnomes, from the Greek word for "an opinion".A gnome was defined by the Elizabethan critic Henry Peacham as...

. Later critics sought unity in the way certain words or images are repeated and developed within a particular ode. For others, the odes are just celebrations of men and their communities, in which the elements such as myths, piety, and ethics are stock themes that the poet introduces without much real thought. Some conclude that the requirement for unity is too modern to have informed Pindar's ancient approach to a traditional craft.

The great majority of the odes are triadic in structure – i.e. stanzas are grouped together in three's as a lyrical unit. Each triad comprises two stanzas identical in length and meter (called 'strophe' and 'antistrophe') and a third stanza (called an 'epode'), differing in length and meter but rounding off the lyrical movement in some way. The shortest odes comprise a single triad, the largest (Pythian 4) comprises thirteen triads. Seven of the odes however are monostrophic (i.e. each stanza in the ode is identical in length and meter). The monostrophic odes seem to have been composed for victory marches or processions, whereas the triadic odes appear suited to choral dances. Pindar's metrical rhythms are nothing like the simple, repetitive rhythms familiar to readers of English verse – typically the rhythm of any given line recurs infrequently (for example, only once every ten, fifteen or twenty lines). This adds to the aura of complexity that surrounds Pindar's work. In terms of meter, the odes fall roughly into two categories – about half are in dactylo-epitrites (a meter found for example in the works of Stesichorus
Stesichorus
Stesichorus was the first great poet of the Greek West. He is best known for telling epic stories in lyric metres but he is also famous for some ancient traditions about his life, such as his opposition to the tyrant Phalaris, and the blindness he is said to have incurred and cured by composing...

, Simonides and Bacchylides) and the other half are in Aeolic metres based on iambs and choriambs.

Chronological order


Modern editors (e.g. Snell and Maehler in their Teubner edition), have assigned dates, securely or tentatively, to Pindar's victory odes, based on ancient sources and other grounds. The date of an athletic victory is not always the date of composition but often serves merely as a terminus post quem. Many dates are based on comments by ancient sources who had access to published lists of victors, such as the Olympic list compiled by Hippias of Elis, and lists of Pythian victors made by Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 and Callisthenes
Callisthenes
Callisthenes of Olynthus was a Greek historian. He was the son of Hero and Proxenus of Atarneus, which made him the great nephew of Aristotle by his sister Arimneste. They first met when Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great...

. There were however no such lists for the Isthmian and Nemean Games – Pausanias (6.13.8) complained that the Corinthians and Argives never kept proper records. The resulting uncertainty is reflected in the chronology below, with question marks clustered around Nemean and Isthmian entries, and yet it still represents a fairly clear general timeline of Pindar's career as an epinician poet. The code M denotes monostrophic odes (odes in which all stanzas are metrically identical) and the rest are triadic (i.e. featuring strophes, antistrophes, epodes):
Estimated chronological order
Date BC Ode Victor Event Focusing Myth
498
498 BC
Year 498 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Siculus and Flavus...

Pythian 10 Hippocles of Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

Boy's Long Foot-Race
Dolichos (running race)
Dolichos or Dolichus in ancient Olympics was a long-race introduced in 720 BC. Separate accounts of the race present conflicting evidence as to the actual length of the dolichos. However, the average stated length of the race was approximately 18-24 laps, or about three miles...

Perseus
Perseus
Perseus ,Perseos and Perseas are not used in English. the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians...

, Hyperboreans
490
490 BC
Year 490 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Camerinus and Flavus...

Pythian 6 (M) Xenocrates of Acragas
Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

Chariot-Race Antilochus
Antilochus
In Greek mythology, Antilochus was the son of Nestor, king of Pylos. One of the suitors of Helen of Troy, he accompanied his father and his brother Thrasymedes to the Trojan War. He was distinguished for his beauty, swiftness of foot, and skill as a charioteer...

, Nestor
Nestor (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nestor of Gerenia was the son of Neleus and Chloris and the King of Pylos. He became king after Heracles killed Neleus and all of Nestor's siblings...

490
490 BC
Year 490 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Camerinus and Flavus...

