1 nothing is more brilliant and more

1APPROACHING PINDAR THE POET’S ACCESSTO THEGREEKTEXT Pythian 8William HarrisProf. Em. Classics Middlebury College2PREFACEOf all the literature which we have from the world of Ancient ClassicalGreece, nothing is more brilliant and more astounding than the greatEpinician odes of Pindar. The greater part of the early thrust of Greek lyricand choral poetry through the 6th century has been lost. We have merechips and fragments of a host of major figures which were still in the col-lections of Alexandrian libraries in the 4th c.

BC. But in the case of Pindar,we have two hundred text pages of poems keyed to the Olympian, Pythian,Nemean and Isthmian games. This is by no means a major portion ofPindar’s original poetic output, but a welcome treasury when compared toSappho’s precious but moth-eaten papyri or Archilochus’ scrappy citationsfrom the grammarians.

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We do have complete poems, but they are unusually difficult to read interms of their words and their sub-meanings, especially in the complex webof ideas on which the poet weaves the fabric of his poetry. It is not surpris-ing that so difficult a poet as Pindar would have fared badly with the me-dieval copyists from whom our editions draw their text. There are passageswhere words are missing or garbled, lines which have puzzled our scholarsfor centuries . But beyond problems with the actual text, there are problemswith the words themselves and the way they are woven together, questionsabout what the poet is actually trying to say. Add to this the complex refer-ences to a mythology already fading from the society, at a time when theMysteries occupied the populace more and more as the real religion ofGreece. Pindar continues to use the ancient myths as a system to weld to-gether the historic identity of states and places which were losing their his-torical pedigree in the face of an oncoming Peloponnesian War.

The Festivals which mark the Greek system of dating as far back as thetime of the First Messenian War in the 8th c. BC had become a pan-Hellenic summertime competition which took place every fourth year, andbecame the standard system of Greek historical dating for the future cen-3 turies, with the title of “Olympiad” and a number. This may seem a loosedating system when compared with the astronomical accuracy of the Incasand Aztecs, especially in Hellenistic time when astronomical studies couldhave fixed dates with reasonable accuracy. Olympiadic dating for the birthof Pindar is more reasonable than our dating of Greek history by an annualbackward count from the birth date of a Jewish quasi-Messiah who wasn’t tobe born for some five hundred years.

Writing Odes in commemoration of winning athletes in the series of annualcompetitions may seem far removed from the world of our modernOlympic Games, where an “Ode” on the Gold Medal Cyclist or Shot-putterwould probably seem more comical than out of place. We have inheritedthe idea of athletic Festivals from Greece, but little of the sense of brilliancein the pursuit of arete which the 5th c. century Greeks found so important.Greece in later centuries became commercial in the Games, much as we didin this last century as our Olympic Games turned into big business withcontracts, rewards beyond the value of the medals, advertising of products,media coverage, and eventually questions of bribes and corruption.

But onething remained the same. Modern nations are as much concerned with theirathletic winners as a mark of national rank and identity, as the Greek city-states were twenty five hundred years ago. Prestige and political rank nowas then tend to be defined most clearly in terms of special individuals andtheir performance, which may be a basic trait of human competitiveness farmore humane than that other criterion for excellence, which is continuallyresuscitated under the name of War.Already in ancient times grammarians were trying to define Pindar’s diffi-cult wording, his complicated system of metrics, and the meaning of hismythologizing figures. Our texts come from Renaissance copies of MSSwith various connections back to reading copies of the late Hellenistic pe-riod, accompanied by scholiasts’ marginal glosses and comments, at timesreinforced by passages in the more readable segments of papyri.

SinceBoeckh’s great edition of Pindar at the start of the 19th century, there hasbeen a constant flow of philological and scholarly interest in the Odes,which has extended beyond books and monographs to the vast world ofJournals in a dozen assorted languages worldwide.4 Assembling everything written on Pindar and his poetry since l800 wouldtake the shelving of a modest size academic library, as each generation pro-duces in turn a staff of scholars who are able to master, control and am-plify the accumulated materials on this quizzical poet. Pindar does requireinterpretation, but when the interpretation becomes so complex that a liter-ary reader of Greek poetry is all but excluded from the table of thePhilologists, we run the danger of losing the Poet in the paperwork.The purpose of this paper is to “approach” the poetry of Pindar with intentto elucidate the soluble problems of interpretation, while setting aside forthe time being the accumulations of speculation and problem-solving whichstand between the intelligent interested reader and the words of the Greektext he is reading. Comment is often needed for sensible interpretations,sometimes for any interpretation at all, but our eye must be on the wordsand the base meaning of the poetry first and last. This is not an easy taskwith a poet far removed in time, in culture and even in textual authenticity,but if we are interested in the Epinician Odes as literature, as poetry and asvery curious personal expression from one of the great poetic minds of theWest, we must travel light and go on the narrowest pathway which will leadus to the poems.In the interpretation of Pindar, there are three factors to consider: Firstthere is the Text as it stands, with needed corrections and some patchworkincluded. Second there must be sufficient comment to draw out meaningfrom groups of words which have interior and inter-twined associations, orwe will simply pass over deep meanings with a quick glance.

The third el-ement in this association is Ourselves, as persons of the twenty-sixth centuryor the seventy-fifth generation distant from Pindar’s world, living in a verydifferent time-space and an even more different social culture. We do notlose our own sense of personal perspective when we look outside our im-mediate social world. We can try to think as ancient Greeks or as modernJapanese, and can learn a great deal about an “other” world which interestsus. But we are rooted in our society by our years of growth, and when wetry to understand a foreign experience, we load it unconsciously with ourown perceptions, along with much of our own psychological and linguisticbaggage.5 At the start of the l8th century Richard Bentley said that he thought heknew about as much about ancient Greek as an Athenian blacksmith, some-thing which we may easily forget while perusing the shelves of scholarshipin the dark library stacks. There are many places in Greek literature andculture where we can only estimate how much we do not know.

But in certain realms of human behavior, we often feel a confidence ofcommunication, and sense that we and the ancient Greeks may not be sodistant. We represent moments at the far end of the long trail of human ex-perience, but we live our lives on the same human pathway. Love, morality,national identity, pride and humility, a longing for achievement in the faceof possible failure and sure death —- these are matters which tend to recurin the passage of the ages. They make take different forms and appear attime in unrecognizable formats, but these elements seems to be humandurables and probably part of our psychological and social givens. Reachingacross time to Pindar we have links which can help us connect, if we un-derstand that what we find will be less in the order of identities, than pos-sible parallels.

Pindar’s choral Odes were group-sung, the words were one part of aPerformance from which the musical part which has totally disappeared, butfor the performance the music was clearly essential. We cannot go far in re-constructing Greek music, but when we read Pindar as a literary documentwith correct attention to the syllable durations and pitches, we do have therhythmic or metrical score fairly intact. The Durations of the syllables isbuilt into the way in which Greek is written, with long and short syllablesclearly marked out.

In Homer the system of versification is fairly easy tomaster since it is based on just two cadences of “feet” as “finger = dactyl”with a long bone and two shorts, and “thumb = spondee?” with two longbones. Much of the Aeolic lyric poetry of Sappho and Alcaeus tends to userepeated cadencing lines in stanzas, so we can read these poems with someease.6 But Pindar has a much more complex sense of metrics. We, on the otherhand, schooled as we are in Western musical tradition where regularity ofthe “beat” and the measured cadences of time signatures are a needed part ofinstrumental composition and group performance, have a very poor sense ofcomplex rhythms. Indian music with rhythmic series of 17 / 19 are beyondour grasp, and the African drum and dance sequences are even further re-moved from our society’s learning experience. With the rhyming couplet ofour traditional Western poetry using even-syllable measured lines, we standat the low end of the global scale of metric possibilities.But Pindar is at the high end.

When we try to read his lines, looking backand forth to the pre-scanned pattern at the head of the poem and painfullyadjusting our durations to this abstracted schematic, we quickly recognizethat for sensitive reading of poetry, we are simply out of our league. Pindarmust be approached by another path. To read Pindar rightly, we mustmemorize the rhythmic beats of a line until they are an automatic part ofour memory, and only then can we proceed to read the Greek aloud withthe rhythm intact. Then we must do the next line, and then very painfullythe next. This is slow and very inconvenient, but it is the only way to makeup for the rhythmic insufficiencies of our Western world.We will speak of this later in this study, where I maintain that if you do nottake the trouble to expand your sense of rhythmics sufficiently to encom-pass the wording of the Odes, proceeding line by line before trying to getthe overall rhythmic patterns of a single strophe, you are immeasurably farfrom understanding the forms, the sound and basic construction of Pindar’spoetry.

But there is another level. The usual “accent” diacritics which are alwaysprinted with Greek texts are NOT stresses as we learn them in our AtticIntroductions, but musical pitch indicators. This requires further explana-tion and discussion, but I state here that only when you have mastered theRhythmics as discussed in the previous paragraph, will you be ready toplace pitch changes of a musical fifth or so on top of the syllable durations,as a tone based part of the musical score. This will have to come later.

7 .This is all quite difficult for us, as rhythmically unsophisticated Englishspeakers, often musically monotone in ordinary speech especially asAmerican speakers. It will take a special effort to do all this while readingthe actual words of the Greek text. For this I suspect the only reasonableapproach will be through a conventional modern music scoring, with theStaff Score (which most of us can read ) visually representing bothDurations in “timed notes” as well as pitches by vertical placement of”pitched notes” in the staff. The Greek can be written with syllables spacedproperly for the notes on the score, and read off directly by anyone who canread a church hymn or a popular song from sheet music.But for a start, we can use a simpler system of measuring out the metrics,which I will discuss below. I only want to state at the start what this study isabout, and where it will be going on what pathways.

After some necessaryintroductions, we can examine the Greek text of Pythian 8, which is the lastpoem Pindar wrote in his extreme old age, his farewell Ode as it seems, andget the meaning of the words and the phrasing of his constructions firmly inmind. This is a serious undertaking in itself, and will constitute the first partof this paper, as Part I.In the process we cam examine Pindaric rhythmics and try to find ways toextend our experience reading aloud varied sequences of ten to twentysyllables.

There is no easy way into this matter, here we can outline thebasics and the rest is up for long hours of private practice.Later is should be possible to try super-superimposing Pitches, and evenconstruct musical lines experimentally with “passing tones” between theraised Acutes and melismatic Circumflexes. Putting together the Greekwords, the syllable metrics and the tone pitches on a music score, we willhave something which we can realistically deal with in real-time reading.This will take some time and practice, but it can be done, and then we willbe much nearer the sound and general effect of Pindar’s original choralOdes as performance based poetic compositions. But this is somethingwhich extends beyond the scope of this study, which we may be able to gointo at another time in a separate article.

8 All good things require time and effort. Now even intentionally mis-quoting Pindar I would like to note that:” if a man would say he could reach high excellence withlong drawn effort, we would call him a fool among wise men….

“Pyth. 8, 73-4So let it be in this case, and with the words of Aeschylus, with a good windfavoring, let the good win out in the end.________________________9Chapter I: Biography and HistoryLittle is known about the biography of most classical authors, but in thecase of Pindar we know more than we might expect.

He was born about 520BC at a town near Thebes, from the stock of a noble Spartan family of theAegidae as he states in Pythian 5. Starting life from a local aristocracy witha strong Doric cast, both culturally and linguistically, he went to Athens atan early age to study music and poetry and found acceptance in the intel-lectual circles of the Peisistrian dynasty, very possibly becoming acquaintedwith Aeschylus who came out of a similar aristocratic and traditional back-ground. During the Persian Wars of 480-79 BC he appeared to back theposition of Thebes which was unfortunately pro-Persian, and when Thebesfined him for his praise of Athens, the Athenians generously paid his fine inrespect for his early poetic reputation. In his middle years he was invited toSyracuse in Sicily where he stayed for several years and wrote several of hismature Odes. He is reported to have lived to the age of eighty, which wouldplace his death at Argos around 440 BC, just before the serious start of thePeloponnesian War. The great ode Pythian 8, which is the example ofinterpretation in this study, was his last poem and reflects the thoughts ofhis old age, in thoughtful contrast to the brilliant early style and language ofOlympian I.

The four series of Festival Odes, the Olympian, Pythian, Nemean andIsthmian, represent his best known choral poetry, but his total output wasmuch larger and many times the two hundred pages of the athletic Odes.He wrote in the modified literary Doric dialect shared by Aeschylus andretained in the choral passages of the later Greek drama, based on the south-ern Greek speech sounds which share many features with the lyric Aeolic asagainst the Ionic of Homer.10 For those of us who learned our Greek from textbooks based on the Atticlanguage, which for all intents and purposes became standard Greek afterthe Peloponnesian Wars through the Hellenistic period, Homeric and Aeolicand Doric will seem very different from the Attic grammar.

This is a wronglinguistic way to study Greek, especially nowadays since the dominantposition of Homer and the archaic poets has become clear. But we do thesame thing in English, teaching the modern language first and then reachingback to the variations we find in Shakespeare and Chaucer.From the other direction, if we learn Greek from Homer first, we can get amuch clearer sense of the development of the Greek language, as we seewith pellucid clarity the uncontracted forms of noun and verb before theirconsolidation in Attic grammar.The great Games as scheduled for every fourth year, were from the earliesttime the virtual Calendar of the Greek’s sense of history, and everything ofimportance was dated with an Olympic year number. The Olympiad seriesdated from its inception in 776 BC, and the first to use it for historicaldating and a check on chronology seems to have been the Sicilian historianTimaeus (c. 356 – c.260 BC).

But a listing of the names of victors wascompiled up through the 4th c. AD as preserved by Eusebius. The gameswere apparently discontinued around the start of the fifth century AD.A great deal of information can be garnered from the Olympiad lists, thenames of victors which in many cases can be identified with important rul-ing families, and connections with various states since the games were inessence designed to be pan-Hellenic as a unifying force among the manycity-states. There has been much historical investigation of the names ofvictors and their countries in Pindar criticism, at times so much that thepoet seems to be more of an illustration to history, rather than a poet withinteresting historical associations.

The historical use of the titling of theOdes is important , but only indirectly valuable for appreciation of the po-etry as poetry, and at times it seems to overshadow the poems in their artis-tic and literary aspect.11 Preoccupation with the historical associations of the Odes can get in the wayof perceiving them as poetry. Philology does have the unfortunate potentialof converting Poetry into its own style of scholarship. Samuel Johnsonremarked two centuries ago that:”No man forgets his original trade: the rights of nations and of kingssink into questions of grammar, if grammarians discuss them.”Pindar’s poems, if they are studied by “grammarians” of any persuasion,have the potential of becoming a sub-chapter in history, with minute inves-tigations as the topics of small articles in the Journals.

If we can hold in re-spectful abeyance for a moment the scholarship which has settled down onthe Odes of Pindar, and make a fresh approach to understanding his poetryas Poetry, as constructs of form and meaning which involve the configura-tion of words with rhythms echoing behind the semantics, we may be ableto get a better sense of what this curiously difficult and unapproachable poethas written.Next we will see how an intelligent Greek critic of the Roman Augustanperiod, who was still in the Hellenic language tradition, viewed Pindar’spoetry as word-art, and this may be a first step toward a better understand-ing of the poet.12Chapter II: Ancient CriticismDionysus of Halicarnassus, the critic and historian living in Rome around26 BC in the Augustan literary age , wrote a number of books on literarystyle, Greek language and literature in general. His work show taste, clearappreciation of good writing, and his book “On Literary Composition” hasthe special value of coming from a critic of sound judgment who was stillwithin the cultural earshot of the classic Greek literature of the past.

Hisfour hundred year distance from the Fifth Century is about the same as thetime lapse between us and the Elizabethan writers. In both these cases therehave been changes in the language and of society, but the strain of linguisticcontinuity remained uninterrupted. Dionysus is concerned with taste andjudgment, he is clearly not an Alexandrian grammarian or a library collec-tor of literary curiosities. He examines the best examples of the ancientGreek literary tradition and furnishes us with an authentic snapshot of howan educated and critical Hellenistic writer approaches the literary master-pieces of his past.Dionysus is interested in the works and mechanics of writing, as well as theeffect on him and his readers, in a twofold sense. He examines sample textsof authors with an eye to the actual sounds and their configurations and theway the intimate fabric of the acoustic text is constructed, much as a mod-ern phonetician would analyze a sound sample. But he also feels that “wordsgive a virtual image of each person’s soul/mind” (eikovna~ ei`nai th`~eJkavstou yuch`~ tou~ lovgou~), and this balances the formal phoneticside of his analysis well.

