Infomotions, Inc.The Extant Odes of Pindar / Pindar, 518? BC-438? BC

Author: Pindar, 518? BC-438? BC
Title: The Extant Odes of Pindar
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): zeus; pindar; herakles; ode; winner; thebes; honour; chariot; victory; games; song
Contributor(s): Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 54,284 words (really short) Grade range: 14-16 (college) Readability score: 50 (average)
Identifier: etext10717
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Title: The Extant Odes of Pindar

Author: Pindar

Release Date: January 14, 2004 [EBook #10717]

Language: English

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_Sometime Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford_


_First edition printed 1874._

_Reprinted (with corrections) 1884, 1888, 1892, 1895, 1899, 1904_



Probably no poet of importance equal or approaching to that of Pindar
finds so few and so infrequent readers. The causes are not far to
seek: in the first and most obvious place comes the great difficulty
of his language, in the second the frequent obscurity of his thought,
resulting mainly from his exceeding allusiveness and his abrupt
transitions, and in the third place that amount of monotony which must
of necessity attach to a series of poems provided for a succession of
similar occasions.

It is as an attempt towards obviating the first of these hindrances
to the study of Pindar, the difficulty of his language, that this
translation is of course especially intended. To whom and in what
cases are translations of poets useful? To a perfect scholar in the
original tongue they are superfluous, to one wholly ignorant of it
they are apt to be (unless here and there to a Keats) meaningless,
flat, and puzzling. There remains the third class of those who have a
certain amount of knowledge of a language, but not enough to
enable them to read unassisted its more difficult books without an
expenditure of time and trouble which is virtually prohibitive. It
is to this class that a translation ought, it would seem, chiefly to
address itself. An intelligent person of cultivated literary taste,
and able to read the easier books in an acquired language, will feel
himself indebted to a hand which unlocks for him the inner chambers
of a temple in whose outer courts he had already delighted to wander.
Without therefore saying that the merely 'English reader' may never
derive pleasure and instruction from a translation of a foreign poet,
for to this rule our current version of the Hebrew psalmists and
prophets furnish one marked exception at least--still, it is probably
to what may be called the half-learned class that the translator must
preeminently look to find an audience.

The other causes of Pindar's unpopularity to which reference was made
above, the obscurity of his thought and the monotony of his subjects,
will in great measure disappear by means of attentive study of the
poems themselves, and of other sources from which may be gathered an
understanding of the region of thought and feeling in which they move.
In proportion to our familiarity not only with Hellenic mythology and
history, but with Hellenic life and habits of thought generally, will
be our readiness and facility in seizing the drift and import of what
Pindar says, in divining what has passed through his mind: and in his
case perhaps even more than in the case of other poets, this facility
will increase indefinitely with our increasing acquaintance with his
works and with the light thrown on each part of them by the rest[1].

The monotony of the odes, though to some extent unquestionably and
unavoidably real, is to some extent also superficial and in appearance
only. The family of the victor, or his country, some incident of his
past, some possibility of his future life, suggest in each case some
different legendary matter, some different way of treating it, some
different application of it, general or particular, or both. Out
of such resources Pindar is inexhaustible in building up in subtly
varying forms the splendid structure of his song.

Yet doubtless the drawbacks in reading Pindar, though they may be
largely reduced, will always in some degree exist: we shall always
wish that he was easier to construe, that his allusions to things
unfamiliar and sometimes undiscoverable to us were less frequent, that
family pride had not made it customary for him to spend so many lines
on an enumeration of prizes won elsewhere and at other times by the
victor of the occasion or by his kin. Such drawbacks can only fall
into insignificance when eclipsed by consideration of the far more
than counterbalancing attractions of the poems, of their unique and
surpassing interest, poetical, historical, and moral.

Of Pindar as a poet it is hard indeed to speak adequately, and
almost as hard to speak briefly, for a discussion of his poetical
characteristics once begun may wander far before even a small part
has been said of what might be. To say that to his poetry in supreme
degree belong the qualities of force, of vividness, often of
impressive weight, of a lofty style, seeming to be the expression of
a like personality, of a mastery of rhythm and metre and imaginative
diction, of a profoundly Hellenic spirit modified by an unmistakable
individuality, above all of a certain sweep and swiftness as of the
flight of an eagle's wing--to say all this would be to suggest some of
the most obvious features of these triumphal odes; and each of these
qualities, and many more requiring exacter delineation, might be
illustrated with numberless instances which even in the faint image
of a translation would furnish ample testimony[2]. But as this
introduction is intended for those who purpose reading Pindar's
poetry, or at any rate the present translation of it, for themselves,
I will leave it to them to discover for themselves the qualities which
have given Pindar his high place among poets, and will pass on to
suggest briefly his claims to interest us by reason of his place in
the history of human action and human thought.

We know very little of Pindar's life. He was born in or about the year
B.C. 522, at the village of Kynoskephalai near Thebes. He was thus a
citizen of Thebes and seems to have always had his home there. But he
travelled among other states, many of which have been glorified by his
art. For his praise of Athens, 'bulwark of Hellas,' the city which at
Artemision 'laid the foundation of freedom,' the Thebans are said to
have fined him; but the generous Athenians paid the fine, made him
their Proxenos, and erected his statue at the public cost. For the
magnificent Sicilian princes, Hieron of Syracuse and Theron of
Akragas, not unlike the Medici in the position they held, Pindar wrote
five of the longest of his extant odes, and probably visited them in
Sicily. But he would not quit his home to be an ornament of their
courts. When asked why he did not, like Simonides, accept the
invitations of these potentates to make his home with them, he
answered that he had chosen to live his own life, and not to be the
property of another. He died at the age of 79, that is, probably, in
the year 443, twelve years before the Peloponnesian war began. Legend
said that he died in the theatre of Argos, in the arms of Theoxenos,
the boy in whose honour he wrote a Skolion of which an immortal
fragment remains to us. Other myths gathered round his name. It was
said that once when in childhood he had fallen asleep by the way 'a
bee had settled on his lips and gathered honey,' and again that
'he saw in a dream that his mouth was filled with honey and the
honeycomb;' that Pan himself learnt a poem of his and rejoiced to sing
it on the mountains; that finally, while he awaited an answer from
the oracle of Ammon, whence he had enquired what was best for man,
Persephone appeared to him in his sleep and said that she only of the
gods had had no hymn from him, but that he should make her one shortly
when he had come to her; and that he died within ten days of the

Two several conquerors of Thebes, Pausanias of Sparta and Alexander of

  'bade spare
  The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
  Went to the ground.'

At Delphi they kept with reverence his iron chair, and the priest of
Apollo cried nightly as he closed the temple, 'Let Pindar the poet go
in unto the supper of the god.'

Thus Pindar was contemporary with an age of Greek history which
justifies the assertion of his consummate interest for the student of
Hellenic life in its prime. It was impossible that a man of his
genius and temperament should have lived through these times without
representing to us with breadth and intensity the spirit that was in
them, and there are several points in Pindar's circumstances which
make his relation to his age peculiarly interesting. We may look on
him as in some points supplementary to the great Athenian dramatists,
whose works are doubtless far the most valuable literary legacy of the
time. Perhaps however the surpassing brilliance of Athenian literature
and history has made us somewhat prone to forget the importance of
non-Athenian elements in the complex whole of Hellenic life and
thought. Athens was the eye of Hellas, nay, she had at Marathon and
Salamis made good her claim to be called the saving arm, but there
were other members not to be forgotten if we would picture to
ourselves the national body in its completeness.

Pindar was a Boeotian, of a country not rich in literary or indeed any
kind of intellectual eminence, yet by no means to be ignored in an
estimate of the Hellenic race. Politically indeed it only rises into
pre-eminence under Epameinondas; before and afterwards Boeotian
policy under the domination of Thebes is seldom either beneficent or
glorious: it must be remembered, however, that the gallant Plataeans
also were Boeotians. The people of Boeotia seem to have had generally
an easy, rather sensually inclined nature, which accorded with their
rich country and absence of nautical and commercial enterprise and
excitement, but in their best men this disposition remains only in the
form of a genial simplicity. Pelopidas in political, and Plutarch and
Pausanias in literary history, will be allowed to be instances of
this. That the poetry which penetrated Hellenic life was not wanting
in Boeotia we have proof enough in the existence of the Sacred Band,
that goodly fellowship of friends which seems to have united what
Hallam has called the three strongest motives to enthusiastic action
that have appeared in history, patriotism, chivalric honour, and
religion. Nor is there any nobler figure in history than that of

One fact indeed there is which must always make the thought of
Pindar's Theban citizenship painful to us, and that is the shameful
part taken by Thebes in the Persian war, when compulsion of her
exposed situation, and oligarchical cabal within her walls, drew her
into unholy alliance with the barbarian invader. Had it been otherwise
how passionately pure would Pindar's joy have uttered itself when the
'stone of Tantalos' that hung over the head of Hellas was smitten into
dust in that greatest crisis of the fortunes of humanity. He exults
nobly as it is, he does all honour to Athens, 'bulwark of Hellas,' but
the shame of his own city, his 'mother' Thebes, must have caused him a
pang as bitter as a great soul has ever borne.

For his very calling of song-writer to all Hellenic states without
discrimination, especially when the songs he had to write were of the
class which we still possess, triumphal odes for victories in those
great games which drew to them all men of Hellenic blood at the feet
of common deities, and which with each recurring festival could even
hush the clamour of war in an imperious Truce of God--such a calling
and such associations must have cherished in him the passion for
Panhellenic brotherhood and unanimity, even had there not been much
else both within and without him to join to the same generous end. It
was the time when Panhellenic feeling was probably stronger than ever
before or after. Before, the states had been occupied in building
up their own polities independently; the Hellenic activity had been
dispersing itself centrifugally among the trans-marine colonies,
and those of Italy and Sicily seemed at one time to make it doubtful
whether the nucleus of civilization were to be there or in the
mother-country. But by the time of the Persian war the best energies
of the race had concentrated themselves between the Aegean and Ionian
seas; and the supreme danger of the war had bound the states together
against the common enemy and taught them to forget smaller differences
in the great strife between Hellene and barbarian. Yet again when that
supreme danger was past the old quarrels arose anew more deadly and
more complicated: instead of a Persian there was a Peloponnesian war,
and the Peloponnesian war in its latter stages came, by virtue of the
political principles involved, to partake much of the character of
a civil war. But the time of Pindar, of Aeschylus, of Sophocles, of
Pheidias, of Polygnotos, was that happy interval when Hellas had
beaten off the barbarian from her throat and had not yet murdered
herself. And Pindar's imagination and generosity were both kindled by
the moment; there was no room in his mind for border squabbles, for
commercial jealousies, for oligarchic or democratic envy: these things
were overridden by a sentiment of nationality wanting indeed in
many circumstances which modern nationalities deem essential to the
existence of such sentiment, and many of which are really essential to
its permanence--yet a sentiment which no other nation ever before or
since can have possessed in the peculiar lustre which it then wore in
Hellas; for no other nation has ever before or since known what it was
to stand alone immeasurably advanced at the head of the civilization
of the world.

Pindar was of a noble family, of the house of the Aigeidai, and it is
probable that his kinsmen, or some of them, may have taken the side of
oligarchy in the often recurring dissensions at Thebes, but of this
we know nothing certain. He himself seems to have taken no part in
politics. When he speaks on the subject in his odes it is not with the
voice of a partisan. An ochlocracy is hateful to him, but if he shows
himself an 'aristocrat' it is in the literal and etymological meaning
of the word. Doubtless if Pindar had been asked where the best
servants of the state in public life were most likely to be found he
would have answered that it would be among those ancient families in
whose veins ran the blood of gods and demigods, who had spent blood
and money for the city's honour, championing her in war or in the
mimic strife of the games, who had honourable traditions to be guided
by and an honourable name to lose or save. These things were seldom
undervalued by Hellenic feeling: even in Athens, after it was already
the headquarters of the democratic principle, the noble and wealthy
families obtained, not probably without wisdom of their own in loyally
accepting a democratic position, as fair a place and prospects as
anywhere in Hellas. But that, when the noble nature, the [Greek:
aretae], which traditions of nobility ought to have secured, was
lacking, then wealth and birth were still entitled to power, this
was a doctrine repugnant utterly to Pindar's mind: nor would his
indignation slumber when he saw the rich and highborn, however gifted,
forgetting at any time that their power was a trust for the community
and using it for their own selfish profit. An 'aristocrat' after
Pindar's mind would assuredly have a far keener eye to his duties
than to his rights, would consider indeed that in his larger share of
duties lay his infinitely most precious right.

But he 'loved that beauty should go beautifully;' personal excellence
of some kind was in his eyes essential; but on this he would fain
shed outward radiance and majesty. His imagination rejoiced in
splendour--splendour of stately palace--halls where the columns were
of marble and the entablature of wrought gold, splendour of temples of
gods where the sculptor's waxing art had brought the very deities to
dwell with man, splendour of the white-pillared cities that glittered
across the Aegean and Sicilian seas, splendour of the holy Panhellenic
games, of whirlwind chariots and the fiery grace of thoroughbreds,
of the naked shapely limbs of the athlete man and boy. On this
characteristic of Pindar it is needless to dwell, for there are not
many odes of those remaining which do not impress it on our minds.

And it is more with him than a mere manner in poetical style. The
same defect which we feel more or less present in all poets of
antiquity--least of all perhaps in Virgil and Sophokles, but even in
them somewhat--a certain want of widely sympathetic tenderness, this
is unquestionably present in Pindar. What of this quality may have
found expression in his lost poems, especially the Dirges, we can
scarcely guess, but in his triumphal odes it hardly appears at all,
unless in the touches of tender gracefulness into which he softens
when speaking of the young. And we find this want in him mainly
because objects of pity, such as especially elicit that quality of
tenderness, are never or seldom present to Pindar's mind. He sees evil
only in the shape of some moral baseness, falsehood, envy, arrogance,
and the like, to be scathed in passing by the good man's scorn, or
else in the shape of a dark mystery of pain, to be endured by those on
whom it causelessly falls in a proud though undefiant silence. It was
not for him, as for the great tragedians, to 'purge the mind by pity
and fear,' for those passions had scarcely a place in his own mind or
in the minds of those of whom he in his high phantasy would fain have
had the world consist. And as in this point somewhat, so still more in
others, does Pindar remind us, even more than might have been expected
in a contemporary, of Aeschylus. The latter by virtue of his Athenian
nurture as well as of his own greater natural gifts reveals to us
a greater number of thoughts, and those more advanced and more
interesting than we find in Pindar, but the similarity in moral temper
and tone is very striking, as also is the way in which we see this
temper acting on their beliefs. Both hold strongly, as is the wont
of powerful minds in an age of stability as opposed to an age of
transition, to the traditions and beliefs on which the society around
them rests, but both modify these traditions and beliefs according
to the light which arises in them, and which is as much moral as
intellectual light. In so doing they are indeed in harmony with the
best instincts of the society around them, but they lead and guide
such instincts and give them shape and definiteness. In the Oresteaen
trilogy of Aeschylus we have an ever-memorable assertion of the
supreme claims of human morality to human allegiance, of the eternal
truth that humanity can know no object of reverence and worship except
itself idealised, its own virtues victorious over its own vices, and
existing in the greatest perfection which it can at any given time
conceive. Somewhat the same lesson as that of the Oresteia is taught
later, with more of sweetness and harmony, but not with more force,
in the Oedipus Coloneus of Sophokles. And in Pindar we see the same
tendencies inchoate. Like Aeschylus he does by implication subordinate
to morality both politics and religion. He ignores or flatly denies
tales that bring discredit on the gods; he will only bow down to them
when they have the virtues he respects in man. Yet he, like Aeschylus
and Sophokles, does so bow down, sincerely and without hesitation, and
that poets of their temper could do so was well indeed for poetry.
By rare and happy fortune they were inspired at once by the rich and
varied presences of mythology, 'the fair humanities of old religion,'
and also by the highest aspirations of an age of moral and
intellectual advance. We do not of course always, or even often, find
the moral principles clearly and consciously expressed or consistently
supported, but we cannot but feel that they are present in the shape
of instincts, and those instincts pervading and architectonic.

And if we allow so much of ethical enlightenment to these great
spokesmen of the Hellenic people, we cannot deny something of like
honour to the race among whom they were reared. Let us apportion our
debt of gratitude to our forerunners as it is justly due. There would
seem to be much of fallacy and of the injustice of a shallow judgment
in the contrast as popularly drawn between 'Hellenism' and 'Hebraism,'
according to which the former is spoken of as exclusively proclaiming
to the world the value of Beauty, the latter the value of
Righteousness. In this there is surely much injustice done to Hellas.
Because she taught the one, she did not therefore leave the other
untaught. It may have been for a short time, as her other greatness
was for a short time, though its effects are eternal, but for that
short time the national life, of Athens at any rate, is at least as
full of high moral feeling as that of any other people in the world.
Will not the names of Solon, of Aristeides, of Kallikratidas, of
Epameinondas, of Timoleon and many more, remind us that life could be
to the Hellene something of deeper moral import than a brilliant game,
or a garden of vivid and sweet sights and sounds where Beauty and
Knowledge entered, but Goodness was forgotten and shut out? For it
is not merely that these men, and very many more endowed with ample
portion of their spirit, were produced and reared among the race; they
were honoured and valued in a way that surely postulated the existence
of high ethical feeling in their countrymen. And even when the days
of unselfish statesmen and magnanimous cities were over, there were
philosophers whose schools were not the less filled because they
claimed a high place for righteousness in human life. To Solon and
Aristeides succeeded Socrates and Plato, to Epameinondas and Timoleon
succeeded Zeno and Epictetus. That the morality of the Hellenes was
complete on all sides, it would of course be irrational to maintain.
They had not, for instance, any more than the Hebrews, or any other
nation of antiquity, learnt to abhor slavery, though probably it
existed in a milder form at Athens than anywhere else in the old or
new world: they were more implacable in revenge and laxer in sexual
indulgence than the Christian ethics would allow in theory, though not
perhaps much more so than Christendom has shown itself in practice.
And though undoubtedly the greatest single impulse ever given to
morality came from Palestine, yet the ground which nurtured the seeds
of Christianity was as much Hellenic as Hebrew. It would be impossible
here to enter on an exhaustive comparison of the ethical capacities of
the two races, but before we pronounce hastily for the superiority of
the Hebrew there are surely some difficulties to surmount. We may
well ask, for example, Would Hellas ever have accepted as her chief
national hero such a man as David a man who in his life is conspicuous
by his crimes not less than by his brilliant gifts, and who dies with
the words of blood and perfidy on his lips, charging his son with the
last slaughterous satisfaction of his hate which he had sworn before
his God to forego? And though the great Hebrew prophets teach often
a far loftier morality than this, they cannot have been nearly so
representative of the feeling of this nation as were Aeschylus and
Sophocles and Pindar of the feeling of theirs. The Hebrews of the
prophets' age 'slew the prophets,' and left it to the slayers'
descendants to 'build their sepulchres,' and at the same time to
show their inherited character still more unmistakeably by once more
slaying the last prophet and the greatest.[3]

In truth in the literature, the art, the life generally of Hellas in
her prime, the moral interest whenever it appears, and that is not
seldom, claims for itself the grave and preponderant attention which
it must claim if it is to appear with fit dignity. But it is not
thrust forward unseasonably or in exaggeration, nor is it placed in a
false opposition to the interests of the aesthetic instincts, which
after all shade into the moral more imperceptibly than might be
generally allowed. There must be a moral side to all societies, and
the Hellenic society, the choicest that the world has seen, the
completest, that is, at once in sensibilities and in energies, could
not but show the excellence of its sensibilities in receiving moral
impressions, the excellence of its energies in achieving moral

This, however, is no place to discuss at length questions in the
history of ethics. Yet it must be remembered that in the ancient world
departments of thought, and the affairs of men generally, were far
less specialized than in modern times. If the philosophy of Hellas be
the most explicit witness to her ethical development, her poetry
is the most eloquent. And scarcely at any time, scarcely even in
Aristotle, did Hellenic philosophy in any department lose most
significant traces of its poetical ancestry. But enough here if I have
succeeded in pointing out that in the great poet with whom we are
concerned there is an ethical as well as a poetical and historical
interest, supplying one more reason against neglect of his legacy of

Yet indeed even now there remains a further question which to the
mind of any one who at present labours in this field of classical
scholarship must recur persistently if not depressingly, and on which
it is natural if not necessary to say a few words. If the selection
of Pindar in particular as a Greek poet with claims to be further
popularized among Englishmen may be defended, there is still a more
general count to which all who make endeavours to attract or retain
attention to Greek literature will in these times be called upon to
plead by voices which command respect. To such pleas this is not the
place to give large room, or to discriminate in detail between the
reasonable and unreasonable elements in the attacks on a system of
education in which a preeminent position is allotted to the literature
of antiquity. While fully admitting that much time and labour are
still wasted in efforts to plant the study of ancient and especially
of Greek literature in uncongenial soil, while admitting also most
fully the claims, and the still imperfect recognition of the claims,
of physical science to a rank among the foremost in modern education,
I should yet be abundantly willing that this attempt to help in
facilitating the study of a Greek author should be looked on as
implying adhesion to the protest still sometimes raised, that in
the higher parts of a liberal education no study can claim a more
important place than the study of the history and the literature of
Hellas. The interest which belongs to these is far wider and
deeper than any mere literary interest. To the human mind the most
interesting of phenomena are and ought to be the phenomena of the
human mind, and this granted, can there be any knowledge more
desirable than the knowledge of the most vigorous and sensitive and in
some ways also the most fruitful action of human minds that the world
has known hitherto?

But again, we are told that the age we seek thus toilsomely to
illustrate and realize is too remote to justify the attempt, that our
civilisation is of too different a type from the Hellenic, and that a
gulf of three-and-twenty centuries is too much for our sight to strain
across. But is not the Hellenic life at least less remote now to
Western Europe than it has ever been since the Northern invasions?
Though the separation in time widens does not the separation in
thought decrease? Is not one civilisation more like another than it
can be to any barbarism? And shall not this same Physical Science
herself by accustoming us to look on men in large masses at once, and
on the development of humanity as a process of infinite duration, as
a sectional growth included in universal evolution--Science, in whose
eyes a thousand years are as a watch in the night--shall she not
thereby quicken our sympathies with the most gifted race that has
appeared in our short human history, and arouse the same feeling
toward it as a family may cherish toward the memory of their best and
choicest, who has died young?

Only let us take heed that such regret shall make us not more but
less unworthy of those noble forerunners. One symptom of the renewed
influence of antiquity on the modern world is doubtless and has been
from time to time since the Revival of Letters a tendency to selfish
and somewhat sickly theories so-called of life, where sensibility
degenerates through self-consciousness into affectation, and
efforts to appreciate fully the delightfulness of life and art are
overstrained into a wearisome literary voluptuousness, where duty has
already disappeared and the human sympathies on which duty is based
scarcely linger in a faint aesthetic form, soon to leave the would-be
exquisiteness to putrefy into the vulgarity of egoism. Such tendencies
have less in common with the Hellenic prime than with the court of
Leo the Tenth, though even that had perhaps an advantage over them as
being in some ways a more real thing. But that the Hellenic prime with
all its exquisite sensibility was deficient in recognition of a high
ideal of duty can never be believed among those who have studied it
candidly and attentively; I have endeavoured above to suggest that in
this point, take it all in all, it yields to no age or race. It would
indeed be a mistaken following of those noble servants of humanity
to draw from their memories an argument for selfish isolation or for
despair of the commonwealth of man. He who has drunk deeply of that
divine well and gazed long at the fair vision of what then was, will,
if his nature be capable of true sympathy with the various elements
of that wonderful age, turn again without bitterness to the confused
modern world, saddened but not paralysed by the comparison, grieving,
but with no querulous grief, for the certainty that those days are



The few notes appended to this translation are not intended to supply
the place of such reference to Dictionaries of Mythology, Antiquities
and Geography, as is needful to the student of Pindar who is not
already somewhat accomplished in knowledge of the customs, history
and legendary traditions of Hellas. And although it may reasonably be
supposed that the chief of these will be already known to most readers
of Pindar, yet so profusely allusive is this poet that to understand
his allusions will very often require knowledge which would not have
been derived from a study of the more commonly read Hellenic writers.

Nor have I attempted to trace in detail the connection of the parts
in each ode which binds them into one harmonious whole with many
meanings--a connection so consummately contrived where we can trace it
that we may suppose it no less exquisite where we cannot. Study
and thought will generally suggest explanations, though these will
sometimes approve themselves differently to different minds. Too often
we must acknowledge, as elsewhere in ancient literature, that the key
is lost beyond all certain hope of recovery.

Still less have I attempted to discuss questions of critical
scholarship. Sometimes where there are more than one plausible reading
I have signified which I adopt; once only (Ol. 2. 56.) I have ventured
on an emendation of my own. For the most part I have, as was natural,
followed the text of Boeckh and Dissen.

In the spelling of names I remain in that inconsistency which at
present attaches to most modern writers who deal with them. Olympus,
Athens, Corinth, Syracuse, and the like are naturalized among us by
long familiarity; it seems at present at least pedantic to change
them. In the case of other less familiar names I have concurred with
the desire, which seems in the main a reasonable one, that the names
of Hellenic persons and places should be reproduced, as far as
possible, without Latin mediation.

Of the Fragments I have translated six of the longest and most
interesting. They are 289 in all, but the greater part are not longer
than a line or two, and very many even shorter.

The odes are unequal in poetical merit, and many readers may not
unreasonably wish to have those pointed out which, in the judgement of
one acquainted with all, are among the best worth reading; though of
course the choice of individual readers will not always be the same.
To those therefore who would wish to begin with a selection, the
following may be recommended as at any rate among those of preeminent
merit: Pyth. 4, 9, 1, 10, 3; Ol. 7, 6, 2, 3, 13, 8, 1; Nem. 5, 10;
Isthm. 2, 7; all the Fragments translated.

In the arrangement of the odes I have adhered to the traditional
order. I should much have liked to place them in what must always be
the most interesting and rational arrangement of a poet's works,
that is, in chronological order. This would have been approximately
possible, as we know the dates of the greater part of them. But
convenience of reference and of comparison with the Greek text seems
to supply a balance of reasons on the other side. Subjoined however is
a list of the odes in their probable chronological order so far as it
can be obtained.

  Pythian    10-------------B.C. 502.
        "           6-------------    "   494.
        "         12-------------    "   494 or 490.
        "           7-------------    "   490.
        "           3-------------    "   486 or 482.
  Olympian 10 } ----------     "   484.
            "     11 } ----------     "   484.
  Isthmian    5
  Nemean     5
  Isthmian    7 ------------     "  480.
  Isthmian    3
  Pythian      8--------------   "  478.
         "          9--------------   "  478.
         "        11--------------   "  478.
         "          2--------------   "  477.
  Olympian 14--------------   "  476.
         "       }-----------------    "  476.
         "       }-----------------    "  476.
  Pythian      1
  Nemean     1---------------  "  473.
  Olympian   1---------------  " 472.
         "         12--------------  "  472.
  Nemean      9
  Isthmian     2
  Olympian    6--------------  "  468.
  Pythian       4 }-------------  "  466.
          "          5 }
  Olympian    7--------------  "  464.
          "        13--------------  "  464.
  Nemean      7
          "          3
          "          4
          "          6
          "          8
  Olympian    9--------------  "  456.
  Isthmian     6
  Olympian    4 }------------   "  452.
          "          5 }

The Olympic games were held once in four years, in honour of Zeus. The
prize was a wreath of wild olive.

The Pythian games were held once in four years, in honour of Apollo.
The prize was a wreath of bay.

The Nemean games were held once in two years, in honour of Zeus. The
prize was a wreath of wild parsley.

The Isthmian games were held once in two years, in honour of Poseidon.
The prize was a wreath of wild parsley or of pine.

[Footnote 1: The importance and interest to a student in Hellenic
literature of a collateral study of whatever remains to us of Hellenic
plastic art--statues, vases, gems, and coins--can hardly be too
strongly insisted on.]

[Footnote 2: In Mr. J.A. Symonds' 'Studies of the Greek Poets' there
is an essay on Pindar which dwells with much appreciative eloquence
upon the poets literary characteristics.]

[Footnote 3: In thus touching on the obligations of our morality to
the Hebrew and to the Hellene respectively, I have insisted more
exclusively on the weak points of the former than I should have done
in a fuller discussion of the subject: here I am merely concerned to
question in passing what seems to be a popular one-sided estimate.]

       *       *       *       *       *





       *       *       *       *       *

This ode seems to owe its position at the head of Pindar's extant
works to Aristophanes the grammarian, who placed it there on account
of its being specially occupied with the glorification of the Olympic
games in comparison with others, and with the story of Pelops, who was
their founder.

Hieron won this race B.C. 472, while at the height of his power at
Syracuse. Probably the ode was sung at Syracuse, perhaps, as has been
suggested, at a banquet.