Pythian 12 (M) Midas of Acragas
Agrigento
Agrigento , is a city on the southern coast of Sicily, Italy, and capital of the province of Agrigento. It is renowned as the site of the ancient Greek city of Akragas , one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia during the golden...

Flute-Playing
Aulos
An aulos or tibia was an ancient Greek wind instrument, depicted often in art and also attested by archaeology.An aulete was the musician who performed on an aulos...

Perseus, Medusa
Medusa
In Greek mythology Medusa , " guardian, protectress") was a Gorgon, a chthonic monster, and a daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. The author Hyginus, interposes a generation and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents. Gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers to stone...

488
488 BC
Year 488 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Furius...

 (?)
Olympian 14 (M) Asopichus of Orchomenos
Orchomenos
Orchomenus , the setting for many early Greek myths, is a municipality and a rich archaeological site in Boeotia, Greece, that was inhabited from the Neolithic through the Hellenistic periods. , the population was 10,732...

Boys' Foot-Race None
486
486 BC
Year 486 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Viscellinus and Rutilus...

Pythian 7 Megacles
Megacles
Megacles was the name of several notable men of ancient Athens:1. Megacles was possibly a legendary Archon of Athens from 922 BC to 892 BC....

 of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

Chariot-Race None
485
485 BC
Year 485 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Cornelius and Vibulanus...

 (?)
Nemean 2 (M) Timodemus of Acharnae
Acharnae
Acharnae was the largest deme of ancient Attica; it was located in the northwest part of the Attic plain, south of Mt. Parnes in the general vicinity of the modern suburbs of Acharnes and Ano Liosia, about due north of Athens. The Acharnians chiefly grew cereals, grapes, and olives, although...

Pancration None
485
485 BC
Year 485 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Cornelius and Vibulanus...

 (?)
Nemean 7 Sogenes of Aegina
Aegina
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born in and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era.-Municipality:The municipality...

Boys' Pentathlon Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus
Neoptolemus was the son of the warrior Achilles and the princess Deidamia in Greek mythology. Achilles' mother foretold many years before Achilles' birth that there would be a great war. She saw that her only son was to die if he fought in the war...

483
483 BC
Year 483 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Vibulanus and Potitus...

 (?)
Nemean 5 Pythias of Aegina Youth's Pancration Peleus, Hippolyta
Hippolyta
In Greek mythology, Hippolyta or Hippolyte is the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle she was given by her father Ares, the god of war. The girdle was a waist belt that signified her authority as queen of the Amazons....

, Thetis
Thetis
Silver-footed Thetis , disposer or "placer" , is encountered in Greek mythology mostly as a sea nymph or known as the goddess of water, one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient one of the seas with shape-shifting abilities who survives in the historical vestiges of most later Greek myths...

480
480 BC
Year 480 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Vibulanus and Cincinnatus...

Isthmian 6 Phylacides of Aegina Pancration Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

, Telamon
Telamon
In Greek mythology, Telamon , son of the king Aeacus, of Aegina, and Endeis and brother of Peleus, accompanied Jason as one of his Argonauts, and was present at the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. In the Iliad he was the father of Greek heroes Ajax the Great and Teucer the Archer by different...

478
478 BC
Year 478 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Mamercus and Structus...

 (?)
Isthmian 5 Phylacides of Aegina Pancration Aeacids
Aeacus
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

, Achilles
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

478
478 BC
Year 478 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Mamercus and Structus...

Isthmian 8 (M) Cleandrus of Aegina Pancration Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

, Thetis
476
476 BC
Year 476 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Structus...

Olympian 1 Hieron of Syracuse Horse-Race Pelops
Pelops
In Greek mythology, Pelops , was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. He was the founder of the House of Atreus through his son of that name....

476
476 BC
Year 476 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Structus...

Olympians 2 & 3 Theron of Acragas
Theron of Acragas
Theron , son of Aenesidamus, was a Greek tyrant of the town of Acragas in Sicily from 488 BC. He soon became an ally of Gelo, who at that time controlled Gela, and from 485 BC Syracuse. Gelo later became Theron's son-in-law....