All in all, Dionysus is a not only an interestingcritic of literature, but also in several ways a model for us in a confusingpost-Modernist era which continues to verge away from the actual words ofthe text. Here we have an intelligent sweep of the critical eye, starting fromthe vowels and consonants of a poem or piece of art-prose, moving on tothe impression which is makes on the reader’s mind, and finally recognizingthat writing is in fact an Image or Reflection of the author’s mind and per-13 sonality (psyche). I find this kind of analysis unusually valuable because itremains closely connected to the text at hand, prior to discussing meaning,allusions or historical influences.

It demands close reading first of all andreturns us coherent linguistic and literary information.Add to this the living Hellenic tradition which Dionysus taps into as a na-tive Greek speaker, and we have a guide to the interpretation of classicGreek word-art as seen at near focus. His close analysis is a far cry from thecritic Longinus writing some two centuries later, who understood the ele-ments of a writing as subservient parts contributing a main purpose, theOverall Effect. It is the effect which commands his attention, not unlike theattention to development and story-line which interest modern academicreadership. We academics are experts in the wide-angle view, bringing intothe picture myriad interests on the far intellectual horizon from sociologyand anthropology and psychology, while quickly passing over the actualwords and details of configuration which constitute the Microstructure ofwritten materials.

Dionysus is therefore for us not only a peep-hole into themind of the ancient literary world, but perhaps a corrective to some of ourexpanding critical peripheralism in the study of Literature.The title of Dionysus’ book in English is usually translated as “On LiteraryComposition”, as in Roberts’ excellent l910 edition of the Greek with anEnglish translation. But the Greek title is different: PERI SUNQESEQSONOMATWN which means literally “On the Assembly of Words”. Theclose attention to Words and how they are assembled in a mosaic of soundson a papyrus sheet, is always on his mind, and although he is clearly an es-thetic critic of the full range of meaning in words, he never forgets thebuilding blocks out of which word-art is formed.Chapter XX is devoted to Pindar, and is titled “On the Austere Style” ,employing the same adjective as the we have in English directly from theGreek austhrov~. But the English word “austere”, clearly a borrowed wordfrom Greek, is quite different, with several non-Greek meanings: First”austere” in English means ‘bare’ of ornaments, so we can speak of the”economic austerity” of a country in recession, or of a room decorated in a14 stiff style. But the word also has a moral connotation, which calls up theimage of a row of robed judged, of moral stiffness and stern disapproval.

This is quite different from the Greek word, which starts etymologicallywith the adjective a’uo~ “dry” to which is added the comparative extension-teros “rather, more”. The adjective a’uo~ itself has Aeolic smooth breath-ing while the Attic form is aspirated as a result of disappearance of initialsigma, so English ‘sere’ should be connected. Also note the Hesychian glossof a’uw as xhrainw “dry out”.

Greek use points less to dryness than toroughness of texture, harshness of sound and bitterness of taste, but it is alsoused for excessive moral rigorousness. Etymologies often throw light on theinner meaning of words, here the light is somewhat cloudy, but the overallsense of dry harshness, roughness and crabbed tightness does dominate.This “harsh austerity” may come as a surprise to those of us who first readPindar in Lattimore’s little l941 booklet from New Directions, where highsoaring thought, bold figures, and the elegance of finely wrought Englishverse left us with the grand impression of glorious poetry.

That is certainlythe way Lattimore’s Pythian 8 speaks out in translation, which evinces areminder that poetry does not translate at all well, that the inner meaningsof words do no transplant to another country’s gardens. Let us go back andsee Dionysus description of Pindar the Doric poet from the ancient criticDionysus’ point of view:”The characteristic feature of the austere arrangement is this: It re-quires that the words should be like columns firmly planted andplaced in strong positions, so that each word should be seen on everyside, and that the parts should be at appreciable distances from eachother, being separated by perceptible intervals. It does not shrinkfrom using frequently harsh sound-clashes which jar on the ear. It islike blocks of building stone that are laid together unworked, blocksthat are not square and smooth, but preserve their natural roughnessand irregularity.

It is prone to expansion for the most part by meansof using spacious words. It objects to being confined by short sylla-bles, except under occasional need.15 “In its clauses it pursues these objects but also impressive and statelyrhythms.

and tries to make its clauses non-parallel in structure orsound, not slaves to a rigid sequence but noble, brilliant and free. Itwishes to suggest nature rather than art, to stir emotion rather thandelineate character.”And as to sentences, its does not generally even attempt to composethem in such a way that each is complete in itself. If it falls into thisby accident, it tries to show its own simple and unstudied character.

Itdoes not use descriptive words to round out and complete the sense,cares not for show or smoothness, nor sets clauses for the speaker’sbreath or any such minor matters.”Arrangement is marked by flexibility of the cases, variety in the useof figures, with few connectives, lacking articles, and often disre-garding natural sequence. It is the opposite of “florid” it is aristo-cratic, plain speaking, unvarnished, with an old-style mellownesswhich constitutes it beauty.”With this as preface to “The Austere Style”, Dionysus proceeds to discussauthors who use this style, and he cites Pindar first as the example for lyricpoetry (melopoiiva), with Antiphon and Thucydides as prose parallels inthis class. Surely Dionysus would be content to mention the Roman histo-rian Sallust who was certainly trying for the same effect in recreating astern and old-fashioned mode of writing as suitable for a Roman’s writingof history.We can amplify these comments with the words of Horace who was writingin Rome at the same time and certainly knew Dionysus’ work if not theauthor personally.16 Pindarum quisquis studet aemulari,Iulle, ceratis ope Daedaleanititur pinnis, uitreo daturus nomina ponto.Monte decurrens uelut amnis, imbresquem super notas aluere ripas,feruet inmensusque ruit profundo Pindarus ore,laurea donandus Apollinari,seu per audacis noua dithyrambosuerba deuoluit numerisque fertur lege solutis,Horace stresses the difficulty of “imitating” Pindar”, that is writing newpoetry in his style (which is what Horace was doing with Greek verse) withthe graphically portrayed dangers of falling short, a la Icarus.

As naturebased parallels, we have the rushing springtime floods, rivers running overtheir banks as the Great Poet rages on with his grand voiced sounds, his newpoetic devices (dithyrambos) and the freedom of his verse which reachesaway from metrical exactness even toward prose (numeris solutis). Horacecontinues the poem with mention of myths and the storyline of the gods,much as a modern teacher of poetry would do. But as the well versed andpolished poet Horace was, he was completely aware of the finish and mi-crostructure of Pindar’s form. Everything Horace did was filed and polishedwith ultimate care, down to the shape and contours of the words, much inthe spirit of Dionysus’ practice.These citations from the ancient tradition leave us much to consider whenwe approach the poetry of Pindar. We will want to keep in mind several ofDionysus’ characteristics to watch for in reading the Odes.

First in impor-tance will be the architectural stateliness of the “columns” which support hisroof of his poetry, the open spacing and measured distancing of the partswhich we find in architecture in the proportions and parts of the Parthenon.Dionysus clearly has architecture in mind with these comments, and living17 in Augustan Rome he would have been as aware of Agrippa’s domedPantheon and Vitruvius’ new book De Architectura from 28 BC, as well asof Iktinus and the classic structure of the Parthenon.Next would come his insistence on the rough texture of the poetry , the un-polished stonework and “art-no-art” positioning of the blocks as if partly bychance and nature, rather than contrived by great refinement and care.

Ifthere is a conflict between naturalness and force, between art of nature andartiness of man, and too much attention to details, Pindar is always on theside of the rough and the “austere”.In language too, Dionysus notes the lack of connectives, of unnecessaryamplifications and modifiers, even of grammatical order in the constructionof sentences. All must be done with great and strong force, all must dashwith vigor even at the expense of clarity and meaning. The “article” whichis so important to the style of later Greek writing, is avoided. Parts of asentence can be widely dispersed, not by inattention but as a mark of a ner-vous grandeur of speaking.The metrics will be a part of this grandeur, strong and solid, but not regularmarching beats at all. The later Greek metrical writers have much detail onPindar’s metrical patterning, some of it probably much more refined andanalytical than the author’s intention, and based on paper scoring of thedurations rather than metrical memorization of long rhythmic cadenceswhich Doric choral artists had mastered.

Later we can discuss the matter ofMetrics in more detail, in a new and more musical manner than the gram-mar books maintain. Musical metrics is a matter for musical artists, not forword grammarians in the final tally.When Dionysus speaks of the old-world plainness of speech, the measuredcadencing of the sounds and the dignity of Pindar’s style, he brings us backto the Doric and Spartan source of these characteristics, which certainlycome from Pindar’s early life and upbringing .His family came from aSpartan stock which can explain part of his sense of plainness of talk, verbalconciseness, and avoidance of verbal fancification. Brought up at pro-Persian Thebes, but appreciated as a young man at Athens, he faced the18 hard risk of confining his poetry to one geographical area, which he seemedto have conquered by becoming a pan-Hellenist in word and spirit with theEpinician Odes .The aristocratic tone of his language, combining the poetic language of histime with the ancient myths and rituals of the ancient traditions, became amark of his style and cast of mind, which at that early 5th c.

point in time,had wide appeal throughout Hellas. He and Aeschylus are our indicators ofthe manner of the old-guard Doric poets, rich in their embrocade of verbaltradition, defiant of the democratic simplification which would end up withEuripides and lead to a kind of poetic New Comic Drama. If there was atime to be high-minded and aristocratically noble in the world of poetry,this conservative Persian War generation would find that the ripe time fortheir art.There are two sides to Pindar’s artistry.

On the one hand we see clearly theweaving of complex myth into poems of standing majesty, rich in complexmetrical intonations housing remarkable phrases which at times defy under-standing in their trail of words. This is the upper surface of Pindar’s art,which the English Pindaric poets of the 17th century admired and sought tobring into a crabby English tradition. But there is a second side, the onewhich Dionysus outlines so clearly, with its verbal elements standing likecolumns in a great spacious temple, its bases still rough with unfinished al-most Cyclopean rock-work, while the pediments are block-outlined andmythically suggestive, unlike the delicate and finished artwork of the mid-century Parthenon. This is characterized by verbal surprises and non-se-quiturs. “Sudden flashes of lightning against black velvet” was the way JohnFinley described these momentary effects. Brilliance combined with anaristocratic verbal archness, this is no easy for us to imagine in our very dif-ferent style of living, where poetry has become quiet reading for armchairrelaxation, while blockbuster cinema with overdone effects beyond the copeof imagination may be the nearest thing we have to parallel the rush of thePindaric Odes.19 We should keep some of these impressions in mind as we proceed on ourapproach to examine in detail one poem of Pindar, his last Ode Pythian 8,written in his extreme old age,. If we can interleave these comments withour reading of the words of the Greek text, we may be somewhat nearer tothe sense and power of the ancient poet.

Pindar’s myths and the his mythicinvolvements have been studied and unraveled in such detail for two cen-turies now, that these aspects of the Odes need be discussed only in outlinehere. Modern historically oriented criticism has found a host of political andsocial concatenations in the workings of the myths, which can become asub-texture in the poems, and can lead us away from the sound and rhythmsof the Poetry into a world of ill-understood religious themes. Cross culturestudy of religion and myth is one of the best traps for the incautious mind.Reading Pindar with a manual of Classical Mythology at hand, one can putthe ends of various mythic references together, but this must be done whilefirmly gripping the words of the text, to provide a deeper enrichment andenlightenment for the poems. But we can not reconstruct the religiousatmosphere of the Greek mythic tradition. That is first of all because thattradition is not the daily religion of the Hellenes who understood theMysteries (themselves in small part still a mystery to us) as their realReligion.

And second, the myths early became the property of city-statesand ancient families, thus acquiring a social and historical status quite apartfrom a seriously religious “religion”. Furthermore we have inherited sincethe days of the Renaissance another path into the Greek Myths, with thosepopular stories which have enchanted Western readers for centuries,stemming from the collections of Apollodorus’ 1st c AD cataloging”Bibliotheca of Myths”.Here we find the shell of a once alive mythopoeia, reduced to librarycuriosities in Hellenistic times, and waiting to be reborn in the EighteenthCentury as a classical themes of antique value. But this is a long distancefrom the mythic mind of Pindar in his time. Time has changed the nature,the use and sense of the myths, and the overcrusting of the original formsnow obstructs our sense of what Myth originally was, and what is may havemeant to Pindar’s generation.20Chapter III: Metrics and RhythmDionysus has one remark about the text and how it should be approached,which involves special important metrical considerations. Speaking in anexample of the roughness of the words en coron (nasal and aspirated gut-tural !) in the first “clause” of a passage he cites for examination, he men-tion almost as an aside a consideration about Clauses:You must understand me to mean when I say “clauses” or kw`lanot those which Aristophanes Byzantinus or other metricists used fortheir odes but those which Nature or fuvsi~ uses for dividing up thepassage, and by which the disciples of the Rhetoricians divide uptheir sentences.This casual remark has far reaching meanings.

It was only earlier in the 1stc. BC that the Alexandrian scholars had divided the Odes of Pindar into thelines which we now use, basing this arrangements on their interpretation ofthe metrics of the poems. Dionysus pointedly remarks on the validity of thiskind of metricization of the lines, which he feels are not suitable to theaustere style of Pindar although natural for the highly refined metrics of thelyrics of the Lyric poets.

He is concerned with clause-sense, and statesbluntly that we should be reading Pindar by clauses so defined, not by the”lines” of the Alexandrian text editors. Horace must have had something ofthe sort in mind when he said of Pindar’s poems “with relaxed metrics” asnumeris solutis.From this it would seem that there is a clause-based quasi-prose proclivityin Pindar, according to which, as Dionysus warns us, we must read the text,not worrying ourselves about the identity of individual lines or even theenjambment of strophe and antistrophe. For a sensitive reader, this makes agreat deal of difference in the way we read Pindar.

If the poems were com-posed with clause consciousness, then they must be read with the same21 spirit, and part of our trouble with the “difficult” language of the poet maybe due to an error in the way we are reading the text. These “clauses” orkola would be as important to the interpretation of the poems as the phras-ing is to Western music, which often goes to the trouble of putting an arcover a phrase in order to make it clear to the performer that at this placethere must be a beginning and an end, however slight. If we are attuned tothe idea of a verse line in Greek poetry, and read verses intuitively asphrases, we will of course miss the individuality of the poetic Clause.What is worse, when the meaning runs over from one verse line to another,we may be inclined to think of this as a special kind of emphasis.

In Homerwhere the lines are clearly demarcated, an over-the-line written word isclearly emphatic and special. But Homer and Pindar are worlds apart, notonly in terms of historical time but also in style and verse technique.Analyzing Homeric lines in terms of “feet” is reasonable, since in epic verseare only two kind of feet, the dactyl with its three segments not unlike thebone length of the human finger, and the spondee which might have beenbetter named the “thumb” with its two long bones. There are pattern varia-tions and some substitutions, but an acoustic awareness of these two rhyth-mic patterns will surface as soon as one reads Homeric lines with attentionto the long / short syllabification. (The diacritic marked pitches are anotherproperty of the syllables of a word, one which is musical, rather than theusual incorrect stress pronunciations ).

But when one turns to Pindar, everything metrical seem to be going awry.If we follow the metricist writers who reflect Alexandrian scholarship ofthe 2nd c. BC, we would have to say that Pindar does use dactyls in someplaces but unevenly accompanied with epitrites, and he can easily employpure Aeolian metrics where suitable. This means to the orderly ear of amodern Western poet or musician, that the rhythmics of Pindaric composi-tion will be infinitely more complicated in metrics than what we have inour poetry, and also in our music well along until the 20th century musicalreforms.22 Since the Middle Ages music in the West has been regularized in rhythmics,possibly because of the requirements demanded by multi-voice and multi-instrument performance.