       *       *       *       *       *

Best is Water of all, and Gold as a flaming fire in the night shineth
eminent amid lordly wealth; but if of prizes in the games thou art
fain, O my soul, to tell, then, as for no bright star more quickening
than the sun must thou search in the void firmament by day, so neither
shall we find any games greater than the Olympic whereof to utter our
voice: for hence cometh the glorious hymn and entereth into the minds
of the skilled in song, so that they celebrate the son[1] of Kronos,
when to the rich and happy hearth of Hieron they are come; for he
wieldeth the sceptre of justice in Sicily of many flocks, culling the
choice fruits of all kinds of excellence: and with the flower of music
is he made splendid, even such strains as we sing blithely at the
table of a friend.

Take from the peg the Dorian lute, if in any wise the glory of
Pherenikos[2] at Pisa hath swayed thy soul unto glad thoughts, when by
the banks of Alpheos he ran, and gave his body ungoaded in the
course, and brought victory to his master, the Syracusans' king, who
delighteth in horses.

Bright is his fame in Lydian Pelops' colony[3], inhabited of a goodly
race, whose founder mighty earth-enfolding Poseidon loved, what time
from the vessel of purifying[4] Klotho took him with the bright ivory
furnishment of his shoulder.

Verily many things are wondrous, and haply tales decked out with
cunning fables beyond the truth make false men's speech concerning
them. For Charis[5], who maketh all sweet things for mortal men, by
lending honour unto such maketh oft the unbelievable thing to be
believed; but the days that follow after are the wisest witnesses.

Meet is it for a man that concerning gods he speak honourably; for the
reproach is less. Of thee, son of Tantalos, I will speak contrariwise
to them who have gone before me, and I will tell how when thy father
had bidden thee to that most seemly feast at his beloved Sipylos,
repaying to the gods their banquet, then did he of the Bright
Trident[6], his heart vanquished by love, snatch thee and bear thee
behind his golden steeds to the house of august Zeus in the highest,
whither again on a like errand came Ganymede in the after time.

But when thou hadst vanished, and the men who sought thee long brought
thee not to thy mother, some one of the envious neighbours said
secretly that over water heated to boiling they had hewn asunder with
a knife thy limbs, and at the tables had shared among them and eaten
sodden fragments of thy flesh. But to me it is impossible to call one
of the blessed gods cannibal; I keep aloof; in telling ill tales is
often little gain.

Now if any man ever had honour of the guardians of Olympus, Tantalos
was that man; but his high fortune he could not digest, and by excess
thereof won him an overwhelming woe, in that the Father hath hung
above him a mighty stone that he would fain ward from his head, and
therewithal he is fallen from joy.

This hopeless life of endless misery he endureth with other three[7],
for that he stole from the immortals and gave to his fellows at
a feast the nectar and ambrosia, whereby the gods had made him
incorruptible. But if a man thinketh that in doing aught he shall be
hidden from God, he erreth.

Therefore also the immortals sent back again his son to be once more
counted with the short-lived race of men. And he when toward the bloom
of his sweet youth the down began to shade his darkening cheek, took
counsel with himself speedily to take to him for his wife the noble
Hippodameia from her Pisan father's hand.

And he came and stood upon the margin of the hoary sea, alone in the
darkness of the night, and called aloud on the deep-voiced Wielder of
the Trident; and he appeared unto him nigh at his foot.

Then he said unto him: 'Lo now, O Poseidon, if the kind gifts of the
Cyprian goddess are anywise pleasant in thine eyes, restrain Oinomaos'
bronze spear, and send me unto Elis upon a chariot exceeding swift,
and give the victory to my hands. Thirteen lovers already hath
Oinomaos slain, and still delayeth to give his daughter in marriage.
Now a great peril alloweth not of a coward: and forasmuch as men must
die, wherefore should one sit vainly in the dark through a dull and
nameless age, and without lot in noble deeds? Not so, but I will dare
this strife: do thou give the issue I desire.'

Thus spake he, nor were his words in vain: for the god made him a
glorious gift of a golden car and winged untiring steeds: so he
overcame Oinomaos and won the maiden for his bride.

And he begat six sons, chieftains, whose thoughts were ever of brave
deeds: and now hath he part in honour of blood-offerings in his grave
beside Alpheos' stream, and hath a frequented tomb, whereto many
strangers resort: and from afar off he beholdeth the glory of the
Olympian games in the courses called of Pelops, where is striving
of swift feet and of strong bodies brave to labour; but he that
overcometh hath for the sake of those games a sweet tranquillity
throughout his life for evermore.

Now the good that cometh of to-day is ever sovereign unto every man.
My part it is to crown Hieron with an equestrian strain in Aeolian
mood: and sure am I that no host among men that now are shall I ever
glorify in sounding labyrinths of song more learned in the learning of
honour and withal with more might to work thereto. A god hath guard
over thy hopes, O Hieron, and taketh care for them with a peculiar
care: and if he fail thee not, I trust that I shall again proclaim in
song a sweeter glory yet, and find thereto in words a ready way, when
to the fair-shining hill of Kronos I am come. Her strongest-winged
dart my Muse hath yet in store.

Of many kinds is the greatness of men; but the highest is to be
achieved by kings. Look not thou for more than this. May it be thine
to walk loftily all thy life, and mine to be the friend of winners in
the games, winning honour for my art among Hellenes everywhere.

[Footnote 1: The Olympic games were sacred to Zeus.]

[Footnote 2: The horse that won this race for Hieron.]

[Footnote 3: Peloponnesos.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. immediately on his birth, for among the Fates
Klotho was peculiarly concerned with the beginning of man's life.
Pindar refuses to accept the legend which made Pelops' ivory shoulder
a substitute for his fleshly one eaten at Tantalos' table by the gods;
for thus the gods would have been guilty of an infamous act.]

[Footnote 5: Goddess of Grace or Beauty. Often there are three
Charites or Graces. Pindar means here that men are prone to believe
an untrue tale for the sake of the beauty of the form in which it is
presented, but that such tales will not stand the test of time.]

[Footnote 6: Poseidon.]

[Footnote 7: Sisyphos, Ixion, and Tityos.]




       *       *       *       *       *

  Theron's ancestors the Emmenidai migrated from Rhodes to Sicily and
  first colonized Gela and then Akragas (the Latin Agrigentum and
  Italian Girgenti). His chariot won this victory B.C. 476.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lords of the lute[1], my songs, what god, what hero, or what man, are
we to celebrate?[2] Verily of Zeus is Pisa the abode, of Herakles the
Olympian feast was founded from the chief spoils of war, and Theron's
name must we proclaim for his victory with the four-horse-car, a
righteous and god-fearing host, the stay of Akragas, of famous sires
the flower, a saviour of the state.

They after long toils bravely borne took by a river's side a sacred
dwelling place, and became the eye of Sicily, and a life of good luck
clave to them, bringing them wealth and honour to crown their inborn

O son of Kronos and of Rhea, lord of Olympus' seat, and of the chief
of games and of Alpheos' ford, for joy in these my songs guard ever
graciously their native fields for their sons that shall come after

Now of deeds done whether they be right or wrong not even Time the
father of all can make undone the accomplishment, yet with happy
fortune forgetfulness may come. For by high delights an alien pain is
quelled and dieth, when the decree of God sendeth happiness to grow
aloft and widely.

And this word is true concerning Kadmos' fair-throned daughters, whose
calamities were great, yet their sore grief fell before greater
good. Amid the Olympians long-haired Semele still liveth, albeit she
perished in the thunder's roar, and Pallas cherisheth her ever, and
Father Zeus exceedingly, and her son, the ivy-bearing god. And in the
sea too they say that to Ino, among the sea-maids of Nereus, life
incorruptible hath been ordained for evermore.

Ay but to mortals the day of death is certain never, neither at what
time we shall see in calm the end of one of the Sun's children, the
Days, with good thitherto unfailing; now this way and now that run
currents bringing joys or toils to men.

Thus destiny which from their fathers holdeth the happy fortune of
this race[3], together with prosperity heaven-sent bringeth ever at
some other time better reverse: from the day when Laios was slain by
his destined son[4] who met him on the road and made fulfilment of the
oracle spoken of old at Pytho. Then swift Erinys when she saw it slew
by each other's hand his war-like sons: yet after that Polyneikes fell
Thersander[5] lived after him and won honour in the Second Strife[6]
and in the fights of war, a saviour scion to the Adrastid house.

From him they have beginning of their race: meet is it that
Ainesidamos receive our hymn of triumph, on the lyre. For at Olympia
he himself received a prize and at Pytho, and at the Isthmus to his
brother of no less a lot did kindred Graces bring crowns for the
twelve rounds of the four-horse chariot-race.

Victory setteth free the essayer from the struggle's griefs, yea and
the wealth that a noble nature hath made glorious bringeth power for
this and that, putting into the heart of man a deep and eager mood, a
star far seen, a light wherein a man shall trust if but[7] the holder
thereof knoweth the things that shall be, how that of all who die the
guilty souls pay penalty, for all the sins sinned in this realm
of Zeus One judgeth under earth, pronouncing sentence by unloved

But evenly ever in sunlight night and day an unlaborious life the good
receive, neither with violent hand vex they the earth nor the waters
of the sea, in that new world; but with the honoured of the gods,
whosoever had pleasure in keeping of oaths, they possess a tearless
life: but the other part suffer pain too dire to look upon.

Then whosoever have been of good courage to the abiding steadfast
thrice on either side of death and have refrained their souls from
all iniquity, travel the road of Zeus unto the tower of Kronos: there
round the islands of the blest the Ocean-breezes blow, and golden
flowers are glowing, some from the land on trees of splendour, and
some the water feedeth, with wreaths whereof they entwine their hands:
so ordereth Rhadamanthos' just decree, whom at his own right hand hath
ever the father Kronos, husband of Rhea, throned above all worlds[8].

Peleus and Kadmos are counted of that company; and the mother of
Achilles, when her prayer had moved the heart of Zeus, bare thither
her son, even him who overthrew Hector, Troy's unbending invincible
pillar, even him who gave Kyknos to death and the Ethiop son[9] of the

Many swift arrows have I beneath my bended arm within my quiver,
arrows that have a voice for the wise, but for the multitude they need
interpreters. His art is true who of his nature hath knowledge; they
who have but learnt, strong in the multitude of words, are but as
crows that chatter vain things in strife against the divine bird of

Come bend thy bow on the mark, O my soul--at whom again are we to
launch our shafts of honour from a friendly mind? At Akragas will I
take aim, and will proclaim and swear it with a mind of truth, that
for a hundred years no city hath brought forth a man of mind more
prone to well-doing towards friends or of more liberal mood than

Yet praise is overtaken of distaste, wherewith is no justice, but from
covetous men it cometh, and is fain to babble against and darken the
good man's noble deeds.

The sea-sand none hath numbered; and the joys that Theron hath given
to others--who shall declare the tale thereof?

[Footnote 1: In Hellenic music the accompaniment was deemed
subordinate to the words.]

[Footnote 2: Here are three questions and three answers.]

[Footnote 3: The Emmenidai.]

[Footnote 4: Oedipus.]

[Footnote 5: Son of Polyneikes. Theron traced his descent from him.]

[Footnote 6: The War of the Epigonoi against Thebes.]

[Footnote 7: Reading [Greek: ei ge min echon]. The old readings were
[Greek: ei de min echon] and [Greek: ei de min echei; eu de min echon]
has also been suggested; but of these three none seems to me to be at
all satisfactory. In the reading I suggest the change is very slight,
and it makes good sense.]

[Footnote 8: For Pindar's ideas as to a future life see especially
the fragments of his Dirges which remain to us. He seems to have been
influenced by Pythagoreanism.]

[Footnote 9: Memnon.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This ode celebrates the same victory as the preceeding one. It was
sung at the feast of the Theoxenia, given by Theron in the name of
the Dioskouroi (Kastor and Polydeukes) to the other gods. Hence the
epithet _hospitable_ ([Greek: philoxeinois]) applied to the Dioskouroi
in the first line. The clan of the Emmenidai to which Theron belonged
was especially devoted to the worship of the Twins.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tyndareus' hospitable sons and lovely-haired Helen shall I please
assuredly in doing honour to renowned Akragas by a hymn upraised for
Theron's Olympian crown; for hereunto hath the Muse been present with
me that I should find out a fair new[1] device, fitting to feet that
move in Dorian time the Komos-voices' splendid strain.

For crowns entwined about his hair demand from me this god-appointed
debt, that for Ainesidamos' son I join in seemly sort the lyre of
various tones with the flute's cry and ordering of words.

And Pisa bids me speak aloud, for from her come to men songs of
divine assignment, when the just judge of games the Aitolian[2] man,
fulfilling Herakles' behests of old, hath laid upon one's hair above
his brows pale-gleaming glory of olive.

That tree from Ister's shadowy springs did the son of Amphitryon bear
to be a memorial most glorious of Olympian triumphs, when that by his
words he had won the Hyperborean folk, who serve Apollo. In loyal
temper he besought for the precinct of Zeus, whereto all men go up,
a plant that should be a shadow of all folk in common, and withal a
crown for valorous deeds.

For already, when the altars had been sanctified to his sire, the
midmonth Moon riding her golden car lit full the counter-flame of the
eye of Even, and just judgment of great games did he ordain, and the
fifth year's feast beside the holy steeps of Alpheos[3].

But no fair trees were nursed upon that place in Kronian Pelops'
glens; whereof being naked his garden seemed to him to be given over
to the keen rays of the sun.

Then was it that his soul stirred to urge him into the land of Ister;
where Leto's horse-loving daughter[4] received him erst when he was
come from the ridged hills and winding dells of Arcady, what time his
father laid constraint upon him to go at Eurystheus' bidding to fetch
the golden-horned hind, which once Taygete vowed to her[5] of Orthion
and made a sign thereon of consecration. For in that chase he saw also
the land that lieth behind the blast of the cold North-wind: there he
halted and marvelled at the trees: and sweet desire thereof possessed
him that he might plant them at the end of the course which the
race-horses should run twelve times round.

So now to this feast cometh he in good-will in company with the Twins
Divine, deep-girdled Leto's children. For to them he gave charge when
he ascended into Olympus to order the spectacle of the games, both the
struggle of man with man, and the driving of the nimble car.

Me anywise my soul stirreth to declare that to the Emmenidai and to
Theron hath glory come by gift of the Tyndaridai of goodly steeds,
for that beyond all mortals they do honour to them with tables of
hospitality, keeping with pious spirit the rite of blessed gods.

Now if Water be the Best[6], and of possessions Gold be the most
precious, so now to the furthest bound doth Theron by his fair deeds
attain, and from his own home touch the pillars of Herakles. Pathless
the things beyond, pathless alike to the unwise and the wise. Here I
will search no more; the quest were vain.

[Footnote 1: i. e. probably a new combination of lyre and flute to
accompany the singing.]

[Footnote 2: When the Dorians invaded Peloponnesos one of their
leaders is said to have been Oxylos, a man of Elean descent but living
in Aitolia. As a result of the invasion he became king of Elis;
and the judge at the Olympic games seems to have been considered a
descendant of him or of some Aitolian who came with him.]

[Footnote 3: The Olympic games were held in the middle of the month
Hekatombaion, when the moon was full. It is here implied that Herakles
wished to institute them when the moon was full, as that was a season
of good luck.]

[Footnote 4: Artemis.]

[Footnote 5: Artemis.]

[Footnote 6: See Ol. i. 1.]




       *       *       *       *       *

Psaumis won this race in the year 452; therefore this ode and its
companion, the next following, are the latest work of Pindar possessed
by us to which we can assign a date.

The mule-chariot-race was introduced at Olympia B.C. 500 and abolished
B.C. 444, according to Pausanias.

This ode seems to have been written immediately on Psaumis' victory,
to be sung the same night beneath the moon by the company of friends
who escorted the winner to return thanks at the altar of Zeus.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hurler of thunderbolts unfaltering, the most high Zeus, for that thy
chosen hour recurrent hath sent me with a song set to the music of
the subtle lute for a witness to the greatest of all games--and
when friends have good hap the good are glad forthwith at the sweet
tidings--now therefore, O son of Kronos, unto whom AEtna belongeth,
the wind-beaten burden that crusheth fierce Typhon's hundred heads,
receive thou this band of triumph for an Olympian victory won by the
Graces' aid, a most enduring light of far-prevailing valorous deeds.

For the sake of Psaumis' mule-chariot it draweth nigh to
thee--Psaumis, who, crowned with Pisan olive, hasteth to raise up
glory for Kamarina. May God be gracious to our prayers for what shall
be! For I praise him as a man most zealous in the rearing of horses,
and delighting in ever-open hospitality, and bent on peace and on the
welfare of his city, with guileless soul.

With no lie will I tinge my tale: trial is the test of men; this
it was that delivered the son of Klymenos from the Lemnian women's
slight. He, when he had won the foot-race in bronze armour[1], spake
thus to Hypsipyle as he went to receive his crown: 'For fleetness such
am I: hands have I and a heart to match. So also on young men grow
oftentimes grey hairs even before the natural season of man's

[Footnote 1: See introduction to Pythian ix.]

[Footnote 2: We may suppose that Psaumis probably had grey hair.]




       *       *       *       *       *

  This ode is for the same victory as the foregoing one, but was to be
  sung after Psaumis' return home, at Kamarina, and probably at, or in
  procession to, a temple of either Pallas, Zeus, or the tutelary nymph
  Kamarina, all of whom are invoked. The city is called 'new-peopled'
  ([Greek: neoikos]) because it had been destroyed by Gelo, and was only
  restored B.C. 461, nine years before this victory, the first which had
  been won by any citizen since its restoration.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of lofty deeds and crowns Olympian this sweet delight, O daughter[1]
of Ocean, with glad heart receive, the gift of Psaumis and his
untiring car. He to make great thy city, Kamarina, with its fostered
folk, hath honoured six twin altars in great feasts of the gods with
sacrifices of oxen and five-day contests of games, with chariots of
horses and of mules and with the steed of single frontlet[2].

To thee hath the victor consecrated the proud token[3] of his fame,
and hath glorified by the herald's voice his father Akron and this
new-peopled town.

Also, returning from the gracious dwelling place of Oinomaos and
Pelops, thy sacred grove, O city-guarding Pallas, doth he sing, and
the river Oanis, and the lake of his native land, and the sacred
channels wherethrough doth Hipparis give water to the people, and
build[4] with speed a lofty forest of stedfast dwellings, bringing
from perplexity to the light this commonwealth of citizens.

Now ever in fair deeds must toil and cost contend toward an
accomplishment hidden in perilous chance: yet if men have good hap
therein, even to their own townsfolk is their wisdom approved.

O guardian Zeus that sittest above the clouds, that inhabitest the
Kronian hill and honourest the broad river of Alpheos and Ida's holy
cave, suppliant to thee I come, making my cry on Lydian flutes, to
pray thee that thou wilt glorify this city with brave men's renown.

For thee also, Olympian victor, I pray that, joying in the steeds
Poseidon[5] gave, thou mayest bear with thee to the end a serene old
age, and may thy sons, O Psaumis, be at thy side. If a man cherish his
wealth to sound ends, having a sufficiency of goods and adding thereto
fair repute, let him not seek to become a god.

[Footnote 1: Kamarina.]

[Footnote 2: I. e. probably with horses ridden, not driven.]

[Footnote 3: His Olympian crown of wild olive.]

[Footnote 4: This seems to mean that the new city was built with wood
brought down the stream of the river Hipparis.]

[Footnote 5: When Poseidon and Athene were contending for the
protectorate of Athens, Poseidon brought the first horse up out of the
earth, Athene the first olive-tree.]




       *       *       *       *       *
  One of the Iamid clan, to which belonged hereditary priestly functions
  in Arcadia and at Olympia, had come with the first colonists to Syracuse,
  and from him the present victor Agesias was descended. Thus
  the ode is chiefly concerned with the story of his ancestor Iamos.
  Agesias was a citizen of Stymphalos in Arcadia, as well as of Syracuse,
  where he lived, and the ode was sung by a chorus in Stymphalos,
  B.C. 468.

       *       *       *       *       *

Golden pillars will we set up in the porch of the house of our song,
as in a stately palace-hall; for it beseemeth that in the fore-front
of the work the entablature shoot far its splendour.

Now if one be an Olympian conqueror and treasurer to the prophetic
altar of Zeus at Pisa, and joint founder[1] of glorious Syracuse,
shall such an one hide him from hymns of praise, if his lot be among
citizens who hear without envy the desired sounds of song? For in a
sandal of such sort let the son of Sostratos know that his fortunate
foot is set. Deeds of no risk are honourless whether done among men or
among hollow ships; but if a noble deed be wrought with labour, many
make mention thereof.

For thee, Agesias, is that praise prepared which justly and openly
Adrastos spake of old concerning the seer Amphiaraos the son of
Oikleus, when the earth had swallowed him and his shining steeds. For
afterward, when on seven pyres dead men were burnt, the son[2] of
Talaos spake on this wise: 'I seek the eye of my host, him who was
alike a good seer and a good fighter with the spear.'

This praise also belongeth to the Syracusan who is lord of this
triumphal song. I who am no friend of strife or wrongful quarrel will
bear him this witness even with a solemn oath, and the sweet voice of
the Muses shall not say me nay.

O Phintis[3] yoke me now with all speed the strength of thy mules that
on the clear highway we may set our car, that I may go up to the far
beginning of this race. For those mules know well to lead the way in
this course as in others, who at Olympia have won crowns: it behoveth
them that we throw open to them the gates of song, for to Pitane by
Eurotas' stream must I begone betimes to-day.

Now Pitane[4], they say, lay with Poseidon the son of Kronos and
bare the child Euadne with tresses iris-dark. The fruit of her body
unwedded she hid by her robe's folds, and in the month of her delivery
she sent her handmaids and bade them give the child to the hero son[5]
of Elatos to rear, who was lord of the men of Arcady who dwelt at
Phaisane, and had for his lot Alpheos to dwell beside.

There was the child Euadne nurtured, and by Apollo's side she first
knew the joys of Aphrodite.

But she might not always hide from Aipytos the seed of the god within
her; and he in his heart struggling with bitter strain against a grief
too great for speech betook him to Pytho that he might ask of the
oracle concerning the intolerable woe.

But she beneath a thicket's shade put from her silver pitcher and her
girdle of scarlet web, and she brought forth a boy in whom was the
spirit of God. By her side the gold-haired god set kindly Eleutho and
the Fates, and from her womb in easy travail came forth Iamos to the
light. Him in her anguish she left upon the ground, but by the counsel
of gods two bright-eyed serpents nursed and fed him with the harmless
venom[6] of the bee.

But when the king came back from rocky Delphi in his chariot he asked
all who were in the house concerning the child whom Euadne had born;
for he said that the sire whereof he was begotten was Phoibos, and
that he should be a prophet unto the people of the land excelling all
mortal men, and that his seed should be for ever.

Such was his tale, but they answered that they had neither seen nor
heard of him, though he was now born five days. For he was hidden
among rushes in an impenetrable brake, his tender body all suffused
with golden and deep purple gleams of iris flowers; wherefore his
mother prophesied saying that by this holy name[7] of immortality he
should be called throughout all time.

But when he had come to the ripeness of golden-crowned sweet youth,
he went down into the middle of Alpheos and called on wide-ruling
Poseidon his grandsire, and on the guardian of god-built Delos, the
bearer of the bow[8], praying that honour might be upon his head for
the rearing of a people; and he stood beneath the heavens, and it was

Then the infallible Voice of his father answered and said unto him:
Arise, my son, and come hither, following my voice, into a place where
all men shall meet together.

So they came to the steep rock of lofty Kronion; there the god gave
him a twofold treasure of prophecy, that for the time then being he
should hearken to his voice that cannot lie; but when Herakles of
valorous counsels, the sacred scion of the Alkeidai, should have come,
and should have founded a multitudinous feast and the chief ordinance
of games[9], then again on the summit of the altar of Zeus he bade him
establish yet another oracle, that thenceforth the race of Iamidai
should be glorious among Hellenes.

Good luck abode with them; for that they know the worth of valour they
are entered on a glorious road.

The matter proveth the man, but from the envious calumny ever
threateneth them on whom, as they drive foremost in the twelfth[10]
round of the course, Charis sheddeth blushing beauty to win them fame
more fair.

Now if in very truth, Agesias, thy mother's ancestors dwelling by the
borders of Kyllene did piously and oft offer up prayer and sacrifice
to Hermes, herald of the gods, who hath to his keeping the strife and
appointment of games, and doeth honour to Arcadia the nurse of goodly
men,--then surely he, O son of Sostratos, with his loud-thundering
sire, is the accomplisher of this thy bliss.

Methinks I have upon my tongue a whetstone of loud sounding speech,
which to harmonious breath constraineth me nothing loth. Mother of my
mother was Stymphalian Metope[11] of fair flowers, for she bare Thebe
the charioteer, whose pleasant fountain I will drink, while I weave
for warriors the changes of my song.

Now rouse thy fellows, Aineas, first to proclaim the name of
maiden[12] Hera, and next to know for sure whether we are escaped from
the ancient reproach that spake truly of Boeotian swine. For thou art
a true messenger, a writing-tally[13] of the Muses goodly-haired, a
bowl wherein to mix high-sounding songs.

And bid them make mention of Syracuse and of Ortygia, which Hieron
ruleth with righteous sceptre devising true counsels, and doth honour
to Demeter whose footsteps make red the corn, and to the feast of her
daughter with white steeds, and to the might of Aetnaean Zeus. Also he
is well known of the sweet voices of the song and lute. Let not the
on-coming time break his good fortune. And with joyful welcome may
he receive this triumphal song, which travelleth from home to home,
leaving Stymphalos' walls, the mother-city of Arcadia, rich in flocks.

Good in a stormy night are two anchors let fall from a swift ship. May
friendly gods grant to both peoples[14] an illustrious lot: and thou
O lord and ruler of the sea, husband of Amphitrite of the golden
distaff, grant this my friend straight voyage and unharmed, and bless
the joyous flower of my song.

[Footnote 1: Agesias is so called because an Iamid ancestor of his had
gone with Archias when he planted the Corinthian colony of Syracuse.]

[Footnote 2: Adrastos.]

[Footnote 3: Phintis was Agesias' charioteer.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. the nymph who gave her name to the place.]

[Footnote 5: Aipytos.]

[Footnote 6: Honey.]

[Footnote 7: Iamos, from [Greek: ion]: the iris was considered a
symbol of immortality.]

[Footnote 8: His father, Apollo.]

[Footnote 9: At Olympia.]

[Footnote 10: The course in the chariot-race was twelve times round
the Hippodrome.]

[Footnote 11: The nymph of the lake Metope near Stymphalos.]

[Footnote 12: Hera was worshipped in her prenuptial as well as her
postnuptial state.]

[Footnote 13: It was a custom between correspondents who wished for
secrecy to have duplicate [Greek: skutalai], or letter-sticks. The
writer wrote on a roll wrapt round his stick, and the receiver of the
letter read it wrapt similarly on his. And thus Aineas the bearer of
this ode would teach the chorus of Stymphalians how rightly to sing
and understand it. See [Greek: skutalae] in Dict. Ant.]

[Footnote 14: I. e. of Stymphalos and Syracuse. Agesias was a citizen
of both, and thus his two homes are compared to two anchors.]




       *       *       *       *       *

  Rhodes is said to have been colonised at the time of the Dorian
  migrations by Argive Dorians from Epidauros, who were Herakleidai of
  of the family of Tlepolemos. They founded a confederacy of three
  cities, Kameiros, Lindos, and Ialysos. Ialysos was then ruled by
  the dynasty of the Eratidai. Their kingly power had now been extinct
  two hundred years, but the family was still pre-eminent in the state.
  Of this family was Diagoras, and probably the ode was sung at a
  family festival; but it commemorates the glories of the island generally.
  The Rhodians caused it to be engraved in letters of gold in the
  temple of Athene at Lindos.

  There is a noteworthy incident of the Peloponnesian war which should
  be remembered in connection with this ode. In the year 406, fifty-eight
  years after this victory of Diagoras, during the final and most
  embittering agony of Athens, one Dorieus, a son of Diagoras, and himself
  a famous athlete, was captured by the Athenians in a sea-fight.
  It was then the custom either to release prisoners of war for a ransom
  or else to put them to death. The Athenians asked no ransom of
  Dorieus, but set him free on the spot.

       *       *       *       *       *

As when from a wealthy hand one lifting a cup, made glad within with
the dew of the vine, maketh gift thereof to a youth his daughter's
spouse, a largess of the feast from home to home, an all-golden
choicest treasure, that the banquet may have grace, and that he may
glorify his kin; and therewith he maketh him envied in the eyes of the
friends around him for a wedlock wherein hearts are wedded--

So also I, my liquid nectar sending, the Muses' gift, the sweet fruit
of my soul, to men that are winners in the games at Pytho or Olympia
make holy offering. Happy is he whom good report encompasseth; now
on one man, now on another doth the Grace that quickeneth look
favourably, and tune for him the lyre and the pipe's stops of music

Thus to the sound of the twain am I come with Diagoras sailing home,
to sing the sea-girt Rhodes, child of Aphrodite and bride of Helios,
that to a mighty and fair-fighting man, who by Alpheos' stream and by
Kastalia's hath won him crowns, I may for his boxing make award of
glory, and to his father Demegetos in whom Justice hath her delight,
dwellers in the isle of three cities with an Argive host, nigh to a
promontory of spacious Asia.