Chariot-Race 2.Isles of the Blessed 3.Heracles, Hyperboreans
476
476 BC
Year 476 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Structus...

Olympian 11 Agesidamus of Epizephyrian Locris Boys' Boxing Match Heracles, founding of Olympian Games
476
476 BC
Year 476 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Structus...

 (?)
Nemean 1 Chromius of Aetna
Aetna (city)
Aetna , was an ancient city of Sicily, situated at the foot of the mountain of the same name, on its southern declivity. It was originally a Sicelian city, and was called Inessa or Inessum.-History:...

Chariot-Race Infant Heracles
475
475 BC
Year 475 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Poplicola and Rutilus...

 (?)
Pythian 2 Hieron of Syracuse Chariot-Race Ixion
Ixion
In Greek mythology, Ixion was king of the Lapiths, the most ancient tribe of Thessaly, and a son of Ares, or Leonteus, or Antion and Perimele, or the notorious evildoer Phlegyas, whose name connotes "fiery". Peirithoös was his son...

475
475 BC
Year 475 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Poplicola and Rutilus...

 (?)
Nemean 3 Aristocleides of Aegina Pancration Aeacides
Aeacus
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

, Achilles
474
474 BC
Year 474 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Medullinus and Vulso...

 (?)
Olympian 10 Agesidamus of Epizephyrian Locris
Locri
Locri is a town and comune in the province of Reggio Calabria, Calabria, southern Italy. The name derives from the ancient Greek town Locris.-History:...

Boys' Boxing Match None
474
474 BC
Year 474 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Medullinus and Vulso...

 (?)
Pythian 3 Hieron of Syracuse Horse-Race Asclepius
Asclepius
Asclepius is the God of Medicine and Healing in ancient Greek religion. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts; his daughters are Hygieia , Iaso , Aceso , Aglæa/Ægle , and Panacea...

474
474 BC
Year 474 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Medullinus and Vulso...

Pythian 9 Telesicrates of Cyrene
Cyrene, Libya
Cyrene was an ancient Greek colony and then a Roman city in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar...

Foot-Race in Armour Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, Cyrene
Cyrene (mythology)
In Greek mythology, as recorded in Pindar's 9th Pythian ode, Cyrene was the daughter of Hypseus, King of the Lapiths. When a lion attacked her father's sheep, Cyrene wrestled with the lion. Apollo, who was present, immediately fell in love with her and kidnapped her. He took her to North...

474
474 BC
Year 474 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Medullinus and Vulso...

Pythian 11 Thrasydaeus of Thebes Boys' Short Foot-Race Orestes
Orestes
Orestes was the son of Agamemnon in Greek mythology; Orestes may also refer to:Drama*Orestes , by Euripides*Orestes, the character in Sophocles' tragedy Electra*Orestes, the character in Aeschylus' trilogy of tragedies, Oresteia...

, Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra
Clytemnestra or Clytaemnestra , in ancient Greek legend, was the wife of Agamemnon, king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae or Argos. In the Oresteia by Aeschylus, she was a femme fatale who murdered her husband, Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess...

474
474 BC
Year 474 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Medullinus and Vulso...

 (?)
Nemean 9 (M) Chromius of Aetna Chariot-Race Seven Against Thebes
Seven Against Thebes
The Seven against Thebes is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won...

474/3
473 BC
Year 473 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Mamercus and Iullus...

 (?)
Isthmian 3 & 4 Melissus of Thebes Chariot Race & Pancration 3.None 4.Heracles, Antaeus
Antaeus
Antaeus in Greek and Berber mythology was a half-giant, the son of Poseidon and Gaia, whose wife was Tinjis. Antaeus had a daughter named Alceis or Barce.-Mythology:...

473
473 BC
Year 473 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Mamercus and Iullus...

 (?)
Nemean 4 (M) Timisarchus of Aegina Boys' Wrestling Match Aeacids
Aeacus
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

, Peleus, Thetis
470
470 BC
Year 470 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Potitus and Mamercus...