Baroque composition only with difficulty breaksout of the standard bar-delimited measure, becoming really free only whenthe music follows a sacred text line in non-secular musical pieces.To say we are rhythmically deprived in our musical and poetic performancemay seem harsh, but compared with the complexities of music in other partsof the world, we are indeed restricted. The rhymed and metrically perfectcouplet which persisted in English well into the l9th century as the domi-nant verse form, is parallel in its rigidity to the four segment developmentof a basic musical theme in composition, where a melodic segment isplayed, repeated, repeated again with a variation, and concluded as a reflec-tion of the original musical thought. This musical pre-set format is regu-larly found in song, in sonata, in concerto and symphony until the changesof taste in the early 20th century, and still dominates the world of popularWestern music.Ancient Greece lies outside any such set of simple metric parameters. Welike to point to Greece, usually meaning no more than Athens, as a sourceof our ideas of art, architecture, democracy and philosophy, but lookingdeeper we find much which does not fit the neat academic pattern we teachas Cultural Inheritance.

We are adept at documenting the social and psycho-logical parallels between us and the Greeks., but here in the matter ofRhythmics and musical sensibility we find the Greeks much more variedand sophisticated than we are.Pindar shows a range of rhythmics which is virtually beyond our perceptionand performance. He can throw out a pattern of some eighteen syllable inthe first two lines ( or first kolon) of Pyth. VIII which is the poem we willuse as a study, and have it so perfectly encoded in his memory that eightlines down he can read a new set of words with virtually the same rhythmiccadencing running through it, although it can be entirely different in tone,style and meaning. This is something which can easily floor the aspiringgraduate student of Greek, who has in his experience heard nothing of thissort before.

23 Look at the schematic of the rhythmics of Pythean VIII which Snell com-piled. This poem is in Aeolic meters, and the marginal notes at the right area (vain) attempt to explain the passages in terms of traditional Greekprosodic description. This can be done with great effort, as Rosenmeyershows in his practical study of Greek Rhythms (Halporn, Ostwald,Rosenmeyer:The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry, l963, p. 41 ff.), in factwith undue effort as he admits, noting that the person reading Pindar Ol. Iwe will probably have to go another way to make sense out of Pindaricmetrics. In Snell’s layout traditional feet simply do not appear, and manycritics believe that for the Aeolic passages the individual lines must be takenas composite parts of the strophe, which is the only level on which sensecan me made of Pindar’s metrical sense.Sturtevant had remarked in the l920’s with great good sense that the doc-trine of the caesura was in effect a “philological ghost”, by which is meantthat it was an academic distinction which was not based in the Greek lan-guage or the poetic structure of Greek poetry.

One might go further withthe metrical “feet” of Pindar, and even state that there are no actual Feet in24 the above schema line by line, nor even a distinct separate of lines of verse(periods marked here by || ). The structural unit can be better taken as theStrophe, which has a distinctive metrical feel to it as reflected closely in theAntistrophe, and then contrasted with the arrangements of syllables in theEpode. Thus Snell’s traditional use of markings like “|| finis periodi”, andthe “| finis verbi per totum carmen” can be seen as unnecessary, wincethey refer to foot and verse/period “ghosts” which stem from theAlexandrian academicians of the 2nd c BC.What is essential is developing an acoustic grasp of the Strophe as a coher-ent metrical unit, which it certain was when sung to the lost music ofPindar’s performance, by a trained choral group of singers.

Reading thewords we have only one element of the performance to observe. Stayingclose to that preserved area, we have to note the long and short syllables andread the lines aloud until we have a section sufficiently memorized, tospeak it out as a single continuous run of concatenated speech sounds.There will be arbitrary breaks, as Dionysus has warned us, writing over thelines too, and emphatic surprises of the sort which Pindar loves. ReadingPythian 8 there will be logical places to pause, some of which are obviouslydemanded by the texts.

Changes of pace and meaning need musical “rests”,and the original musical part of an Ode was certainly performed withspaces, shadings of tempo and dynamics. Lacking the music, we have tomake full use of our imagination in expanding the “reading” from what isafter all a very bare text-scoring of the poem.Can we remember the metrics of a hundred syllables, noting long and shortdurations, perhaps even adding pitches as our diacritic “accents” definethem, and do this all with some sense of expression? From the moderntrained music reader or singer’s point of view, this should not be hard tograsp, since in the Western common system of music scoring the rhymthicsare written in the staff so as to correlate with the syllables of the words aswritten below the staff matching the notes.

In reading or singing a line ofPindar as scored in modern music style, the rhythmics will come out auto-matically from the musical score, and will also be aligned with the text syl-lable by syllable.25 We may later have to write out Western style score of an Ode to geteverything in order for a serious performance, but in the meantime we canapproach the syllable-metrics as the reader’s first duty owed to this poet’stexts.When we find ourselves stopping short with Pindar, looking first at the textwords and then at Snell’s syllabic layout above as the metrical schema of thestrophe, we show the results of our own bad practice. First of all because ofthe way Greek is taught, we have been learning Greek with stress on the(unrelated) diacritics, and have got the wrong pronunciation of every wordinto our Greek vocabulary. The nature of the Greek language involves Longand Short syllables, some marked over-long incidentally by the circumflex.So a Greek chorus member who was practicing the performance of an Odecould simply memorize the words, and then be automatically using the cor-rect syllable lengths, which are in musical terms the Durations. ReadingGreek poetry we pay the price of our misunderstanding every time we facea new poem, switching from stressed Prose Pronunciation of prose to thedurative syllabification of Verse.

Homeric dactyls have an average syllable count of from 14-18. I find thatmany of the Pindaric clauses (not the verse lines! ) have a similar count, butsome especially in the Epodes may be longer. If we can extend our mentalgrasp of rhythmic patterns to something around the count of twenty, weshould be in a good position to continue with our approach to Pindar’srhythmical patterning. This does not come easily and may take somepractice, but with practice it can be done and become an automatic process.Without an ability to read Greek verse at a real-time rate with the syllablemetrics sounding strong and natural, we are missing the whole purpose ofreading the poetry of the ancient Greeks.

______________________26Chapter IV: Metrics and the TextPythian VIII is classed as Aeolic in metrical terms. Keeping this in mind wewill expect a freedom of expressions which some of the more formal Odeswill not have. But whatever freedom we find in the first two lines, will bealmost perfectly reproduced in the antistrophe, so we see that are dealingwith a special kind of freedom, one free in the individual lines but tightlybound in the repeating antistrophe. This is consciously designed and notwhat we mean by free verse at all.filovfron JHsuciva Divka”w` megistov poli quv gateror perhaps we should be reading it as one clause thus:filov fron J Hsuciv a Div ka” w` megistov poli quv gater_ . . _ .

. _ . _ _ . .

. . . . .

_( I am using this metric notation as an alternative to the usualdiacritics which are readable signs rather than sounds; but alsobecause this font does not support these diacritics!)Diacritics are in a sense our metrical enemy here, since they are readingsigns not sounds. In order to establish the rhythmics of this segment, wewill want to sound it out acoustically, since it will be used half a dozentimes again in this poem. So we will go to a system we are all familiar within sounding vocally out tympany parts, as follows:DA da da DA da da DA da DA DA da da da da da da DA27 After memorizing this pattern until it is something we can recite without thetext, we can go on to fuse it with the text of strophe A this way:filov fron J Hsuciv a Div ka” w` megistov poli quv gaterDA da da DA da da DA da DA DA da da da da da da DAIf this seems loose, rather than the well planned acoustic pattern of an artis-tic verse system, consider how perfectly the pattern applies to the first seg-ment (again with two lines conflated) of the antistrophe: tu dæ opov tan ti” ameiv licon kardiv a/ kov ton enelav sh/DA da da DA da da DA da DA DA da da da da da da DAand the begiining of the second strophe, which by now you can recite onyour own from rhythmic memory: ev pese dæ ou Cariv twn eJ ka” aJ dikaiov poli” aretai’ “and its antistrophe: ta de kai andrav sin emprev pei. eimi dæ av scolo” anaqev menThe ancient performers had no problem with this, since when they memo-rized the words which the poet provided, they could chant them rhythmi-cally since the rhythms are built into the syllabification of the Greek. Thereal question is this: How did the poet manage to write new material instrophe after strophe, with the same rhythmic patterns falling perfectly intoplace, while the words and their denotated meanings are wandering througha maze of entirely different topography?28 This complex rhythmical echoing of a dominant verse pattern is the essenceof the Greek choral poet’s craft. This is what Pindar went to Athens tostudy, and this is what many other poetry craftsmen learned all over Europein that ancient world which stretches poetically from the complexities of theVedas to the remarkable poetic composition of the ancient Irish poet-seers.This was not something a poet learned from a manual, it was a matter ofyears of study by those who had talent, not unlike the apprenticeship ofyoung poets to a master in modern classic Indian verbal art.

What Pindarlearned as a young man was a serious study of a great art, and when he wasaccredited as a real Poet, he became the voice of the pan-Hellenic world.What we miss reading the Epinician Odes in a modern printed text, is theintense background of years of training which was need to produce suchverse. We also lack the understanding of what this art-form was, as a sungperformance art, written by a master poet with rhythms which were under-sung to the words as chanted by a trained choral group.Reading ancient Poetry of such sort today, we must retrace the stages of thiskind of composition, which can be done by learning the sounds of a numberof clauses of verse so thoroughly that we can repeat them metrically in oursleep. Then and only then are we ready to read aloud the words of the Odes.Without that we are as devoid of the total art of the Odes as if we werereading the text of a Mozart opera as a book of quasi-verse called “Figaro”,with no sense of the music, the setting, the rhythmics and the art of thetheater setting.Recreating the extravagant art of a Pindaric performance is probablyimpossible by now, but we can with imagination and some toil perform inour private readings some sense of what it may have been like.

Without thislabor and this difficult re-creation, it is hardly worth trying to read thecomplex and puzzling Greek of Pindar at all.29Chapter V: A Modern ParallelWhat is important to recognize at this point is the ultimate rhythmic mas-tery of the Poet who can extend his memory span to a segment of a hundredsyllables, and then recreate the same pattern in another segment with differ-ent words and meanings. How this was done by Pindar is much of a mys-tery to us, since we have no training and little experience in this kind ofventure. But the Greeks came into their homeland with a long poetic tradi-tion which apparently goes back to the period before the Indo-Europeanmigrations had spread divergent peoples throughout the ancient world. Thework of Calvert Watkins and others makes it clear than the Greek had be-hind them a long poetic tradition, much longer and older than the depth oftheir artistic tradition in sculpture and architecture, which had to be im-ported for development from Egypt and the Near East after the 8th century.If this discussion of a super-poet’s metrical mastership seems impossible ofachievement, let me turn to a modern counterpart which was in part basedon the Welsh poetic tradition. I am going to discuss a poem by DylanThomas, not himself a scholar of ancient Celtic poetry, but a 20th c. poetfrom Wales who had in mind the tradition of his ancestral bards.

The poem”Lament” which he was finishing in the spring of l951, is written in whatsome modern critics have called a modular mode of composition, since thisis based on the exact parallelism of the elements of meaning in the fivestanzas of twelve lines each. The poem is arranged to summarize the fivestages of a man’s life from boyhood to extreme old age, and each stanzarepresents a stage in life with subtle changes in energy, tone and references.Behind the meaning there lies a subtle use of varied metrical devices.

English verse is based on Stressed as against Unstressed or passing syllables,which seems different from the length-based organization of Greek poetry.In fact the Greek lengths eventually turned into stresses somewhere in thelate Hellenistic period, and may have done so much earlier in popularspeech.30 Length of syllables was, of course, something basic to the ancient Greeklanguage and not a device used only in poetry, as modern study of ancientGreek might seem to infer. Using the diacritic Pitch accents as Stresses inreading prose, and then inexplicably shifting to Lengths when readingpoetry is irrational and nonsensical. This is the kind of error which onceintroduced into a teaching system is very hard to eradicate. Reading Pindar’sduration or length based syllabification correctly, we can make a reasonablecomparison of these metrics to the stress-based metrics of English in thispoem.Let me give the first two stanzas of the Thomas poem :When I was a windy boy and a bitAnd the black spit of the chapel fold(Sighed the old ramrod, dying of women)I tiptoed shy in the gooseberry wood,The rude owl cried like a telltale tit,I skipped in a blush as the big girls rolledNinepin down on the donkey’s common,And on seesaw sunday nights I wooedWhoever I would with my wicked eyes,The whole of the moon I could love and leaveAll the green leaved little weddings’ wivesIn the coal black bush and let them grieve.

When I was a gusty man and a halfAnd the black beast of the beetles’ pews(Sighed the old ramrod dying of bitches)Not a boy and a bit in the wick-Dipping moon and drunk as a new dropped calf,I whistled all night in the twisted flues,Midwives grew in the midnight ditches,And the sizzling beds of the town cried, Quick!-Wherever I dove in a breast high shoal,Wherever I ramped in the clover quilts,Whatever I did in the coal-Black night I left my quivering prints.31 We note immediately the difference between the acoustically rich wordingof Thomas, with its highly worked threads of assonance, alliteration, soundrepetition in separate words and constant appeal to the ear. This is unlikethe dry and at times clashing sounds of Pindar which Dionysus had noted,as phonetic details which were immediately apparent to his finely tunedear.

Remember that Dionysus was still within the perimeter of the ancientclassical Greek pronunciation.. But if we by-pass the dynamics of thesounds and focus solely on the rhythmics, we find a remarkable similarityof the successions of sounds in Thomas’ poem..Look at the start of the poem line by line, with a stress marked metricalscheme for each line, starting with the first stanza:When I was a windy boy and a bit .

/ . . / / / .

. .And the black spit of the chapel fold / . .

/ . . / / /Now compare these lines with the first two lines of the second stanza:When I was a gusty man and a half . / .

. / / / . . .And the black beast of the beetles’ pews / .

. / . . / / /The match is exact. Now take a pair of parallel lines further down:Ninepin down on the donkey;s common, / .

/ . . / .

/ /Midwives grew in the midnight ditches, / . / . . / . / /32 The stolid heaviness of this pair of lines, is quite different from the follow-ing ones which have an entirely different and much lighter metrical scheme:Whoever I would with my wicked eyes, . / . . / .

. / . /Wherever I dove in a breast high shoal, . / .

. / . .

/ . /If we go through these two stanzas, we will find small variants but a re-markable retention of the metrical layout of each line through these twosegments, and reading through the rest of the poem, we find the metricsremarkably consistent throughout. In another modular of “strophic” poem,”Sir John’s Hill” from the same later period of Thomas’ composition, wefind an even more metrical Pindaric parallel, since the verse lines are ofwidely varying length, unlike the metrically even Lament.”Over Sir John’s hillThe hawk on fire hangs still;In a hoisted cloud, at drop of dusk, he pulls to his clawsAnd gallows, up the rays of his eyes the small birds of the bayAnd the shrill child’s playWarsOf the sparrows and such who swansing dusk in wrangling hedgesAnd blithely they squawk…

…”Behind these two parallel systems, viewed from a span of over two millen-nia, lies the common inheritance from an Indo-European language source.This is no more surprising than the parallel traits which we find in the de-veloped Western musical systems, in folk tales and in the widespread char-acteristics of folk beliefs and mythology.

But what is surprising is thecomplexity of the acoustic craft which both Thomas and Pindar exhibit.They are both able to retain a pattern of metrical rhythms over a longstretch of words, and then come back with an entirely different set of wordsand match these with the previously established metrical pattern.33 This cannot be done by a poet writing and noting out a metrical layout as Ihave done above, and then selecting words to fit the pattern.

That is simplyimpossible, and no more feasible than our practice of trying to correlate along-short schematic layout with the words written out in a separate para-graph below. What is important is the extended memory span of a poetwhich is so developed in the loops of his memory, that he can speak outnew phrases and sentences within the actual limits and patterns of his pre-setcode.Doing this requires talent of course, but also extensive training in a poeticand artistic tradition. In the case of Dylan Thomas, whose lines have aboutnine syllables each in stanzas of a dozen lines, we see that he is capable ofmentally processing a series of about a hundred syllables while composing afull stanzic strophe. In Pindar’s case, the numbers are about the same, so Ibelieve the comparison of these two very different poets should turn out tobe enlightening for the reading of Pindaric verse.In the 18th century Thomas Gray was called “the English Pindar” largely inrespect to his long and impressive poem “The Bard” . This poem is foundedon a Welsh tradition that under Edward I all bards were to be put to death.