Fain would I truly tell from the beginning from Tlepolemos the message
of my word, the common right of this puissant seed of Herakles. For
on the father's side they claim from Zeus, and on the mother's from
Astydameia, sons of Amyntor.

Now round the minds of men hang follies unnumbered--this is the
unachievable thing, to find what shall be best hap for a man both
presently and also at the last. Yea for the very founder[1] of this
country once on a time struck with his staff of tough wild-olive-wood
Alkmene's bastard brother Likymnios in Tiryns as he came forth from
Midea's chamber, and slew him in the kindling of his wrath. So even
the wise man's feet are turned astray by tumult of the soul.

Then he came to enquire of the oracle of God. And he of the golden
hair from his sweet-incensed shrine spake unto him of a sailing of
ships that should be from the shore of Lerna unto a pasture ringed
with sea, where sometime the great king of gods rained on the
city golden snow, what time by Hephaistos' handicraft beneath the
bronze-wrought axe from the crown of her father's head Athene leapt to
light and cried aloud with an exceeding cry; and Heaven trembled at
her coming, and Earth, the Mother.

Then also the god who giveth light to men, Hyperion, bade his beloved
sons see that they guard the payment of the debt, that they should
build first for the goddess an altar in the sight of all men, and
laying thereon a holy offering they should make glad the hearts of
the father and of his daughter of the sounding spear. Now Reverence,
Forethought's child, putteth valour and the joy of battle into the
hearts of men; yet withal there cometh upon them bafflingly the cloud
of forgetfulness and maketh the mind to swerve from the straight path
of action. For they though they had brands burning yet kindled not the
seed of flame, but with fireless rites they made a grove on the hill
of the citadel. For them Zeus brought a yellow cloud into the sky and
rained much gold upon the land; and Glaukopis herself gave them to
excel the dwellers upon earth in every art of handicraft. For on their
roads ran the semblances of beasts and creeping things: whereof they
have great glory, for to him that hath knowledge the subtlety that is
without deceit[2] is the greater altogether.

Now the ancient story of men saith that when Zeus and the other gods
made division of the earth among them, not yet was island Rhodes
apparent in the open sea, but in the briny depths lay hid. And for
that Helios was otherwhere, none drew a lot for him; so they left him
portionless of land, that holy god. And when he spake thereof Zeus
would cast lots afresh; but he suffered him not, for that he said that
beneath the hoary sea he saw a certain land waxing from its root in
earth, that should bring forth food for many men, and rejoice in
flocks. And straightway he bade her of the golden fillet, Lachesis, to
stretch her hands on high, nor violate the gods' great oath, but with
the son of Kronos promise him that the isle sent up to the light of
heaven should be thenceforth a title of himself alone.

And in the end of the matter his speech had fulfilment; there sprang
up from the watery main an island, and the father who begetteth
the keen rays of day hath the dominion thereof, even the lord of
fire-breathing steeds. There sometime having lain with Rhodos he begat
seven sons, who had of him minds wiser than any among the men of old;
and one begat Kameiros, and Ialysos his eldest, and Lindos: and they
held each apart their shares of cities, making threefold division of
their father's land, and these men call their dwelling-places. There
is a sweet amends for his piteous ill-hap ordained for Tlepolemos
leader of the Tirynthians at the beginning, as for a god, even the
leading thither of sheep for a savoury burnt-offering, and the award
of honour in games[3].

Of garlands from these games hath Diagoras twice won him crowns, and
four times he had good luck at famous Isthmos and twice following
at Nemea, and twice at rocky Athens. And at Argos the bronze shield
knoweth him, and the deeds of Arcadia and of Thebes and the yearly
games Boeotian, and Pellene and Aigina where six times he won; and the
pillar of stone at Megara hath the same tale to tell.

But do thou, O Father Zeus, who holdest sway on the mountain-ridges of
Atabyrios glorify the accustomed Olympian winner's hymn, and the man
who hath done valiantly with his fists: give him honour at the hands
of citizens and of strangers; for he walketh in the straight way that
abhorreth insolence, having learnt well the lessons his true soul hath
taught him, which hath come to him from his noble sires. Darken not
thou the light of one who springeth from the same stock of Kallianax.
Surely with the joys of Eratidai the whole city maketh mirth. But the
varying breezes even at the same point of time speed each upon their
various ways.

[Footnote 1: Tlepolemos.]

[Footnote 2: That is, probably, without magic, or the pretence of
being anything but machines. This is considered an allusion to the
Telchines who lived before the Heliadai in Rhodes, and were magicians
as well as craftsmen. For illustrations of Rhodian art at various
times the British Museum may be consulted, which is particularly rich
in vases from Kameiros and Ialysos.]

[Footnote 3: That is, he presides over the celebration of games, as
tutelar hero of the island.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this victory is B.C. 460. Long as the ode is, it would
seem however to have been written, like the fourth Olympian, to be
sung in the procession to the altar of Zeus on the night of the

Of the forty-four odes remaining to us no less than eleven are in
honour of winners from Aigina.

       *       *       *       *       *

O mother of gold-crowned contests, Olympia, queen of truth; where men
that are diviners observing burnt-offerings make trial of Zeus the
wielder of white lightnings, whether he hath any word concerning
men who seek in their hearts to attain unto great prowess and a
breathing-space from toil; for it is given in answer to the reverent
prayers of men--do thou, O tree-clad precinct of Pisa by Alpheos,
receive this triumph and the carrying of the crown.

Great is his glory ever on whom the splendour of thy honour waiteth.
Yet this good cometh to one, that to another, and many are the roads
to happy life by the grace of gods.

Thee, O Timosthenes[1], and thy brother hath Destiny assigned to Zeus
the guardian of your house, even to him who hath made thee glorious at
Nemea, and Alkimedon by the hill of Kronos a winner in Olympic games.

Now the boy was fair to look upon, neither shamed he by his deeds his
beauty, but in the wrestling match victorious made proclamation that
his country was Aigina of long oars, where saviour Themis who sitteth
in judgment by Zeus the stranger's succour is honoured more than any
elsewhere among men[2].

For in a matter mighty and bearing many ways to judge with unswayed
mind and suitably, this is a hard essay, yet hath some ordinance of
immortals given this sea-defended land to be to strangers out of every
clime a pillar built of God. May coming time not weary of this work.

To a Dorian folk was the land given in trust from Aiakos, even the man
whom Leto's son and far-ruling Poseidon, when they would make a crown
for Ilion, called to work with them at the wall, for that it was
destined that at the uprising of wars in city-wasting fights it should
breathe forth fierce smoke.

Now when it was new-built three dragons fiery-eyed leapt at the
rampart: two fell and perished in despair; but the third sprang in
with a war-cry[3].

Then Apollo pondering, the sign spake straightway unto Aiakos by his
side: 'Hero, where thy hands have wrought is Pergamos taken: thus
saith this sign, sent of the son of Kronos, loud-thundering Zeus. And
that not without thy seed; but with the first and fourth it shall be

Thus plainly spoke the god, and away to Xanthos and the Amazons of
goodly steeds and to Ister urged his car.

And the Trident-wielder for Isthmos over seas harnessed his swift
chariot, and hither[5] first he bare with him Aiakos behind the golden
mares, and so on unto the mount of Corinth, to behold his feast of

Now shall there never among men be aught that pleaseth all alike. If
I for Melesias[6] raise up glory in my song of his boys, let not envy
cast at me her cruel stone. Nay but at Nemea too will I tell of honour
of like kind with this, and of another ensuing thereon, won in the
pankration of men.

Verily to teach is easier to him that knoweth: it is folly if one hath
not first learnt, for without trial the mind wavereth. And beyond all
others can Melesias declare all works on that wise, what method shall
advance a man who from the sacred games may win the longed-for glory.

Now for the thirtieth time is honour gained for him by the victory of
Alkimedon, who by God's grace, nor failing himself in prowess, hath
put off from him upon the bodies of four striplings the loathed return
ungreeted of fair speech, and the path obscure[7]; and in his father's
father he hath breathed new vigour to wrestle with old age. A man that
hath done honourable deeds taketh no thought of death.

But I must needs arouse memory, and tell of the glory of their hands
that gave victory to the Blepsiad clan, to whom this is now the sixth
crown that hath come from the wreathed games to bind their brows.

Even the dead have their share when paid them with due rites, and
the grace of kinsmen's honour the dust concealeth not. From Hermes'
daughter Fame shall Iphion[8] hear and tell to Kallimachos this lustre
of Olympic glory, which Zeus hath granted to this house. Honour upon
honour may he vouchsafe unto it, and shield it from sore disease[9]. I
pray that for the share of glory fallen to them he raise against them
no contrary discontent, but granting them a life unharmed may glorify
them and their commonwealth.

[Footnote 1: Alkimedon's brother. He had won a victory at the Nemean

[Footnote 2: Aigina had a high commercial reputation, and strangers
were equitably dealt with in her courts.]

[Footnote 3: The two first dragons typify the Aiakids, Aias and
Achilles, who failed to enter Troy, the third typifies Achilles' son,
Neoptolemos, who succeeded.]

[Footnote 4: Aiakos' son, Telamon, was with Herakles when he took
Troy: his great-grandson Neoptolemos was in the Wooden Horse.]

[Footnote 5: To Aigina.]

[Footnote 6: Alkimedon's trainer.]

[Footnote 7: I. e. Alkimedon has escaped the disagreeable
circumstances of defeat and transferred them to the four opponents
against whom he was matched in four successive ties.]

[Footnote 8: Iphion seems to have been the father and Kallimachos the
uncle of Alkimedon.]

[Footnote 9: Perhaps Iphion and Kallimachos died of some severe




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is uncertain. Its last line seems to imply that
it was sung at a banquet at Opous, after crowning the altar of Aias
Oileus, tutelar hero of the Lokrians. From the beginning we gather
that on the night of the victory at Olympia Epharmostos' friends had
sung in his honour the conventional triple strain of Archilochos--

  [Greek: (o kallinike chair' anax Herakleaes
  autos te k' Iolaos, aichmaeta duo.
  taenella kallinike)]

to which perhaps some slight additions had been made, but not by

       *       *       *       *       *

The strain of Archilochos sung without music at Olympia, the triple
resonant psalm of victory, sufficed to lead to the hill of Kronos
Epharmostos triumphing with his comrade friends: but now with darts of
other sort, shot from the Muses' far-delivering bow, praise Zeus of
the red lightning, and Elis' holy headland, which on a time Pelops the
Lydian hero chose to be Hippodameia's goodly dower.

And shoot a feathered arrow of sweet song Pythoward, for thy words
shall not fall to the ground when thou tunest the throbbing lyre
to the praise of the wrestlings of a man from famous Opous, and
celebratest her and her son. For Themis and her noble daughter
Eunomia the Preserver have made her their own, and she flourisheth in
excellent deeds both at Kastalia and beside Alpheos' stream: whence
come the choicest of all crowns to glorify the mother city of
Lokrians, the city of beautiful trees.

I, to illuminate the city of my friends with eager blaze of song,
swifter than high-bred steed or winged ship will send everywhere these
tidings, so be it that my hand is blessed at all in labouring in the
choice garden of the Graces; for they give all pleasant things to men.

By fate divine receive men also valour and wisdom: how else[1] might
the hands of Herakles have wielded his club against the trident, when
at Pylos Poseidon took his stand and prest hard on him, ay, and there
prest him hard embattled Phoibos with his silver bow, neither would
Hades keep his staff unraised, wherewith he leadeth down to ways
beneath the hollow earth the bodies of men that die?

O my mouth, fling this tale from thee, for to speak evil of gods is
a hateful wisdom, and loud and unmeasured words strike a note that
trembleth upon madness. Of such things talk thou not; leave war of
immortals and all strife aside; and bring thy words to the city of
Protogeneia, where by decree of Zeus of the bickering lightning-flash
Pyrrha and Deukalion coming down from Parnassos first fixed their
home, and without bed of marriage made out of stones a race to be one
folk: and hence cometh the name of peoples[2]. Awake for them the
clear-toned gale of song, and if old wine be best, yet among songs
prefer the newer flowers.

Truly men say that once a mighty water swept over the dark earth, but
by the craft of Zeus an ebb suddenly drew off the flood. From these
first men came anciently your ancestors of the brazen shields, sons of
the women of the stock of Iapetos and of the mighty Kronidai, Kings
that dwelt in the land continually; until the Olympian Lord caught up
the daughter[3] of Opoeeis from the land of the Epeians, and lay with
her in a silent place among the ridges of Mainalos; and afterward
brought her unto Lokros, that age might not bring him[4] low beneath
the burden of childlessness. But the wife bare within her the seed of
the Mightiest, and the hero saw the bastard born and rejoiced, and
called him by the name of his mother's father, and he became a man
preeminent in beauty and great deeds: and his father gave unto him a
city and a people to rule over.

Then there came unto him strangers, from Argos and from Thebes, and
from Arcadia others, and from Pisa. But the son of Aktor and Aigina,
Menoitios, he honoured above all settlers, him whose son[5] went with
the Atreidai to the plain of Teuthras and stood alone beside Achilles,
when Telephos had turned the valiant Danaoi to flight, and drove them
into the sterns of their sea-ships; so proved he to them that had
understanding that Patroklos' soul was strong. And thenceforward the
son of Thetis persuaded him that he should never in murderous battle
take his post far from his friend's conquering spear.

Fit speech may I find for my journey in the Muses' car; and let me
therewith have daring and powers of ample scope. To back the prowess
of a friend I came, when Lampromachos won his Isthmian crown, when on
the same day both he and his brother overcame. And afterward at the
gates[6] of Corinth two triumphs again befell Epharmostos, and more in
the valleys of Nemea. At Argos he triumphed over men, as over boys
at Athens. And I might tell how at Marathon he stole from among the
beardless and confronted the full-grown for the prize of silver
vessels, how without a fall he threw his men with swift and cunning
shock, and how loud the shouting pealed when round the ring he ran,
in the beauty of his youth and his fair form and fresh from fairest

Also before the Parrhasian host was he glorified, at the assembly of
Lykaian Zeus, and again when at Pellene he bare away a warm antidote
of cold winds[7]. And the tomb of Iolaos, and Eleusis by the sea, are
just witnesses to his honours.

The natural is ever best: yet many men by learning of prowess essay to
achieve fame. The thing done without God is better kept in silence.
For some ways lead further than do others, but one practice will not
train us all alike. Skill of all kinds is hard to attain unto: but
when thou bringest forth this prize, proclaim aloud with a good
courage that by fate divine this man at least was born deft-handed,
nimble-limbed, with the light of valour in his eyes, and that now
being victorious he hath crowned at the feast Oilean Alas' altar.

[Footnote 1: This is the common interpretation, implying that Herakles
in contending with the gods here mentioned must have been helped by
other gods. But perhaps it might also be translated 'therefore how
could the hands, &c.,' meaning that since valour, as has just been
said, comes from a divine source, it could not be used against gods,
and that thus the story ought to be rejected.]

[Footnote 2: Perhaps the story of the stones arose from the like sound
of [Greek: Laos] and [Greek: Laas], words here regarded in the inverse
relation to each other.]

[Footnote 3: Protogeneia.]

[Footnote 4: Lokros.]

[Footnote 5: Patroklos.]

[Footnote 6: The Isthmus, the gate between the two seas.]

[Footnote 7: A cloak, the prize.]




       *       *       *       *       *

  This ode bears somewhat the same relation to the next that the fourth
  does to the fifth. It was to be sung at Olympia on the night after
  the victory, and Pindar promises the boy to write a longer one for
  the celebration of his victory in his Italian home. The date is
  B.C. 484.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sometimes have men most need of winds, sometimes of showered waters of
the firmament, the children of the cloud.

But when through his labour one fareth well, then are due honey-voiced
songs, be they even a prelude to words that shall come after, a pledge
confirmed by oath in honour of high excellence.

Ample is the glory stored for Olympian winners: thereof my shepherd
tongue is fain to keep some part in fold. But only by the help of God
is wisdom[1] kept ever blooming in the soul.

Son of Archestratos, Agesidamos, know certainly that for thy boxing I
will lay a glory of sweet strains upon thy crown of golden[2] olive,
and will have in remembrance the race of the Lokrians' colony in the West.

There do ye, O Muses, join in the song of triumph: I pledge my word
that to no stranger-banishing folk shall ye come, nor unacquainted
with things noble, but of the highest in arts and valiant with the
spear. For neither tawny fox nor roaring lion may change his native

[Footnote 1: Perhaps [Greek: sophos] (which means often rather clever
or skilful than wise) has here the special reference to poetic skill,
which it often has in Pindar.]

[Footnote 2: Golden here means supremely excellent, as in the first
line of the eighth Olympian.]




       *       *       *       *       *

  It would seem by his own confession that Pindar did not remember till
  long afterwards the promise he made to Agesidamos in the last ode.
  We do not know how long afterwards this was written, but it must
  have been too late to greet the winner on his arrival in Italy; probably
  it was to be sung at the anniversary or some memorial celebration
  of his victory.

       *       *       *       *       *

Read me the name of the Olympic winner Archestratos' son that I may
know where it is written upon my heart: for I had forgotten that I
owed him a sweet strain.

But do thou, O Muse, and thou Truth, daughter of Zeus, put forth your
hands and keep from me the reproach of having wronged a friend by
breaking my pledged word. For from afar hath overtaken me the time
that was then yet to come, and hath shamed my deep debt.

Nevertheless from that sore reproach I may be delivered by payment
with usury: behold how[1] the rushing wave sweepeth down the rolling
shingle, and how we also will render for our friend's honour a tribute
to him and to his people.

Truth inhabiteth the city of the Lokrians of the West, and Kalliope
they hold in honour and mailed Ares; yea even conquering Herakles was
foiled by that Kykneaen combat[2].

Now let Agesidamos, winner in the boxing at Olympia, so render thanks
to Ilas[3] as Patroklos of old to Achilles. If one be born with
excellent gifts, then may another who sharpeneth his natural edge
speed him, God helping, to an exceeding weight of glory. Without toil
there have triumphed a very few.

Of that light in the life of a man before all other deeds, that first
of contests, the ordinances of Zeus[4] have stirred me to sing, even
the games which by the ancient tomb of Pelops the mighty Herakles
founded, after that he slew Kleatos, Poseidon's goodly son, and slew
also Eurytos, that he might wrest from tyrannous Augeas against his
will reward for service done[5].

Lying in ambush beneath Kleonai did Herakles overcome them on the
road, for that formerly these same violent sons of Molos made havoc of
his own Tirynthian folk by hiding in the valleys of Elis. And not long
after the guest-betraying king of the Epeans saw his rich native land,
his own city, beneath fierce fire and iron blows sink down into the
deep moat of calamity. Of strife against stronger powers it is hard
to be rid. Likewise Augeas last of all in his perplexity fell into
captivity and escaped not precipitate death.

Then the mighty son of Zeus having gathered together all his host at
Pisa, and all the booty, measured a sacred grove for his sovereign
Father; and having fenced round the Altis he marked the bounds thereof
in a clear space, and the plain encompassing it he ordained for rest
and feasting, and paid honour to the river Alpheos together with the
twelve greatest gods. And he named it by the name of the Hill of
Kronos; for theretofore it was without name, when Oinomaos was king,
and it was sprinkled with much snow[6].

And at this first-born rite the Fates stood hard at hand, and he who
alone proveth sure truth, even Time. He travelling onward hath told us
the clear tale of how the founder set apart the choicest of the spoil
for an offering from the war, and sacrificed, and how he ordained the
fifth-year feast with the victories of that first Olympiad.

Who then won to their lot the new-appointed crown by hands or feet
or chariot, setting before them the prize of glory in the games, and
winning it by their act? In the foot-race down the straight course of
the stadion was Likymnios' son Oionos first, from Nidea had he led his
host: in the wrestling was Tegea glorified by Echemos: Doryklos won
the prize of boxing, a dweller in the city of Tiryns, and with the
four-horse chariot, Samos of Mantinea, Halirrhothios' son: with the
javelin Phrastor hit the mark: in distance Enikeus beyond all others
hurled the stone with a circling sweep, and all the warrior company
thundered a great applause.

Then on the evening the lovely shining of the fair-faced moon beamed
forth, and all the precinct sounded with songs of festal glee, after
the manner which is to this day for triumph.

So following the first beginning of old time, we likewise in a song
named of proud victory will celebrate the thunder and the flaming
bolt of loud-pealing Zeus, the fiery lightning that goeth with all

And soft tones to the music of the flute shall meet and mingle with my
verse, which beside famous Dirke hath come to light after long time.

But even as a son by his lawful wife is welcome to a father who hath
now travelled to the other side of youth, and maketh his soul warm
with love--for wealth that must fall to a strange owner from without
is most hateful to a dying man--so also, Agesidamos, when a man who
hath done honourable deeds goeth unsung to the house of Hades, this
man hath spent vain breath, and won but brief gladness for his toil.

On thee the pleasant lyre and the sweet pipe shed their grace, and the
Pierian daughters of Zeus foster thy wide-spread fame.

I with them, setting myself thereunto fervently, have embraced the
Lokrians' famous race, and have sprinkled my honey upon a city of
goodly men: and I have told the praises of Archestratos' comely son,
whom I beheld victorious by the might of his hand beside the altar at
Olympia, and saw on that day how fair he was of form, how gifted with
that spring-tide bloom, which erst with favour of the Cyprian queen
warded from Ganymede unrelenting death.

[Footnote 1: Reading [Greek: horat on hopa].]

[Footnote 2: This Kyknos seems to have been a Lokrian freebooter, said
to have fought with success against Herakles.]

[Footnote 3: His trainer.]

[Footnote 4: Probably because Zeus was especially concerned, both with
the fulfilment of promises and with the Olympic games.]

[Footnote 5: For the story of these Moliones see Nestor's speech, Hom.
Il. xi. 670-761.]

[Footnote 6: Perhaps this implies a tradition of a colder climate
anciently prevailing in Peloponnesos: perhaps the mention of snow is
merely picturesque, referring to the habitual appearance of the hill
in winter, and the passage should then rather be rendered 'when
Oinomaos was king its snow-sprinkled top was without name.']

[Footnote 7: The Lokrians worshipped Zeus especially as the Thunderer,
as certain coins of theirs, stamped with a thunderbolt, still




       *       *       *       *       *

  Ergoteles was a native of Knosos in Crete, but civil dissension had
  compelled him to leave his country. He came to Sicily and was
  naturalized as a citizen of Himera. Had he stayed in Crete he
  would not have won this victory; nor the Pythian and Isthmian
  victories, referred to at the end of the ode, for the Cretans seem to
  have kept aloof, in an insular spirit, from the Panhellenic games.

  The date of the ode is B.C. 472, the year after the Himeraeans had
  expelled the tyrant Thrasydaios of Akragas. The prayer to Fortune
  would seem to have reference specially to this event. The ode was
  probably sung in a temple either of Zeus or of Fortune.

       *       *       *       *       *

I pray thee, daughter of Zeus the Deliverer, keep watch over
wide-ruling Himera, O saviour Fortune.

By thee upon the sea swift ships are piloted, and on dry land fierce
wars and meetings of councils.

Up and down the hopes of men are tossed as they cleave the waves of
baffling falsity: and a sure token of what shall come to pass hath
never any man on the earth received from God: the divinations of
things to come are blind.

Many the chances that fall to men when they look not for them,
sometimes to thwart delight, yet others after battling with the surge
of sorrowful pain have suddenly received for their affliction some
happiness profound.

Son of Philanor, verily even the glory of thy fleet feet would have
fallen into the sere leaf unrenowned, abiding by the hearth of thy
kin, as a cock that fighteth but at home, had not the strife of
citizen against citizen driven thee from Knosos thy native land.

But now at Olympia hast thou won a crown, O Ergoteles, and at Pytho
twice, and at Isthmos, whereby thou glorifiest the hot springs where
the nymphs Sicilian bathe, dwelling in a land that is become to thee
as thine own.




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this victory is B.C. 464, when Xenophon won both the
Stadion, or short foot-race of about a furlong or 220 yards, and also
the Pentathlon, that is, probably, he won at least three out of the
five contests which composed the Pentathlon--the Jump, Throwing the
Disk, Throwing the Javelin, the Foot-race, and Wrestling, ([Greek:
alma podokeian diskon akonta palaen]). For details, see Dict. Antiq.
and Note on Nem. vii 71-73.

This ode and the speech of Glaukos in the sixth Book of the Iliad
are the most conspicuous passages in poetry which refer to the great
Corinthian hero Bellerophon.

It is thought that this ode was sung on the winner's public entrance
into Corinth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thrice winner in Olympic games, of citizens beloved, to strangers
hospitable, the house in whose praise will I now celebrate happy
Corinth, portal of Isthmian Poseidon and nursery of splendid youth.
For therein dwell Order, and her sisters, sure foundation of states,
Justice and likeminded Peace, dispensers of wealth to men, wise
Themis' golden daughters. And they are minded to keep far from them
Insolence the braggart mother of Loathing.

I have fair witness to bear of them, and a just boldness stirreth my
tongue to speak. Nature inborn none shall prevail to hide. Unto you,
sons[1] of Aletes, ofttimes have the flowery Hours given splendour
of victory, as to men excelling in valour, pre-eminent at the sacred
games, and ofttimes of old have they put subtleties into your men's
hearts to devise; and of an inventor cometh every work.

Whence were revealed the new graces of Dionysos with the dithyramb
that winneth the ox[2]? Who made new means of guidance to the harness
of horses, or on the shrines of gods set the twin images of the king
of birds [3]? Among them thriveth the Muse of dulcet breath, and Ares
in the young men's terrible spears. Sovran lord of Olympia, be not
thou jealous of my words henceforth for ever, O father Zeus; rule
thou this folk unharmed, and keep unchanged the favourable gale of
Xenophon's good hap. Welcome from him this customary escort of his
crown, which from the plains of Pisa he is bringing, having won with
the five contests the stadion-race beside; the like whereof never yet
did mortal man.

Also two parsley-wreaths shadowed his head before the people at the
games of Isthmos, nor doth Nemea tell a different tale. And of his
father Thessalos' lightning feet is record by the streams of Alpheos,
and at Pytho he hath renown for the single and for the double stadion
gained both in a single day, and in the same month at rocky Athens a
day of swiftness crowned his hair for three illustrious deeds, and the
Hellotia[4] seven times, and at the games of Poseidon between seas
longer hymns followed his father Ptoiodoros with Terpsias and
Eritimos. And how often ye were first at Delphi or in the Pastures of
the Lion[5], though with full many do I match your crowd of honours,
yet can I no more surely tell than the tale of pebbles on the
sea-shore. But in everything is there due measure, and most excellent
is it to have respect unto fitness of times.

I with your fleet sailing a privateer will speak no lie concerning the
valour of Corinth's heroes, whether I proclaim the craft of her men
of old or their might in war, whether of Sisyphos of subtlest cunning
even as a god, and Medea who made for herself a marriage in her sire's
despite, saviour of the ship Argo and her crew: or whether how of old
in the struggle before the walls of Dardanos the sons of Corinth were
deemed to turn the issue of battle either way, these with Atreus' son
striving to win Helen back, those to thrust them utterly away[6].

Now when Glaukos was come thither out of Lydia the Danaoi feared him.
To them he proclaimed that in the city of Peirene his sire bare rule
and had rich heritage of land and palace, even he who once, when he
longed to bridle the snaky Gorgon's son, Pegasos, at Peirene's spring,
suffered many things, until the time when maiden Pallas brought to
him a bit with head-band of gold, and from a dream behold it was very

For she said unto him 'Sleepest thou O Aiolid king? Come, take this
charmer of steeds, and show it to thy father[7] the tamer of horses,
with the sacrifice of a white bull.'

Thus in the darkness as he slumbered spake the maiden wielder of
the shadowy aegis--so it seemed unto him--and he leapt up and stood
upright upon his feet. And he seized the wondrous bit that lay by his
side, and found with joy the prophet of the land, and showed to him,
the son of Koiranos, the whole issue of the matter, how on the altar
of the goddess he lay all night according to the word of his prophecy,
and how with her own hands the child of Zeus whose spear is the
lightning brought unto him the soul-subduing gold.

Then the seer bade him with all speed obey the vision, and that when
he should have sacrificed to the wide-ruling Earth-enfolder the
strong-foot beast[8], he should build an altar straightway to Athene,
queen of steeds.

Now the power of Gods bringeth easily to pass such things as make
forecast forsworn. Surely with zealous haste did bold Bellerophon bind
round the winged steed's jaw the softening charm, and make him his:
then straightway he flew up and disported him in his brazen arms.

In company with that horse also on a time, from out of the bosom of
the chill and desert air, he smote the archer host of Amazons, and
slew the Solymoi, and Chimaira breathing fire. I will keep silence
touching the fate of him: howbeit Pegasos hath in Olympus found a home
in the ancient stalls of Zeus.

But for me who am to hurl straight the whirling javelin it is not meet
to spend beside the mark my store of darts with utmost force of hand:
for to the Muses throned in splendour and to the Oligaithidai a
willing ally came I, at the Isthmos and again at Nemea. In a brief
word will I proclaim the host of them, and a witness sworn and true
shall be to me in the sweet-tongued voice of the good herald[9], heard
at both places sixty times.