Pythian 1 Hieron of Aetna Chariot-Race Typhon
Typhon
Typhon , also Typhoeus , Typhaon or Typhos was the last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus, and the most deadly monster of Greek mythology. He was known as the "Father of all monsters"; his wife Echidna was likewise the "Mother of All Monsters."Typhon was described in pseudo-Apollodorus,...

470
470 BC
Year 470 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Potitus and Mamercus...

 (?)
Isthmian 2 Xenocrates of Acragas Chariot-Race None
468
468 BC
Year 468 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Barbatus and Priscus...

Olympian 6 Agesias of Syracuse Chariot-Race with Mules Iamus
Iamus
In Greek mythology, Iamus was the son of Evadne, a daughter of Poseidon, sired by Apollo. Shamed by her pregnancy, Evadne exposed the child to the elements. He survived, as two snakes were feeding him with honey. He was then found alive lying among violets, and was named Iamus by Evadne...

466
466 BC
Year 466 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Priscus and Albinus...

Olympian 9 Epharmus of Opous Wrestling-Match Deucalion
Deucalion
In Greek mythology Deucalion was a son of Prometheus and Pronoia. The anger of Zeus was ignited by the hubris of the Pelasgians, and he decided to put an end to the Bronze Age. Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, had sacrificed a boy to Zeus, who was appalled by this savage offering...

, Pyrrha
Pyrrha
In Greek mythology, Pyrrha was the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora and wife of Deucalion.When Zeus decided to end the Bronze Age with the great deluge, Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha, were the only survivors...

466
466 BC
Year 466 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Priscus and Albinus...

Olympian 12 Ergoteles of Himera
Ergoteles of Himera
-Background:Civil disorder had compelled him to leave Crete. He came to Sicily and was naturalized as a citizen of Himera. He won the Olympic dolichos of 472 BC and 464 BC, as well as winning twice in both Pythian and Isthmian games.-Tributes:A four-line inscribed epigram of ca. 450 BC found in...

Long Foot-Race
Dolichos (running race)
Dolichos or Dolichus in ancient Olympics was a long-race introduced in 720 BC. Separate accounts of the race present conflicting evidence as to the actual length of the dolichos. However, the average stated length of the race was approximately 18-24 laps, or about three miles...

Fortune
Tyche
In ancient Greek city cults, Tyche was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny....

465
465 BC
Year 465 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Vibulanus and Barbatus...

 (?)
Nemean 6 Alcimidas of Aegina Boys' Wrestling Match Aeacides, Achilles, Memnon
Memnon
Memnon may refer to:* Saint Memnon the Wonderworker — early Christian saint from Egypt, hermit and hegumen of one of Egyptian monasteries* Memnon and those erroneously named after him in the Graeco-Roman era:...

464
464 BC
Year 464 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Albinus and Fusus...

Olympian 7 Diagoras of Rhodes
Diagoras of Rhodes
Diagoras of Rhodes was an ancient Greek boxer from the 5th century BC, who was celebrated for his own victories, as well as the victories of his sons and grandsons. He was a member of the Eratidae family at Ialysus in Rhodes. He descended from Damagetus, king of Ialysus, and, on the mother's side,...

Boxing-Match Tlepolemus
464
464 BC
Year 464 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Albinus and Fusus...

Olympian 13 Xenophon of Corinth
Xenophon of Corinth
Xenophon of Corinth, son of Thessalus, was a victor at the Olympic Games, both in the foot-race and in the pentathlon, in the 79th Olympiad . His family belonged to the stock of the Oligaethidae, and was one of the ruling families of Corinth...

Short Foot-Race & Pentathlon Bellerophon
Bellerophon
Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. He was "the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside of Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles", and his greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a...

, Pegasus
Pegasus
Pegasus is one of the best known fantastical as well as mythological creatures in Greek mythology. He is a winged divine horse, usually white in color. He was sired by Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa. He was the brother of Chrysaor, born at a single birthing...

462/1
461 BC
Year 461 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Gallus and Cornutus...

Pythian 4 & 5 Arcesilas of Cyrene
Arcesilaus IV of Cyrene
Arcesilaus IV of Cyrene or Arcesilaus IV was the eighth and last Greek Cyrenaean King and last Greek Cyrenaean King to serve as a client king under Persian rule...