Gray uses old Welsh history and myth, written into strophe-like paragraphswith uneven lines a la Pindar, and creates a certain kind of gruff roughnesswhich would have pleased Dionysus well. At the same time the poem is ac-companied by pages of footnoted references to Greek and Latin poetry,with notes are as full of detailed scholarly allusions as the famous notes toT.S.

Eliot’s Wasteland. Combining these factors with Gray’s interest in pre-Elizabethan English poetry, which was just then being unearthed by BishopPercy and others, we see some of the influences on F.A Wolf and theGerman scholars, who soon recast Homer as an ancient “Bard”, ultimatelycreating “The Homeric Problem”. Gray had many bardic notions available.

Writing in a bardic tone, with rough written stanzas of irregular lines whilesuppressing most of the traditional English couplet rhymery, Gray does ini-tially give a sense of Pindaric style poetry, which was certainly his inten-tion. But when we look at the metrics of the lines, we find the iambic tex-ture, which is so natural for English verse, to be dominant. In this area34 Gray is the least Pindaric. In fact The Bard is a reading poem in the modernsense of what private poetry is about, not in any way thought of as a groupchanted Ode performed at a British Poetry Festival. If the poetic text wereto be read in the background of a new UK historical action film, it wouldhave to be supported by strong musical track to supply rhythms to supportthe driving action of the poem. Since Gray is little read today, let me giveone strophe as an example:”Cold is Cadwallo’s tongueThat hushed the stormy main:Brave Urion sleeps upon his craggy bed”Mountains you mourn in vain.

Modred who magic songMade huge Plinlimnon bow his cloud topt headOn dreary Arvon’s shore they lieSmeared with gore, and ghastly pale.Far, far aloof the frighted ravens sail;The famished eagle screams and passes by.Dear companions of my tuneful artDear as the light that visits these sad eyes,Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,Ye died amid your dying country’s criesNo more I sleep.

No more they weep…..



..Some day when “Gray-the-Pindaric” is rediscovered this may perhaps beseen as tough poetry quite different from the usual 18th century casual verseand Poems on Several Occasions. With deep historical roots woven withdetail into the story, he might again be compared to the Greek Master forhis mythic storyline drenched in antique history. But the coruscating slashof brilliance of the Greek with his long metrical memory and choral per-formance at state fests is a far cry from the closet poet Gray, an un-robustman of few words cautiously suturing words together at his desk with quillin hand.

These worlds are very different and of course so are the poets. YetGray is worth mentioning if only for the differences, while the similaritiesare in themselves artistically quite pertinent.35Chapter V: Background to Pythian VIIIThere has been so much detailed scholarship about the place of eachEpinician Ode’s place and meaning in the history of Greece, that the sheervolume of books and articles can hardly be listed, let along summarized in astudy of this length and nature.

In fact so much historical scholarship hasaccrued that the process of familiarizing oneself with it tends to obscure thepoetic content of the poems. Yet a certain bare minimum of historical back-ground is essential for reading a poem like Pythian 8, which can be outlinedbriefly as preface to reading the poem.The traditional date for this poem is fairly sure at 446 BC. It was writtenfor one Aristomenes who won the Pythian wrestling contest, and is interest-ing as the sole poem of Pindar on a man from Aegina, which had lost herindependence after the Athenian victory in 457. Aegina had been suspectedof a pro-Persian attitude before the Persian Wars, and since Pindar wasTheban and Thebes was suspected of Persian sympathy before the wars, hemay have found himself at one time between the interests of Thebes,Aegina and a hostile Athens. But his reputation as a poet permitted access toAthens, where he studied the poetic art in his youth and was valued for hispoetry.At the time this Ode was written Pindar was near eighty and this is so far aswe know his last victory Ode, and the only one which celebrates Aegina,which had opposed the imperialist policies of Athens and was repopulatedlater around 430 after its defeat, as an Athenian colony In this poem Pindaris aware of the difficult position of the island and hopes she will rememberher old glory from the days of the pious and just founder-hero Aeacus, andstill find a place in the new pan-Hellenic world.

Aegina in fact never recov-ered its former standing as a great naval power rivaling Athens earlier in thecentury, and praise of this state in this poem must be seen as a sad hopewhich was not borne out by history.36 References in the poem to Dike as the personification of justice may havehad more meaning for the Aeginetans than one would at first assume, andthe name of Aeacus in the poem calls up a reputation of piety from a timewhen Aegina was infested by plague. Zeus rewarded him for his concernand aid to the people, and gave him as many people as there were ants onthe island, henceforth named Myrmidons from the word for ant.The name Aegina also has a special history, as a nymph loved by Zeus whobore Aeacus and brought her name to this island. The names of Aeacus andhis son Telamon who fathered the greater Ajax and Peleus father ofAchilles are all brought together at the end of the poem, in a resoundingprayer for peace with Zeus and Aegina presiding, thus confirming themention of Hesychia or “Quietude” with which the poems starts.

There are other famous names in the poem which must have touched deepresonances in the politico-religious mythology of the people of that age. Forus many of the names are just items to look up in a book of classical refer-ence, since the Greek mythic tradition has a mainly literary value in the newworld of the West. Put the other way around, how could an ancient Greekrespond to the name of St. Simeon Stylites or St.

Francis of Assisi? Andhow do we respond to the names of Indra and Vishnu, still alive in Hindusociety? Mythic and religious names depend on their social setting formeaning and impact.The constant in-weaving of mythic names and actions in Pindar’s poeticfabric is not decorative. It is critical to the poems, but at the same time it isimpossible for us to conjure up their effect in the vivid way he employed it.Scholarship in the West has had a long tradition of turning history intodates, and myths into stories a la Bullfinch. For Pindar the poet, this blocksunderstanding the art of the poetry. But if we can conjure up the depth ofmythic relevance and excitement in early 5th century Greece, and expandthis with a generous dose of imagination and subjective sympathy, we maycome close enough to the spirit of that age to begin to read the poems ofPindar as the rich and complex compositions which they are.

37Chapter VI: TEXT Pythian VIIIFirst of all, we should lay out the entire text of this poem, so we can get alook at its length, sections, strophic arrangement and the “shape” and ar-rangements of the lines in the strophic stanzas. The following is the way thetext is printed in standard editions, although we may want to reconsider thelines as Clauses in view of Dionysus’ specific remarks about Alexandrianchanges in format.After a quick scan of the poem, you can go to the start of the examinationand analysis which follows it directly. Translation will accompany thediscussion which follow this text page, which is given here mainly to set thestage for discussion of the poem as a whole.

ARISTOMENEI AIGINHTH/ PALAISTH/ str 1filovfron JHsuciva Divka”w` megistov poli quv gaterboula’ n te kai polev mwnev coisa klai’ > da” uJ pertav ta”Puqiov nikon timan Aristomev nei dev keu.tu gar to malqakon ev rxai te kai paqei’ n oJ mw’ “epiv stasai kairw’ / sun atrekei’ :ant 1 tu dæ opov tan ti” ameiv liconkardiv a/ kov ton enelav sh/tracei’ a dusmenev wnuJ pantiav xaisa krav tei tiqei’ “uJ brin en av ntlw/ tan oude Porfuriv wn mav qenparæ ai` san exereqiv zw kev rdo” de fiv ltatoneJ kov nto” eiv ti” ek dov mwn fev roi.38epod 1 biv a de kai megav laucon ev sfalen en crov nw/ .Tufw” Kiv lix ekatov gkrano” ouv nin av luxenoude man basileu” Gigav ntwn: dma’ qen de keraunw’ /tov xoisiv tæ Apov llwno” : o} ” eumenei’ nov w/Xenav rkeion ev dekto Kiv rraqen estefanwmev nonuJ ion poiv a/ Parnassiv di Dwriei’ te kwv mw/ .str 2 ev pese dæ ou Cariv twn eJ ka”aJ dikaiov poli” aretai’ “kleinai’ sin Aiakida’ nqigoi’ sa na’ so”: telev an dæ ev ceidov xan apæ arca’ ” polloi’ si men gar aeiv detainikafov roi” en aev qloi” qrev yaisa kai qoai’ “uJ pertav tou” hJ rwa” en mav cai”:ant 2ta de kai andrav sin emprev pei.eimi dæ av scolo” anaqev menpa’ san makragoriv anluv ra/ te kai fqev gmati malqakw’ /mh kov ro” elqwn kniv sh/ to dæ en posiv moi trav coniv tw teon crev o” w pai’ newv taton kalw’ nema’ / potanon amfi macana’ / .epod 2palaismav tessi gar icneuv wn matradelfeou”Olumpiv a/ te Qeov gnhton ou katelev gcei”oude Kleitomav coio niv kan Isqmoi’ qrasuv guion+:auv xwn de pav tran Midulida’ n lov gon fev rei”ton o{ nper potæ Oi> klev o” pai’ ” en eJ ptapuv loi” idwnuJ iou” Qhv bai” ainiv xato parmev nonta” aicma’ /str 339 oJpovtæ apæ Avrgeo” hvluqondeutev ran odon Epiv gonoi.w| d ei` pe marnamev nwn:— fua’ / to gennai’ on epiprev peiek patev rwn paisi lh’ ma qaev omai safe”drav konta poikiv lon aiqa’ ” Alkma’ næ epæ aspiv do”nwmw’ nta prw’ ton en Kav dmou puv lai”.

ant 3oJ de kamwn protev ra/ pav qa/nu’ n areiv ono” enev cetaiov rnico” aggeliv a/Av drasto” h{ rw”: to de oiv koqenantiv a prav xei mou’ no” gar ek Danaw’ n stratou’qanov nto” ostev a lev xai” uJ iou’ tuv ca/ qew’ nafiv xetai law’ / sun ablabei’epod 3v Abanto” eurucov rou” aguiav ” toiau’ ta menefqev gxatæ Amfiav rho” caiv rwn de kai auto” v Alkma’ na stefav noisi bav llw raiv nw de kai u{ mnw/geiv twn o{ ti moi kai kteav nwn fuv lax emw’ nupav ntasen iov nti ga’ ” omfalon paræ aoiv dimonmanteumav twn tæ efav yato suggov noisi tev cnai”.str 4tu dæ Ekatabov le pav ndokonnaon euklev a dianev mwnPuqw’ no” en guav loi”to men mev giston tov qi carmav twnwv pasa”: oiv koi de prov sqen arpalev an dov sinpentaqliv ou sun eJ ortai’ ” uJ mai’ ” epav gage”.av nax eJ kov nti dæ euv comai nov w/ant 440 katav tinæ aJ rmoniv an blev peinamfæ e{ kaston o{ sa nev omai.kwv mw/ men aJ dumelei’Div ka parev stake: qew’ n dæ ov pinav fqonon aitev w Xeiv narke” uJ metev rai” tuv cai”.ei gav r ti” esla pev patai mh sun makrw’ / pov nw/polloi’ ” sofo” dokei’ pedæ afrov nwnepod 4biv on korussev men orqobouv loisi macanai’ “:ta dæ ouk epæ andrav si kei’ tai daiv mwn de pariv sceiav llotæ av llon u{ perqe bav llwn av llon dæ upo ceirw’ nmev trw/ katabaiv nei Megav roi” dæ ev cei” gev ra”mucw’ / tæ en Maraqw’ no” { Hra” tæ agw’ næ epicwv rionniv kai” trissai’ “? ? Wristov mene” dav massa” ev rgw/ :str 5tev trasi dæ ev mpete” uyov qenswmav tessi kaka fronev wntoi’ ” ouv te nov sto” oJ mw’ “ev palpno” en Puqiav di kriv qhoude molov ntwn par matev ræ amfi gev lw” gluku”w` rsen cav rin kata lauv ra” dæ ecqrw’ n apav oroiptwv ssonti sumfora’ / dedagmev noi.ant 5oJ de kalov n ti nev on lacwnaJ brov tato” ev pi megav la”ex elpiv do” pev tataiuJ poptev roi” anorev ai” ev cwnkrev ssona plouv tou mev rimnan en dæ oliv gw/ brotw’ nto terpnon auv xetai ou{ tw de kai piv tnei camaivapotrov pw/ gnwv ma/ seseismev non. epod 541 epav meroi tiv dev ti”… tiv dæ ouv ti”… skia’ ” ov narav nqrwpo” allæ o{ tan aiv gla diov sdoto” ev lqh/lampron fev ggo” ev pestin andrw’ n kai meiv lico” aiwv n:Aiv gina fiv la ma’ ter eleuqev rw/ stov lw/pov lin tav nde kov mize Di kai krev onti sun Aiakw’ /Phlei’ te kagaqw’ / Telamw’ ni suv n tæ Acillei’ _______________________You may want to print out these pages of the Grek text to have them onhand separately from this commentary.

Now we can proceed to a detailed step by step analysis of the Ode in thefollowing pages:42Chapter VII Text with CommentStrophe 1filovfron JHsuciva Divka”w` megistov poli quv gaterboula’ n te kai polev mwnev coisa klai’ > da” uJ pertav ta”Puqiov nikon timan Aristomev nei dev keu.tu gar to malqakon ev rxai te kai paqei’ n oJ mw’ “epiv stasai kairw’ / sun atrekei’ :filovfron JHsuciva Divka” w` megistov poli quv gater”Thought loving Peace, Justice’sdaughter, of the greatest of states”or metrically:filovfron Jhsuciva Divka” . . . _ . .

_ . _43 We can hardly miss the striking rhythmics of this line when we read italoud. The central word Hesychia stands out with its balanced rhythmicpattern _ . . _ for the word on which the whole poem is based andfocused. But the word is complicated by its special use in Pindar’s poeticvocabulary, and also by the enormous use of the word in the history of thelater Western world.The noun “hesuchia” appears in Ionic garb just once in the line of Homerat Od.18.

22 in the sense of peace and quiet: “let there rather be hesuchia tome = let me have peace and quiet” as Odysseus argues with the Ithacan va-grant Irus avoiding having a fist fight. The word is used here not a restfulstate of the mind, but as an alternative to violence, and Homer uses the ad-jective only once in the Iliad 21.598 again in the same sense. Boeckh in theearly l9 th c. thought that the spelling Jasuciva would be better in a choralDoric setting, with a nice ring of alphas encircling the word. But to our earsattuned by history to Hesychia as a familiar word, this sounds odd and hisspelling has not taken hold.A web search comes up with over a thousand occurrences of Hesychia incurrent use, including sites concerned with spiritual enlightenment, refer-ences to the Eastern Christian Church, Health Sites and a wide swatch ofcommercial advertisements for services of all sorts.

A colony of Hesychiastsat Mt. Athos in the 14 th century devoted themselves to enlightenmentthrough quiet and meditation, and the word has generally been taken to re-fer to spiritual matters operating through formal meditative practices.Some have felt that Pindar uses Hesychia as a divine figure, the Goddess ofPeace, but this is no formal Personification like Aristophanes’ Eirene or theRoman personified deity PAX. Quite to the contrary, Jhsuciva is a gen-eral word for quiet restfulness, something like “quietude” perhaps, and asubtle notion which is not to be imagined as a stone stature for a temple. Itis elusive as a word, just as the quiet of the mind has an elusive quality.Pindar’s use of it in this passage places it in the midst of a series of socialand political terms, where its calm appearance is somewhat surprising. Heuses the word half a dozen time in all, but with various subtle shadings44 which avoid the idea of a single fixed and formal Principle of Peace.

It isthe variation of setting and coloring which makes his use of the word inter-esting in a shaded web of poetic wording. As Finley pointed out half acentury ago, Pindar uses a number of abstract nouns in a fluid and almosttranscendental way, avoiding hard personification in favor of a gentler mistof mythic association.The initial word in the poem, filovfron, is also a word of the mind. As”thought or thoughtfulness-loving” it is clearly a quiet and meditative term.Interestingly the metrics are light and airy, with three short syllable whichlead up to and stop short before the rhythmically formal word Hesuchia.On the other side of Hesuchia stands the formal term DIKH which is a wordconnected not only with Justice, the courts and legal decision making, butwith the name of the Lord of the Gods, Zeus. The proverb ( ek Dio~dikh) “from Zeus (comes) justice” was not repeated through the Helleniccenturies without meaning.