Now have their acts at Olympia, methinks, been told already: of those
that shall be hereafter I will hereafter clearly speak. Now I live in
hope, but the end is in the hands of gods. But if the fortune of the
house fail not, we will commit to Zeus and Enyalios the accomplishment

Yet other glories won they, by Parnassos' brow, and at Argos how many
and at Thebes, and such as nigh the Arcadians[10] the lordly altar of
Zeus Lykaios shall attest, and Pallene, and Sikyon, and Megara,
and the well-fenced grove of the Aiakidai, and Eleusis, and lusty
Marathon, and the fair rich cities beneath Aetna's towering crest, and
Euboea. Nay over all Hellas if thou searchest, thou shalt find more
than one sight can view.

O king Zeus the Accomplisher, grant them with so light feet[11] to
move through life, give them all honour, and sweet hap of their goodly

[Footnote 1: The clan of the Oligaithidai, to which Xenophon

[Footnote 2: I. e. as a prize. But the passage may be taken
differently as referring to the symbolical identification of Dionysos
with the bull. Dithyrambic poetry was said to have been invented or
improved by Arion of Corinth.]

[Footnote 3: This refers to the introduction into architecture by the
Corinthians of the pediment, within or above which were at that time
constantly placed images of eagles.]

[Footnote 4: The feast of Athene Hellotis.]

[Footnote 5: Nemea.]

[Footnote 6: The Lykians who fought under Glaukos on the Trojan side
were of Corinthian descent.]

[Footnote 7: Poseidon.]

[Footnote 8: A bull.]

[Footnote 9: Proclaiming the name and city of the winner in the

[Footnote 10: Reading [Greek: Arkasin asson].]

[Footnote 11: As in their foot-races.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This ode was to be sung, probably by a chorus of boys, at the winner's
city Orchomenos, and most likely in the temple of the three or Graces,
Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia.

The date of the victory is B.C. 476.

       *       *       *       *       *

O ye who haunt the land of goodly steeds that drinketh of Kephisos'
waters, lusty Orchomenos' queens renowned in song, O Graces, guardians
of the Minyai's ancient race, hearken, for unto you I pray. For by
your gift come unto men all pleasant things and sweet, and the wisdom
of a man and his beauty, and the splendour of his fame. Yea even gods
without the Graces' aid rule never at feast or dance; but these have
charge of all things done in heaven, and beside Pythian Apollo of
the golden bow they have set their thrones, and worship the eternal
majesty of the Olympian Father.

O lady Aglaia, and thou Euphrosyne, lover of song, children of the
mightiest of the gods, listen and hear, and thou Thalia delighting in
sweet sounds, and look down upon this triumphal company, moving with
light step under happy fate. In Lydian mood of melody concerning
Asopichos am I come hither to sing, for that through thee, Aglaia,
in the Olympic games the Minyai's home is winner. Fly, Echo, to
Persephone's dark-walled home, and to his father bear the noble
tidings, that seeing him thou mayest speak to him of his son, saying
that for his father's honour in Pisa's famous valley he hath crowned
his boyish hair with garlands from the glorious games.





       *       *       *       *       *
The date of this victory is B.C. 474

In the year 480, the year of Salamis, the Syracusans under Hieron had
defeated the Carthaginians in the great battle of Himera.

In 479 a great eruption of Etna (Aitna) began. In 476 Hieron founded,
near the mountain but we may suppose at a safe distance, the new city
of Aitna, in honour of which he had himself proclaimed as an Aitnaian
after this and other victories in the games.

And in this same year, 474, he had defeated the Etruscans, or Tuscans,
or Tyrrhenians in a great sea-fight before Cumae.

Pindar might well delight to honour those who had been waging so well
against the barbarians of the South and West the same war which the
Hellenes of the mother-country waged against the barbarians of the

       *       *       *       *       *

O golden Lyre, thou common treasure of Apollo and the Muses
violet-tressed, thou whom the dancer's step, prelude of festal mirth,
obeyeth, and the singers heed thy bidding, what time with quivering
strings thou utterest preamble of choir-leading overture--lo even the
sworded lightning of immortal fire thou quenched, and on the sceptre
of Zeus his eagle sleepeth, slackening his swift wings either side,
the king of birds, for a dark mist thou hast distilled on his arched
head, a gentle seal upon his eyes, and he in slumber heaveth his
supple back, spell-bound beneath thy throbs.

Yea also violent Ares, leaving far off the fierce point of his spears,
letteth his heart have joy in rest, for thy shafts soothe hearts
divine by the cunning of Leto's son and the deep-bosomed Muses.

But whatsoever things Zeus loveth not fly frighted from the voice of
the Pierides, whether on earth or on the raging sea; whereof is he who
lieth in dreadful Tartaros, the foe of the gods, Typhon of the hundred
heads, whom erst the den Kilikian of many names did breed, but now
verily the sea-constraining cliffs beyond Cumae, and Sicily, lie heavy
on his shaggy breast: and he is fast bound by a pillar of the sky,
even by snowy Etna, nursing the whole year's length her frozen snow.

Whereout pure springs of unapproachable fire are vomited from the
inmost depths: in the daytime the lava-streams pour forth a lurid rush
of smoke: but in the darkness a red rolling flame sweepeth rocks with
uproar to the wide deep sea.

That dragon-thing[1] it is that maketh issue from beneath the terrible
fiery flood, a monster marvellous to look upon, yea a marvel to hear
of from such as go thereby and tell what thing is prisoned between
the dark-wooded tops of Etna and the plain, where the back of him is
galled and furrowed by the bed whereon he lieth.

O Zeus, be it ours to find favour in thy sight, who art defender
of this mountain, the forehead of a fruitful land, whose namesake
neighbour city hath been ennobled by her glorious founder, for that on
the race-course at the Pythian games the herald made proclamation of
her name aloud, telling of Hieron's fair victory in the chariot-race.

Now the first boon to men in ships is that a favourable breeze come to
them as they set forth upon the sea; for this is promise that in
the end also they shall come with good hap home. So after this good
fortune doth reason show us hope of crowns to come for Aitna's horses,
and honour in the banquet-songs.

O Phoibos, lord of Lykia and of Delos, who lovest the spring of
Castaly on thy Parnassos, be this the purpose of thy will, and grant
the land fair issue of her men.

For from gods come all means of mortal valour, hereby come bards and
men of mighty hand and eloquent speech.

This is the man I am fain to praise, and trust that not outside the
ring shall I hurl the bronze-tipped javelin I brandish in my hand, but
with far throw outdo my rivals in the match.

Would that his whole life may give him, even as now, good luck and
wealth right onward, and of his pains forgetfulness.

Verily it shall remind him in what fightings of wars he stood up with
steadfast soul, when the people found grace of glory at the hands
of gods, such as none of the Hellenes hath reaped, a proud crown of

For after the ensample of Philoktetes he went but now to war: and when
necessity was upon them even they of proud spirit sought of him a

To Lemnos once they say came godlike heroes to fetch thence the archer
son of Paian, vexed of an ulcerous wound; and he sacked the city of
Priam and made an end of the Danaoi's labours, for the body wherewith
he went was sick, but this was destined from the beginning.

Even thus to Hieron may God be a guide for the time approaching, and
give him to lay hold upon the things of his desire.

Also in the house of Deinomenes do me grace, O Muse, to sing, for sake
of our four-horsed car: no alien joy to him is his sire's victory.

Come then and next for Etna's king let us devise a friendly song, for
whom with god-built freedom after the laws of Hyllic pattern hath that
city been founded of Hieron's hand: for the desire of the sons of
Pamphylos and of the Herakleidai dwelling beneath the heights of
Taygetos is to abide continually in the Dorian laws of Aigimios. At
Amyklai they dwelt prosperously, when they were come down out of
Pindos and drew near in honour to the Tyndaridai who ride on white
horses, and the glory of their spears waxed great.

Thou Zeus, with whom are the issues of things, grant that the true
speech of men ever bear no worse report of citizens and kings beside
the water of Amenas. By thine aid shall a man that is chief and
that instructeth his son after him give due honour unto his people and
move them to be of one voice peacefully.

I pray thee, son of Kronos, grant that the Phenician and the Tuscan
war-cry be hushed at home, since they have beheld the calamity of
their ships that befell them before Cumae, even how they were smitten
by the captain of the Syracusans, who from their swift ships hurled
their youth into the sea, to deliver Hellas from the bondage of the

From Salamis shall I of Athenians take reward of thanks, at Sparta
when I shall tell[2] in a song to come of the battle[3] before
Kithairon, wherein the Medes that bear crooked bows were overthrown,
but by the fair-watered banks of Himeras it shall be for the song
I have rendered to the sons of Deinomenes, which by their valour they
have earned, since the men that warred against them are overthrown.

If thou shalt speak in season, and comprehend in brief the ends of
many matters, less impeachment followeth of men; for surfeit blunteth
the eagerness of expectancy; and city-talk of others' praise grieveth
hearts secretly.

Nevertheless, for that envy is preferred before pity[4], let slip not
fair occasion: guide with just helm thy people and forge the sword
of thy speech on an anvil whereof cometh no lie. Even a word falling
lightly is of import in that it proceedeth from thee. Of many things
art thou steward: many witnesses are there to thy deeds of either

But abiding in the fair flower of this spirit, if thou art fain to be
continually of good report, be not too careful for the cost: loose
free like a mariner thy sail unto the wind.

Friend, be not deceived by time-serving words of guile. The voice of
the report that liveth after a man, this alone revealeth the lives of
dead men to the singers and to the chroniclers: the loving-kindness
of Craesus fadeth not away; but him who burned men with fire within a
brazen bull, Phalaris that had no pity, men tell of everywhere
with hate, neither will any lute in hall suffer him in the gentle
fellowship of young boys' themes of songs.

To be happy is the chiefest prize; to be glorious the next lot: if a
man have lighted on both and taken them to be his, he hath attained
unto the supreme crown.

[Footnote 1: Typhon.]

[Footnote 2: Reading [Greek: erion].]

[Footnote 3: Plataea.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. it is better to be envied than to be pitied.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The classification of this ode as Pythian is probably a mistake:
perhaps the victory was won at the Theban festival in honour of
Herakles, or of Iolaos.

Anaxilaos, tyrant of Rhegium and Messana, had been deterred by
Hieron's threats from attacking the Epizephyrian Lokrians, and the ode
is partly occupied with congratulations of Hieron on this protective
act. As Anaxilaos died B.C. 476, and Hieron was only placed at the
head of the Syracusan state two years before, this seems to fix the
date somewhere in these two years. As Pindar talks of sending his song
across the sea, we may suppose that it was sung at Syracuse.

There is much obscurity about the significances of this ode. The
poet's motive in telling the story of Ixion's sins has been variously
guessed at. Some think it was meant to deter Hieron from contriving
the death of his brother Polyzelos in battle in order to get
possession of Polyzelos' wife (and if Hieron was to be suspected of
such a thought it would be quite in Pindar's manner to mingle warning
and reproof with praise): some think that it refers to the ingratitude
of Anaxilaos toward Hieron. And most probably the latter part of the
ode, in which sincerity is approved, and flattery and calumny are
condemned, had some special and personal reference, though we need not
suppose, as the commentators are fond of doing here and elsewhere,
that it was aimed at Bacchylides or other rival poets.

       *       *       *       *       *

Great city of Syracuse, precinct of warrior Ares, of iron-armed men
and steeds the nursing-place divine, to thee I come[1], bearing from
my bright Thebes this song, the tidings of earth-shaking racing of the
four-horse car, wherein hath Hieron with his goodly chariot
overcome, and decked with far-seen splendour of crowns Ortygia the
dwelling-place of Artemis of the river, her by whose help he tamed
with soothing hand his colts of spangled rein.

For the archer maiden with both hands fitteth the glittering
trappings, and Hermes, god of games, whensoever Hieron to the polished
car and bridle-guided wheels[2] yoketh the strength of his steeds,
calling on the wide-ruling god, the trident-wielder.

Now unto various kings pay various men sweet song, their valour's
meed. So the fair speech of Cyprus echoeth around the name of Kinyras,
him whom Apollo of the golden hair loved fervently, and who dwelt a
priest in the house of Aphrodite: for to such praise are men moved by
the thankfulness that followeth the recompense of friendly acts. But
of thee, O thou son of Deinomenes, the maiden daughter of the Lokrian
in the west before the house-door telleth in her song, being out of
bewildering woes of war by thy might delivered, so that her eyes are
not afraid for anything.

Ixion, they say, by order of the gods, writhing on his winged wheel,
proclaimeth this message unto men: _To him who doeth thee service make
recompense of fair reward_.

This lesson learned he plainly; for when that among the friendly
Kronidai he had gotten a life of pleasantness, his bliss became
greater than he could bear, and with mad heart he lusted after Hera,
whose place was in the happy marriage-bed of Zeus: yet insolence drove
him to the exceeding folly; but quickly suffering his deserts the man
gained to himself a misery most rare.

Two sins are the causes of his pain; one that he first among the
heroes shed blood of kindred[3] craftily, the other that in the
chambers of the ample heavens he attempted the wife of Zeus--for in
all things it behoveth to take measure by oneself[4].

Yet a mocking love-bed hurried him as he approached the couch[5] into
a sea of trouble; for he lay with a cloud, pursuing the sweet lie,
fond man: for its form was as the form of the most highest among the
daughters of heaven, even the child of Kronos; and the hands of Zeus
had made it that it might be a snare unto him, a fair mischief. Thus
came he unto the four-spoked wheel, his own destruction; and having
fallen into chains without escape he became proclaimer of that
message[6] unto many.

His mate[7], without favour of the Graces, bare unto him a monstrous
son, and like no other thing anywhere, even as its mother was, a thing
with no place or honour, neither among men, neither in the society of
gods. Him she reared and called by the name Kentauros, and he in the
valleys of Pelion lay with Magnesian mares, and there were born thence
a wondrous tribe, like unto both parents, their nether parts like unto
the dams, and their upper parts like unto the sire.

God achieveth all ends whereon he thinketh--God who overtaketh even
the winged eagle, and outstrippeth the dolphin of the sea, and
bringeth low many a man in his pride, while to others he giveth glory

For me it is meet to eschew the sharp tooth of bitter words; for,
though afar off, I have seen the fierce Archilochos lacking most
things and fattening but on cruel words of hate. Of most worth are
riches when joined to the happy gift of wisdom. And this lot hast
thou, and mayest illustrate it with liberal soul, thou sovereign chief
over many streets filled with goodly garlands, and much people. If any
saith that ever yet was any man of old time throughout Hellas who
excelled thee in honour or in the multitude of possessions, such an one
with vain purpose essayeth a fruitless task.

Upon the flower-crowned prow[8] will I go up to sing of brave deeds
done. Youth is approved by valour in dread wars; and hence say I that
thou hast won boundless renown in thy battles, now with horsemen, now
on foot: also the counsels of thine elder years give me sure ground of
praising thee every way.

All hail! This song like to Phenician merchandize is sent across the
hoary sea: do thou look favourably on the strain of Kaster in Aeolian
mood[9], and greet it in honour of the seven-stringed lute.

Be what thou art, now I have told thee what that is: in the eyes of
children the fawning ape is ever comely: but the good fortune of
Rhadamanthos hath come to him because the fruit that his soul bare was
true, neither delighteth he in deceits within his heart, such as by
whisperer's arts ever wait upon mortal man.

An overpowering evil are the secret speakings of slander, to the
slandered and to the listener thereto alike, and are as foxes in
relentless temper. Yet for the beast whose name is of gain[10] what
great thing is gained thereby? For like the cork above the net, while
the rest of the tackle laboureth deep in the sea, I am unmerged in the

Impossible is it that a guileful citizen utter potent words among the
good, nevertheless he fawneth on all and useth every subtlety. No part
have I in that bold boast of his, 'Let me be a friend to my friend,
but toward an enemy I will be an enemy and as a wolf will cross his
path, treading now here now there in crooked ways[11].' For every form
of polity is a man of direct speech best, whether under a despotism,
or whether the wild multitude, or the wisest, have the state in their

Against God it is not meet to strive, who now upholdeth these, and
now again to those giveth great glory. But not even this cheereth the
heart of the envious; for they measure by an unjust balance, and their
own hearts they afflict with bitter pain, till such time as they
attain to that which their hearts devise.

To take the car's yoke on one's neck and run on lightly, this helpeth;
but to kick against the goad is to make the course perilous. Be it
mine to dwell among the good, and to win their love.

[Footnote 1: Pindar here identifies himself with his ode, which he
sent, not took, to Syracuse. Compare Ol. vii. 13, &c.]

[Footnote 2: Properly [Greek: harmata] would seem to include all
except the body of the chariot ([Greek: diphros]) in which the
charioteer stood.]

[Footnote 3: His father-in-law Deioneus.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. to estimate rightly one's capacities,
circumstances, rights, duties.]

[Footnote 5: Reading [Greek: poti koiton ikont'].]

[Footnote 6: The message spoken of above, v. 24.]

[Footnote 7: The cloud, the phantom-Hera.]

[Footnote 8: The prow of the ship carrying this ode, with which
Pindar, as has been said, identifies himself.]

[Footnote 9: It is supposed that another ode, more especially in
honour of the chariot-victory, is here meant, which was to be sent

From this point to the end the ode reads like a postscript of private
import and reference.]

[Footnote 10: It is at least doubtful whether [Greek: kerdo] a fox is
really connected with [Greek: kerdos] gain.]

[Footnote 11: It appears to me to be an absurdity to suppose that
Pindar means to express in this sentence his own rule of conduct,
as the commentators have fancied. He is all through this passage
condemning 'crooked ways.']




       *       *       *       *       *

The dates both of the victory and of the ode are uncertain. But as
Pherenikos, the horse that won this race at Pytho, is the same that
won at Olympia B.C. 472, in honour of which event the First Olympian
was written, the victory cannot have been very long before that date,
though the language of the ode implies that it was written a good deal
later, probably for an anniversary of the victory. It must at least
have been written before Hieron's death in 467. It is much occupied
with his illness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fain were I (if meet it be to utter from my mouth the prayer conceived
of all) that Cheiron the son of Philyra were alive and had not
perished among men, even the wide-ruling seed of Kronos the son of
Ouranos; and that there still lorded it in Pelion's glens that Beast
untamed, whose soul was loving unto men, even such as when of old he
trained the gentle deviser of limb-saving anodynes, Asklepios, the
hero that was a defence against all kind of bodily plague.

Of him was the daughter[1] of Phlegyas of goodly steeds not yet
delivered by Eileithuia aid of mothers, ere by the golden bow she was
slain at the hands of Artemis, and from her child-bed chamber went
down into the house of Hades, by contriving of Apollo. Not idle is the
wrath of sons of Zeus.

She in the folly of her heart had set Apollo at nought, and taken
another spouse without knowledge of her sire, albeit ere then she had
lain with Phoibos of the unshorn hair, and bare within her the seed of
a very god.

Neither awaited she the marriage-tables nor the sound of many voices
in hymeneal song, such as the bride's girl-mates are wont to sing at
eventide with merry minstrelsy: but lo, she had longing for things
otherwhere, even as many before and after. For a tribe there is most
foolish among men, of such as scorn the things of home, and gaze on
things that are afar off, and chase a cheating prey with hopes that
shall never be fulfilled.

Of such sort was the frenzied strong desire fair-robed Koronis
harboured in her heart, for she lay in the couch of a stranger that
was come from Arcady.

But one that watched beheld her: for albeit he was at sheep-gathering
Pytho, yet was the temple's king Loxias aware thereof, beside his
unerring partner[2], for he gave heed to his own wisdom, his mind that
knoweth all things; in lies it hath no part, neither in act or thought
may god or man deceive him.

Therefore when he was aware of how she lay with the stranger Ischys
son of Elatos, and of her guile unrighteous, he sent his sister fierce
with terrible wrath to go to Lakereia--for by the steep shores of the
Boibian lake was the home of her virginity--and thus a doom adverse
blasted her life and smote her down: and of her neighbours many fared
ill therefore and perished with her: so doth a fire that from one
spark has leapt upon a mountain lay waste wide space of wood.

But when her kinsfolk had laid the damsel upon the pile of wood, and
fierce brightness of Hephaistos ran around it, then said Apollo: 'Not
any longer may I endure in my soul to slay mine own seed by a most
cruel death in company with its mother's grievous fate.'

He said, and at the first stride he was there, and from the corpse
caught up the child, and the blaze of the burning fiery pile was
cloven before him asunder in the midst.

Then to the Kentaur of Magnes he bare the child, that he should teach
him to be a healer of the many-plaguing maladies of men. And thus all
that came unto him whether plagued with self-grown sores or with limbs
wounded by the lustrous bronze or stone far-hurled, or marred by
summer heat or winter cold--these he delivered, loosing each from
his several infirmity, some with emollient spells and some by kindly
potions, or else he hung their limbs with charms, or by surgery he
raised them up to health.

Yet hath even wisdom been led captive of desire of gain. Even him did
gold in his hands glittering beguile for a great reward to bring back
from death a man already prisoner thereto: wherefore the hands of the
son of Kronos smote the twain of them through the midst, and bereft
their breasts of breath, and the bright lightning dealt them doom.

It behoveth to seek from gods things meet for mortal souls, knowing
the things that are in our path and to what portion we are born.
Desire not thou, dear my soul, a life immortal, but use the tools that
are to thine hand.

Now were wise Cheiron in his cavern dwelling yet, and had our
sweet-voiced songs laid haply some fair magic on his soul, then had
I won him to grant to worthy men some healer of hot plagues, some
offspring of Leto's son, or of her son's sire[3].

And then in a ship would I have sailed, cleaving the Ionian sea, to
the fountain of Arethusa, to the home of my Aitnaian friend, who
ruleth at Syracuse, a king of good will to the citizens, not envious
of the good, to strangers wondrous fatherly. Had I but landed there
and brought unto him a twofold joy, first golden health and next this
my song of triumph to be a splendour in his Pythian crown, which of
late Pherenikos[4] won by his victory at Kirrha--I say that then
should I have come unto him, after that I had passed over the deep
sea, a farther-shining light than any heavenly star.

But I am minded to pray to the Mother[5] for him, to the awful goddess
unto whom, and unto Pan, before my door nightly the maidens move in
dance and song.

Yet, O Hieron, if thou art skilled to apprehend the true meaning of
sayings, thou hast learnt to know this from the men of old; _The
immortals deal to men two ill things for one good._ The foolish cannot
bear these with steadfastness but the good only, putting the fair side

But thee a lot of happiness attendeth, for if on any man hath mighty
Destiny looked favourably, surely it is on a chief and leader of a

A life untroubled abode not either with Peleus, son of Aiakos, or with
godlike Kadmos: yet of all mortals these, they say, had highest
bliss, who both erewhile listened to the singing of the Muses
golden-filleted, the one in seven-gated Thebes, when he wedded
large-eyed Harmonia, the other on the mountainside, when he took to
him Thetis to be his wife, wise Nereus' glorious daughter. And with
both of them gods sate at meat, and they beheld the sons of Kronos
sitting as kings on thrones of gold, and they received from them gifts
for their espousals; and by grace of Zeus they escaped out of their
former toils and raised up their hearts to gladness.

Yet again in the after time the bitter anguish of those daughters[6]
robbed Kadmos of a part of bliss: howbeit the Father Zeus came to
white-armed Thyone's[7] longed-for couch.

And so did the son of Peleus whom Thetis bare at Phthia, her only son,
die by an arrow in war, and moved the Danaoi to lament aloud, when his
body was burning in fire.

Now if any by wisdom hath the way of truth he may yet lack good
fortune, which cometh of the happy gods.

The blasts of soaring winds blow various ways at various times.
Not for long cometh happiness to men, when it accompanieth them in
exceeding weight.

Small will I be among the small, and great among the great. Whatever
fortune follow me, I will work therewith, and wield it as my power
shall suffice. If God should offer me wealth and ease, I have hope
that I should first have won high honour to be in the times afar off.

Nestor and Lykian Sarpedon, who live in the speech of men, we know
from tales of sounding song, built up by cunning builders.

By songs of glory hath virtue lasting life, but to achieve them is
easy to but few.

[Footnote 1: Koronis.]

[Footnote 2: His father, Zeus.]

[Footnote 3: Some Asklepios or Apollo.]

[Footnote 4: Hieron's horse.]

[Footnote 5: Rhea or Kybele, the mother of the gods. 'Next door to
Pindar's house was a temple of the mother of the gods and of Pan,
which he had built himself.' Scholiast.]

[Footnote 6: Ino, Agaue, and Autonoe.]

[Footnote 7: Semele.]




       *       *       *       *       *

Pindar has made this victory of Arkesilas, King of the Hellenic colony
of Kyrene in Africa, an occasion for telling the story of Jason's
expedition with the Argonauts. The ostensible reason for introducing
the story is that Kyrene had been colonised from the island of Thera
by the descendants of the Argonaut Euphemos, according to the prophecy
of Medea related at the beginning of the ode. But Pindar had another
reason. He wished to suggest an analogy between the relation of the
Iolkian king Pelias to Jason and the relation of Arkesilas to his
exiled kinsman Demophilos. Demophilos had been staying at Thebes,
where Pindar wrote this ode, to be afterwards recited at Kyrene. It
was written B.C. 466, when Pindar was fifty-six years of age, and is
unsurpassed in his extant works, or indeed by anything of this kind in
all poetry.

       *       *       *       *       *

This day O Muse must thou tarry in a friend's house, the house of the
king of Kyrene of goodly horses, that with Arkesilas at his triumph
thou mayst swell the favourable gale of song, the due of Leto's
children, and of Pytho. For at Pytho of old she who sitteth beside the
eagles of Zeus--nor was Apollo absent then--the priestess, spake this
oracle, that Battos should found a power in fruitful Libya, that
straightway departing from the holy isle he might lay the foundations
of a city of goodly chariots upon a white breast of the swelling
earth, and might fulfil in the seventeenth generation the word of
Medea spoken at Thera, which of old the passionate child of Aietes,
queen of Colchians, breathed from immortal lips. For on this wise
spake she to the warrior Jason's god-begotten crew: 'Hearken O sons
of high-hearted mortals and of gods. Lo I say unto you that from this
sea-lashed land the daughter[1] of Epaphos shall sometime be planted
with a root to bring forth cities that shall possess the minds of men,
where Zeus Ammon's shrine is builded.

And instead of short-finned dolphins they shall take to them fleet
mares, and reins instead of oars shall they ply, and speed the
whirlwind-footed car.

By that augury shall it come to pass that Thera shall be mother-city
of mighty commonwealths, even the augury that once at the outpourings
of the Tritonian lake Euphemos leaping from the prow took at the hands
of a god who in the likeness of man tendered this present to the
stranger of a clod of earth; and the Father Kronian Zeus confirmed it
with a peal of thunder.

[2]What time he came suddenly upon them as they were hanging against
the ship the bronze-fluked anchor, fleet Argo's bridle; for now for
twelve days had we borne from Ocean over long backs of desert-land our
sea-ship, after that by my counsel we drew it up upon the shore.

Then came to us the solitary god, having put on the splendid semblance
of a noble man; and he began friendly speech, such as well-doers use
when they bid new-comers to the feast.

But the plea of the sweet hope of home suffered us not to stay. Then
he said that he was Eurypylos son of the earth-embracer, immortal
Ennosides; and for that he was aware that we hasted to be gone, he
straightway caught up of the chance earth at his feet a gift that he
would fain bestow. Nor was the hero unheeding, but leaping on the
shore and striking hand in hand he took to him the fateful clod.

But now I hear that it was washed down from the ship and departed into
the sea with the salt spray of evening, following the watery deep. Yet
verily often did I charge the labour-lightening servants that they
should keep it safe, but they forgat: and now upon this island[3]
is the imperishable seed of spacious Libya strown before the time
appointed; for if the royal son[4] of Poseidon, lord of horses, whom
Europa Tityos' child bare him on Kephisos' banks, had in his own home
thrown it down beside the mouth of Hades'[5] gulf, then in the fourth
generation of his sons his seed would have taken that wide continent
of Libya, for then they would have gone forth from mighty Lakedaimon,
and from the Argive gulf, and from Mykenai.

But now he shall in wedlock with a stranger-wife raise up a chosen
seed, who coming to this island with worship of their gods shall beget
one to be lord of the misty plains[6]. Him sometime shall Phoibos in
his golden house admonish by oracles, when in the latter days he shall
go down into the inner shrine at Pytho, to bring a host in ships to
the rich Nile-garden of the son of Kronos[7].'

So ran Medea's rhythmic utterance, and motionless in silence the
godlike heroes bowed their heads as they hearkened to the counsels of

Thee, happy son[8] of Polymnestos, did the oracle of the Delphian
bee[9] approve with call unasked to be the man whereof the word was
spoken, for thrice she bid thee hail and declared thee by decree of
fate Kyrene's king, what time thou enquiredst what help should be from
heaven for thy labouring speech. And verily even now long afterward,
as in the bloom of rosy-blossomed spring, in the eighth descent from
Battos the leaf of Arkesilas is green. To him Apollo and Pytho have
given glory in the chariot-race at the hands of the Amphiktyons: him
will I commend to the Muses, and withal the tale of the all-golden
fleece; for this it was the Minyai sailed to seek when the god-given
glories of their race began.