Chariot-Race 4.Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

 5.Battus
Battus
Battus can refer to:*In Greek mythology, Battus is a shepherd from Pylos. Battus witnessed Hermes stealing Apollo's cattle. Though he promised his silence, he told many others...

460
460 BC
Year 460 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Poplicola and Sabinus...

Olympian 8 Alcimidas of Aegina Boys' Wrestling-Match Aeacus, Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

459
459 BC
Year 459 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Vibulanus and Uritinus...

 (?)
Nemean 8 Deinis of Aegina Foot-Race Ajax
Ajax (mythology)
Ajax or Aias was a mythological Greek hero, the son of Telamon and Periboea and king of Salamis. He plays an important role in Homer's Iliad and in the Epic Cycle, a series of epic poems about the Trojan War. To distinguish him from Ajax, son of Oileus , he is called "Telamonian Ajax," "Greater...

458
458 BC
Year 458 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rutilus and Carvetus...

 (?)
Isthmian 1 Herodotus of Thebes Chariot-Race Castor
Castor
Castor derives from the , meaning "beaver", or "he who excels". It originally referred to Castor, one of the Dioscuri/Gemini twins of Graeco-Roman mythology.Castor or CASTOR may also refer to:-Science and technology:...

, Iolaus
Iolaus
In Greek mythology, Iolaus was a Theban divine hero, son of Iphicles, Heracles's brother, and Automedusa.He was famed for being Heracles's nephew and for helping with some of his Labors, and also for being one of the Argonauts...

460
460 BC
Year 460 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Poplicola and Sabinus...

 or 456
456 BC
Year 456 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lactuca and Caeliomontanus...

 (?)
Olympian 4 & 5 Psaumis of Camarina Chariot-Race with Mules 4.Erginus
Erginus
In Greek mythology, Erginus was king of Minyan Orchomenus in Boeotia. He was the son of Clymenus, his predecessor, and Buzyge . Erginus avenged his father's death at the hands of the Thebans; he made war against Thebes, inflicting a heavy defeat. The Thebans were compelled to pay King Erginus a...

 5.None
454
454 BC
Year 454 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Capitolinus and Varus...

 (?)
Isthmian 7 Strepsiades of Thebes Pancration None
446
446 BC
Year 446 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Barbatus and Fusus...

Pythian 8 Aristomenes of Aegina Wrestling-Match Amphiaraus
Amphiaraus
In Greek mythology, Amphiaraus was the son of Oecles and Hypermnestra, and husband of Eriphyle. Amphiaraus was the King of Argos along with Adrastus— the brother of Amphiaraus' wife, Eriphyle— and Iphis. Amphiaraus was a seer, and greatly honored in his time...

446
446 BC
Year 446 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Barbatus and Fusus...

 (?)
Nemean 11 Aristagoras of Tenedos
Tenedos
Tenedos or Bozcaada or Bozdja-Ada is a small island in the Aegean Sea, part of the Bozcaada district of Çanakkale province in Turkey. , Tenedos has a population of about 2,354. The main industries are tourism, wine production and fishing...

Inauguration as Prytanis None
444
444 BC
Year 444 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Tribunate of Atratinus, Siculus and Luscus and the Year of the Consulship of Mugillanus and Atratinus...

 (?)
Nemean 10 Theaius of Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

Wrestling-Match Castor, Pollux
Pollux
Pollux may refer to:Astronomy*Pollux , *Pollux, a crater on the Saturnian moon EpimetheusFictional characters*Pollux Black, a pureblood wizard, grandfather of Sirius Black in the Harry Potter universeGames...


Horace's tribute


The Latin poet, Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

, was an admirer of Pindar's style. He described it in one of his Sapphic
Sappho
Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos. Later Greeks included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC, but little is known for certain about her life...

 poems, addressed to a friend, Julus Antonius:
Pindarum quisquis studet aemulari,
Iule, ceratis ope Daedalea
nititur pennis vitreo daturus
nomina ponto.

monte decurrens velut amnis, imbres
quem super notas aluere ripas,
fervet immensusque ruit profundo
Pindarus ore... (C.IV.II)


Translated by James Michie:
Julus, whoever tries to rival Pindar,
Flutters on wings of wax, a rude contriver
Doomed like the son of Daedalus to christen
Somewhere a shining sea.