If there were still question about Personificationof Hesychia, the appearance here of a well personified principle of Dikéwould prove the non-personification of Hesuchia, since two suchPersonifications would not stand beside each other in a careful poet’s verse.Note how emphatically Diké rings out with an iambic thrust, ending the lineas strongly as it had begun in a different rhythmic pattern.w` megistov poli quv gaterO great citied daughterDike is mentioned to illustrate the hard edge of JUSTICE, but it turns outthat her daughter is soft, evanescent and quietly composed hesychic qui-etude, which I write in italics to help remove it from becoming a specialword, which would lead to personification. But this soft edged daughter isconcerned with reality in her own way, and was of course the requirementfor economic stability in the cities of the Aegean world In a maritimetrading society hesuchia means profit, something which soon after Pindar’sdeath would be completely forgotten in the forty years of the devastation ofthe Peloponnesion War.45 Homer can never use the adjective “megalopolis” because of the three shortsyllables in the adjective, but Pindar with access to a wide range of rhyth-mics seem to rejoice in the word, using it in the plural form “megalopolies”twice with the plurals Athenai and Syracusai. But here he goes one stepfurther, using the Superlative form of the Adjective, megisto-. If Athenaiand Syracusai are the Great States of the Greek world, then the desirablebut elusive quality of Hesuchia will be the clue to the “Greatest of States”,the key to overall excellence.And that is exactly what Pindar says of her. She holds the Highest LevelKeys, which can unlock the gates of two components of a great city’sconstitution. On the one hand there are Councils, the boulai which arecommemorated in thousands of inscriptions from ancient Hellas, as laws arelaid out and unfolded into practice. But there are also Wars which aredeclared in a different spirit, not from the measured Councils of the State,but often in response to the ugly side of nationalistic politics. So in the firstline below, we have the unbalanced equation of the two factors which makethe Greek city-state work, while in the following words stands the spirit ofCALM, holding in her hands the keys ( kleides ) of cities.boula’ n te kai polev mwnev coisa klai’ ; da” uJ pertav ta””of councils and warspossessing the highest keys”We have a semantic problem with that critical word “the Keys”, since the word isused in many different ways both through history and even now. We give the newMayor “the Keys to the City” as a sign of confidence, hoping that they will not beused to unlock the city’s treasury of bank notes. Budapest was called the Key toChristendom in resistance against the Turks, Gibraltar the Key to theMediterranean, and St. Peter hold the Keys to a Heaven which is apparentlylocked to all but the elect. Whether our Keys start the car or open the house door,we consider a key to be an unlocking device, which is quite different from themeaning of the Greek word klais/klaides (Att. kleis) as Pindar uses it here.46 Homer is our earliest witness here as often, and his Key will be either a bar setacross metal catches which lock the bi-folding gates of a town or a house, or thein a Homeric house the sliding bar which is pulled horizontally into door-lockingposition by a catch rope. These are locking devices, and the idea of a key whichun-locks is something which only appears much later. So in this passage the Keysof the Greatest of Cities must refer to the massive bars on the city gates which arein possession of the spirit of Peace and quiet. When the councils decide, the gatescan be opened to metics, wholesalers of goods, trading of all sorts, but when Warcomes those gates are closed and locked firm. The exact parallelism goes someawry here as often in Pindar, who is poet first and grammatical logician only bychance, with Quietude opening the gates to the countryside in generous freedombut losing control under condition of warfare. She is not a controlling spirit at all,but a “condition” of being which can determine the greatness of states in the longrun. She cannot enforce the way Dike can, she can only smile benignantly on thedays when great states are free to prosper, as she does in this poem on the troubledhistory of Pindar’s Aegina.Now look back from the meaning of the words to their rhythmic display:boula’ n te kai polev mwn _ _ . _ . . _ev coisa klai’ ; da” uJ pertav ta” . _ . _ _ . _ . _On such heavy associations of meaning, the rhythms mark out a steadypace, with more longs than short syllables, and a steady pattern which seemsto be avoiding an unbalanced rhythmic pace. Then just as this paced andstately introduction reaches a static pose, the poet switches to an entirelydifferent rhythmic message, almost flinging away with a gesture of hisright arm from the somber thoughts of councils and wars, to:Puqiov nikon timan Aristomev nei dev keu. _ . . _ _ _ . . _ . . _ . _47 The words blocked will show a jammed and startling order:Pytho victory honor (for A…..) receive now”Receive for Aristomenes the Pythian victory honor”This is not one clause in a communicative sentence, but a flash of imageswhich display a glorious place, great action and grand honor, a man hon-ored in public view, and a gracious gesture to enter the hall of glory.Onemight wonder why this is addressed to Quietude, remembering that thevictory at games was a microcosmed mimic of warfare, done with greatfervor and beyond all the intent to win. But we must remember that allgreat activity finally rests in repose, all wars will end in peacefulness, andthis poem which is about to verge into the frantic forces of mythic violenceas preface to the struggle at the games, will conclude with a special kind ofrestful and peace-assigning Quietude. But that is later, now we continuewith the address to the Spirit of Quiet, with direct wording as if speaking toa person of wide mind and wise ways:tu gar to malqakon ev rxai te kai paqei’ n oJ mw’ “epiv stasai kairw’ / sun atrekei’ :”To do a gentle things and to receive it likewiseYou have knowledge — at the exact right moment “Rearranging the words we get a better sense of the progression of ideas,starting with the informal “you/ tu” which is suspended until “you under-stand / epistasai” while the object of understanding is inserted perhapssomewhat breathlessly in-between:tu gar to malqakon ev rxai te kai paqei’ n oJ mw’ ” epiv stasai kairw’ / sun atrekei’ :”You know: how to do a gentle thing, and how to receive it too…”48 There is something curiously unbalanced about this line’s meaning, whichmakes it very interesting. It is clear that the Spirit of Quiet can do a deed ofgentleness, and that is to be sure the nature of her being. But does she alsoreceive that which is a part of her very nature? Is the receiving a part of thegentle experience for her as quietude? It seems the poet is thinking of thebalanced situation which involves both Giving and Receiving, and hasjoined this with a petition to Goodness of Heart to give the gentle gift atthis Ceremony of Honors. Giving does involve receiving, there is somethingquite reciprocal about these two acts, and Pindar cannot mention the onewithout thinking of the other. Later he notes that the “best thing is to re-ceive from one who gives willingly”, as the honors of the Games are will-ingly bestowed out of a mind which does not calculate the difference be-tween giving and receiving. There is here, as often in Pindar a light cloakof mystery about patches of words, which may worry the conscientiousscholar more than the poetry minded reader. This line is a good example ofsomething important but delicate which is not exactly meant to be under-stood.One more phrase summarily concludes this thought and the strophetogether, a hard and tough consideration which is consciously added ontothe soft givingness of the previous clause: kairw’ / sun atrekei’ : _ _ . _ . _”when the moment is exactly right”The Greek word “kairos” is very different from the English “time” whichrefers to a long series of discrete moments seen in retrospect as a contin-uum. But the Greek word refers to just one of those moments of time whichmake up the continuum, and although the word originally was used for “apoint, a measure, an exact location” it was more generally used later for”Time” in our sense, but as composed of many moments of time seen tele-scoped and compacted. The ancient proverb that “en kairw ou polu~49 crono~” meant anciently that “in the Moment (kairos) there is not muchtime {chronos}”, and was probably intended as a pointed and clever say-ing. In English “There’s not much time in time” would be silly, and wedon’t have a supply of words to match the Greek time-based notions.. Butwe can in English define the same time distinctions with phrases like “get-ting to school in time” (punctual) as against “he’ll get it done in time “(durative).Here the meaning of “kairos” is clear and pointed. The gift of gentleness isgiven and received at the Pythian ceremony in a spirit of graciousness at themoment of final repose when the game is won and the victory proclaimed.But that is only done at the critical moment of winning which cannot befudged or compromised. The victory is won or lost by a hair’s breadth, andat the final moment of truth on this critical day, it becomes clear that this isa day of glory for the young man from Aegina. It is this hard edge ofcritical discrimination which makes the difference between a real winner ina real competition of honor, as against someone who receives gifts gladlygiven, but does not earn the victory of the final moment of competition.This line both concludes and hardens the tone and meaning of this firststrophe. Now we can look at the strophe as it stands:filovfron JHsuciva Divka”w` megistov poli quv gaterboula’ n te kai polev mwnev coisa klai’ > da” uJ pertav ta”Puqiov nikon timan Aristomev nei dev keu.tu gar to malqakon ev rxai te kai paqei’ n oJ mw’ “epiv stasai kairw’ / sun atrekei’ :50Antistrophe 1tu dæ opov tan ti” ameiv liconkardiv a/ kov ton enelav sh/tracei’ a dusmenev wnuJ pantiav xaisa krav tei tiqei’ “uJ brin en av ntlw/ tan oude Porfuriv wn mav qenparæ ai` san exereqiv zw kev rdo” de fiv ltatoneJ kov nto” eiv ti” ek dov mwn fev roi________________tu dæ opov tan ti” ameiv licon kardiv a/ kov ton enelav sh/”…and you (whem one thrusts in his heart anger without mercy)”Repeating the exact format of the verse structure of the strophe, we have:tu dæ opov tan ti” ameiv licon k… . . . _ . . _ . _At this point we realize the poet has in memory the whole sound andrhythm of the first strophe, and it is so vividly etched in his mind (even aswe might remember without thinking of it, the repeating sound of the stan-zas of a well known Schubert song) that he can compose with new words51 out of his patch of memory perfectly. In a musical setting we understandthis better than in a poem in a foreign language where our learned use ofwords does not work with the same pinpoint accuracy as wording in ourown intuitive speech. To understand the metrical quality of this antistrophe,we must have the strophe perfectly memorized, words and sounds alike, andonly then can we proceed to read this new stanza with the previous rhyth-mics ringing in our ears.If we don’t take the trouble to memorize sections of this poem, we remaindeaf to its cadences, and no amount of diacriticizing will make the rhyth-mics become real. We can comment on the relationship between rhythm andmeaning as important, but when they are separated the quality of the poeticline disappears. We must learn how to master the rhythmic patterns first,and then read the segments of the poem as meaning conjointly with themeters, as the only reasonable way to approach Pindar’s Odes. We cancontinue with discussion of the words as meaningful units, so long as weremember that we are dealing with just one partial of a poem.tracei’ a dusmenev wn uJ pantiav xaisa krav tei tiqei’ ” uJ brin en av ntlw/”fierce countering the power of the hateful,you put pride in the bilge”The remarkable switch of tone from the intimations of gentleness in the firststrophe, to Hate in the counter segment, is striking indeed. It begins with someonedriving hate into his heart, then the spirit of Quietude turns savagely fierce inretaliation. Fastening on the catchword of Hubris with its many religious as wellas personal associations, it hurls Pride into the dirty ballast water in the hold ofthe ship.The first thrust at anger is posed in lofty terms, but as the line closes we face thereality of slop in the bilge making the ugliness of the situation more real. Pindarloves this kind of un-announced topic switching, part of his roughness and dislikeof preset sentence structure. In ages of academic imitators from Alexandria52 through the l9th century, this kind of abruptness is rarely found, while later a poetof Pound’s imagination will use it as part of his poetic vocabulary. Logicalnessand poetry do not have a great deal in common.tan oude Porfuriv wn mav qenparæ ai` san exereqiv zw”this Porphurion understood not,beyond measure vexing you”In a gust of new association, we allude to the monstrous Giant Porphurion, whotried rising up from the depths to scale the mountain home of the gods, failing inthe end. It is not clear why P. is referred to here, except as a giant myth failing,but the name must be associated with the purple dye from Tyre which was markof royalty, as was the name of the 2nd c. NeoPlatonist Porphyry as a Greek ren-dering of the Tyrian Malchus, a name clearly cognate with its triconsonantal “m-l-ch” for King. The etymology of the name is less important that the suddennessof his appearance, followed by another abrupt break in the thread of the poem: kev rdo” de fiv ltatoneJ kov nto” eiv ti” ek dov mwn fev roi.”Gain is sweetestif you bear it from the home of a willing giver”This is inserted almost as an aside, with meaning emanating more from itsproverbial wording, than from the overbearing pridefulness of Porphurion. beforeTyphos the Kilician comes soon after in the next strophe, with similar import butit seems no special hidden mythic message.Having worked through the lines and clauses, this would seem a good time to do acareful metrical reading of the strophe and see how the acoustics work to amplifythe poetic theme.53 tu dæ opov tan ti” ameiv liconkardiv a/ kov ton enelav sh/tracei’ a dusmenev wnuJ pantiav xaisa krav tei tiqei’ “uJ brin en av ntlw/ tan oude Porfuriv wn mav qenparæ ai` san exereqiv zw kev rdo” de fiv ltatoneJ kov nto” eiv ti” ek dov mwn fev roi54Epode 1biv a de kai megav laucon ev sfalen en crov nw/ .Tufw” Kiv lix ekatov gkrano” ouv nin av luxenoude man basileu” Gigav ntwn: dma’ qen de keraunw’ /tov xoisiv tæ Apov llwno” : o} ” eumenei’ nov w/Xenav rkeion ev dekto Kiv rraqen estefanwmev nonuJ ion poiv a/ Parnassiv di Dwriei’ te kwv mw/ .Suddenly another line of moral wisdom enters here, the role of sheer Force in theworld of destiny: biv a de kai megav laucon ev sfalen en crov nw/ .”Violence trips down the great boaster in the course of time”How neatly but strangely this Violence follows on the business of Gain! But werealize with a metrical jerk that we are in the Antistrophe now, with a surprisingchange of rhythms piled atop the two previous thematic surprises. As Dionysushad warned us, Pindar pays small attention to the rules of logically well con-structed sentences, he hurls clauses above the head of metrical schemata andtightly constructed meaning. Just look at the metrics:55  biv a de kai megav laucon ev sfalen en crov nw/ . . _ . _ . . _ . _ _ . _ . _This is clearly what Dionysus meant by a natural Clause of sense,. Being longerthan the clauses of the strophe, it demands a different metrical treatment. We arenot sufficiently sensitive to the metrical shifts which Pindar uses so deftly, but thisline does seem to have a wider range of expressions than we saw before in thestrophe. There seem to se a certain thrust to the line as we move past the middlepoint of …….aucon evsfalen en …….to a plainer iambic ending, but not beingattuned to the natural cadences of the language, we cannot with certainty mark outfor ourselves the subtler kind of effects.But this gnomic remark feeds directly into the resumed thread of the unruly giantsrevolting against the gods:Tufw” Kiv lix ekatov gkrano” ouv nin av luxenoude man basileu” Gigav ntwn:”Typhos the Kilician of the hundred heads escaped not thisnor the king of the giants…”With this we can confirm the rotation of themes from start to end, thus:a) Porphyrionb) hubris as Prideb) bia as Violencea) Typhos and giant kingControl is now coming from the wide-reaching mind of Zeus and also Apollo. dma’ qen de keraunw’ /tovxoisiv tæ Apovllwno””He was conquered by the thunderbolt (of Zeus),by the arrows of Apollo”56 That was done long time past in ages gone. But now with an almost apotheisticapparition, Pindar introduces Apollo in a present situation, as archer of thearrows of justice, and also as virtual Master of Ceremonies at this festive moment,here in actual