What power first drave them in the beginning to the quest? What
perilous enterprise clenched them with strong nails of adamant?

There was an oracle of God which said that Pelias should die by force
or by stern counsels of the proud sons of Aiolos, and there had come
to him a prophecy that froze his cunning heart, spoken at the central
stone of tree-clad mother Earth, that by every means he should keep
safe guard against the man of one sandal, whensoever from a homestead
on the hills he shall have come to the sunny land of glorious Iolkos,
whether a stranger or a citizen he be.

So in the fulness of time he came, wielding two spears, a wondrous
man; and the vesture that was upon him was twofold, the garb of the
Magnetes' country close fitting to his splendid limbs, but above he
wore a leopard-skin to turn the hissing showers; nor were the bright
locks of his hair shorn from him but over all his back ran rippling
down. Swiftly he went straight on, and took his stand, making trial of
his dauntless soul, in the marketplace when the multitude was full.

Him they knew not; howbeit some one looking reverently on him would
speak on this wise: 'Not Apollo surely is this, nor yet Aphrodite's
lord of the brazen car; yea and in glistening Naxos died ere now, they
say, the children of Iphimedeia, Otos and thou, bold king Ephialtes:
moreover Tityos was the quarry of Artemis' swift arrow sped from her
invincible quiver, warning men to touch only the loves within their

They answering each to each thus talked; but thereon with headlong
haste of mules and polished car came Pelias; and he was astonied when
he gazed on the plain sign of the single sandal on the right foot. But
he dissembled his fear within his heart and said unto him, 'What land,
O stranger, dost thou claim to be thy country, and who of earth-born
mortals bare thee of her womb out of due time[10]? Tell me thy race
and shame it not by hateful lies.'

And him with gentle words the other answered undismayed, 'I say to
thee that I bear with me the wisdom of Cheiron, for from Chariklo
and Philyra I come, from the cave where the Centaur's pure daughters
reared me up, and now have I fulfilled twenty years among them without
deceitful word or deed, and I am come home to seek the ancient honour
of my father, held now in rule unlawful, which of old Zeus gave to
the chief Aiolos and his children. For I hear that Pelias yielding
lawlessly to evil thoughts hath robbed it from my fathers whose right
it was from the beginning; for they, when first I looked upon the
light, fearing the violence of an injurious lord, made counterfeit
of a dark funeral in the house as though I were dead, and amid the
wailing of women sent me forth secretly in purple swathing-bands, when
none but Night might know the way we went, and gave me to Cheiron the
son of Kronos to be reared.

But of these things the chief ye know. Now therefore kind citizens
show me plainly the house of my fathers who drave white horses; for it
shall hardly be said that a son of Aison, born in the land, is come
hither to a strange and alien soil. And Jason was the name whereby the
divine Beast[11] spake to me.'

Thus he said, and when he had entered in, the eyes of his father knew
him; and from his aged eyelids gushed forth tears, for his soul was
glad within him when he beheld his son, fairest of men and goodliest

Then came to him both brothers, when they heard that Jason was come
home, Pheres from hard by, leaving the fountain Hypereis, and out of
Messena Amythaon, and quickly came Admetos and Melampos to welcome
home their cousin. And at a common feast with gracious words Jason
received them and made them friendly cheer, culling for five long
nights and days the sacred flower of joyous life.

But on the sixth day he began grave speech, and set the whole matter
before his kinsmen from the beginning, and they were of one mind with

Then quickly he rose up with them from their couches, and they came to
Pelias' hall, and they made haste and entered and stood within.

And when he heard them the king himself came forth to them, even the
son of Tyro of the lovely hair. Then Jason with gentle voice opened on
him the stream of his soft speech, and laid foundation of wise words:
'Son of Poseidon of the Rock, too ready are the minds of mortal men to
choose a guileful gain rather than righteousness, howbeit they travel
ever to a stern reckoning. But thee and me it behoveth to give law
to our desires, and to devise weal for the time to come. Though
thou knowest it yet will I tell thee, how that the same mother bare
Kretheus and rash Salmoneus, and in the third generation we again were
begotten and look upon the strength of the golden sun. Now if there
be enmity between kin, the Fates stand aloof and would fain hide the
shame. Not with bronze-edged swords nor with javelins doth it beseem
us twain to divide our forefathers' great honour, nor needeth it,
for lo! all sheep and tawny herds of kine I yield, and all the lands
whereon thou feedest them, the spoil of my sires wherewith thou makest
fat thy wealth. That these things furnish forth thy house moveth me
not greatly; but for the kingly sceptre and throne whereon the son of
Kretheus sate of old and dealt justice to his chivalry, these without
wrath between us yield to me, lest some new evil arise up therefrom.'

Thus he spake, and mildly also did Pelias make reply: 'I will be even
as thou wilt, but now the sere of life alone remaineth to me, whereas
the flower of thy youth is but just burgeoning; thou art able to take
away the sin that maketh the powers beneath the earth wroth with us:
for Phrixos biddeth us lay his ghost, and that we go to the house of
Aietes, and bring thence the thick-fleeced hide of the ram, whereby of
old he was delivered from the deep and from the impious weapons of his
stepmother. This message cometh to me in the voice of a strange dream:
also I have sent to ask of the oracle at Kastalia whether it be worth
the quest, and the oracle chargeth me straightway to send a ship on
the sacred mission. This deed do thou offer me to do, and I swear to
give thee up the sway and kingly rule. Let Zeus the ancestral god of
thee and me be witness of my oath and stablish it surely in thine

So they made this covenant and parted; but Jason straightway bade
heralds to make known everywhere that a sailing was toward. And
quickly came three sons of Zeus, men unwearied in battle, whose
mothers were Alkmene and Leto of the glancing eyes[12], and two
tall-crested men of valour, children of the Earth-shaker, whose honour
was perfect as their might, from Pylos and from farthest Tainaros:
hereby was the excellence of their fame established--even Euphemos'
fame, and thine, wide-ruling Periklymenos. And at Apollo's bidding
came the minstrel father of song, Orpheus of fair renown.

And Hermes of the golden staff sent two sons to the toilsome task,
Echion and Eurytos in the joy of their youth; swiftly they came, even
from their dwelling at the foot of Pangaios: and willingly and with
glad heart their father Boreas, king of winds, harnessed Zetes and
Kalais, men both with bright wings shooting from their backs. For Hera
kindled within those sons of gods the all-persuading sweet desire
for the ship Argo, that none should be left behind and stay by his
mother's side in savourless and riskless life, but each, even were
death the price, achieve in company with his peers a magic potency of
his valour.

Now when that goodly crew were come to Iolkos, Jason mustered them
with thanks to each, and the seer Mopsos prophesied by omens and by
sacred lots, and with good will sped the host on board.

And when they had hung the anchors over the prow, then their chief
taking in his hands a golden goblet stood up upon the stern and called
on Zeus whose spear is the lightning, and on the rush of waves and
winds and the nights and paths of the deep, to speed them quickly
over, and for days of cheer and friendly fortune of return. And from
the clouds a favourable voice of thunder pealed in answer; and there
came bright lightning flashes bursting through.

Then the heroes took heart in obedience to the heavenly signs; and the
seer bade them strike into the water with their oars, while he spake
to them of happy hopes; and in their rapid hands the rowing sped

And with breezes of the South they came wafted to the mouth of the
Axine sea; there they founded a shrine and sacred close of Poseidon,
god of seas, where was a red herd of Thracian bulls, and a new-built
altar of stone with hollow top[13].

Then as they set forth toward an exceeding peril they prayed the lord
of ships that they might shun the terrible shock of the clashing
rocks: for they were twain that had life, and plunged along more
swiftly than the legions of the bellowing winds; but that travel of
the seed of gods made end of them at last[14].

After that they came to the Phasis; there they fought with dark-faced
Kolchians even in the presence of Aietes. And there the queen of
keenest darts, the Cyprus-born, first brought to men from Olympus the
frenzied bird, the speckled wry-neck[15], binding it to a four-spoked
wheel without deliverance, and taught the son of Aison to be wise in
prayers and charms, that he might make Medea take no thought to honour
her parents, and longing for Hellas might drive her by persuasion's
lash, her heart afire with love.

Then speedily she showed him the accomplishment of the tasks her
father set, and mixing drugs with oil gave him for his anointment
antidotes of cruel pain, and they vowed to be joined together in sweet

But when Aietes had set in the midst a plough of adamant, and oxen
that from tawny jaws breathed flame of blazing fire, and with bronze
hoofs smote the earth in alternate steps, and had led them and yoked
them single-handed, he marked out in a line straight furrows, and for
a fathom's length clave the back of the loamy earth; then he spake
thus: 'This work let your king, whosoever he be that hath command
of the ship, accomplish me, and then let him bear away with him the
imperishable coverlet, the fleece glittering with tufts of gold.'

He said, and Jason flung off from him his saffron mantle, and putting
his trust in God betook himself to the work; and the fire made him not
to shrink, for that he had had heed to the bidding of the stranger
maiden skilled in all pharmacy. So he drew to him the plough and
made fast by force the bulls' necks in the harness, and plunged the
wounding goad into the bulk of their huge sides, and with manful
strain fulfilled the measure of his work. And a cry without speech
came from Aietes in his agony, at the marvel of the power he beheld.

Then to the strong man his comrades stretched forth their hands, and
crowned him with green wreaths, and greeted him with gracious words.
And thereupon the wondrous son[16] of Helios told him in what place
the knife of Phrixos had stretched the shining fell; yet he trusted
that this labour at least should never be accomplished by him. For it
lay in a thick wood and grasped by a terrible dragon's jaws, and he in
length and thickness was larger than their ship of fifty oars, which
the iron's blows had welded.

Long were it for me to go by the beaten track, for the time is nigh
out, and I know a certain short path, and many others look to me for
skill. The glaring speckled dragon, O Arkesilas, he slew by subtlety,
and by her own aid he stole away Medea, the murderess of Pelias. And
they went down into the deep of Ocean and into the Red Sea, and to the
Lemnian race of husbandslaying wives; there also they had games and
wrestled for a prize of vesture, and lay with the women of the land.

And then it was that in a stranger womb, by night or day, the fateful
seed was sown of the bright fortune of thy race. For there began the
generations of Euphemos, which should be thenceforth without end. And
in time mingling among the homes of Lakedaimonian men they made their
dwelling in the isle that once was Kalliste[17]: and thence the son
of Leto gave thy race the Libyan plain to till it and to do honour
therein to your gods, and to rule the divine city of golden-throned
Kyrene with devising of the counsels of truth.

Now hearken to a wise saying even as the wisdom of Oedipus. If one
with sharp axe lop the boughs of a great oak and mar the glorious
form, even in the perishing of the fruit thereof it yet giveth token
of that it was; whether at the last it come even to the winter fire,
or whether with upright pillars in a master's house it stand, to serve
drear service within alien walls, and the place thereof knoweth it no

But thou art a physician most timely, and the god of healing maketh
thy light burn brightly. A gentle hand must thou set to a festering
wound. It is a small thing even for a slight man to shake a city, but
to set it firm again in its place this is hard struggle indeed, unless
with sudden aid God guide the ruler's hand. For thee are prepared the
thanks which these deeds win. Be strong to serve with all thy might
Kyrene's goodly destiny.

And of Homer's words take this to ponder in thy heart: _Of a good
messenger_, he saith, _cometh great honour to every deed._ Even to the
Muse is right messengership a gain. Now good cause have Kyrene and the
glorious house of Battos to know the righteous mind of Demophilos. For
he was a boy with boys, yet in counsels an old man of a hundred years:
and the evil tongue he robbeth of its loud voice, and hath learnt to
abhor the insolent, neither will he make strife against the good, nor
tarry when he hath a deed in hand. For a brief span hath opportunity
for men, but of him it is known surely when it cometh, and he waiteth
thereon a servant but no slave.

Now this they say is of all griefs the sorest, that one knowing good
should of necessity abide without lot therein. Yea thus doth Atlas
struggle now against the burden of the firmament, far from his native
land and his possessions. Yet the Titans were set free by immortal
Zeus. As time runneth on the breeze abateth and there are shiftings of
the sails. And he hath hope that when he shall have endured to the end
his grievous plague he shall see once more his home, and at Apollo's
fountain[19] joining in the feast give his soul to rejoice in her
youth, and amid citizens who love his art, playing on his carven lute,
shall enter upon peace, hurting and hurt of none. Then shall he tell
how fair a fountain of immortal verse he made to flow for Arkesilas,
when of late he was the guest of Thebes.

[Footnote 1: Libya. Epaphos was son of Zeus by Io.]

[Footnote 2: This incident happened during the wanderings of the
Argonauts on their return with the Golden Fleece from Kolchis to

[Footnote 3: Thera.]

[Footnote 4: Euphemos.]

[Footnote 5: At Tainaros there was a cave supposed to be a mouth of

[Footnote 6: Of Libya.]

[Footnote 7: The purport of this is: If Euphemos had taken the clod
safely home to Tainaros in Lakonia, then his great-grandsons with
emigrants from other Peloponnesian powers would have planted a colony
in Libya. But since the clod had fallen into the sea and would be
washed up on the shore of the island of Thera, it was necessary that
Euphemos' descendants should first colonize Thera, and then, but not
till the seventeenth generation, proceed, under Battos, to found the
colony of Kyrene in Libya.]

[Footnote 8: Battos.]

[Footnote 9: The priestess.]

[Footnote 10: The epithet [Greek: polias] is impossible to explain
satisfactorily. It has been suggested to me by Professor S.H. Butcher,
that [Greek: chamaigenaes] may have been equivalent to [Greek:
gaegenaes] and that Pelias may thus mean, half ironically, to imply
that Jason's stature, garb and mien, as well as his mysteriously
sudden appearance, argue him a son of one of the ancient giants who
had been seen of old among men.]

[Footnote 11: The Kentaur Cheiron.]

[Footnote 12: I. e. one son of Zeus and Alkmene, Herakles, and two
sons of Zeus and Leto, Kastor and Polydeukes.]

[Footnote 13: For the blood of the victims.]

[Footnote 14: The Symplegades having failed to crush the ship Argo
between them were themselves destroyed by the shock of their encounter
with each other. Probably a tradition of icebergs survived in this

[Footnote 15: Used as a love-charm.]

[Footnote 16: Aietes.]

[Footnote 17: Thera.]

[Footnote 18: In this parable the oak is the state, the boughs its
best men, the fire and the alien house destruction and servitude.]

[Footnote 19: The fountain Kyra in the heart of the city Kyrene.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This ode celebrates the same victory as the foregoing. It would seem
that the chariot had been consecrated to Apollo and left in the temple
at Delphi, but the horses were brought home to Kyrene and led in
procession through the sacred street of Apollo, with their charioteer
Karrhotos, brother of Arkesilas' wife.

       *       *       *       *       *

Wide-reaching is the power of wealth, whensoever a mortal man hath
received it at the hands of Fate with pure virtue mingled, and
bringeth it to his home, a follower that winneth him many friends.
Arkesilas, thou favourite of the gods, thou verily seekest after it
with good report from the first steps of thy glorious life, with aid
of Kastor of the golden car, who after the wintry storm hath shed
bright calm about thy happy hearth[1].

Now the wise bear better the power that is given of God. And thou
walkest in righteousness amid thy prosperity which is now great;
first, for that thou art king of mighty cities, thy inborn virtue
hath brought this majestic honour to thy soul, and again thou art now
blessed in that from the famous Pythian games thou hast won glory by
thy steeds, and hast received this triumphal song of men, Apollo's

Therefore forget not, while at Kyrene round Aphrodite's pleasant
garden thy praise is sung, to set God above every other as the cause
thereof: also love thou Karrhotos[2] chiefest of thy friends; who
hath not brought with him Excuse the daughter of late-considering
Afterthought back to the house of the just-ruling sons of Battos; but
beside the waters of Kastalia a welcomed guest he crowned thy hair
with the crown of the conquering car, for the reins were safe[3] in
his hands throughout the twelve swift turns along the sacred course.

Of the strong harness brake he no whit: but there is hung up[4] all
that cunning work of the artificers that he brought with him when he
passed over the Krisaian hill to the plain within the valley of the
god: therefore now the chamber of cypress-wood possesseth it, hard by
the statue which the bow-bearing Kretans dedicated in the Parnassian
shrine, the natural image in one block[5]. Therefore with eager heart
it behoveth thee to go forth to meet him who hath done thee this good

Thee also, son[6] of Alexibios, the Charites of lovely hair make
glorious. Blessed art thou for that after much toil thou hast a
monument of noble words. Among forty charioteers who fell[7] thou
didst with soul undaunted bring thy car unhurt, and hast now come back
from the glorious games unto the plain of Libya and the city of thy

Without lot in trouble hath there been never any yet, neither shall
be: yet still the ancient bliss of Battos followeth the race, albeit
with various fortune; a bulwark is it to the city, and to strangers a
most welcome light.

From Battos even deep-voiced lions[8] fled in fear when he uttered
before them a voice from overseas: for the captain and founder Apollo
gave the beasts over to dire terror, that he might not be false to his
oracles which he had delivered to the ruler of Kyrene.

Apollo it is who imparteth unto men and women cures for sore maladies,
and hath bestowed on them the lute, and giveth the Muse to whomsoever
he will, bringing into their hearts fair order of peace; and
inhabiteth the secret place of his oracles; whereby at Lakedaimon and
at Argos and at sacred Pylos he made to dwell the valiant sons of
Herakles and Aigimios[9].

From Sparta they say came my own dear famous race[10]: thence sprang
the sons of Aigeus who came to Thera, my ancestors, not without
help of God; but a certain destiny brought thither a feast of much
sacrifice[11], and thence receiving, O Apollo, thy Karneia we honour
at the banquet the fair-built city of Kyrene, which the spear-loving
strangers haunt[12], the Trojan seed of Antenor. For with Helen they
came thither after they had seen their native city smoking in the
fires of war.

And now to that chivalrous race do the men whom Aristoteles[13]
brought, opening with swift ships a track through the deep sea, give
greeting piously, and draw nigh to them with sacrifice and gifts.

He also planted greater groves of gods, and made a paved road[14] cut
straight over the plain, to be smitten with horsehoofs in processions
that beseech Apollo's guardianship for men; and there at the end of
the market-place he lieth apart in death. Blessed was he while he
dwelt among men, and since his death the people worship him as their

And apart from him before their palace lie other sacred kings that
have their lot with Hades; and even now perchance they hear, with
such heed as remaineth to the dead, of this great deed sprinkled with
kindly dew of outpoured song triumphal, whence have they bliss in
common with their son Arkesilas unto whom it falleth due.

Him it behoveth by the song of the young men to celebrate Phoibos of
the golden sword, seeing that from Pytho he hath won a recompense of
his cost in this glad strain of glorious victory.

Of him the wise speak well: I but repeat their words saying that he
cherisheth understanding above his years, that in eloquent speech and
boldness he is as the wide-winged eagle among birds, and his strength
in combat like a tower. And he hath wings to soar with the Muses,
as his mother before him, and now hath he proved him a cunning
charioteer: and by all ways that lead to honour at home hath he

As now the favour of God perfecteth his might, so for the time to
come, blest children of Kronos, grant him to keep it in counsel and
in deed, that never at any time the wintry blast of the late autumn
winds[15] sweep him away. Surely the mighty mind of Zeus guideth the
destiny of the men he loveth. I pray that to the seed of Battos he may
at Olympia grant a like renown.

[Footnote 1: Kastor was not only a patron of charioteers, but also,
with his twin-brother Polydeukes, a protector of mariners and giver of
fair weather.]

[Footnote 2: The charioteer.]

[Footnote 3: I. e. well-handled and un-broken in the sharp turns round
the goal.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. in Apollo's temple at Delphi.]

[Footnote 5: This would seem to have been a piece of wood growing
naturally in the form of a man.]

[Footnote 6: Karrhotos.]

[Footnote 7: This seems great havoc among the starters. Probably
besides the forty who fell there were others who were not actually
upset but yet did not win. No doubt the race must have been run in
heats, but these must still have been crowded enough to make the crush
at the turns exceedingly dangerous.]

[Footnote 8: Pausanias says that Battos, the founder of Kyrene, was
dumb when he went to Africa, but that on suddenly meeting a lion the
fright gave him utterance. According to Pindar the lions seem to have
been still more alarmed, being startled by Battos' foreign accent.]

[Footnote 9: The Dorians.]

[Footnote 10: There were Aigidai at Sparta and Spartan colonies, of
which Kyrene was one, and also at Thebes: to the latter branch of the
family Pindar belonged.]

[Footnote 11: The Karneia, a Dorian feast of which we hear often in

[Footnote 12: These Trojan refugees were supposed to have anciently
settled on the site where Kyrene was afterwards built. Battos (or
Aristoteles) and his new settlers honoured the dead Trojans as tutelar
heroes of the spot.]

[Footnote 13: Battos.]

[Footnote 14: The sacred street of Apollo, along which the procession
moved which sang this ode. The pavement, and the tombs cut in the rock
on each side are still to be seen, or at least were in 1817, when the
Italian traveller Della Cella visited the place. Boeckh quotes from
his Viaggio da Tripoli di Barberia alle frontiere occedentali dell'
Egitto, p. 139: 'Oggi ho passeggiato in una delle strade (di Cirene)
che serba ancora Papparenza di essere stata fra le piu cospicue. Non
solo e tutta intagliata nel vivo sasso, ma a due lati e fiancheggiata
da lunga fila di tombe quadrate di dieci circa piedi di altezza, anch'
esse tutte d'un pezzo scavate nella roccia.']

[Footnote 15: I. e., probably, calamity in old age.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This victory was won B.C. 494, when Pindar was twenty-eight years old,
and the ode was probably written to be sung at Delphi immediately
on the event. Thus, next to the tenth Pythian, written eight years
before, this is the earliest of Pindar's poems that remains to us.

Xenokrates was a son of Ainesidamos and brother of Theron. The second
Isthmian is also in his honour.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hearken! for once more we plough the field[1] of Aphrodite of the
glancing eyes, or of the Graces call it if you will, in this our
pilgrimage to the everlasting centre-stone of deep-murmuring[2] earth.

For there for the blissful Emmenidai, and for Akragas by the
riverside, and chiefliest for Xenokrates, is builded a ready treasure
of song within the valley of Apollo rich in golden gifts.

That treasure of his shall neither wind nor wintry rain-storm coming
from strange lands, as a fierce host born of the thunderous cloud,
carry into the hiding places of the sea, to be beaten by the
all-sweeping drift:

But in clear light its front shall give tidings of a victory won
in Krisa's dells, glorious in the speech of men to thy father
Thrasyboulos, and to all his kin with him.

Thou verily in that thou settest him ever at thy right hand cherishest
the charge which once upon the mountains they say the son[3] of
Philyra gave to him of exceeding might, even to the son of Peleas,
when he had lost his sire: first that of all gods he most reverence
Kronos' son, the deep-voiced lord of lightnings and of thunders, and
then that he never rob of like honour a parent's spell of life.

Also of old time had mighty Antilochos this mind within him, who died
for his father's sake, when he abode the murderous onset of Memnon,
the leader of the Ethiop hosts.

For Nestor's chariot was stayed by a horse that was stricken of the
arrows of Paris, and Memnon made at him with his mighty spear. Then
the heart of the old man of Messene was troubled, and he cried unto
his son; nor wasted he his words in vain; in his place stood up the
godlike man and bought his father's flight by his own death. So by the
young men of that ancient time he was deemed to have wrought a mighty
deed, and in succouring of parents to be supreme.

These things are of the past; but of men that now are Thrasyboulos
hath come nearest to our fathers' gauge. And following his uncle also
he hath made glory to appear for him; and with wisdom doth he handle
wealth, neither gathereth the fruit of an unrighteous or overweening
youth, but rather of knowledge amid the secret places of the Pierides.
And to thee, Earthshaker, who didst devise ventures of steeds, with
right glad heart he draweth nigh. Sweet is his spirit toward the
company of his guests, yea sweeter than the honeycomb, the toil of

[Footnote 1: The field of poesy.]

[Footnote 2: An epithet appropriate to volcanic soils.]

[Footnote 3: Cheiron.]




       *       *       *       *       *

Megakles won this victory B.C. 490, the year of the battle of
Marathon. He was a member of the great house of the Alkmaionidai, to
which Kleisthenes and Perikles belonged. Megakles was a frequent name
in the family: this Megakles was probably the nephew, possibly the
son, of Kleisthenes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fairest of preludes is the great name of Athens to whosoever will lay
foundation of songs for the mighty race of Alkmaionidai and for their
steeds. What country, what house among all lands shall I name more
glorious throughout Hellas?

For unto all cities is the fame familiar of the citizens of
Erechtheus, who at divine Pytho have wrought thee, O Apollo, a
glorious house[1].

And I hereto am led by victories, at Isthmos five, and one
pre-eminent, won at Olympia at the feast of Zeus, and two at Kirrha,
which thou, O Megakles, and thy sire have won.

Now at this new good fortune I rejoice; yet somewhat also I grieve,
even to behold how envy requiteth noble deeds[2]. Yet thus ever, they
say, must fair hap abiding with a man engender bad with good.

[Footnote 1: The Alkmainodai had lately been spending large sums on
the rebuilding of Apollo's temple at Delphi.]

[Footnote 2: Megakles was twice ostracized.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The precise date of this ode is uncertain, but there is strong
internal evidence of its having been written soon after the battle of
Salamis, after which, as is well known, the [Greek: aristeia] or first
honours for valour, were awarded to Aigina. The insolence of the
barbarian despot seems to be symbolized by that of the giants Typhon
and Porphyrion.

The ode was apparently to be sung on the winner's return to Aigina. No
less than eleven of the extant odes were written for winners from that

       *       *       *       *       *

O kindly Peace, daughter of Righteousness, thou that makest cities
great, and boldest the supreme keys of counsels and of wars, welcome
thou this honour to Aristomenes, won in the Pythian games.

Thou knowest how alike to give and take gentleness in due season: thou
also, if any have moved thy heart unto relentless wrath, dost terribly
confront the enemy's might, and sinkest Insolence in the sea.

Thus did Porphyrion provoke thee unaware. Now precious is the gain
that one beareth away from the house of a willing giver. But violence
shall ruin a man at the last, boast he never so loudly. He of Kilikia,
Typhon of the hundred heads, escaped not this, neither yet the king of
giants[1]: but by the thunderbolt they fell and by the bow of Apollo,
who with kind intent hath welcomed Xenarches home from Kirrha, crowned
with Parnassian wreaths and Dorian song.

Not far from the Graces' ken falleth the lot of this righteous
island-commonwealth, that hath attained unto the glorious deeds of the
sons of Aiakos[2]: from the beginning is her fame perfect, for she is
sung of as the nurse of heroes foremost in many games and in violent
fights: and in her mortal men also is she pre-eminent.

But my time faileth me to offer her all I might tell at length by lute
and softer voice of man, so that satiety vex not.

So let that which lieth in my path, my debt to thee, O boy, the
youngest of thy country's glories, run on apace, winged by my art.

For in wrestlings thou art following the footsteps of thy uncles, and
shamest neither Theognetos at Olympia, nor the victory that at Isthmos
was won by Kleitomachos' stalwart limbs.

And in that thou makest great the clan of the Midylidai thou attainest
unto the very praise which on a time the son of Oikleus spake in
a riddle, when he saw at seven-gated Thebes the sons of the Seven
standing to their spears, what time from Argos came the second race on
their new enterprise[3]. Thus spake he while they fought: 'By nature,
son, the noble temper of thy sires shineth forth in thee. I see
clearly the speckled dragon that Alkmaion weareth on his bright
shield, foremost at the Kadmean gates.

And he who in the former fight fared ill, hero Adrastos, is now
endowed with tidings of a better omen. Yet in his own house his
fortune shall be contrariwise: for he alone of all the Danaan host,
after that he shall have gathered up the bones of his dead son, shall
by favour of the gods come back with unharmed folk to the wide streets
of Abas[4].'

On this wise spake Amphiaraos. Yea and with joy I too myself throw
garlands on Alkmaion's grave, and shower it withal with songs, for
that being my neighbour and guardian of my possessions[5] he met me as
I went up to the earth's centre-stone, renowned in song, and showed
forth the gift of prophecy which belongeth unto his house[6].

But thou, far-darter, ruler of the glorious temple whereto all men go
up, amid the glens of Pytho didst there grant this the greatest of
joys: and at home before didst thou bring to him at the season of thy
feast the keen-sought prize of the pentathlon. My king, with willing
heart I make avowal that through thee is harmony before mine eyes in
all that I sing of every conqueror.

By the side of our sweet-voiced song of triumph hath Righteousness
taken her stand, and I pray, O Xenarches[7], that the favour of God be
unfailing toward the fortune of thee and thine. For if one hath good
things to his lot without long toil, to many he seemeth therefore to
be wise among fools and to be crowning his life by right devising of
the means. But these things lie not with men: it is God that ordereth
them, who setteth up one and putteth down another, so that he is bound
beneath the hands of the adversary.