A river bursts its banks and rushes down a
Mountain with uncontrollable momentum,
Rain-saturated, churning, chanting thunder –
There you have Pindar's style...

Manuscripts, shreds and quotes


Pindar's verses have come down to us in a variety of ways. Some are only preserved as fragments via quotes by ancient sources and papyri unearthed by archeologists, as at Oxyrhynchus
Oxyrhynchus
Oxyrhynchus is a city in Upper Egypt, located about 160 km south-southwest of Cairo, in the governorate of Al Minya. It is also an archaeological site, considered one of the most important ever discovered...

 – in fact the extant works of most of the other canonic lyric poets
Nine lyric poets
The nine lyric poets were a canon of archaic Greek composers esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria as worthy of critical study.They were:*Alcman of Sparta...

 have survived only in this tattered form. Pindar's extant verses are unique in that the bulk of them – the victory odes – have been preserved in a manuscript tradition i.e. generations of scribes copying from earlier copies, possibly originating in a single archetypal copy and sometimes graphically demonstrated by modern scholars in the form of a stemma codicum, resembling a 'family tree'. Pindar's victory odes are preserved in just two manuscripts, but incomplete collections are located in many others, and all date from the mediaeval period. Some scholars have traced a stemma through these manuscripts, for example Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
Enno Friedrich Wichard Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff was a German Classical Philologist. Wilamowitz, as he is known in scholarly circles, was a renowned authority on Ancient Greece and its literature.- Youth :...

, who inferred from them the existence of a common source or archetype dated no earlier than the 2nd century AD, while others, such as C.M. Bowra, have argued that there are too many discrepancies between manuscripts to identify a specific lineage, even while accepting the existence of an archetype. Otto Schroeder identified two families of manuscripts but, following on the work of Polish-born classicist, Alexander Turyn, Bowra rejected this also. Different scholars intepret the extant manuscripts differently. Bowra for example singled out seven manuscripts as his primary sources (see below), all featuring errors and/or gaps due to loss of folios and careless copying, and one arguably characterized by the dubious interpolations of Byzantine scholars. These he cross-referenced and then supplemented or verified by reference to other, still more doubtful manuscripts, and some papyral fragments – a combination of sources on which he based his own edition of the odes and fragments. His general method of selection he defined as follows:
Selected manuscripts – a sample of preferred sources (Bowra's choice, 1947)
Code Source Format Date Comments
A codex Ambrosianus C 222inf. paper 35x25.5 cm 13–14th century Comprises Olympian Odes 1–12, with some unique readings that Bowra considered reliable, and including scholia.
B codex Vaticanus graeca 1312 silk 24.3x18.4 cm 13th century Comprises odes Olympian 1 to Isthmian 8 (entire corpus), but with some leaves and verses missing, and includes scholia; Zacharias Callierges
Zacharias Calliergi
Zacharias Calliergi was a Greek Renaissance humanist and scholar. He was born in Crete but emigrated to Rome at a young age. In 1499 by helped to bring out the Etymologicum Magnum at Venice and in 1515 he set up a printing press where he published exclusively Greek volumes, among them the first...

 based his 1515 Roman eddition on it, possibly with access to the now missing material.
C codex Parasinus graecus 2774 silk 23x15 cm 14th century Comprises odes Olympian 1 to Pythian 5, including some unique readings but also with many Byzantine interpolations/conjectures (Turyn rejected this codex accordingly), and written in a careless hand.
D codex Laurentianus 32, 52 silk 27x19 cm 14th century Comprises odes Olympian 1 to Isthmian 8 (entire corpus), including a fragment (Frag. 1) and scholia, written in a careless hand.
E codex Laurentianus 32, 37 silk 24x17cm 14th century Comprises odes Olympian 1 to Pythian 12, largely in agreement with B, including scholia but with last page removed and replaced with paper in a later hand.
G codex Gottingensis philologus 29 silk 25x17 cm 13th century Comprises odes Olympian 2 to Pythian 12, largely in agreement with B (thus useful for comparisons), including Olympian 1 added in 16th century.
V codex Parasinus graecus 2403 silk 25x17 cm 14th century Comprises odes Olympian 1 to Nemean 4, including some verses from Nemean 6; like G, useful for supporting and verifying B.