presence to receive and bless the winning athlete. This is aremarkably strong pivotal swing from the stories of the giants, to this moment atthis juncture in the Ode, also at the ceremonial festivities where a gracious andfavoring Apollo appears to congratulate the winner of the wrestling competition.This switch of range begins with the first line below, continuing: o} ” eumenei’ nov w/Xenav rkeion ev dekto Kiv rraqen estefanwmev non uJ ion poiv a/ Parnassiv di Dwriei’ te kwvmw/.WHO (apollo) with gracious mienXenarkes’ son back from Kirrhahas received, garlanded with Parnassan leaferyand with Dorian songfest.This starts so easily with Apollo’s gracious reception that we might not beprepared for this intertwining of word connections .from KirrhaXenarkes’ (he received) wreathed son + with leaves+ with songWhere there is ease and clarity, the poetic artist knows that complex knots ofwording are soon in order, as a contrastive device and as a part of the dynamics ofthe performance. Hoydn’s Surprise Symphony may be noted as a case in point,responding to the truism that art need never be dull. Typhos the Kilician may have57 had a hundred heads, but Pindar the Theban was one grade better having the fulluse of a hundred temperaments.Now we can put these parts together to see the shape of the passage we have justbeen examining: biv a de kai megav laucon ev sfalen en crov nw/ .Tufw” Kiv lix ekatov gkrano” ouv nin av luxenoude man basileu” Gigav ntwn: dma’ qen de keraunw’ /tov xoisiv tæ Apov llwno” : o} ” eumenei’ nov w/Xenav rkeion ev dekto Kiv rraqen estefanwmev nonuJ ion poiv a/ Parnassiv di Dwriei’ te kwv mw/ .58Strophe 2str 2 ev pese dæ ou Cariv twn eJ ka”aJ dikaiov poli” aretai’ “kleinai’ sin Aiakida’ nqigoi’ sa na’ so”: telev an dæ ev ceidov xan apæ arca’ ” polloi’ si men gar aeiv detainikafov roi” en aev qloi” qrev yaisa kai qoai’ “uJ pertav tou” hJ rwa” en mav cai”:We return with the second strophe to the reality of the cities of the Greek world,and to Aegina the unhappy loser of a real-world contest with Athens. Aegina has aplace near to Pindar’s heart and was hopefully to have a rising star for the futureyears. This was a just city, he even calls it the dikaiopoli~ nhso~, Isle ofJustice. perhaps taking a chance with his Athenian censors. There is a real note ofsadness implicit in the first line, almost an apology for the losses of power whichAegina had suffered, and an appeal to the virtues which she always had. ev pese dæ ou Cariv twn eJ ka”aJ dikaiov poli” aretai’ “kleinai’ sin Aiakida’ nqigoi’ sa na’ so”:”she has not fallen far from the Gracesthe city of justice, that islandwhich touches the famedvirtues of the sons of Aeacus”59 In fact Aegina was in bad times, it was losing out to the commercial expansion ofan Athenian expansionism, and for Pindar who was long associated with that city,the best thing to say now is to call attention to her moral sense of Dike and justice,and Aegina’s ancient fame reaching back to the days of the old mythology.There has been much comment on the meaning of the words “fallen away…”; thescholiast takes it much as I do :”The island has not fallen from favor of thedeities” which makes good poetic sense, along with a touch of sadness and regret.But there is a use of the verb piptw / pes- “fall out” in the shaking of lots out ofa bowl or vessel, and thissome have thought might mean the fateful turn of badluck against the island.But then an island itself does not get bad lots, so it is felt that “island” means “theaffairs of the island”, and this is becomes comment on the political turn ofAeginetan affairs. I take this to be unnecessary reconstruction of a meaning, whichis clear in the eyes of the ancient scholiast, and an example of the hyper-intellectual approach of much modern criticism of the classics. It seems best to usea poetic approach first in reading a poem, and defer political and social in-vestigation for possible illustrative use in the margin.Pindar continues with this appeal to the glorious history of past ages:telev an dæ ev ceidov xan apæ arca’ “”she holds perfectreputation from the beginnings”and swinging back to the athletic competition such as the one now held in closeview, he adds:60 polloi’ si men gar aeiv detainikafov roi” en aev qloi” qrev yaisa kai qoai’ “uJ pertav tou” hJ rwa” en mav cai”:”…and is sung by many in victory bearingathletics, fostering the greatest heroesalso in fast-moving fighting.”If the first passage in this segment was intended to be moral, the second clausemoves into the dynamics of the athletic scene at hand which is seen as physicaltraining for character and a demonstrable evidence of Aegina’s moral traits. Theconstant re-connections of moral and just background from the days of Aeacus,with the present ceremonies in the athletic Field of Honor are essential to Pindar’sconcept of an epinician Ode. Winning is nothing without character, and if onewins it must be done from a deep background and performed in the right moralmanner. ev pese dæ ou Cariv twn eJ ka”aJ dikaiov poli” aretai’ “kleinai’ sin Aiakida’ nqigoi’ sa na’ so”: telev an dæ ev ceidov xan apæ arca’ ” polloi’ si men gar aeiv detainikafov roi” en aev qloi” qrev yaisa kai qoai’ “uJ pertav tou” hJ rwa” en mav cai”:61Antistrophe 2ta de kai andrav sin emprev pei.eimi dæ av scolo” anaqev menpa’ san makragoriv anluv ra/ te kai fqev gmati malqakw’ /mh kov ro” elqwn kniv sh/ to dæ en posiv moi trav coniv tw teon crev o” w pai’ newv taton kalw’ nema’ / potanon amfi macana’ / ._Now as the second antistrophe begins, the tone of the setting of the poem, and thevoice of the sung passage experience a dramatic change. It seems that Pindar orpossibly his lead agonist, as if in a play, is stepping out before the choral groupand delivering a personal “song” within the format of choral drama, much asAeschylus was doing in dramatic playwriting. This sudden shift of attention fromthe singing group of trained choristers to the voice of a lead singer is surprising inthe middle of a highly concentrated victory Ode, and stands out as a passage de-manding great attention. Some scholars see a problem about who is talking andwho is being talked about. This misses the inherently lyric sense of the wordswhich give us an interior view into the poet’s creative thinking as seen personallyand at close range. This passage is a virtual zoom into the poet’s private thinking.62 ta de kai andrav sin emprev pei.”these things shine out even in her men.” (written over from prev.)eimi dæ av scolo” anaqev menpa’ san makragoriv anluv ra/ te kai fqev gmati malqakw’ /mh kov ro” elqwn kniv sh/”I have no leisure to laygrand wording at lengthupon my lyre with delicate singing,lest excess come to grate….”How remarkable that in the midst of a formal choral presentation, the poet imag-ines himself extemporizing on a theme to the accompaniment of the lyre, fash-ioning Aeolic cadences with delicately sung voicing. It is as if the choral presen-tation has receded into the background with lowered amplitude, and the poet isstepping forth to offer a most curious excuse for what he apparently would like todo, but cannot in the present ambiance. Is he feeling confined by the choral styleand almost wishing he were solo singing with his lyre in the manner of the greatlyric masters of the Aeolic tradition? With this in mind, it would be no accidentthat this Ode is written in Aeolic cadences, which allow him great freedom of ex-pression, yet perhaps not quite enough as he engages to sing a song as “Praise ofGreat Men”.He has gone past Aristomenes the athletic winner now, and is singing the files ofpast heroes, those who made Aegina once great. In such a song of sadness the soulof the lyric poet naturally comes to the fore, if only for a moment and with anapologetic explanation. to dæ en posiv moi trav coniv tw teon crev o” w pai’ newv taton kalw’ nema’ / potanon amfi macana’ / .”let this, your due debt go forthrunning at my feet, my lad, latest of gloriesmade soaring now by my craft.”63 In this unexpected passage, we may well wonder exactly what the “debt” is andwho is talking to whom. The due debt is certainly the well earned reward which isowed to the victor, and the addressee is certainly Aristomenes himself. The Greekword pai’ refers to any young man above puberty, as Anacreon’s “w pai’ = ladlooking a girlish glance”. This is not specifically a child as in English.This elaborate interlocking of several elements into a single poetic clause issomething Pindar loves, and if it at first complicates understand and at the sametime denies the logic of a complete sentence, this is perhaps so much the betterartistically and poetically. In this passage we have interfused a) the just reward orchreos b) the lad who raced and now received it c) the reward re-identified withthe Ode itself d) which is informed and vividified by the poet’s art andcraftsmanship in poetry.Again, an overview of what we have been reading:ta de kai andrav sin emprev pei.eimi dæ av scolo” anaqev menpa’ san makragoriv anluv ra/ te kai fqev gmati malqakw’ /mh kov ro” elqwn kniv sh/ to dæ en posiv moi trav coniv tw teon crev o” w pai’ newv taton kalw’ nema’ / potanon amfi macana’ / .64Epode 2palaismav tessi gar icneuv wn matradelfeou”Olumpiv a/ te Qeov gnhton ou katelev gcei”oude Kleitomav coio niv kan Isqmoi’ qrasuv guionauv xwn de pav tran Midulida’ n lov gon fev rei”ton o{ nper potæ Oi> klev o” pai’ ” en eJ ptapuv loi” idwnuJ iou” Qhv bai” ainiv xato parmev nonta” aicma’ /_______________________If an Epode is intended to serve contrastively against the preceding antistrophe,this initial line with its three massive words and their stiff nominal formationsurrounding the subject “tracking” (icneuvwn pres. ppl. n.sg.), serve as a goodexample.palaismav tessi gar icneuv wn matradelfeou””in wrestlings tracking after maternal-uncles”Now this next passage becomes complicated, with additional personal connections.Walking in the footsteps of your uncles, you do not disgrace (katelevgcei”)two other persons, who are Theognotus at Olympia (who is identified centurieslater by Pausanias 6.9.1 as a known hero) and Kleitomachus at Isthmian games, aman unknown to history.65 Olumpiv a/ te Qeov gnhton ou katelev gcei”oude Kleitomav coio niv kan Isqmoi’ qrasuv guionTo avoid parallelism there is a shift of the two names.”You do not disgrace Theognotos himself,OR the bold limbed Victory of Kleitomachus.”And continuing……..auv xwn de pav tran Midulida’ n —— lov gon fev rei”ton o{ nper potæ Oi; klev o” pai’ ” en eJ ptapuv loi” idwnuJ iou” Qhv bai” ainiv xato parmev nonta” aicma’ /”raising up the clan of the Meidulidae —– you bear it,that very word which once the son of Oikleus (Amphiareus) seeing the sonsfirm-standing in battle at seven-gate Thebes —-hinted ……”The son of Oikleus is the hero Amphiarus, an ancient Argive hero associated withThebes and the story of the Seven Against Thebes, who dying was avenged by hisson Alcmaeon. You have to read the complex story of these two heroes to get thesense of the historical detailing to which Pindar is referring , an intertwined skeinof myth and history which is the base from which this segment of the Ode issprung. And just as the story of these heroes is complex and involved, so thegrammar of the above passage is innerly complex, with words separated fromtheir congeners, and an organization which can only have been intentional. Again,the Epode is contrastive to the previous strophe, and now involves contrastivewriting itself. Observe the interlocking structures: potæ Oi> klev o” pai’ ” en eJ ptapuv loi” idwnuJiou” Qhv bai” AINIVXATO parmev nonta” aicma’ /66 Note the word “hinted in riddle” ainivxato as the carry-over word which goesright into Strophe 3, continuing the thread of the story but in the metrical textureof the first strophic rhythm of the Ode. The Epodic contrast is suddenly concluded…….. and the quotation of what the hero Amph. said plunges back with Strophe 3into a mode which is softer, short claused, and perhaps gentler. It is as if nothinghas happened. This is a special contrastive writing of verse, obviously intentionaland surely a part of what Dionysos was referring to as rough-texture, improvisingdone in a hurry while thrusting idea onto idea.palaismav tessi gar icneuv wn matradelfeou”Olumpiv a/ te Qeov gnhton ou katelev gcei”oude Kleitomav coio niv kan Isqmoi’ qrasuv guionauv xwn de pav tran Midulida’ n lov gon fev rei”ton o{ nper potæ Oi; klev o” pai’ ” en eJ ptapuv loi” idwnuJ iou” Qhv bai” ainiv xato parmev nonta” aicma’ /67Strophe 3oJpovtæ apæ Avrgeo” hvluqondeutev ran odon Epiv gonoi.w| d ei` pe marnamev nwn:— fua’ / to gennai’ on epiprev peiek patev rwn paisi lh’ ma qaev omai safe”drav konta poikiv lon aiqa’ ” Alkma’ næ epæ aspiv do”nwmw’ nta prw’ ton en Kav dmou puv lai”……….oJpovtæ apæ Avrgeo” hvluqondeutev ran odon Epiv gonoi.w| d ei` pe marnamev nwn:”when the Epigonoi from Argos camea second expedition,thus he spoke as they fought:”The Epigonoi or “Afterborn Ones” were the generation after the death of thosewho had fought and died at Thebes, and according to Herodotus 4.32 the title ofthe lost Epic cycle about them was “Epigonoi”. What follows now as words fromAmphiarus the son of Oileus , is spoken in an archaic and oracular style of lan-guage, which suits the nature of the quotation quite naturally.68 fua’ / to gennai’ on epiprev peiek patev rwn paisi lh’ ma”by nature the noble strain shines outfrom fathers to sons.”Under this rubric of inherited nobility, Pindar continues with the train ofsuccessors to the noble line: qaev omai safe”drav konta poikiv lon aiqa’ ” Alkma’ næ epæ aspiv do”nwmw’ nta prw’ ton en Kav dmou puv lai”.”I see clearlyAlcman, the colored snake on his shining shieldWielding, first at the gates of Kadmos”Amphiaros was both warrior and also a seer and the scholiast remarks that thesnake on Alkman’s shield was thus recognized by his prophetic powers.oJpovtæ apæ Avrgeo” hvluqondeutev ran odon Epiv gonoi.w| d ei` pe marnamev nwn:— fua’ / to gennai’ on epiprev peiek patev rwn paisi lh’ ma qaev omai safe”drav konta poikiv lon aiqa’ ” Alkma’ næ epæ aspiv do”nwmw’ nta prw’ ton en Kav dmou puv lai”.69Antistrophe 3oJ de kamwn protev ra/ pav qa/nu’ n areiv ono” enev cetaiov rnico” aggeliv a/Av drasto” h{ rw”: to de oiv koqenantiv a prav xei mou’ no” gar ek Danaw’ n stratou’qanov nto” ostev a lev xai” uJ iou’ tuv ca/ qew’ nafiv xetai law’ / sun ablabei’oJ de kamwn protev ra/ pav qa/nu’ n areiv ono” enev cetaiov rnico” aggeliv a/Av drasto” h{ rw”: to de oiv koqenantiv a prav xei”But he failing in a first defeatAdrastos the hero is now met with newsof a better bird-omen — but the thingsof his own house work opposite….”The first part of this paragraph is worked with typical Pindaric involvement ofwords, couching the heralding of news of augury omen, to which the followingfive words serve as counterfoil by their brutal simplicity. The words to deoivkoqen are clear in present meaning but elliptical and indirect, while antivapravxei negate the good news without saying so, a good example of flash contrastat word.70 mou’ no” gar ek Danaw’ n stratou’qanov nto” ostev a lev xai” uJ iou’ tuv ca/ qew’ nafiv xetai law’ / sun ablabei’ Abanto” eurucov rou” aguiav “”he alone from the Danaan forcegathering the bones of his dead son, with gods’ favorwill approach, with his people unharmed,the wide streets of Abas”In the flow of prophetic wording, the pronouncement somehow goes over thelimit of the Antistrophe, and we find it concluding in the first line of the Epode.This remarkable overwriting of the line and section must be part of what Dionysushad noted as rough stonework jammed into place in the wall, or what Horacereferred to a the rush of a springtime river overflowing its margins. This cannothave been done by Pindar out of error or miscalculating the line, it startles andthat is surely the effect intended.oJ de kamwn protev ra/ pav qa/nu’ n areiv ono” enev cetaiov rnico” aggeliv a/Av drasto” h{ rw”: to de oiv koqenantiv a prav xei mou’ no” gar ek Danaw’ n stratou’qanov nto” ostev a lev xai” uJ iou’ tuv ca/ qew’ nafiv xetai law’ / sun ablabei’71Epode 3Abanto” eurucov rou” aguiav ” toiau’ ta menefqev gxatæ Amfiav rho” caiv rwn de kai auto” v Alkma’ na stefav noisi bav llw raiv nw de kai u{ mnw/geiv twn o{ ti moi kai kteav nwn fuv lax emw’ nupav ntasen iov nti ga’ ” omfalon paræ aoiv dimonmanteumav twn tæ efav yato suggov noisi tev cnai”.Abanto” eurucov rou” aguiav ” (goes with previous passage) toiau’ ta menefqev gxatæ Amfiav rho””So spoke Amphiaros…….”These are words of greatest conciseness to end the previous oracular divagation.But this is not just a tight formula like a Homeric “so spoke he !”, but a bit ofintentional abruptness between two complicated and flowing passages, serving as apivot to go on to the next section, where something quite remarkable occurs.Pindar speaks right out of the choral setting, with a directness almost suiting thewords of a lyric poet. Despite some scholarly questioning, it can hardly be thevoice of the choristers singing these personally oriented words:72 caiv rwn de kai auto” v Alkma’ na stefav noisi bav llw raiv nw de kai u{ mnw/”I myself am full of