Now at Megara also hast thou won a prize, and in secluded Marathon,
and in the games of Hera in thine own land, three times, Aristomenes,
hast thou overcome.

And now on the bodies of four others[8] hast thou hurled thyself with
fierce intent, to whom the Pythian feast might not award, as unto
thee, the glad return, nor the sweet smile that welcometh thee to thy
mother's side; nay but by secret ways they shrink from meeting their
enemies, stricken down by their evil hap.

Now he that hath lately won glory in the time of his sweet youth is
lifted on the wings of his strong hope and soaring valour, for his
thoughts are above riches.

In a little moment groweth up the delight of men; yea and in like sort
falleth it to the ground, when a doom adverse hath shaken it.

Things of a day--what are we, and what not? Man is a dream of shadows.

Nevertheless when a glory from God hath shined on them, a clear light
abideth upon men, and serene life.

Aigina[9], mother dear, this city in her march among the free, with
Zeus and lordly Aiakos, with Peleus and valiant Telamon and with
Achilles, guard thou well.

[Footnote 1: Porphyrion.]

[Footnote 2: Aiakos and his descendants, especially Aias, were the
chief national heroes of Aigina.]

[Footnote 3: It seems doubtful what this legend exactly was. Either
Amphiaraos, during the attack of the first Seven against Thebes,
saw by prophetic vision the future battle of the second Seven, the
Epigonoi, among whom were his own son Alkmaion, and Adrastos, the sole
survivor of the first Seven; or else these are the words of his oracle
after his death, spoken when the battle of the Epigonoi had begun but
was not yet ended.]

[Footnote 4: Abas was an ancient king of Argos.]

[Footnote 5: Probably there was a shrine of Alkmaion near Pindar's
house at Thebes, so that he considered his household to be under the
hero's protection: perhaps he had deposited money in the shrine, for
temples were often used as treasuries.]

[Footnote 6: Probably in some vision seen by Pindar on his journey to

[Footnote 7: Father of Aristomenes.]

[Footnote 8: His competitors in four ties of the wrestling-match.]

[Footnote 9: The nymph, protectress of the island.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The Hellenic heavy-armed soldier was often called upon to advance at a
run, as for instance in the charge at Marathon. With a view no doubt
to such occasions this race in full armour had been instituted at
Pytho in 498, and in 478 it was won by Telesikrates. The ode was
probably sung in a procession at Thebes, before Telesikrates had gone
back to Kyrene, but the legends related are mainly connected with
Kyrene. Probably the commentators are right in supposing
that Telesikrates was to take home with him a bride from the
mother-country, a fact which makes the legends told specially

       *       *       *       *       *

I have desire to proclaim with aid of the deep-vested Graces a victory
at Pytho of Telesikrates bearing the shield of bronze, and to speak
aloud his name, for his fair fortune and the glory wherewith he hath
crowned Kyrene, city of charioteers.

Kyrene[1] once from Pelion's wind-echoing dells Leto's son, the
flowing-haired, caught up and in a golden car bore away the
huntress-maiden to the place where he made her queen of a land rich in
flocks, yea richest of all lands in the fruits of the field, that her
home might be the third part[2] of the mainland of earth, a stock that
should bear lovely bloom. And silver-foot Aphrodite awaited the Delian
stranger issuing from his car divine, and lightly laid on him her
hand: then over their sweet bridal-bed she cast the loveliness of
maiden shame, and in a common wedlock joined the god and the daughter
of wide-ruling Hypseus, who then was king of the haughty Lapithai,
a hero whose father's father was the Ocean-god--for amid the famous
mountain-dells of Pindos the Naiad Kreuesa bare him after she had
delight in the bed of Peneus, Kreuesa, daughter of Earth.

Now the child he reared was Kyrene of the lovely arms: She was not one
who loved the pacings to and fro before the loom, neither the delights
of feastings with her fellows within the house, but with bronze
javelins and a sword she fought against and slew wild beasts of prey;
yea and much peace and sure she gave thereby to her father's herds,
but for sleep, the sharer of her bed, short spent she it and sweet,
descending on her eyelids as the dawn drew near.

Once as she struggled alone, without spear, with a terrible lion, he
of the wide quiver, far-darting Apollo, found her: and straightway he
called Cheiron from his hall and spake to him aloud: 'Son of Philyra,
come forth from thy holy cave, and behold and wonder at the spirit of
this woman, and her great might, what strife she wageth here with soul
undaunted, a girl with heart too high for toil to quell; for her mind
shaketh not in the storm of fear. What man begat her? From what tribe
was she torn to dwell in the secret places of the shadowing hills? She
hath assayed a struggle unachievable. Is it lawful openly to put forth
my hand to her, or rather on a bridal-bed pluck the sweet flower?'

To him the Centaur bold with a frank smile on his mild brow made
answer straightway of his wisdom: 'Secret are wise Lovecraft's keys
unto love's sanctities, O Phoibos, and among gods and men alike all
deem this shame, to have pleasure of marriage at the first openly. Now
even thee, who mayest have no part in lies, thy soft desire hath led
to dissemble in this thy speech.

The maiden's lineage dost thou, O king, enquire of me--thou who
knowest the certain end of all things, and all ways? How many leaves
the earth sendeth forth in spring, how many grains of sand in sea and
river are rolled by waves and the winds' stress, what shall come to
pass, and whence it shall be, thou discernest perfectly. But if even
against wisdom I must match myself, I will speak on. To wed this
damsel camest thou unto this glen, and thou art destined to bear her
beyond the sea to a chosen garden of Zeus, where thou shalt make her a
city's queen, when thou hast gathered together an island-people to
a hill in the plain's midst. And now shall queenly Libya of broad
meadow-lands well-pleased receive for thee within a golden house thy
glorious bride, and there make gift to her of a portion in the land,
to be an inhabiter thereof with herself, neither shall it be lacking
in tribute of plants bearing fruit after all kinds, neither a stranger
to the beasts of chase. There shall she bring forth a son, whom
glorious Hermes taking up from his mother's arms shall bear to the
fair-throned Hours and to Earth: and they shall set the babe upon
their knees, and nectar and ambrosia they shall distil upon his lips,
and shall make him as an immortal, a Zeus or a holy Apollo, to men
beloved of him a very present help, a tutelar of flocks, and to some
Agreus and Nomios; but to others Aristaios shall be his name.'

By these words he made him ready for the bridal's sweet fulfilment.
And swift the act and short the ways of gods who are eager to an end.
That same day made accomplishment of the matter, and in a golden
chamber of Libya they lay together; where now she haunteth a city
excellent in beauty and glorious in the games.

And now at sacred Pytho hath the son of Karneadas wedded that city
to the fair flower of good luck: for by his victory there he hath
proclaimed Kyrene's name, even her's who shall receive him with glad
welcome home, to the country of fair women bringing precious honour
out of Delphi.

Great merits stir to many words: yet to be brief and skilful on
long themes is a good hearing for bards: for fitness of times is in
everything alike of chief import.

That Iolaos had respect thereto[3] seven-gated Thebes knoweth well,
for when he had stricken down the head of Eurystheus beneath the edge
of the sword, she buried the slayer beneath the earth in the tomb of
Amphitryon the charioteer, where his father's father was laid, a guest
of the Spartoi, who had left his home to dwell among the streets of
the sons of Kadmos who drave white horses. To him and to Zeus at once
did wise Alkmene bear the strength of twin sons prevailing in battle.

Dull is that man who lendeth not his voice to Herakles, nor hath in
remembrance continually the waters of Dirke that nurtured him and
Iphikles. To them will I raise a song of triumph for that I have
received good at their hands, after that I had prayed to them that the
pure light of the voiceful Graces might not forsake me. For at Aigma
and on the hill of Nisos twice ere now I say that I have sung Kyrene's
praise, and by my act have shunned the reproach of helpless dumbness.

Wherefore if any of the citizens be our friend, yea even if he be
against us, let him not seek to hide the thing that hath been well
done in the common cause, and so despise the word of the old god of
the sea[4]. He biddeth one give praise with the whole heart to noble
deeds, yea even to an enemy, so be it that justice be on his side.

Full many times at the yearly feast of Pallas have the maidens seen
thee winner, and silently they prayed each for herself that such an
one as thou, O Telesikrates, might be her beloved husband or her son;
and thus also was it at the games of Olympia and of ample-bosomed
Earth[5], and at all in thine own land.

Me anywise to slake my thirst for song the ancient glory of thy
forefathers summoneth to pay its due and rouse it yet again--to tell
how that for love of a Libyan woman there went up suitors to the city
of Irasa to woo Antaios' lovely-haired daughter of great renown; whom
many chiefs of men, her kinsmen, sought to wed, and many strangers
also; for the beauty of her was marvellous, and they were fain to cull
the fruit whereto her gold-crowned youth had bloomed.

But her father gained for his daughter a marriage more glorious still.
Now he had heard how sometime Danaos at Argos devised for his forty
and eight maiden daughters, ere mid-day was upon them, a wedding
of utmost speed--for he straightway set the whole company at the
race-course end, and bade determine by a foot-race which maiden each
hero should have, of all the suitors that had come.

Even on this wise gave the Libyan a bridegroom to his daughter, and
joined the twain. At the line he set the damsel, having arrayed her
splendidly, to be the goal and prize, and proclaimed in the midst that
he should lead her thence to be his bride who, dashing to the front,
should first touch the robes she wore.

Thereon Alexidamos, when that he had sped through the swift course,
took by her hand the noble maiden, and led her through the troops of
Nomad horsemen. Many the leaves and wreaths they showered on him; yea
and of former days many plumes of victories had he won.

[Footnote 1: A Thessalian maiden, from whom, according to this legend,
the colony of Kyrene in Africa took its name.]

[Footnote 2: I. e. Libya, the continent which we now call Africa.]

[Footnote 3: I. e. by seizing the moment left to him before it should
be too late to act. Thebes and Kyrene were connected by the fact that
members of the Aigid family lived at both places.]

[Footnote 4: Nereus. Powers of divination and wisdom generally are
often attributed to sea-deities.]

[Footnote 5: I. e. at Delphi or Pytho. As being the supposed centre of
the Earth it was the place of the worship of the Earth-goddess.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The only reason we know for the digression about Perseus which
occupies great part of this ode seems to be that Thorax, who engaged
Pindar to write it for Hippokleas, and perhaps Hippokleas himself,
belonged to the family of the Aleuadai, who were descended through
Herakles from Perseus.

This ode is the earliest entire poem of Pindar's which survives. He
wrote it when he was twenty years old. The simplicity of the style and
manner of composition are significant of this. But there can scarcely
be said to be traces here of Pindar's early tendency in dealing with
mythological allusions to 'sow not with the hand but with the whole
sack,' which Korinna advised him to correct, and which is conspicuous
in a fragment remaining to us of one of his Hymns.

       *       *       *       *       *

Happy is Lakedaimon, blessed is Thessaly: in both there reigneth a
race sprung from one sire, from Herakles bravest in the fight. What
vaunt is this unseasonable? Nay, now, but Pytho calleth me, and
Pelinnaion[1], and the sons of Aleuas who would fain lead forth the
loud voices of a choir of men in honour of Hippokleas.

For now hath he tasted the joy of games, and to the host of the
dwellers round about hath the valley beneath Parnassos proclaimed him
best among the boys who ran the double race[2].

O Apollo, sweet is the end when men attain thereto, and the beginning
availed more when it is speeded of a god. Surely of thy devising were
his deeds: and this his inborn valour hath trodden in the footsteps
of his father twice victor at Olympia in panoply of war-affronting
arms[3]: moreover the games in the deep meadow beneath Kirrha's cliff
gave victory to the fleet feet of Phrikias[4].

May good luck follow them, so that even in after days the splendour of
their wealth shall bloom. Of the pleasant things of Hellas they
have no scanty portion to their lot; may they happen on no envious
repentings of the gods. A god's heart, it may be, is painless ever;
but happy and a theme of poet's song is that man who for his valiance
of hands or feet the chiefest prizes hath by strength and courage won,
and in his life-time seen his young son by good hap attaining to the
Pythian crown. Never indeed shall he climb the brazen heaven, but
whatsoever splendours we of mortal race may reach, through such he
hath free course even to the utmost harbourage. But neither by taking
ship, neither by any travel on foot, to the Hyperborean folk shalt
thou find the wondrous way.

Yet of old the chieftain Perseus entered into their houses and feasted
among them, when that he had lighted on them as they were sacrificing
ample hecatombs of asses to their god. For ever in their feasts and
hymns hath Apollo especial joy, and laugheth to see the braying ramp
of the strange beasts. Nor is the Muse a stranger to their lives, but
everywhere are stirring to and fro dances of maidens and shrill noise
of pipes: and binding golden bay-leaves in their hair they make them
merry cheer. Nor pestilence nor wasting eld approach that hallowed
race: they toil not neither do they fight, and dwell unharmed of cruel

In the eagerness of his valiant heart went of old the son of Danae,
for that Athene led him on his way, unto the company of that blessed
folk. Also he slew the Gorgon and bare home her head with serpent
tresses decked, to the island folk a stony death. I ween there is no
marvel impossible if gods have wrought thereto.

Let go the oar, and quickly drive into the earth an anchor from the
prow, to save us from the rocky reef, for the glory of my song of
praise flitteth like a honey-bee from tale to tale.

I have hope that when the folk of Ephyra pour forth my sweet strains
by Peneus' side, yet more glorious shall I make their Hippokleas for
his crowns and by my songs among his fellows and his elders, and I
will make him possess the minds of the young maidens.

For various longings stir secretly the minds of various men; yet each
if he attain to the thing he striveth for will hold his eager desire
for the time present to him, but what a year shall bring forth, none
shall foreknow by any sign.

My trust is in the kindly courtesy of my host Thorax, of him who to
speed my fortune hath yoked this four-horse car of the Pierides, as
friend for friend, and willing guide for guide.

As gold to him that trieth it by a touch-stone, so is a true soul

His noble brethren also will we praise, for that they exalt and make
great the Thessalians' commonwealth. For in the hands of good men
lieth the good piloting of the cities wherein their fathers ruled.

[Footnote 1: Hippokleas' birth-place.]

[Footnote 2: Down the stadion (220 yards) and back.]

[Footnote 3: I. e. in the race run in full armour, like that at Pytho
which Telesikrates, of Kyrene won, celebrated in the fore-going ode.]

[Footnote 4: Probably a horse with which Hippokleas' father won a race
at Pytho.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this victory was B.C. 478, nearly two years after the
battle of Plataea, and the deliverance of Thebes from Persian
influence and the sway of a tyrannous oligarchy. But beyond this we
have nothing certain to which we can refer the allusions to Theban
affairs, public and private, which we have reason to think present in
the ode.

       *       *       *       *       *

Daughters of Kadmos, thou Semele whose goings are with the queens of
Olympus, and thou Ino Leukothea who housest with the Nereids of the
sea, come ye up with the mother[1] of a mighty son, even of Herakles,
unto the temple of M[)e]lia[2] and into the holy place of the golden
tripods, which beyond all others Loxias hath honoured, and named it
the shrine Ismenian, a truthful seat of seers; where now, O children
of Harmonia, he calleth the whole heroic sisterhood of the soil to
assemble themselves together, that of holy Themis and of Pytho and
the Earth-navel of just judgments ye may sing at early evening, doing
honour to seven-gated Thebes, and to the games at Kirrha, wherein
Thrasydaios hath made his father's house glorious by casting thereon a
third wreath for his victory in the rich cornlands[3] of Pylades, who
was the host of Lakonian Orestes.

Orestes, on the murder of his father, Arsinoe his nurse saved from the
violent hands of Klytaimnestra and out of the ruinous treason, what
time the daughter of Dardanid Priam, Kassandra, was by the glittering
bronze in company with Agamemnon's soul sped to the shadowy shore of
Acheron by the woman who had no pity.

Did then the slaughter of Iphigenia far from her own land on Euripos'
shore so sting her mother to the arousal of a wrath of grievous act?
Or had nocturnal loves misguided her, in thraldom to a paramour's
embrace? a sin in new-wed brides most hateful, and that cannot be
hidden for the talk of stranger tongues: for the citizens repeat the
shame. For prosperity must sustain an envy equalling itself: but
concerning the man of low place the rumour is obscure.

Thus died the hero himself[4], the son of Atreus, when after long
time he came unto famous Amyklai, and drew down with him to death the
maiden prophetess[5], after that he consumed with fire the Trojans'
habitations of softness.

And thus Orestes, in the tenderness of his youth, came and was the
guest of the old man Strophios, who dwelt at the foot of Parnassos:
but with long-tarrying sword he slew his mother, and left Aigisthos'
body in its blood.

Verily, my friends, by triple roads of interchanging ways I have wound
about, though heretofore I had kept on a straight track. Or hath some
wind blown me out of my course, as when it bloweth a boat upon the
sea? But thine it is, my Muse, since thou for reward didst promise the
loan thereof, to raise thy voice for silver now on this tale, now
on that, so that for this time at least it is on behalf either of
Thrasydaios or of his sire who conquered at Pytho: for of both are the
joy and glory burning lights.

Of old for victories in the chariot-race they had bright glory at
Olympia in the famous games for the swiftness of their steeds: and now
have they gone down among the naked runners in the stadion, and have
put to rebuke the host of the Hellenes by their speed.

God grant me to desire things honourable, seeking things possible in
my life's prime.

The middle course I find to prosper most enduringly in the
commonwealth, and a state of tyranny I condemn. On well-doing for the
common good[6] I bestow my pains: so are the envious baffled, if one
hath excelled in such acts to the uttermost, and bearing it modestly
hath shunned the perilous reproach of insolence: so also at the end
shall he find black death more gracious unto him, to his dear children
leaving the best of possessions, even the glory of an honourable name.

This it is that beareth abroad the name of Iolaos in song, and the
names of the mighty Kastor and of thee, king Polydeukes, ye sons of
gods, who one day in Therapnai and the next in Olympus have your

[Footnote 1: Alkmene.]

[Footnote 2: Mother of Ismenios and Teucros, by Apollo.]

[Footnote 3: In Phokis.]

[Footnote 4: Agamemnon. It is a strange variety of the tale that he
is spoken of as having been murdered at Amyklai and not at Argos or
Mykenai. So above Orestes is called Lakonian.]

[Footnote 5: Kassandra.]

[Footnote 6: (Not for a party.)]




       *       *       *       *       *

This is an early ode: the victory was won either in 494 or 450. It
was to be sung, it would seem, at Akragas, and very probably in a
procession to the shrine of the tutelar divinity of the city, with an
address to whom it seemingly begins, though it is difficult to say
what degree of personification is intended.

       *       *       *       *       *

I pray thee, lover of splendour, most beautiful among the cities of
men, haunt of Persephone, thou who by the banks of Akragas' stream
that nourisheth thy flocks, inhabitest a citadel builded pleasantly--O
queen, graciously and with goodwill of gods and men welcome this crown
that is come forth from Pytho for Midas' fair renown; and him too
welcome therewithal who hath overcome all Hellas in the art which once
on a time Pallas Athene devised, when she made music of the fierce
Gorgon's death-lament.

That heard she pouring from the maiden heads and heads of serpents
unapproachable amidst the anguish of their pains, when Perseus had
stricken the third sister, and to the isle Seriphos and its folk bare
thence their doom.

Yea also he struck with blindness the wondrous brood of Phorkos[1],
and to Polydektes' bridal brought a grievous gift, and grievous
eternally he made for that man his mother's slavery and ravished bed:
for this he won the fair-faced Medusa's head, he who was the son of
Danae, and sprung, they say, from a living stream of gold.

But the Maiden[2], when that she had delivered her well-beloved from
these toils, contrived the manifold music of the flute, that with such
instrument she might repeat the shrill lament that reached her from
Euryale's[3] ravening jaws.

A goddess was the deviser thereof, but having created it for
a possession of mortal men, she named that air she played the
many-headed[4] air, that speaketh gloriously of folk-stirring games,
as it issueth through the thin-beat bronze and the reeds which grow by
the Graces' city of goodly dancing-ground in the precinct of Kephisos'
nymph, the dancers' faithful witnesses.

But if there be any bliss among mortal men, without labour it is not
made manifest: it may be that God will accomplish it even to-day, yet
the thing ordained is not avoidable: yea, there shall be a time that
shall lay hold on a man unaware, and shall give him one thing beyond
his hope, but another it shall bestow not yet.

[Footnote 1: The three Grey Sisters, whose one common eye Perseus

  [Greek: daenaiai korai
  treis kyknomorphoi koinon omm' ektaemenai
  monodontes, has outh' haelios prosderketai
  aktisin, outh' hae nukteros maenae pote.]

Aesch. Prom. 813.

This must mean some kind of twilight, not total darkness, or they
could hardly have missed their eye.]

[Footnote 2: Athene.]

[Footnote 3: One of the Gorgons.]

[Footnote 4: A certain [Greek: nomos aulaetikos] was known by this





       *       *       *       *       *

This Chromios was a son of Agesidamos and brother-in-law of Hieron,
and the same man for whom the ninth Nemean was written. He had become
a citizen of Hieron's new city of Aitna, and won this victory B.C.

This ode seems to have been sung before his house in Ortygia, a
peninsula on which part of Syracuse was built, and in which was the
fountain Arethusa. The legend of Arethusa and Alpheos explains the
epithets of Ortygia with which the ode opens. The greater part of the
ode is occupied with the story of Herakles, perhaps because Chromios
was of the Hyllean tribe and thus traced his descent to Herakles.

       *       *       *       *       *

O resting-place august of Alpheos, Ortygia, scion of famous Syracuse,
thou that art a couch of Artemis and a sister of Delos[1], from thee
goeth forth a song of sweet words, to set forth the great glory of
whirlwind-footed steeds in honour of Aitnaian Zeus.

For now the car of Chromios, and Nemea, stir me to yoke to his
victorious deeds the melody of a triumphal song. And thus by that
man's heaven-sped might I lay my foundations in the praise of gods. In
good fortune men speak well of one altogether: and of great games the
Muse is fain to tell.

Sow then some seed of splendid words in honour of this isle, which
Zeus, the lord of Olympus, gave unto Persephone, and bowed his hair
toward her in sign that this teeming Sicily he would exalt to be the
best land in the fruitful earth, with gorgeous crown of citadels. And
the son of Kronos gave unto her a people that wooeth mailed war, a
people of the horse and of the spear, and knowing well the touch of
Olympia's golden olive-leaves. Thus shoot I arrows many, and without
falsehood I have hit the mark.

And now at the doors of the hall of a hospitable man I stand to sing
a goodly song, where is prepared for me a friendly feast, and not
unwonted in that house are frequent stranger-guests: thus hath he
found good friends to pour a quenching flood on the mouldering fire of

Each hath his several art: but in straight paths it behoveth him to
walk, and to strive hard wherein his nature setteth him. Thus worketh
strength in act, and mind in counsels, when one is born to foresee
what shall come after. In thy nature, son of Agesidamos, are uses both
for this and that.

I love not to keep hidden in my house great wealth, but to have joy of
that I have, and to have repute of liberality to my friends: for the
hopes of much-labouring men seem to me even as mine.

Now I to Herakles cleave right willingly, among high deeds of valour
rousing an ancient tale; how that when from his mother's womb the son
of Zeus escaping the birth-pang came quickly into the glorious light
with his twin-brother, not unobserved of Hera did he put on the
saffron swaddling bands; but the queen of gods in the kindling of her
anger sent presently the two snakes, and they when the doors were
opened went right on into the wide bedchamber, hasting to entwine the
children, that they should be a prey to their fierce teeth.

But the boy lifted up his head upright and was first to essay the
fight, seizing with inevitable grasp of both his hands the two
serpents by the necks, and time, as he strangled them, forced the
breath out of their monstrous forms.

But a shock unendurable startled the women about Alkmene's bed, yea
and herself too started to her feet from the couch half-robed, and
would fain have beaten back the fierce beasts' violence.

And quickly ran thronging thither with bronze arms the captains of
the sons of Kadmos; and brandishing in his hand his sword bare of its
sheath came Amphitryon smitten with sharp pain; for everyone alike is
grieved by the ills of his own house, but the heart is soon quit of
sorrow that careth but for another's care.

And he stood in amazement, and gladness mingled with his fear; for he
saw the marvellous courage and might of his son, since the immortals
had turned to the contrary the saying of the messengers unto him.

Then he called a man that lived nigh to him, a chosen prophet of the
most high Zeus, Teiresias the true seer: and he set forth to him and
to all his company with what manner of fortune should the child have
his lot cast, how many lawless monsters on the dry land, how many on
the sea he should destroy.

Others moreover, of men the hatefullest, who walked in guile and
insolence, he prophesied that he should deliver over unto death:
saying that when on Phlegra's plain the gods should meet the giants
in battle, beneath the rush of his arrows their bright hair should be
soiled with earth; but he in peace himself should obtain a reward of
rest from his great toils throughout all time continually within the
house of bliss, and after that he had received fair Hebe to be his
bride, and made his marriage-feast, should remain beside Zeus, the son
of Kronos, well-pleased with his dwelling-place divine.

[Footnote 1: I. e. so honoured by Artemis as to rank with her native




* * * *

The date of this ode is unknown. It would seem to have been sung at
Athens on the winner's return home. He belonged to the clan of the
Timodemidai of Salamis, but to the deme of Acharnai.

As to the nature of the Pankration see Dict. Ant. It was a combination
of wrestling and boxing, probably with wide license of rules. The best
extant illustration of it in sculpture is the famous group of the
Pankratiasts (commonly called the Luttatori) in the Tribune of the
Uffizi at Florence.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the self-same beginning whence the Homerid bards draw out the
linked story of their song, even a prelude calling upon Zeus--so also
Nemeaian Zeus it is in whose far-famous grove this man hath attained
unto laying his first foundation of victory in the sacred games.

And yet again must the son of Timonooes, if in the way of his fathers'
guiding him straight this age hath given him to be a glory of great
Athens--yet again and often must he pluck the noble flower of Isthmian
games, and in the Pythian conquer. Like is it that not far from the
mountain-brood of Pleiads[1] shall be the rising of Orion.

Well able verily is Salamis to rear a man of battles: so at Troy was
Hektor aware of Aias; and so now, O Timodemos, art thou glorified by
thy stubborn prowess in the pankration.

Acharnai of old was famous for its men, and as touching games the
Timodemidai rank there pre-eminent. Beneath Parnassos' lordly height
they won four victories in the games; moreover in the valleys of noble
Pelops they have obtained eight crowns at the hands of the men of
Corinth, and seven at Nemea; and at home more than may be numbered, at
the games of Zeus:

To whose glory, O citizens, sing for Timodemos a song of triumph, and
bring him in honour home, and chant our prelude tunefully.

[Footnote 1: The Pleiads were daughters of Atlas. One victory betokens
another to come, as the rising of a constellation betokens the rising
of its neighbour.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of the victory is unknown: the ode seems to have been written
long afterwards, probably for some anniversary celebration of the

       *       *       *       *       *

O divine Muse, our mother, I pray thee come unto this Dorian isle
Aigina stranger-thronged, for the sacred festival of the Nemean
games[1]: for by the waters of Asopos[2] young men await thee, skilled
to sing sweet songs of triumph, and desiring to hear thy call.

For various recompense are various acts athirst; but victory in the
games above all loveth song, of crowns and valiant deeds the fittest
follower. Thereof grant us large store for our skill, and to the king
of heaven with its thronging clouds do thou who art his daughter begin
a noble lay; and I will marry the same to the voices of singers and to
the lyre.

A pleasant labour shall be mine in glorifying this land where of old
the Myrmidons dwelt, whose ancient meeting-place Aristokleides through
thy favour hath not sullied with reproach by any softness in the
forceful strife of the pankration; but a healing remedy of wearying
blows he hath won at least in this fair victory in the deep-lying
plain of Nemea.

Now if this son of Aristophanes, being fair of form and achieving
deeds as fair, hath thus attained unto the height of manly excellence,
no further is it possible for him to sail untraversed sea beyond the
pillars of Herakles, which the hero-god set to be wide-famed witnesses
of the end of voyaging: for he had overcome enormous wild-beasts on
the seas, and tracked the streams through marshes to where he came to
the goal that turned him to go back homeward, and there did he mark
out the ends of the earth.

But to what headland of a strange shore, O my soul, art thou carrying
aside the course of my ship? To Aiakos and to his race I charge thee
bring the Muse. Herein is perfect justice, to speak the praise of good
men: neither are desires for things alien the best for men to cherish:
search first at home: a fitting glory for thy sweet song hast thou
gotten there in deeds of ancient valour.

Glad was King Peleus when he cut him his gigantic spear, he who took
Iolkos by his single arm without help of any host, he who held firm in
the struggle Thetis the daughter of the sea.

Also the city of Laomedon did mighty Telamon sack, when he fought with
Iolaos by his side, and again to the war of the Amazons with brazen
bows he followed him; neither at any time did man-subduing terror
abate the vigour of his soul.

By inborn worth doth one prevail mightily; but whoso hath but precepts
is a vain man and is fain now for this thing and now again for that,
but a sure step planteth he not at any time, but handleth countless
enterprises with a purpose that achieveth naught.