Influence and Legacy


The influential Alexandrian poet Callimachus
Callimachus
Callimachus was a native of the Greek colony of Cyrene, Libya. He was a noted poet, critic and scholar at the Library of Alexandria and enjoyed the patronage of the Egyptian–Greek Pharaohs Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Ptolemy III Euergetes...

 was fascinated by Pindar's originality. His masterpiece Aetia included an elegy in honour of Queen Berenice
Berenice
Berenice or Berenike is the Ancient Macedonian form for Attic Greek Φερενίκη , meaning "bearer of victory", from φέρω "to bear" + νίκη "victory". Berenika priestess of Demeter in Lete ca. 350 BC is the oldest epigraphical evidence. The name also has the form Bernice...

, celebrating a chariot victory at the Nemean Games, composed in a style and presented in a manner that recall Pindar.

Pindar was much read, quoted, and copied during the Byzantine Era. For example, Christophoros Mytilenaios of the 11th century parodied a chariot race in his sixth poem employing explicit allusions to Pindar.

Further reading

  • Nisetich, Frank J., Pindar's Victory Songs. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980: translations and extensive introduction, background and critical apparatus.
  • Revard, Stella P., Politics, Poetics, and the Pindaric Ode 1450–1700, Turnhout, Brepols Publishers, 2010, ISBN 978-2-503-52896-0
  • Race, W. H. Pindar. 2 vols. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press
    Harvard University Press is a publishing house established on January 13, 1913, as a division of Harvard University, and focused on academic publishing. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. It is a member of the Association of American University Presses. Its current director is William P...

    , 1997.
  • Barrett, W. S.
    Spencer Barrett
    Spencer Barrett FBA, was an English classical scholar, Fellow and Sub-Warden of Keble College, Oxford, and Reader in Greek Literature in the University of Oxford...

    ,
    Greek Lyric, Tragedy, and Textual Criticism: Collected Papers, edited M. L. West (Oxford & New York, 2007): papers dealing with Pindar, Stesichorus
    Stesichorus
    Stesichorus was the first great poet of the Greek West. He is best known for telling epic stories in lyric metres but he is also famous for some ancient traditions about his life, such as his opposition to the tyrant Phalaris, and the blindness he is said to have incurred and cured by composing...

    , Bacchylides
    Bacchylides
    Bacchylides was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets which included his uncle Simonides. The elegance and polished style of his lyrics have been a commonplace of Bacchylidean scholarship since at least Longinus...

     and Euripides
    Euripides
    Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

  • Kiichiro Itsumi, Pindaric Metre: 'The Other Half (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

External links


  • Selected odes, marked up to show selected rhetorical and poetic devices
  • Olympian 1, read aloud in Greek, with text and English translation provided
  • Pythian 3, translated by Frank J. Nisetich
  • Pythian 8, 'Approaching Pindar' by William Harris (text, translation, analysis)
  • Pindar by Gregory Crane, in the Perseus Encyclopedia
    Perseus Project
    The Perseus Project is a digital library project of Tufts University that assembles digital collections of humanities resources. It is hosted by the Department of Classics. It has suffered at times from computer hardware problems, and its resources are occasionally unavailable...

  • Pindar's Life by Basil L. Gildersleeve
    Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve
    Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve , was an American classical scholar.-Biography:He was born in Charleston, South Carolina to Emma Louisa Lanneau and Benjamin Gildersleeve...

    , in Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Pindar, Olympian Odes, I, 1–64; read by William Mullen
  • Perseus Digital Library Lexicon to Pindar, William J. Slater, De Gruyter 1969: scholarly dictionary for research into Pindar

Historic editions