joyI cover Alcmaeon with wreathesI sprinkle him with song”Note: Alcman is the Doric form of Alcmaeon.These three short phrases are surely clauses in the way Dionysus had describedthem. There are special inner arrangements of verbal element in the three clausesa) first b) last c) first again, with de kai in a) and c) only. Note alsothat a) and c) each have six syllables, while the intervening b) has a much long se-quence with ten. But this is not all a matter of arranging and counting! This littlecluster of lines is eminently singable, it has balance and a swinging rhythm, andsings right out of the tighter and more formal choral ambiance to announce thefollowing words, which are even more of a surprise:geiv twn o{ ti moi kai kteav nwn fuv lax emw’ nupav ntasen iov nti ga’ ” omfalon paræ aoiv dimonmanteumav twn tæ efav yato suggov noisi tev cnai”.”because as neighbor and as guardian of my possessionshe met me as I was going to the singfest center of the world he touched upon Prophecies with his inherited skills.”Now here again we have a triple arrangement, but of whole and indivisible lineswith over fifteen syllables, each complete in meaning by itself. But exactly whatthat meaning may be is a different matter, and scholars ancient and modern haveworried these lines back and forth with the energy of a terrier after a rat. Someexplanations are due, and perhaps the best way is to stick with the simplest set,remembering that in the world of poetic utterance “fact” is a part of the poetry,not the other way around.73 geiv twn o{ ti moi kai kteav nwn fuv lax emw’ n”because as neighbor and as guardian of my possessions……”The most direct interpretation of this line is that since Pindar’s homes was atThebes, he knew of a shrine of the hero Alcmaeon which was near his house, andhe had deposited some portion of his wealth in gold or silver securities in theprecinct of Alcmaeon. Shrines were in a sense the banks of antiquity, since no-body would dare to steal from a holy precinct under fear of social as well as reli-gious punishment. If the famous Treasure of the Athenians at Delphi was a secureplace for Athenian funds, the smaller and less formal shrine of Alcmaeon maywell have served the same function for private moneys.This may seem an unusual matter, but it is exactly what the poet says, in terms ofhis “neighbor” in the region serving as virtual banker to Pindar personally. Wecan wonder at the words but there is little room for argument.The next line is surprising, but just as clear in meaning from the text:upav ntasen iov nti ga’ ” omfalon paræ aoiv dimon”he met me as I was going to the singfest center of the world”Here we have the startling encounter of the poet traveling on the road to thePythian games where he is to celebrate the subject of this very Ode, and meetingface to face (antiazein) the hero Alcmaeon. The modern commentators note thiswith surprise as an “epiphany”, supporting their perception by referring to variousappearance of gods and spirits in the ancient world to prove the case. In the an-cient world such Appearances were frequent and not a matter of surprise. If a per-son has sufficiently concentrated on his holy mentor, and his mind is emptiedofperipheral thinking at a specific and special moment (kenosis), then the holy pres-ence can appear to him as a matter of faith and natural happening. It may be Indraor Jesus or Alcmaeon, but the appearance will be vested in the same sense of real-ity in each case.74 Again, whether the epiphany is “external” and real, or generated out of theperson’s own mental processes, is probably immaterial and certainly at the presenttime an insoluble question. But Appearances then and now do happen, about thatthere is no argument.In the natural excitement of traveling on the road to the Holy Site at Pythia,Pindar had that experience which led to some further consequence which he doesnot exactly delineate:manteumav twn tæ efav yato suggov noisi tev cnai”.”he touched upon Prophecies with his inherited skills.”We do not find those prophecies in the rest of the poem, although scrutinousphilologists have scoured the ground with painstaking precision. Having made hisstartling confession of a moment of enlightened Faith, Pindar finds himself in areligious mood, and goes on to the next strophic segment of the Ode.Abanto” eurucov rou” aguiav ” toiau’ ta menefqev gxatæ Amfiav rho” caiv rwn de kai auto” v Alkma’ na stefav noisi bav llw raiv nw de kai u{ mnw/geiv twn o{ ti moi kai kteav nwn fuv lax emw’ nupav ntasen iov nti ga’ ” omfalon paræ aoiv dimonmanteumav twn tæ efav yato suggov noisi tev cnai”.75Strophe 4tu dæ Ekatabov le pav ndokonnaon euklev a dianev mwnPuqw’ no” en guav loi”to men mev giston tov qi carmav twnwv pasa”: oiv koi de prov sqen arpalev an dov sinpentaqliv ou sun eJ ortai’ ” uJ mai’ ” epav gage”.av nax eJ kov nti dæ euv comai nov w/katav tinæ aJ rmoniv an blev pein ( cont. to antisstrophe 4)amfæ e{ kaston o{ sa nev omai.Note: In the excitement of his formal address to the god which will preside overthe Pythian games and ceremonies, Pindar writes the end of the strophe right intothe first two lines of the antistrophe, with a thrust of intent which overrides thestanza-like regularity of the Doric music schema. In metrics, in choice and ar-rangement of words, and even in the strophic indignity, Pindar is free and inno-vative again and again.Fom our traditional focus on the later 5th century as the core of Greek culture, weoften think of Pindar and Aeschylus as the last of the old-style poetic tradition,dark and inscrutable in the meanings and anciently wordy in their poetic utter-ances. In comparison with the bare style of Euripides, this may be true, but Pindarwas, in terms of the poetry which came before his time, a rule-breaking icono-76 clast. He knows how to be rough when other were metrically smooth. He knowshow to break thoughts off, how to leave sentences puzzling. He says things whichstir questions without answers, he knows the value of mystery in idea and inwords, and we simply cannot pass him off as the last of an old school of poets. Inthe last fifty years the world Archaic Greece has come into full view and we arenow in a much more favorable position to re-read and rethinking the Odes ofPindar.tu dæ Ekatabov le pav ndokonnaon euklev a dianev mwnPuqw’ no” en guav loi””But YOU, Apollo, governingthe famous pan-Hellenic shrinein the hollows of Pytho….”Here we come to the central point and focus of the Ode, the moment in which thefigure of Apollo, Homer’s “far-darter” and Hecatobolist is to appear as presidingDeity of the actual ceremonial procedure. Since Apollo is both master of Athleticsand also lord of the Arts, his invocation turns the tide of the fluctuations of thispoem into a straight course, which will continue from this point right until the fi-nal words of the poem. It is as if the sun has come out with Apollo, who overseesthe games, shedding light on success and on good thinking, on morality and on themoment of grace in which human life blossoms.It is no fortuitous occurrence that the address to Apollo occurs at this moment inthe poem. By setting the stage first with past glories of ancient heroes of theAeacid strain, and then at closer range speaking of Alcman and his gifts of actionand also of prophecy, we lead inexorably up to the magic moment at which wefind ourselves in the presence of the highest authority, the celestial reigning deitywho now presides over the actual ceremony which is taking place. It is no longerlooking backward to the remote historical and mythic past. Nor is it the epiphanicmeeting with Alcman on the road coming to the games. We are now actually77 speaking with the ruling Lord of the games, and invoking his gifts of grace andvictory in the time honored manner of a praying suppliant.The ancient Greek prayer is outlined in a formal procedure, which first gives theritual name of the god as a way of identifying the access of the suppliant. InHomer it is Chryses the priest using the ritual name for Apollo “Smintheus” whichnobody else would know. In Sappho Frag.I it is correctly “athanata” as immortaland poetically as “doloploka” or wile-weaving. Here it is the old Homeric name”hekatobolos” the Far Archer used as the introductory key-word.Next must come the reminder of past supplications which succeeded with favorsgranted. In Homer Iliad I it is the temple roofed and flesh offering burned,Sappho does it impatiently with “at some other time” but the reference is clear.Here the reminder is quite specific:to men mev giston tov qi carmav twnwv pasa”: oiv koi de prov sqen arpalev an dov sinpentaqliv ou sun eJ ortai’ ” uJ mai’ ” epav gage”.”it was here that you granted the greatestjoys, and before that at home the envied giftof the pentathlon with your festivities you did grant…..”So in due form Pindar completes the three part prayer formalities, and is nowprepared to go on with the Prayer Proper, in which the suppliant asks his Lord forsomething new and special.av nax eJ kov nti dæ euv comai nov w/katav tinæ aJ rmoniv an blev peinamfæ e{ kaston o{ sa nev omai.”O Lord, I pray that will a willing mindand with some harmony you lookupon each (step) I take in my path.”78 As often, when deeply agitated, Pindar writes across the strophic line, somethingwhich he apparently does with intent and purpose.This seems also have been away of connecting segments which had become overly discrete in pervious choralliterature , a good way of re-forming words into a continuous flow while retainingthe genre.tu dæ Ekatabov le pav ndokonnaon euklev a dianev mwnPuqw’ no” en guav loi”to men mev giston tov qi carmav twnwv pasa”: oiv koi de prov sqen arpalev an dov sinpentaqliv ou sun eJ ortai’ ” uJ mai’ ” epav gage”.av nax eJ kov nti dæ euv comai nov w/katav tinæ aJ rmoniv an blev pein ( cont. to antisstrophe 4)amfæ e{ kaston o{ sa nev omai.79Antistrophe 4katav tinæ aJ rmoniv an blev peinamfæ e{ kaston o{ sa nev omai.kwv mw/ men aJ dumelei’Div ka parev stake: qew’ n dæ ov pinav fqonon aitev w Xeiv narke” uJ metev rai” tuv cai”.ei gav r ti” esla pev patai mh sun makrw’ / pov nw/polloi’ ” sofo” dokei’ pedæ afrov nwnbiv on korussev men orqobouv loisi macanai’ “: (with epode 4)As often, a pithy moral statement is inserted into the strophic discourse, in thiscase echoing back to the start with a reiteration of the important of DIKE orJustice as the peace and harmony making factor between states.kwv mw/ men aJ dumelei’Div ka parev stake:”With sweet voiced choir of songDike has taken her stand.”And the prayer continues with the core of the request, which is:80 qew’ n dæ ov pinav fqonon aitev w Xeiv narke” uJ metev rai” tuv cai”. “from the gods,un-grudging favor I request, (father) Xenarkes, for your family’sfortunes”The word “un-grudging” or a-phthonos may seem strange to modern ears, since inour religious atmosphere God is hardly likely to be one who holds a grudge. InGreek terms, however, there is a different course to the argument, which statesthat man’s responsibility is to view himself and his fortunes as suitable for a man,and to avoid the overweening pride of Hubris which encourages a man to think ofhimself as more than a man. That would mean seeing himself as a god in somedegree, which would offend those of the celestial realm into “holding a grudge”.It may be the Engl. “grudge” is not the right word for this at all, perhaps ‘ill-will’or disfavor would be nearer to the Greek word.In any case, this request for favor and good fortune must not be so amplified as tocross the line between human and theic, and every Greek knew from myth andfrom common sense that there is a train of events which starts from man’s Hubris,leading him into foolish blindness or Ate, which causes misjudgment andultimately leads to Nemesis and destruction. Curiously Nemesis (from the verbnemo “allot, deal out, retribute”) implies a degree of fatalism, man gettingsomething which is his fated outcome, whereas the previous stages would implythat he is receiving the result of his own personal come-up-ance, that fine worldfrom the older American morality.ei gav r ti” esla pev patai mh sun makrw’ / pov nw/polloi’ ” sofo” dokei’ pedæ afrov nwnbiv on korussev men orqobouv loisi macanai’ “: (epode 4)”If someone has achieved great things without long labor,he seem to many a wise man among foolsand to crown his life with well planned devices”81Epode 4biv on korussev men orqobouv loisi macanai’ “:ta dæ ouk epæ andrav si kei’ tai daiv mwn de pariv sceiav llotæ av llon u{ perqe bav llwn av llon dæ upo ceirw’ nmev trw/ katabaiv nei Megav roi” dæ ev cei” gev ra”mucw’ / tæ en Maraqw’ no” { Hra” tæ agw’ næ epicwv rionniv kai” trissai’ “? ? Wristov mene” dav massa” ev rgw/We have written over the strophe again, but the clause sense pulls us into thefourth Epode inexorably, right in the middle of a puzzling statement. Recapping,we go on:biv on korussev men orqobouv loisi macanai’ “:”and to crown his life with well planned devices”Again an inserted and compressed moralism, but one which explains the previousthree lines, which must be read carefully to get its gist. Let us look at it againmore carefully before going on:ei gav r ti” esla pev patai mh sun makrw’ / pov nw/polloi’ ” sofo” dokei’ pedæ afrov nwn82 It is the qualifying words “among fools” that are important. A man seems to befalling into success by good luck, no effort of his own but just sheer good-luck,which the Greek knew well under the name of the deity Tyche or TUXH. It is onlyfools who smile at luck without labor, and these next words make that clear:ta dæ ouk epæ andrav si kei’ tai”These things do not rest with men!”…….but with the gods above, who have their preferences and if pushed hard, theirdevastating grudges which will bring a high riding man down to the lowest levelof poverty and despair. daiv mwn de pariv sceiav llotæ av llon u{ perqe bav llwn av llon dæ upo ceirw’ nmev trw/ katabaiv nei”A superior being holds these things,at one time raising a man high and another one he puts downby hands with the count.”It is only the grammarians ancient and modern who warn us about mixedmetaphors, which serve Shakespeare and Pindar so very well. The figure of theman raised high must refer to social and political stature, and cannot be a phrasefrom the wrestling floor where a lifted wrestler is clearly not the winner.On the other hand, while incidentally changing the grammar from participlebavllwn to verb katabaivnei, the following clause clearly refers to thewrestling mat, quite suitably since this is a wrestling competition. The god put theother man down, but down as a wrestler goes down forced onto the mat by theother man’s grips (hands = upo ceirw’n), and this is checked by the judges onmeasurement of time, by the Metron as the measurement.The moral is accepted and now the poet turns to Aristomenes the Winner, andaddressing him personally, changes from contemplation of Apollo and morality83 and the twists of fateful Tyche, to the documentation of the winner’s actualvictories::Megav roi” dæ ev cei” gev ra”mucw’ / tæ en Maraqw’ no” { Hra” tæ agw’ næ epicwv rionniv kai” trissai’ “? ? Wristov mene” dav massa” ev rgw/ : “At Megara you have the prize,and in the recess at Marathon, and the local prize of Herawith triple victories, O Aristomenes, you have mastered by your effort.”At his home state of Aegina he won thrice in the Heraia, a local set ofcompetitions imitating the great Competitions on the mainland. Mentioning theTriple Victories in the home setting may be intended to raise the status of the localAeginetan Heraia, something dear to the poet’s heart.With the last word of the above strophe “by your work, by effort” (evrgw/: withits lost digamma is cognate with English “work”) we connect back to the abovelines about fools thinking a lazy man who prospers to be wise. No! Success mustbe won with much work, and this wrestling victory with supreme effort is witnessto the role of action r3sulting in glory .biv on korussev men orqobouv loisi macanai’ “:ta dæ ouk epæ andrav si kei’ tai daiv mwn de pariv sceiav llotæ av llon u{ perqe bav llwn av llon dæ upo ceirw’ nmev trw/ katabaiv nei Megav roi” dæ ev cei” gev ra”mucw’ / tæ en Maraqw’ no” { Hra” tæ agw’ næ epicwv rionniv kai” trissai’ “? ? Wristov mene” dav massa” ev rgw/84Strophe 5tev trasi dæ ev mpete” uyov qenswmav tessi kaka fronev wntoi’ ” ouv te nov sto” oJ mw’ “ev palpno” en Puqiav di kriv qhoude molov ntwn par matev ræ amfi gev lw” gluku”w` rsen cav rin kata lauv ra” dæ ecqrw’ n apav oroiptwv ssonti sumfora’ / dedagmev noi.Now we move in close with a zoom effect to the scene of the wrestling match,with a momentary flash view of the winner —- and of the loser’s sad fate.tev trasi dæ ev mpete” uyov qenswmav tessi kaka fronev wn”Upon four bodies you fell in a leapthinking in furious rage…..” Note: The form evmpete~ would be in Att. emepese~ from piptw.85 It is hard to find an English phrase to get the meaning of “thinking bad thoughts”kaka fronevwn since “bad” in English will have a moral effect. Our slang of thistime has something more like the Greek in ” he was wicked angry”, and themeaning is not far from “fit to kill”. Translating