Now Achilles of the yellow hair, while he dwelt in the house of
Philyra[3], being yet a child made mighty deeds his play; and
brandishing many a time his little javelin in his hands, swift as the
wind he dealt death to wild lions in the fight, and boars he slew also
and dragged their heaving bodies to the Centaur, son of Kronos, a six
years' child when he began, and thenceforward continually. And Artemis
marvelled at him, and brave Athene, when he slew deer without dogs or
device of nets; for by fleetness of foot he overcame them.

This story also of the men of old have I heard: how within his cavern
of stone did deep-counselled Cheiron rear Jason, and next Asklepios,
whom he taught to apportion healing drugs with gentle hand: after this
it was that he saw the espousals of Nereus' daughter of the shining
wrists, and fondling nursed her son, strongest of men, rearing his
soul in a life of harmony; until by blowing of sea winds wafted to
Troy he should await the war-cry of the Lykians and of the Phrygians
and of the Dardanians, cried to the clashing of spears; and joining in
battle with the lancer Ethiops hand to hand should fix this purpose in
his soul, that their chieftain Memnon, Helenos' fiery cousin, should
go back again to his home no more.

Thenceforward burneth ever a far-shining light for the house of
Aiakos; for thine O Zeus is their blood, even as thine also are the
games whereat my song is aimed, by the voice of the young men of the
land proclaiming aloud her joy. For victorious Aristokleides hath well
earned a cheer, in that he hath brought new renown to this island, and
to the Theoroi[4] of the Pythian god, by striving for glory in the

By trial is the issue manifest, wherein may one be more excellent than
his fellows, whether among boys a boy, or among men a man, or in the
third age among elders, according to the nature of our mortal race.
Four virtues doth a long life bring, and biddeth one fit his thought
to the things about him[5]. From such virtues this man is not far.

Friend, fare thee well: I send to thee this honey mingled with white
milk, and the dew of the mixing hangeth round about it, to be a drink
of minstrelsy distilled in breathings of Aiolian flutes; albeit it
come full late.

Swift is the eagle among the birds of the air, who seizeth presently
with his feet his speckled prey[6], seeking it from afar off; but in
low places dwell[7] the chattering daws. To thee at least, by the will
of throned Kleio, for sake of thy zeal in the games, from Nemea and
from Epidauros and from Megara hath a great light shined.

[Footnote 1: I. e. commemorating the Nemean games and the victories
obtained by citizens of Aigina there.]

[Footnote 2: There seems to have been a stream of this name in Aigina,
as well as in Boeotia.]

[Footnote 3: Cheiron's mother.]

[Footnote 4: Sent from Aigina to Apollo's temple at Delphi.]

[Footnote 5: This is very obscure: Boeckh said that the longer he
considered it the more obscure it became to him. Donaldson 'is
inclined to think that Pindar is speaking with reference to the
Pythagorean division of virtue into four species, and that he assigns
one virtue to each of the four ages of human life (on the same
principle as that which Shakespeare has followed in his description of
the seven ages) namely temperance as the virtue of youth, courage of
early manhood, justice of mature age, and prudence of old age.']

[Footnote 6: Snakes.]

[Footnote 7: Or 'on vile things feed.']




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is unknown: we can only infer, from the way in
which Athens is spoken of, that it was written before the war between
that state and Aigina. It seems to have been sung on the winner's
return home, very likely in a procession through the streets.

       *       *       *       *       *

Best of physicians for a man's accomplished toil is festive joy:
and the touch of songs, wise daughters of the Muses, hath power of
comforting. Less doth warm water avail to bathe limbs for soothing
than words of praise married to the music of the lyre. For speech is
longer-lived than act, whensoever by favour of the Graces the tongue
hath drawn it forth out of the depth of the heart.

Be it the prelude of my hymn to dedicate it to Zeus the son of Kronos,
and to Nemea, and to the wrestling of Timasarchos; and may it have
welcome in the Aiakids' stronghold of goodly towers, the common light
of all, which aideth the stranger with justice[1].

Now if thy sire Timokritos were still cheered by the quickening sun,
full oft with music manifold of the lute would he have bent him unto
this my theme, and sounded a hymn for the fair triumphs that
have brought thee a chain of wreaths, even from the games of the
Kleonaians[2] now, and erewhile from the bright and famous Athens, and
at seven-gated Thebes: for beside Amphitryon's splendid sepulchre the
sons of Kadmos nothing loth sprinkled the winner with flowers for
Aigina's sake. For thither as a friend to friends he came, though to a
city not his own, and abode in the fortunate hall of Herakles.

With Herakles on a time did mighty Telamon destroy the city of Troy,
and the Meropes, and the man of war, the great and terrible Alkyoneus,
yet not until by hurling of stones he had subdued twelve four-horse
chariots, and horse-taming heroes twice so many thereupon. Unversed in
battles must he be who understandeth not this tale, for whoso will do
aught is like to suffer also.

But to tell the tale at length custom forbiddeth me, and the
constraining hours: and a love-spell draweth me to put forth my hand
to the feast of the new moon.

Albeit the deep brine of the sea hold thee even to thy waist,
nevertheless bear bravely up against conspirings; assuredly shall
we shine forth above our enemies as we sail home in open day; while
another man of envious eye turneth about in darkness an empty purpose
that falleth to the ground. For me I know certainly that whatsoever
excellence Fate that is our lord hath given me, time creeping onward
will bring to its ordained fulfilment.

Weave then this woof too presently, sweet my lute, a strain with
Lydian harmony that shall be dear to Oinone[3], and to Cyprus, where
Teukros, son of Telamon, holdeth rule in a new land.

But Aias hath the Salamis of his father: and in the Euxine Sea
Achilles hath a shining isle, and at Phthia hath Thetis power, and
Neoptolemos in wide Epeiros, where cattle-pasturing headlands, from
Dodona onwards, slope forward to the Ionian Sea. And beside the foot
of Pelion did Peleus set his face against Iolkos, and deliver it over
to be a servant to the Haimones, after that he had proved the guileful
counsels of Hippolyte, Akastos' wife.

For by (stealing) his sword of cunning workmanship the son[4] of
Pelias prepared death for him in an ambush; but Cheiron delivered him
out of his hand; and thus he fulfilled the destiny ordained him of
Zeus, and having escaped the violence of the fire and the dauntless
lion's claws exceeding keen, and the bitings of teeth most
terrible[5], he espoused one of the Nereids high-enthroned, and beheld
the circle of fair seats whereon were sitting the kings of heaven and
of the sea, as they revealed unto him their gifts, and the kingdom
that should be unto him and unto his seed.

Nightward[6] beyond Gadeira none may pass. Turn back again to the
mainland of Europe the tackle of our ship; for it were impossible for
me to go through unto the end all the tale of the sons of Aiakos.

For the Theandrid clan came I a ready herald of games that make men's
limbs wax strong, to Olympia and to Isthmos, and to Nemea according
to my promise, where having put themselves to the proof they are
returning homeward, not without wreaths whose fruitage is renown; and
there report hath told us, O Timasarchos, that thy clan's name is
preeminent in songs of victory.

Or if further for thy mother's brother Kallikles thou biddest me set
up a pillar whiter than Parian stone, lo as the refining of gold
showeth forth all his splendours, so doth a song that singeth a
man's rare deeds make him as the peer of kings. Let Kallikles in his
dwelling beside Acheron find in my tongue a minstrel of his praise,
for that at the games[7] of the deep-voiced wielder of the trident
his brows were green with parsley of Corinth; of him, boy, did
Euphaenes, thy aged grandsire, rejoice erewhile to sing.

Each hath his own age-fellow; and what each hath seen for himself that
may he hope to set forth best of all. How for Melesias'[8] praise
must such an one grapple in the strife, bending the words beneath his
grasp, yielding not his ground as he wrestleth in speech, of gentle
temper toward the good, but to the froward a stern adversary.

[Footnote 1: Aigina. See Ol viii. 21; Pyth. viii. 22.]

[Footnote 2: Kleonai was very near Nemea, and the Kleonaians were for
a long time managers of the Nemean games.]

[Footnote 3: Seemingly the same personage as Aigina.]

[Footnote 4: Akastos.]

[Footnote 5: Thetis, resisting her wooer Peleus, changed herself into
fire and wild beasts. See Dict. Myth.]

[Footnote 6: Westward.]

[Footnote 7: The Isthmian games.]

[Footnote 8: Timasarchos' trainer in wrestling. He is here praised in
terms borrowed from the wrestling-school.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is uncertain. The winner's brother Phylakidas,
gained the two victories, also in the pankration, which are celebrated
in the fourth and fifth Isthmians.

       *       *       *       *       *

No statuary I, that I should fashion images to rest idly on their
pedestals, nay but by every trading-ship and plying boat forth from
Aigina fare, sweet song of mine, and bear abroad the news, how that
Lampon's son, the strong-limbed Pytheas, hath won at Nemea the
pankratiast's crown, while on his cheeks he showeth not as yet the
vine-bloom's mother, mellowing midsummer.

So to the warrior heroes sprung from Kronos and Zeus and from the
golden nymphs, even to the Aiakidai, hath he done honour, and to the
mother-city, a friendly field to strangers. That she should have issue
of goodly men and should be famous in her ships, this prayed they of
old, standing beside the altar of their grandsire, Zeus Hellenios, and
together stretched forth their hands toward heaven, even the glorious
sons of Endais[1] and the royal strength of Phokos, the goddess-born,
whom on the sea-beach Psamatheia[2] bare. Of their deed portentous and
unjustly dared I am loth to tell, and how they left that famous isle,
and of the fate that drove the valiant heroes from Oinone. I will make
pause: not for every perfect truth is it best that it discover its
face: silence is oft man's wisest thought.

But if the praise of good hap or of strength of hand or of steel-clad
war be my resolve, let one mark me a line for a long leap hence: in
my knees I have a nimble spring: even beyond the sea the eagles wing
their way.

With goodwill too for the Aiakidai in Pelion sang the Muses' choir
most fair, and in the midst Apollo playing with golden quill upon his
seven-toned lyre led them in ever-changing strains. They first of all
from Zeus beginning sang of holy Thetis and of Peleus, and how that
Kretheus' dainty daughter Hippolyte would fain have caught him by her
wile, and persuaded his friend the king of the Magnetes her husband by
counsels of deceit, for she forged a lying tale thereto devised, how
that he essayed to go in unto her in Akastos' bridal bed. But the
truth was wholly contrary thereto, for often and with all her soul she
had besought him with beguiling speech; but her bold words vexed his
spirit; and forthwith he refused the bride, fearing the wrath of the
Father who guardeth host and guest. And he, the cloud-compelling Zeus
in heaven, the immortal's king, was aware thereof, and he promised
him that with all speed he would find him a sea-bride from among the
Nereids of golden distaffs, having persuaded thereto Poseidon, their
kinsman by his marriage, who from Aigai to the famous Dorian Isthmus
cometh oftentimes, where happy troops with the reed-flute's noise
welcome the god, and in bold strength of limb men strive.

The fate that is born with a man is arbiter of all his acts. Thou,
Euthymenes[3], at Aigina falling into the goddess victory's arms didst
win thee hymns of subtle strain: yea and now too to thee, O Pytheas,
who art his kinsman of the same stock and followest in his footsteps,
doth thy mother's brother honour. Nemea is favourable unto him, and
the month[4] of his country that Apollo loveth: the youth that came
to strive with him he overcame, both at home and by Nisos' hill of
pleasant glades[5]. I have joy that the whole state striveth for
glory. Know that through Menander's[6] aid thou hast attained unto
sweet recompense of toils. And meet it is that from Athens a fashioner
of athletes come.

But if thou comest to Themistios[7], to sing of him, away with chill
reserve, shout aloud, hoist to the top-yard of the mast the sail, and
tell how in the boxing and the pankration at Epidauros he won a double
prize of valour, and to the portals of Aiakos bare fresh wreaths of
flowers, led by the Graces of the yellow hair.

[Footnote 1: Wife of Aiakos and mother of Peleus and Telamon. They
killed Phokos.]

[Footnote 2: A sea-nymph, mother of Phokos by Aiakos.]

[Footnote 3: Maternal uncle of Pytheas.]

[Footnote 4: The month called in Aigina Delphinios (April-May) when
the Nemean games took place.]

[Footnote 5: At Megara]

[Footnote 6: Pytheas' trainer, an Athenian.]

[Footnote 7: Maternal grandfather of Pytheas.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is unknown, but from the mention of the trainer
Melesias it has been inferred that it was among Pindar's later works.
It would seem to have been sung at Aigina, perhaps at some feast of
the Bassid clan given in honour of the victory.

       *       *       *       *       *

One race there is of men and one of gods, but from one mother[1] draw
we both our breath, yet is the strength of us diverse altogether,
for the race of man is as nought, but the brazen heaven abideth, a
habitation steadfast unto everlasting.

Yet withal have we somewhat in us like unto the immortals' bodily
shape or mighty mind, albeit we know not what course hath Destiny
marked out for us to run, neither in the daytime, neither in the

And now doth Alkimidas give proof that it is with his kindred as with
fruitful fields: for they in turn now yield to man his yearly bread
upon the plains, and now again they pause, and gather back their

From the pleasant meeting-places of Nemea hath the athlete boy come
back, who following the ordinance[3] of Zeus hath now approved him no
baffled hunter in his wrestling-quest, and hath guided his feet by
the foot-prints of Praxidamas, his father father, of whose blood he

For Praxidamas also by his Olympian victory first won olive-wreath
from Alpheos for the Aiakidai, and five times been crowned at Isthmos,
and at Nemea thrice, he took away thereby the obscurity of Sokleides,
who was the eldest of the sons of Agesimachos[4].

For these three-warriors attained unto the topmost height of prowess,
of all who essayed the games, and by grace of God to no other house
hath the boxing-match given keeping of so many crowns in this inmost
place of all Hellas. I deem that though my speech be of high sound I
yet shall hit the mark, as it were an archer shooting from a bow.

Come, Muse, direct thou upon this house a gale of glorious song: for
after that men are vanished away, the minstrel's story taketh up their
noble acts, whereof is no lack to the Bassid clan; old in story is the
race and they carry cargo of home-made renown, able to deliver into
the Muses' husbandmen rich matter of song in honour of their lofty

For at sacred Pytho in like wise did a scion of the same stock
overcome, with the thong of the boxer bound about his hand, even
Kallias in whom were well-pleased the children of Leto of the golden
distaff, and beside Kastaly in the evening his name burnt bright, when
the glad sounds of the Graces rose.

Also the Bridge[5] of the untiring sea did honour unto Kreontidas at
the triennial sacrifice of bulls by the neighbour states in the holy
place of Poseidon; and once did the herb[6] of the lion shadow his
brows for a victory won beneath the shadeless primal hills of Phlious.

Wide avenues of glory are there on every side for chroniclers to
draw nigh to do honour unto this isle: for supreme occasion have the
children of Aiakos given them by the showing forth of mighty feats.

Over land and beyond the sea is their name flown forth from afar: even
unto the Ethiopians it sprang forth, for that Memnon came not home:
for bitter was the battle that Achilles made against him, having
descended from his chariot upon the earth, what time by his fierce
spear's point he slew the son of the bright Morn.

And herein found they of old time a way wherein to drive their car:
and I too follow with my burden of song: and all men's minds, they
say, are stirred the most by whatsoever wave at the instant rolleth
nearest to the mainsheet of the ship.

On willing shoulders bear I this double load, and am come a messenger
to proclaim this honour won in the games that men call holy to be the
five-and-twentieth that the noble house of Alkimidas hath shown forth:
yet were two wreaths in the Olympian games beside the precinct of
Kronion denied to thee, boy, and to Polytimidas, by the fall of the

Peer of the dolphin hurrying through the brine--such would I call
Melesias[8] by whom thy hands and strength were guided, as a chariot
by the charioteer.

[Footnote 1: Earth.]

[Footnote 2: The ancients understood little of the rotation of crops,
and often let their fields lie fallow alternate years.]

[Footnote 3: Of the celebrity of alternate generations.]

[Footnote 4: The order of descent was: Agesimachos, Sokleides,
Praxidamas, Theon, Alkimidas. Of these the first, third, and fifth,
were distinguished athletes, the others not.]

[Footnote 5: The Isthmos.]

[Footnote 6: The parsley which grew near the lair of the Nemean lion.]

[Footnote 7: This can hardly mean, as some commentators take it,
the drawing of any particular tie; for if better men than any given
competitor were entered for the match, his defeat would be inevitable
whether they were encountered sooner or later.]

[Footnote 8: Alkimidas' trainer.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This victory was probably won B.C. 462. The ode would seem to be full
of allusions, which however we cannot with any certainty explain. It
is partly occupied with the celebration of Achilles' son Neoptolemos,
and Pindar seems anxious to repel the charge of having on some
occasion depreciated that hero.

       *       *       *       *       *

O Eileithuia that sittest beside the deep-counselling Moirai, child of
the mighty Hera, thou who bringest babes to the birth, hearken unto
us! Without thee looked we never on the light or on the darkness of
the night, nor came ever unto her who is thy sister, even Hebe of the
comely limbs.

But we receive our breath not all for a like life; each to his several
lot is kept apart by the yoke of fate.

Now by thy grace hath Sogenes the son of Thearion been foremost
in prowess, and his glory is sung aloud among the winners of the
five-game prize.

For he is a dweller in a city that loveth song, even this city of the
spear-clashing sons of Aiakos, and exceeding fain are they to cherish
a spirit apt for the strife of the games.

If a man have good hap in his attempt, he throweth into the Muses'
stream sweet cause of song: for even deeds of might for lack of song
fall into deep darkness, and in but one way have we knowledge of a
mirror for fair deeds, if by the grace of Mnemosyne of the shining
fillet they attain unto a recompense of toils by the sound of voice
and verse.

Wise shipmates know that the wind which tarrieth shall come on the
third day, nor throw away their goods through greed of more[1]: the
rich and the poor alike fare on their way to death.

Now I have suspicion that the fame of Odysseus is become greater
than his toils, through the sweet lays that Homer sang; for over the
feigning of his winged craft something of majesty abideth, and the
excellence of his skill persuadeth us to his fables unaware.

Blind hearts have the general folk of men; for could they have
discovered the truth, never would stalwart Aias in anger for the arms
have struck through his midriff the sharp sword--even he who after
Achilles was best in battle of all men whom, to win back his bride for
fair-haired Menelaos, the fair breeze of straight-blowing Zephyros
wafted in swift ships toward Ilos' town.

But to all men equally cometh the wave of death, and falleth on the
fameless and the famed: howbeit honour ariseth for them whose fair
story God increaseth to befriend them even when dead, whoso have
journeyed to the mighty centre-stone of wide-bosomed earth.

There now beneath the floor of Pytho lieth Neoptolemos, dying there
when he had sacked the city of Priam where the Danaoi toiled with him.
He sailing thence missed Skyros, and they wandered till they came to
Ephyra, and in Molossia he was king for a little while: howbeit his
race held this state[2] continually. Then was he gone to the god's
home[3], carrying an offering of the chief spoils from Troy: and there
in quarrel concerning meats a man smote him with a knife.

Thereat were the Delphian entertainers of strangers grieved
exceedingly: nevertheless he but paid a debt to destiny: for it was
needful that in that most ancient grove someone of the lords the sons
of Aiakos should abide within thenceforward, beside the goodly walls
of the god's house, and that when with plenteous sacrifice the
processions do honour to the heroes, he should keep watch that fair
right be done. Three words shall be enough: when he presideth over the
games there is no lie found in his testimony thereof.

O thou Aigina, of thy children that are of Zeus I have good courage to
proclaim that as of inheritance they claim the path to glory, through
splendour of their valorous deeds: howbeit in every work a rest is
sweet, yea even of honey cometh surfeit and of the lovely flowers of

Now each of us is in his nature diverse, and several are the lots
of life we draw, one this and one another: but that one man receive
perfect bliss, this is impossible to men. I cannot find to tell of any
to whom Fate hath given this award abidingly.

To thee, Thearion[4], she giveth fair measure of bliss, first daring
in goodly deeds, and then understanding and sound mind. Thy friend am
I, and I will keep far from the man I love the secret slander, and
bring nigh unto him praise and true glory, as it were streams of
water: for meet is such recompense for the good.

If there be near me now a man of the Achaians who dwelleth far up the
Ionian sea, he shall not upbraid me: I have faith in my proxeny[5]:
and among the folk of my own land I look forth with clear gaze, having
done naught immoderate, and having put away all violence from before
my feet. So let the life that remaineth unto me run cheerly on.

He who knoweth shall say if indeed I come with slanderous speech upon
my lips to strike a jarring note. To thee, Sogenes of the house of the
sons of Euxenos, I swear that without overstepping the bound I have
sent forth the swift speech of my tongue as it were a bronze-headed
javelin, such as saveth from the wrestling the strong neck sweatless
yet, or ever the limbs be plunged in the sun's fire[6].

If toil there were, delight more abundant followeth after. Let be; if
somewhat over far I soared when I cried aloud, yet am I not froward,
that I should deny his glory unto one that conquereth.

The weaving of wreaths is an easy thing: tarry a little: behold the
Muse fasteneth together gold and white ivory, and a lily flower
withal, that she hath plucked from beneath the deep sea's dew[7].

Of Zeus be mindful when thou tellest of Nemea, and guide the
multitudinous voices of our song with a quiet mind: meet is it that
with gentle voice we celebrate in this land the king of gods: for
they tell how he begat Aiakos of a mortal mother, to be for his own
fortunate land a ruler of cities, and for thee, Herakles, a loving
friend and brother.

And if man receiveth aught from man, then may we say that neighbour
is to neighbour a joy worth all else, if he loveth him with steadfast
soul: now if even a god will consent hereto, then in such bond with
thee, O conqueror of the giants[8], is Sogenes fain to dwell happily
in the well-built sacred street of his ancestors, cherishing a mind of
tenderness toward his sire: for as when four horses are yoked together
in a car, so hath he his house in the midst of thy holy places, and
goeth in unto them both on the right hand and on the left[9].

O blessed spirit, thine is it to win hereto the husband of Hera, and
the grey-eyed maid[10]; and thou art able to give to mortals strength
ever and again against baffling perplexities. Make thou to cleave to
them[11] a life of steadfast strength, and wind the bliss thereof amid
both youth and a serene old age, and may their children's children
possess continually the honours that they now have, and greater in the
time to come.

Never shall my heart confess that I have outraged Neoptolemos with
irreclaimable words. But thrice and four times to tell over the same
tale is emptiness in the end thereof, even as he of the proverb that
babbleth among children how that Korinthos was the son of Zeus[12].

[Footnote 1: Retaining the reading [Greek: hupo kerdei balon]. I
conjecture it to mean, 'do not in their eagerness for trade choose an
unfavourable and dangerous time for their voyage, but wait for the
[Greek: kairos], the right opportunity.']

[Footnote 2: The kingdom of Epeiros. Pyrrhos, the invader of Italy,
called himself a descendant of Neoptolemos (who was also called

[Footnote 3: Delphi.]

[Footnote 4: Father of Sogenes.]

[Footnote 5: Pindar would seem to have been [Greek: proxenos] at
Thebes for some state of Epeiros, to which fact he appeals as a proof
that he stood well with the Epirot descendants of Neoptolemos.]

[Footnote 6: The Pentathlon was composed of five contests, namely,
the jump, throwing the disk, throwing the javelin, the foot-race, and
wrestling. The prize was for the best man in three contests out of the
five. These came in the order in which they are enumerated above; thus
if the best javelin-thrower had already won two of the other matches
he would not be challenged to wrestle, as the prize of the Pentathlon
would be already his. Very probably this had been the case with
Sogenes, so that it would naturally occur to Pindar thus allusively to
expand his not unfrequent comparison of his own art of poetry to that
of a javelin-thrower or archer. On the Pentathlon may be consulted
an article by Professor Percy Gardner in the _Journal of Hellenic
Studies_ for October, 1880; and also Smith's _Dictionary of
Antiquities_ (revised edition).]

[Footnote 7: Coral.]

[Footnote 8: Herakles.]

[Footnote 9: Thearion's house seems to have had a shrine, or at least
some sacred ground, of Herakles at each side of it, so that he might
regard that hero as his neighbour.]

[Footnote 10: Athene.]

[Footnote 11: Thearion and Sogenes.]

[Footnote 12: A proverbial equivalent for vain and wearisome




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is unknown. It was probably sung before the
shrine of Aiakos at Aigina.

       *       *       *       *       *

Spirit of beautiful youth, thou herald of Aphrodite's loves ambrosial,
who on the eyes of girl or boy alighting, with tenderly constraining
hands dost handle one, but other otherwise--it is enough if one not
swerving from the true aim, in his every act prevail to attain to the
fulfilment of his worthier loves.

Such loves were they that waited on the bridal-bed of Zeus and Aigina,
and were dispensers unto them of the Cyprian's[1] gifts: and thence
sprang there a son[2] to be king of Oinone[3], in might of hand and in
counsel excellent, and many a time did many pray that they might look
on him: for the chosen among the heroes that dwelt around him were
fain of their own will to submit them unto his sovereignty, both whoso
in rocky Athens were leaders of the host, and at Sparta the children
of Pelops.

So Aiakos' holy knees clasp I a suppliant for a city well-beloved and
for these citizens, and I bear a Lydian crown wrought cunningly with
the sound of song, a glory out of Nemea for two races run, of Deinis
and of his father Meges.

Behold, the happiness that is planted with the favour of God is most
abiding among men; even such as once in the isle of Cyprus loaded
Kinyras with riches.

With poised feet I stand, and take breath for a little ere I speak.
For much and in many ways hath been said ere now; and the contriving
of new things and putting them to the touchstone to be tried is
perilous altogether.

In words find the envious their dainties: envy fasteneth ever on the
good, and careth not to strive against the base.

Yea thus did envy slay the son of Telamon, thrusting him through with
his own sword. Verily if one be of stout heart but without gift of
speech, such an one is a prey unto forgetfulness in a bitter strife,
and to the shiftiness of lies is proffered the prize of the greatest.
For in the secret giving of their votes the Danaoi courted Odysseus,
and thus did Aias, robbed of the golden arms, wrestle in the grip of a
bloody death.

Yet diverse verily were the strokes wherewith those twain had cloven
the warm flesh of the foe, what time they bare up the war against the
hedge of spears, whether about Achilles newly slain, or in whatsoever
labours else of those wide-ruining days.

Thus was there even of old the treacherous speech of hate, that
walketh with the subtleties of tales, intent on guile, slander that
breedeth ill: so doth it violence on the thing that shineth, and
uplifteth the rottenness of dim men's fame.

Never in me be this mind, O our father Zeus, but to the paths of
simplicity let me cleave throughout my life, that being dead I may set
upon my children a name that shall be of no ill report.

For gold some pray, and some for limitless lands: mine be it amid my
townsfolk's love to shroud my limbs in earth, still honouring where
honour is due, and sowing rebuke on the evildoers.

Thus groweth virtue greater, uplifted of the wise and just, as when a
tree watered by fresh dew shooteth toward the moist air on high.

Manifold are the uses of friends, chiefest truly amid the press of
toil, yet doth joy also desire to behold his own assurance.[4]

Ah Meges, to bring back thy spirit to earth is to me impossible, and
of empty hopes the end is naught. Yet for thy house and the clan of
Chariadai I can upraise a lofty column of song in honour of these two
pairs of fortunate feet[5].

I have joy to utter praise meet for the act, for by such charms of
song doth a man make even labour a painless thing. Yet surely was
there a Komos-song even of old time, yea before strife began between
Adrastos and the sons of Kadmos[6].

[Footnote 1: Aphrodite.]

[Footnote 2: Aiakos.]

[Footnote 3: Aigina.]

[Footnote 4: Through celebration in song, which a friendly poet can

[Footnote 5: Of Meges and Deinis.]

[Footnote 6: The invention of encomiastic hymns was attributed by
legend to the time of the expedition of Adrastos and the other six
against Thebes.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This ode is placed by usage among the Nemeans, but the victory was not
won at Nemea, but at Sikyon, in the local games called Pythian. Its
date is unknown: it must have been after the founding of Aitna, B.C.
476. Probably the ode was sung in a procession at Aitna, some length
of time after the victory. The Chromios is the Chromios of the first
Nemean, Hieron's brother-in-law.

       *       *       *       *       *

From Apollo at Sikyon will we lead our triumph forth, ye Muses, unto
the new-made city of Aitna, where doors are opened wide to greet the
invading guests, even to the fortunate house of Chromios. Come claim
for him a song of sweetness: for he goeth up into the chariot of his
victory, and biddeth us sing aloud to the mother[1] and her twin
children who keep watch over high Pytho in fellowship.

Now there is a saying among men, that one hide not in silence on the
ground a good deed done: and meet for such brave tales is divine song.

Therefore will we arouse the pealing lyre and rouse the flute, in
honour of the very crown of all contests of steeds, which Adrastos in
honour of Phoibos ordained beside Asopos' stream.

Whereof when I make mention with voiceful honour I will celebrate
withal the Hero[2], who then being king in that place did by the
founding of a new feast and struggles of the strength of men and of
carven cars make his city known abroad and glorious.