from meaning seems best hereeven if we have to leave the actual Greek words behind..Now turning in detail to the loser, his sad homecoming and loss of face in acontest designed to raise his family and state’s reputation aloft:toi’ ” ouv te nov sto” oJ mw’ “ev palpno” en Puqiav di kriv qhoude molov ntwn par matev ræ amfi gev lw” gluku”w` rsen cav rin kata lauv ra” dæ ecqrw’ n apav oroiptwv ssonti sumfora’ / dedagmev noi.”For them similar happy homecomingwas not awarded at the Pythia,nor returning to their mothers did sweet laughterraise up grace. Down alleys hanging aloof from enemiesthey cower, bitten by calamity.”We only know the word evpalpno” from the scholiast’s gloss as hdu~ or sweet,a true hapax! Also apavoroi / aphoroi needs comment as from aeirw “lift up”giving the meaning here meant “aloof”. The bite of disaster comes from daknwp.p.ppl.The Pythian games were serious athletic and political competition, not games doneas sport in our sense of the word. Modern notions of being a good sport in face oflosing is something quite different. We are supposed to shake hands with the win-ner and go away with a smile, but when the going gets serious as in the modernOlympics, with rewards of much money beyond fame and a medal, the ancientscenario tends to come back to haunt the losers. Things remain the same over thecenturies, with big money there is always very small change.86Antistrophe 5ant 5oJ de kalov n ti nev on lacwnaJ brov tato” ev pi megav la”ex elpiv do” pev tataiuJ poptev roi” anorev ai” ev cwnkrev ssona plouv tou mev rimnan en dæ oliv gw/ brotw’ nto terpnon auv xetai ou{ tw de kai piv tnei camaivapotrov pw/ gnwv ma/ seseismev non.oJ de kalov n ti nev on lacwnaJ brov tato” ev pi megav la” ex elpiv do”pev tatai uJ poptev roi” anorev ai” ev cwnkrevssona plouv tou mevrimnan”But he who has got some new thing.from his hope of great splendorflies high on wings of manliness, havinga thought greater than wealth.”In these five lines we have a structured refinement of the winner’s thoughts, firststarting with his having got something new and unexpected, a strangely vaguephrase to suit the achievement of a lifetime of training and desire. It is almost as ifit is impossible to sum up the results of winning, all the person can think of in his87 interior mind is “Yes, I got it…” where the IT is everything that he has workedfor and desired.Trying to get nearer to the actual achievement, we have an uneasy assortment ofwords which reflect different turns of the winner’s thinking. Splendor is not reallythe right word for aJbrovth~ from abro~ which means “delicate, lovely” andcan be used of a parthenic maiden better than of a sweating athlete. Sappho hadsaid “Above all I love delicacy (aJbrovth~ ) . Glory is too large and showy, love-liness is too feminine for the situation. What we have here is an intentional light-ness and delicacy in describing the rewards which come from his high hopes, tolet his soul ride high in excitement and exultation.Riding high on the wings of fancy may seem again a little too angelic, consideringthat although a Winged Victory was acceptable, nobody in Greece had ever seen awinged Athlete. Pindar therefor makes it “winged manliness” (anoreva /Att.hnoreva). What is interesting in this passage is first the undefinable quality of thewinning as “something new, some new thing”, followed by “loveliness” generatedout of “hope”, flying aloft on “wings” —– but yet steered by “manly qualities”.This alternation between the soft and the hard, at this critical juncture in the cere-mony and also the poem , is intentional and artistically most interesting.But the passage cannot conclude ethically with the rewards of winning at theOlympic contests, which will of course bring financial returns of some sort as wellas sheer fame. Olympics has become a big business with high finance involved atevery stage, so the final clause in this passage seems most relevant: ev cwnkrev ssona plouv tou mev rimnan”having a thought grander than wealth”And just as Pindar touches the critical matter of Wealth (almost as if sensing thatin the long run the Olympics is going to become in Hellenistic times a crassmoney-making business with little of the ethical glory of the past) he subjoins anabrupt warning.88 en dæ oliv gw/ brotw’ nto terpnon auv xetai ou{ tw de kai piv tnei camaivapotrov pw/ gnwv ma/ seseismev non.”In short time mortals’ delightwaxes great. But so too it falls to the groundshaken by a backward-turning doom.”We know basically what is meant by these last words, but the words puzzle still.The adjective apotrovpo~ is actually “turning away, off ” and a scholiast re-marks that it means contrary to expectation. Lattimore took it as “a backwarddoom “, stretching the Greek slightly but not unreasonably. Still the word gnwvmaleaves us with a problem, since it is really a “thought, will, mental decision”, andone which belongs to men as part of their thinking processes. But the contextwould seem to point to an external force, a contrary will of an offended daimon, aturn of fate and the fore-ordained which finally dashes a man to the ground.The word gnome is a word for the thought and actions of human beings. So themeaning must be that just as WE make our own good fortune, by an off-turnedpiece of “judgment” or thought, we devise our own calamities. Responsibility forlife depends on our thought, just as responsibility for winning at the games de-pends on the athlete’s thought. This is human centrism at the peak, we are themakers of our own good (and bad) fortune, and Apollo presiding even as now atthis ceremony is not really the controlling force, but at most the favoring andconfirming authority.apotrov pw/ gnwv ma/ seseismev non.”But so too it falls to the groundshaken by a wrong-turning judgment..”For the Greeks all is done under the cover of a theic supervision, yet man assumesresponsibility for the good and bad which occurs. Modern society still likes to feelit operates under a celestial umbrella of some sort, whether Fate, or Luck-Of-The-Draw, or Astrology or any shade of religious belief.89Epode 5epav meroi tiv dev ti”… tiv dæ ouv ti”… skia’ ” ov narav nqrwpo” allæ o{ tan aiv gla diov sdoto” ev lqh/lampron fev ggo” ev pestin andrw’ n kai meiv lico” aiwv n:Aiv gina fiv la ma’ ter eleuqev rw/ stov lw/pov lin tav nde kov mize Di kai krev onti sun Aiakw’ /Phlei’ te kagaqw’ / Telamw’ ni suv n tæ Acillei’Coming to the Finale of this last great poem from the master of choral poetry, andremembering that he was thenabout eighty years old then, and had started this Odewith an unusual appeal to Hesychia as the spirit of universal peace under Justice,we might well pause before approaching his last words. He has shrouded theFinale with a sense of mystery, which raises deep questions about the meaning ofhuman life, its expectations and its defaults, a philosophical and lyrical interludeof great beauty ——before plunging back to Aegina and the mythic mysteries ofthe heroes from a long gone past.epav meroi tiv dev ti”… tiv dæ ouv ti”… skia’ ” ov nar av nqrwpo””Things of a day are we. What are we? What are we not?The dream of a shadow, that is Man…….”90 Shakespeare had said as much, we are players on life’s stage, here for the part andfor the show, when the curtain fall we step off and disappear forever.This willprobably be the way most of us would read Pindar’s word epavmeroi at firstsight, and that may in fact be one part of Pindar’s meaning.But there is a long tradition about this “ephemeral” word dating back to Homer’sphrase at Od.21.85 ephemeria phroneontes (efhmeria froneonte~) whichrefers somewhat regretfully to the shortness and variability of man’s span of at-tention. Then as now we think of the daily things first and the ultimate meaningsonly peripherally if at all. That is human nature, and so it appeared to the Greeksand it may not be entirely wrong several millennia later. Aeschylus in one of thefragments says “mortals think for the day” and adds the phrase that mental stabil-ity is no more than the shadow of smoke (kapnou skia), a near parallel toPindar’s phrase “dream of a shadow”..In terms of the ancient use of this critical word, we might better translate the linethis way: Thinking for the day! (as we are by our human nature) What is one? What is one not? (Heraclitus ‘ Continuum of Change)This does seem more consonant with Greek thinking, with the actual words Pindaruses, and if we feel robbed of some of the mystery of the wonderful wording ofthe close of this grand poem, we can console ourselves by knowing that with thisinterpretation we may be in Greek terms nearer to the poet’s thoughts.On the other hand, we as later-world readers of this venerable poetry have a rightto use our own impressions and intuitions, and we are certainly not to be bound bythe restrictions of a set of classical Greek quotations. There is much in Pindar asin every Greek writer which slips us by or tricks us in a wrong direction, as weread and interpret texts copied over and over again from an ancient lostmanuscript. We adhere to the doctrine of reading in the light of philological91 truthfulness, and scholarship can often correct aberrant impressions quite well. Butthere is another area in which we must trust our own perceptions, where our sub-jective and personal impressions may carry a worthwhile message even if notcompletely consonant with the text we have at hand. Philology is one of our besttools for truth, so long as we recognize that is has a peculiar stamp of its own,which is too often non-literary and even at times anti-literary. We must use schol-arship but we must not let it get in our way.I mention this here because of the wonderful mysterious mist which these closingwords cast over our eyes, words which we should in the final analyssi read withour own personal and subjective bias. Where spirit is involves, footnotes maysimply not be in order.:epav meroi tiv dev ti”… tiv dæ ouv ti”… skia’ ” ov nar av nqrwpo”Let the words stand and slip into memory, and decide later what they may havemeant to the author and what they seem to mean to you at this ephemeral momentof time. epavmeroi Alas, we humans are mere things of a day, variable in our thoughts and gone in an instant of time. tiv dev ti”… What is a person after all, his achievements and wealth? tiv dæ ouv ti”… What has he failed to do, what life has he wasted…? skia'” ovnar avnqrwpo” It all comes to nothingness. It is allVanity of vanities!__________________92 However that is not the end of the situation or of the poem. We are almost at theend, but we have two more thematic strands to unravel before we are done. Thefirst is signalled by a emphatic BUT which counters the previous mystical sadnessabout the meaning of life, with a flash of light and bright hope: allæ o{ tan aiv gla diov sdoto” ev lqh/lampron fev ggo” ev pestin andrw’ n kai meiv lico” aiwv n:BUT when the god-given brightness comes,a shining light rests upon men, and a lovely life.This changes the direction of the ending emphatically, with a note of faith andoptimism and hope for a life which can be good and lovely for the winning athleteand for the rest of us too.This terminating passage must be read alltogether as a set of connected thoughts,in three parts:a) What is life, passing quickly by, constantly changing, a reminderof how emphemeral we are, how insignificant and what we havefailed to become.b) BUT when a gleam of brightness shines on us, we are enlightenedand from that moment on we will live a lovely and charmed life.c) And that brings back to mind the great mythic tradition, with itsguidance in free wise from Zeus above and from the ancient familiesof heroes tracing their line from Aegina and Aeacus down throughthe generations, to that last exemplar of the bright and the brilliant — the incomparable Achilles.93 This passage, moving from a) despair and measured desperation in the review of aspent life, to a b) flashing view of the brightness which can mysteriously come toenlighten and vivify our lives, leads inexorably to c) the mythic vision of theHeroes .These vividly exemplify, in terms of ancient myth from a far heroic island, thetraditional brilliance of the Greek word aiglh, which exists in this world as agoal within the reach of emphemerals like ourselves, who can hear this poem sungwith the last words ringing in our ears, with the names of heroes and victories ingallant rhythmic pulses of song, and thus have hope that Brilliance is not forevergone from this worldAiv gina fiv la ma’ ter eleuqev rw/ stov lw/pov lin tav nde kov mize Di kai krev onti sun Aiakw’ /Phlei’ te kagaqw’ / Telamw’ ni suv n tæ Acillei'”Dear mother Aegina, with a free sailing forthaccompany this city, along with Zeus and king Aeacus,Peleus and brave Telamon, and with Achilles.”There is much packed into these three lines. Aegina as dear to Pindar in many ofhis poems, is here mother of the victorious athlete. Now threatened by Athenianhegemony trading on the high seas where Aegina had been a major power, thepoet prays for the guardian spirit Aegina to protect the city with free sailing, bothas a poetic turn of phrase and also with a political and economic innuendo.The lines verge backward into the ancient mythic past, proceeding from the cityof Aegina backward to nymph Aegina as mother of Aeacus by Zeus, then on toAeacus’ one son Telamon who fathered the greater Ajax and also Teucer, and hisother son Peleus who by the nymph Thetis fathered Achilles. Compressing thesevaried mythological strands together into three tightly packed lines has a doublepurpose. It dynamically arranges names of famous note together in short breath-like groupings of words, with the strong effect of sequenced compression:94 Aiv gina fiv la ma’ ter Aegina our mother eleuqevrw/ stovlw/with fair voyagepov lin tav nde kov mize this city Di kai zeuskrev onti sun Aiakw’ /AeacusPhlei’ te Peleus kagaqw’ / Telamw’ ni Telamon (pause before the very end) suv n tæ Acillei’ AND WITH ACHILLESThis is no mere roster of famous names, a list from Apollodorus or Bullfinch ofAeacid Heroes of famous reputation. It is the tracing of the spiritual lifeblood ofan island realm which was part of an ancient world, known for its high mountains,its ports for sailing to the known world, its hoplites fighting on foot with weaponsin their hands, its new athletes who retain their ancestral righting spirit, and if thisis all to be summed up in a single word or name, the list would conclude with onename only.Telling all the rest of the names, we have to pause as the final breath brings forththe last words, which strikes the heart of every person who knows the Homericworld of epic song. The roster must end with a pregnant pause, and then the nameof ACHILLES.But looking back at the poem from the very first words, we realize there is a dif-ference from start to end. At the first line it was the spirit of Quietude or Hesychiaas quality if not a formal deity, which with Justice or DIKE from Zeus makes the95 ways of cities straight and clean. But as the poem ends, it is not justice by thebright gleam of god-rewarded achievement with control, which calls up the namesof ancient heroes known specifically for valiance and courage. We know thatAchilles as the summation of all that was bright and brilliant, does have a fatalflaw in his samurai-like fighting mentality. Without tenderness or love or family,he wins the fights he engages, with a warrior’s prcision and coldness. He wouldseem to eb with out feelings, but there is a certain nascent tristesse about him asthe Iliad comes to the end. Yet his was the brilliance, that indubitable shine ofsuccessful Glory which a hero aspires to, and in that light his name concludes thispoem resoundingly.We must remember that Pindar was an old man when writing this last poem, thatQuietude was from the start the theme of the Ode, that near death he knew allabout the empheralness of human existence. We wonder why his conclusion andhis final emblematic titling would be with the name of Achilles as the paradigm ofthe man of blood and action, the ultimate warrior. Heaping praise earlier in thepoem on Alcmaeon both as warrior and also as prophet, Pindar might seem tohave had a better choice for his great Hero. But that was spoken within the rangeof his home and background at Thebes, and this at the Pythian ceremony, whichhad to be pan-Hellenic and to end with a drum roll which would stir all heartsthroughout the Aegean world.The Finale stirs us still, but perhaps with a warning about war, about hero wor-ship, and and how easily we forget our thoughts about Hesychia and Quietude asour best preferences. Do we really prefer Peace and Quiet, or are we still tuned tothe martial cadences of national histories and the excitement of the sounds of war?Still there is a heroic ring in our hearts as we think of our own fair city, whenknowing that god is on our side, we hear the resounding list of the great men ofour people who lived with courage and brilliance:pov lin tav nde kov mize Di kai krev onti sun Aiakw’ /Phlei’ te kagaqw’ / Telamw’ nisuv n tæ Acillei’_______96___________


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