For he was flying before Amphiaraos of bold counsels, and before a
dangerous civil strife, from Argos and his father's house: for no
longer were the sons of Talaos lords therein, for a sedition had
thrust them forth. The stronger man endeth the contention that hath
been before.

But when they had given to the son of Oikleus for his wife, as one
should give surety of an oath, Eriphyle, the slayer of her husband,
they became the greatest of the fair-haired Danaoi. So thereafter led
they on a time against seven-gated Thebes a host of men, but not by a
road of signs propitious: nor would the son of Kronos speed them on
their mad journey from their homes, but by the quivering lightnings he
darted forth he bade them hold from their road[3].

But unto a revealed calamity hasted that company to go forth with
bronze shields and the gear of steeds; and on the banks of Ismenos,
stayed from their sweet return, they fed the white smoke with their

For seven pyres devoured the young men's limbs, but for Amphiaraos
Zeus by almighty thunderbolt clave the deep-breasted earth, and buried
him with his steeds, or ever the warrior's soul should be shamed by
the smiting of him in the back by Periklymenos' spear. For when the
terror cometh of heaven, then flee even the sons of gods.

If it be possible, O son of Kronos, this trial of valour against
Phenician spears[4] for life or death I would fain defer unto the
utmost: and I beg of thee to grant unto the sons of the men of Aitna
for long time a portion in good laws, and to make their people to
dwell among glories that the citizens have won. Men are there here
that love steeds and that have souls above desire of wealth. Hard of
credence is the word I have spoken; for the spirit of honour which
bringeth glory is stolen secretly by lust of gain.

Hadst thou been shield-bearer to Chromios among foot and horse and in
fightings of ships, thou hadst judged concerning his jeopardy in the
fierce fray, for in war did that divine honour stir his warrior-soul
to ward off havoc of Enyalios. Few are there who may prevail by
strength or valour to contrive a turning of the cloud of imminent
death against the ranks of the enemy. Howbeit they tell how Hektor's
glory flowered beside Skamander's streams, and thus on the steep
cliffs of Heloros' banks[5], where men call the ford the Fountain of
Ares, hath this light shined for Agesidamos' son in the beginning of
his praise.

And other deeds on other days will I declare, many done amid the dust
on the dry land, and yet others on the neighbouring sea. Now out of
toils which in youth have been done with righteousness there ripeneth
toward old age a day of calm.

Let Chromios know that he hath from the gods a lot of wondrous bliss.
For if one together with much wealth have won him glorious renown, it
is impossible that a mortal's feet touch any further mountain-top.

The banquet loveth peace, and by a gentle song a victory flourisheth
afresh, and beside the bowl the singer's voice waxeth brave. Let one
mix it now, that sweet proclaimer of the triumphal song, and in silver
goblets hand the grapes' potent child, even the goblets which for
Chromios his mares erst won, and sent to him from sacred Sikyon,
entwined with well-earned crowns of Leto's son.

Now claim I, father Zeus, to have well sung this excellent deed by aid
of the Charites, and beyond many to do honour to this victory by my
words, for the javelin that I throw falleth nearest to the Muses'

[Footnote 1: Leto.]

[Footnote 2: Adrastos.]

[Footnote 3: Lightning and thunder were often an encouraging sign
(there is an instance in the fourth Pythian), but this would depend on
the manner of them.]

[Footnote 4: War with the Carthaginians, who were still threatening
the Hellenic colonists in Sicily, in spite of their recent defeat.]

[Footnote 5: About B.C. 492 a battle was fought on the Heloros between
the Syracusans and the army of Hippokrates, tyrant of Gela.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This ode, like the last, is improperly called Nemean. It commemorates
a victory won at the feast of the Hekatombaia at Argos. The date is

       *       *       *       *       *

The city of Danaos and of his fifty bright-throned daughters, Argos
the home of Hera, meet abode of gods, sing Graces! for by excellencies
innumerable it is made glorious in the deeds of valiant men.

Long is the tale of Perseus[1], that telleth of the Gorgon Medusa:
many are the cities in Egypt founded by the hands of Epaphos[2]:
neither went Hypermnestra's choice astray when she kept sheathed her
solitary sword[3].

Also their Diomedes did the grey-eyed goddess make incorruptible and
a god: and at Thebes, the earth blasted by the bolts of Zeus received
within her the prophet[4], the son of Oikleus, the storm-cloud of war.

Moreover in women of beautiful hair doth the land excel. Thereto in
days of old Zeus testified, when he followed after Alkmene and after

And in the father of Adrastos and in Lynkeus did Argos mingle ripe
wisdom with upright justice: and she reared the warrior Amphitryon.
Now he came to the height of honour in his descendants, for in bronze
armour he slew the Teleboai, and in his likeness the king of the
immortals entered his hall, bearing the seed of fearless Herakles,
whose bride in Olympos is Hebe, who by the side of her mother, the
queen of marriage, walketh of all divinities most fair.

My tongue would fail to tell in full the honours wherein the sacred
Argive land hath part: also the distaste[5] of men is ill to meet. Yet
wake the well-strung lyre, and take thought of wrestlings; a strife
for the bronze shield stirreth the folk to sacrifice of oxen unto Hera
and to the issue of games, wherein the son of Oulias, Theaios, having
overcome twice, hath obtained forgetfulness of the toils he lightly

Also on a time at Pytho he was first of the Hellenic host, and won
crowns at Isthmos and at Nemea, led thither by fair hap, and gave work
for the Muses' plough by thrice winning at the Gates[6] of the Sea and
thrice on the famous plains in the pastures of Adrastos' home[7]. Of
that he longeth for, O Father Zeus, his mouth is silent, with thee are
the issues of deeds: but with a spirit strong to labour and of a good
courage he prayeth thy grace. Both Theaios, and whosoever struggleth
in the perfect consummation of all games, know this, even the
supremacy of the ordinance of Herakles that is holden at Pisa[8]: yet
sweet preluding strains are those that twice have welcomed his triumph
at the festival of the Athenians: and in earthenware baked in the
fire, within the closure of figured urns, there came among the goodly
folk of Hera[9] the prize of the olive fruit[10].

On the renowned race of thy mother's sires there waiteth glory of
games by favour of the Graces and the sons of Tyndareus together. Were
I kinsman of Thrasyklos and Antias I would claim at Argos not to hide
mine eyes. For with how many victories hath this horse-breeding city
of Proitos flourished! even in the Corinthian corner and from the
men of Kleonai[11] four times, and from Sikyon they came laden with
silver, even goblets for wine, and out of Pellene clad in soft woof of
wool[12]. But to tell over the multitude of their prizes of bronze is
a thing impossible--to count them longer leisure were needed--which
Kleitor and Tegea and the Achaians' high-set cities and the Lykaion
set for a prize by the race-course of Zeus for the conquerors by
strength of hands or feet.

And since Kastor and his brother Polydeukes came to be the guests
of Pamphaes[13], no marvel is it that to be good athletes should be
inborn in the race. For they[14] it is who being guardians of the wide
plains of Sparta with Hermes and Herakles mete out fair hap in games,
and to righteous men they have great regard. Faithful is the race of

Now, changing climes alternately, they dwell one day with their dear
father Zeus, and the next in the secret places under the earth, within
the valleys of Therapnai, fulfilling equal fate: because on this wise
chose Polydeukes to live his life rather than to be altogether god and
abide continually in heaven, when that Kastor had fallen in the fight.

Him did Idas, wroth for his oxen, smite with a bronze spearhead, when
from his watch upon Taygetos Lynkeus had seen them sitting within a
hollow oak; for he of all men walking the earth had keenest eyes. So
with swift feet they were straightway come to the place, and compassed
speedily a dreadful deed[15].

But terrible also was the vengeance which by the devising of Zeus
those sons[16] of Aphareus suffered: for on the instant came Leto's
son[17] in chase of them: and they stood up against him hard by the
sepulchre of their father. Thence wrenched they a carved headstone
that was set to glorify the dead, and they hurled it at the breast of
Polydeukes. But they crushed him not, neither made him give back,
but rushing onward with fierce spear he drave the bronze head into
Lynkeus' side. And against Idas Zeus hurled a thunderbolt of consuming

So were those brothers in one flame[18] burnt unbefriended: for a
strife with the stronger is grievous for men to mix in.

Then quickly came back the son of Tyndareus[19] to his great brother,
and found him not quite dead, but the death-gasp rattled in his
throat. Then Polydeukes wept hot tears, and groaned, and lifted up his
voice, and cried: 'Father Kronion--ah! what shall make an end of woes?
Bid me, me also, O king, to die with him. The glory is departed from
a man bereaved of friends. Few are they who in a time of trouble are
faithful in companionship of toil.'

Thus said he, and Zeus came, and stood before his face, and spake
these words: 'Thou art my son: but thy brother afterward was by mortal
seed begotten in thy mother of the hero that was her husband. But
nevertheless, behold I give thee choice of these two lots: if,
shunning death and hateful old age, thou desirest for thyself to dwell
in Olympus with Athene and with Ares of the shadowing spear, this lot
is thine to take: but if in thy brother's cause thou art so hot, and
art resolved in all to have equal share with him, then half thy time
thou shalt be alive beneath the earth, and half in the golden house of

Thus spake his father, and Polydeukes doubted not which counsel he
should choose. So Zeus unsealed the eye, and presently the tongue
also, of Kastor of the brazen mail.

[Footnote 1: Son of the Argive Danae.]

[Footnote 2: Son of the Argive Io.]

[Footnote 3: Or perhaps: 'Neither were Hypermnestra's story misplaced
here, how she, &c.']

[Footnote 4: Amphiaraos.]

[Footnote 5: Disgust at hearing anything profusely praised.]

[Footnote 6: At Corinth, in the Isthmian games.]

[Footnote 7: Nemea.]

[Footnote 8: The Olympic games.]

[Footnote 9: The Argives.]

[Footnote 10: The Athenian prize seems to have been an olive-bough in
a vase of burnt clay.]

[Footnote 11: Near Nemea.]

[Footnote 12: I. e. with prizes of cloaks.]

[Footnote 13: An ancestor of Theaios. Probably he had given Theoxenia.
See Ol. III.]

[Footnote 14: Kastor and Polydeukes.]

[Footnote 15: They slew Kastor.]

[Footnote 16: Idas and Lynkeus.]

[Footnote 17: Polydeukes.]

[Footnote 18: Either of the thunderbolt, or of a funeral-pile.]

[Footnote 19: Both brothers were nominally sons of Tyndareus, but
really only Kastor was: Polydeukes was a son of Zeus.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This ode again was written neither for a Nemean nor for any other
athletic victory, but for the [Greek: eisitaeria] or initiatory
ceremonies at the election of a new [Greek: prytanis] of Tenedos. The
Prytanis would seem to have been a kind of President of the Senate.
The date is unknown.

       *       *       *       *       *

Daughter of Rhea, who hast in thy keeping the city halls[1], O
Hestia! sister of highest Zeus and of Hera sharer of his throne, with
good-will welcome Aristagoras to thy sanctuary, with good-will also
his fellows[2] who draw nigh to thy glorious sceptre, for they
in paying honour unto thee keep Tenedos in her place erect, by
drink-offerings glorifying thee many times before the other gods, and
many times by the savour of burnt sacrifice; and the sound of their
lutes is loud, and of their songs: and at their tables never-failing
are celebrated the rites of Zeus, the stranger's friend.

So with fair fame and unvexed heart may Aristagoras fulfil his
twelve-month term.

Blessed among men I count his father Arkesilas, and himself for his
splendid body and his heritage of a dauntless heart.

But if any man shall possess wealth, and withal surpass his fellows in
comely form, and in games have shown his strength to be the best, let
such an one remember that his raiment is upon mortal limbs, and that
the earth shall be his vesture at the end.

Yet in good words of his fellow-citizens is it meet that his praise be
told, and that we make his name comely with notes of honey-sounding

Now among the neighbouring peoples sixteen illustrious victories have
crowned Aristagoras and his famous clan in the wrestling-match and
in the pankration of weighty honour. But hopes too diffident of his
parents kept back the might of their son from essaying the Pythian or
Olympian strife: yet verily by the God of Truth I am persuaded that
both at Castaly and at the tree-clad hill of Kronos, had he gone
thither, he should have turned back home with more honour than any of
his rivals who had striven with him, when that he had kept the fifth
year's feast[3] ordained of Herakles with dance and song, and with the
shining shoots had bound his hair.

But thus among mortals is one cast down from weal by empty boasts,
while another through overmuch mistrusting of his strength is robbed
of his due honours, for that a spirit of little daring draggeth him
backward by the hand.

This were an easy thing to divine, that Peisander's[4] stock was from
Sparta in the time of old (for from Amyklai he came[5] with Orestes,
bringing hither an army of Aiolians in bronze mail): and also that the
blood of his mother's brother Melanippos was blended with Ismenos'

The virtues of an old descent repeat their vigour uncertainly in the
generations of men. Neither doth the black-soiled tilth bring forth
fruit continually, neither will the trees be persuaded to bear with
every year's return a fragrant flower of equal wealth, but in their
turns only. Thus also doth destiny lead on the race of mortals. From
Zeus there cometh no clear sign to men: yet nevertheless we enter on
high counsels, and meditate many acts: for by untameable hope our
bodies are enthralled: but the tides of our affairs are hidden from
our fore-knowledge. Meet is it to pursue advantage moderately:
fiercest is the madness that springeth from unappeasable desires.

[Footnote 1: The sacred fire of the state, over which Hestia watched,
was kept in the Prytaneion.]

[Footnote 2: The other Senators.]

[Footnote 3: The Olympic.]

[Footnote 4: Ancestor of Aristagoras and head of his clan.]

[Footnote 5: 'In the loins of his father.']

[Footnote 6: I. e. a Theban alliance.]





       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is unknown. We gather from the first strophe that
Pindar was engaged at the time to write an ode in honour of the Delian
Apollo to be sung at Keos, but that he put this off in order first to
write the present ode in honour of a victory won for his own native
state of Thebes.

       *       *       *       *       *

O mother, Thebe of the golden shield, thy service will I set even
above the matter that was in my hand. May rocky Delos, whereto I am
vowed, be not therefore wroth with me. Is there aught dearer to the
good than noble parents?

Give place O Apollonian isle: these twain fair offices, by the grace
of God, will I join together in their end, and to Phoibos of the
unshorn hair in island Keos with men of her sea-race will I make my
choral song, and therewithal this other for the sea-prisoning cliffs
of Isthmos.

For six crowns hath Isthmos given from her games to the people of
Kadmos, a fair glory of triumph for my country, for the land wherein
Alkmene bare her dauntless son, before whom trembled aforetime the
fierce hounds of Geryon.

But I for Herodotos' praise am fain to do honour unto his four-horsed
car, and to marry to the strain of Kastoreian or Iolaic song the fame
that he hath earned, handling his reins in his own and no helping

For these Kastor and Iolaos were of all heroes the mightiest
charioteers, the one to Lakedaimon, the other born to Thebes. And at
the games they entered oftenest for the strife, and with tripods and
caldrons and cups of gold they made fair their houses, attaining unto
victorious crowns: clear shineth their prowess in the foot-race, run
naked or with the heavy clattering shield; and when they hurled the
javelin and the quoit: for then was there no five-fold game[1], but
for each several feat there was a prize. Oft did they bind about their
hair a crowd of crowns, and showed themselves unto the waters of Dirke
or on Eurotas' banks[2], the son of Iphikles a fellow-townsman of
the Spartoi's race, the son of Tyndareus inhabiting the upland
dwelling-place of Therapna[3] among the Achaians.

So hail ye and farewell: I on Poseidon and holy Isthmos, and on the
lake-shores of Onchestos will throw the mantle of my song, and will
among the glories of this man make glorious also the story of his
father Asopodoros' fate, and his new country Orchomenos, which, when
he drave ashore on a wrecked ship, harboured him amid his dismal
hap[4]. But now once more hath the fortune of his house raised him up
to see the fair days of the old time: and he who hath suffered pain
beareth forethought within his soul.

If a man's desire be wholly after valour, and he give thereto both
wealth and toil, meet is it that to such as attain unto it we offer
with ungrudging heart high meed of praise. For an easy gift it is for
a son of wisdom[5], by a good word spoken in recompense for labour
manifold to set on high the public fame. For diverse meeds for diverse
works are sweet to men, to the shepherd and to the ploughman, to the
fowler and to him whom the sea feedeth--howbeit all those strive but
to keep fierce famine from their bellies; but whoso in the games or in
war hath won delightful fame, receiveth the highest of rewards in fair
words of citizens and of strangers.

Us it beseemeth to requite the earth-shaking son of Kronos, who is
also neighbour unto us, and to sound his praise as our well-doer,
who hath given speed to the horses of our car, and to call upon thy
sons[6], Amphitryon, and the inland dwelling[7] of Minyas, and the
famous grove of Demeter, even Eleusis, and Euboia with her curving
race-course. And thy holy place, Protesilas, add I unto these, built
thee at Phylake by Achaian men.

But to tell over all that Hermes lord of games hath given to Herodotos
by his horses, the short space of my hymn alloweth not. Yea and full
oft doth the keeping of silence bring forth a larger joy.

Now may Herodotos, up-borne upon the sweet-voiced Muse's shining
wings, yet again with wreaths from Pytho and choice wreaths from
Alpheos from the Olympian games entwine his hand, and bring honour
unto seven-gated Thebes.

Now if one at home store hidden wealth, and fall upon other men to
mock them, this man considereth not that he shall give up his soul to
death having known no good report.

[Footnote 1: The Pentathlon. See Introduction to Ol. xiii, and note on
Nem. vii, p. 129.]

[Footnote 2: Rivers were [Greek: kourotrophoi] (nurturers of youth),
and thus young men who had achieved bodily feats were especially bound
to return thanks to the streams of their native places.]

[Footnote 3: In Lakonia.]

[Footnote 4: Asopodoros seems to have been banished from Thebes and
kindly received in his banishment by Orchomenos.]

[Footnote 5: Here, as elsewhere probably in the special sense of a

[Footnote 6: Herakles and Iolaos.]

[Footnote 7: Orchomenos.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This is the same winner for whom the sixth Pythian ode was written.
Its date would seem to be 476, while that of the sixth Pythian
was 494. Yet the opening passage of this ode seems to imply that
Xenokiates' son Thrasyboulos was still little more than a boy, whereas
in 494 he had been old enough to be his father's charioteer, and this
would be eighteen years later. But perhaps the passage is only an
allusion to Thrasyboulos' boyhood as a time past. And certainly both
Xenokrates and his brother Theron seem to be spoken of in this ode as
already dead, and we know that Theron did not die till 473. Perhaps
therefore Thrasyboulos was celebrating in 472 the anniversary of his
deceased father's victory, four years after the victory itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

The men of old, Thrasyboulos, who went up into the Muse's car to give
welcome with the loud-voiced lyre, lightly for honour of boys shot
forth their honey-sounding songs, whensoever in one fair of form was
found that sweetest summer-bloom that turneth hearts to think on
fair-throned Aphrodite.

For then the Muse was not yet covetous nor a hireling, neither were
sweet lays tender-voiced sold with silvered faces by Terpsichore of
honeyed speech. But now doth she bid heed the word of the Argive
man[1] which keepeth nigh to the paths of truth:

'Money, money maketh man,' he said, when robbed of goods at once and

Forasmuch as thou art wise it is nothing hidden to thee that I sing,
while I do honour to the Isthmian victory won by speed of horses,
which to Xenokrates did Poseidon give, and sent to him a wreath of
Dorian parsley to bind about his hair, a man of goodly chariot, a
light of the people of Akragas.

Also at Krisa did far-prevailing Apollo look upon him, and gave him
there too glory: and again when he attained unto the crowns of the
Erectheidai in shining Athens he found no fault in the chariot-saving
hand of the man Nikomachos who drave his horses, the hand wherewith in
the instant of need he bare on all the reins[2].

Moreover the heralds of the seasons[3], the Elean truce-bringers
of Zeus the son of Kronos, recognized him, having met belike with
hospitality from him, and in a voice of dulcet breath they gave him
greeting for that he had fallen at the knees of golden Victory in
their land which men call the holy place of Olympic Zeus, where the
sons[4] of Ainesidamos attained unto honour everlasting.

For no stranger is your house, O Thrasyboulos, to pleasant shouts
of triumph, neither to sweet-voiced songs. For not uphill neither
steep-sloped is the path whereby one bringeth the glories of the
Helikonian maidens to dwell with famous men.

By a far throw of the quoit may I hurl even so far as did Xenokrates
surpass all men in the sweetness of his spirit. In converse with
citizens was he august, and upheld horse-racing after the Hellenes'
wont: also worshipped he at all festivals of the gods, nor ever did
the breeze that breathed around his hospitable board give him cause to
draw in his sail, but with the summer-gales he would fare unto Phasis,
and in his winter voyage unto the shores of Nile[5].

Let not Thrasyboulos now, because that jealous hopes beset the mind
of mortals, be silent concerning his father's prowess, nor from these
hymns: for not to lie idle have I devised them. That message give him,
Nikesippos, when thou comest unto my honoured friend.

[Footnote 1: Aristodemos.]

[Footnote 2: I. e. either tightened the near or slackened the off
reins to the utmost in turning the goal, or perhaps, gave full rein to
his horses between each turn or after the final one.]

[Footnote 3: The heralds who proclaimed throughout Hellas the approach
of the Olympic games, and an universal solemn truce during their

[Footnote 4: Theron, the tyrant of Akragas, and Xenokrates.]

[Footnote 5: Metaphorically, in the extent of his hospitality.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is uncertain, though some on the hypothesis that
the battle alluded to is the battle of Plataiai, have dated it 478
or 474. In this battle, whatever it was, the Kleonymid clan to which
Melissos belonged had lost four men. The celebrity of the clan in the
games seems to have been eclipsed for some time, but Melissos revived
it by a chariot-victory at Nemea and this pankration-victory at the
Isthmus, won in spite of his small stature which might have seemed to
place him at a disadvantage. The ode compares his match against his
antagonists with that of Herakles against the African giant Antaios.

Very probably this ode was sung at a night meeting of the clan, while
the altars of Herakles were blazing.

       *       *       *       *       *

If any among men having good fortune and dwelling amid prizes of
renown or the power of wealth restraineth in his heart besetting
insolence, this man is worthy to have part in his citizens' good

But from thee, O Zeus, cometh all high excellence to mortals; and
longer liveth their bliss who have thee in honour, but with minds
perverse it consorteth never steadfastly, flourishing throughout all

In recompense for glorious deeds it behoveth that we sing the valiant,
and amid his triumphal company exalt him with fair honours. Of two
prizes is the lot fallen to Melissos, to turn his heart unto sweet
mirth, for in the glens of Isthmos hath he won crowns, and again
in the hollow vale of the deep-chested lion being winner in the
chariot-race he made proclamation that his home was Thebes.

Thus shameth he not the prowess of his kinsmen. Ye know the ancient
fame of Kleonymos with the chariot: also on the mother's side being
akin to the Labdakidai his race hath been conversant with riches, and
bestowed them on the labours of the four-horse car.

But time with rolling days bringeth changes manifold: only the
children of gods are free of wounds.

By grace of God I have ways countless everywhere open unto me[1]: for
thou hast shown forth to me, O Melissos, in the Isthmian games an
ample means to follow in song the excellence of thy race: wherein the
Kleonymidai flourish continually, and in favour with God pass onward
through the term of mortal life: howbeit changing gales drive all men
with ever-changing drift.

These men verily are spoken of as having honour at Thebes from the
beginning, for that they cherished the inhabitants round about, and
had no part in loud insolence; if there be borne about by the winds
among men aught of witness to the great honour of quick or dead, unto
such have they attained altogether. By the brave deeds of their house
they have touched the pillars of Herakles, that are at the end of
things. Beyond that follow thou no excellence.

Horse-breeders moreover have they been, and found favour with mailed
Ares; but in one day the fierce snow-storm of war hath made a happy
hearth to be desolate of four men.

But now once more after that wintry gloom hath it blossomed, even as
in the flowery months the earth blossometh with red roses, according
to the counsels of gods.

For the Shaker of Earth who inhabiteth Onchestos and the Bridge[2]
between seas that lieth before the valley of Corinth, now giveth to
the house this hymn of wonder, and leadeth up out of her bed the
ancient glory of the famous deeds thereof: for she was fallen on
sleep; but she awaketh and her body shineth preeminent, as among stars
the Morning-star.

For in the land of Athens proclaiming a victory of the car, and at
Sikyon at the games of Adrastos did she give like wreaths of song for
the sons of Kleonymos that then were. For neither did they refrain to
contend with the curved chariot in the great meetings of the people,
but they had delight to strive with the whole folk of Hellas in
spending their wealth on steeds.

Touching the unproven there is silence, and none knoweth them: yea and
even from them that strive Fortune hideth herself until they come unto
the perfect end; for she giveth of this and of that.

The better man hath been ere now overtaken and overthrown by the craft
of worse. Verily ye know the bloody deed of Aias, that he wrought
beneath the far-spent night, when he smote himself through with his
own sword, whereby he upbraideth yet the children of the Hellenes, as
many as went forth to Troy.

But lo! Homer hath done him honour among men, and by raising up his
excellence in the fulness thereof hath through the rod[3] of his
divine lays delivered it to bards after him to sing.

For the thing that one hath well said goeth forth with a voice unto
everlasting: over fruitful earth and beyond the sea hath the light of
fair deeds shined, unquenchable for ever.

May we find favour with the Muses, that for Melissos too we kindle
such beacon-blaze of song, a worthy prize of the pankration for this
scion of Telesias' son.

He being like unto the roaring lions in courage taketh unto him their
spirit to be his own in the struggle: but in sleight he is as the fox
that spreadeth out her feet[4] and preventeth the swoop of the eagle:
for all means must be essayed by him that would prevail over his foe.
For not of the stature of Orion was this man, but his presence is
contemptible, yet terrible is he to grapple with in his strength.

And verily once to the house of Antaios came a man to wrestle against
him, of short stature but of unbending soul, from Kadmean Thebes even
unto corn-bearing Libya, that he might cause him to cease from roofing
Poseidon's temple with the skulls of strangers--even the son of
Alkmene, he who ascended up to Olympus, after that he had searched out
the surface of the whole earth and of the crag-walled hoary sea,
and had made safe way for the sailing of ships. And now beside the
aegis-bearer he dwelleth, possessing happiness most fair, and hath
honour from the immortals as their friend, and hath Hebe to wife, and
is lord of a golden house, and husband of Hera's child.

Unto his honour upon the heights Elektrai we of this city prepare a
feast and new-built altar-ring, where we offer burnt sacrifice in
honour of the eight mail-clad men that are dead, whom Megara, Kreon's
daughter, bore to be sons of Herakles.

To them at the going down of the day there ariseth a flame of fire and
burneth all night continually, amid a savoury smoke hurling itself
against the upper air: and on the second day is the award of the
yearly games, a trial of strength.

Therein did this our man, his head with myrtle-wreaths made white,
show forth a double victory, after another won already among the boys,
for that he had regard unto the many counsels of him who was the pilot
of his helm[5]. And with Orseas' name I join him in my triumphal song,
and shed over them a glory of delight.

[Footnote 1: 'Many themes on which I can justly praise the clan.']

[Footnote 2: The Isthmus.]

[Footnote 3: The rod or staff carried anciently by poets and reciters
of poems.]

[Footnote 4: I. e. throwing herself on her back with feet upward. If
it is meant that she counterfeits death, then of course the parallel
with the pankratiast will only hold good to the extent of the supine

[Footnote 5: His trainer, Orseas.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This Phylakidas was a son of Lampon, and a brother of the Pytheas for
whom the fifth Nemean was written. This ode must have been written
shortly after the battle of Salamis, probably B.C. 478, and was to
be sung at Aigina, perhaps at a festival of the goddess Theia who is
invoked at the beginning. She, according to Hesiod, was the mother
of the Sun, the Moon, and the Morning, and was also called [Greek:
Euruphaessa] and [Greek: chruse], from which latter name perhaps came
her association with gold and wealth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mother of the Sun, Theia of many names, through thee it is that men
prize gold as mighty above all things else: for ships that strive upon
the sea and horses that run in chariots, for the honour that is of
thee, O queen, are glorified in swiftly circling struggle.

And that man also hath won longed-for glory in the strife of games,
for whose strong hand or fleet foot abundant wreaths have bound his
hair. Through God is the might of men approved.

Two things alone there are that cherish life's bloom to its utmost
sweetness amidst the fair flowers of wealth--to have good success and
to win therefore fair fame. Seek not to be as Zeus; if the portion
of these honours fall to thee, thou hast already all. The things of
mortals best befit mortality.

For thee, Phylakidas, a double glory of valour is at Isthmos stored,
and at Nemea both for thee and for Pytheas a pankratiast's crown.

Not without the sons of Aiakos will my heart indite of song: and in
company of the Graces am I come for sake of Lampon's sons to this
commonwealth of equal laws[1]. If then on the clear high road of
god-given deeds she hath set her feet, grudge not to mingle in song a
seemly draught of glory for her toil.

For even the great men of old that were good warriors have profited of
the telling of their tale, and are glorified on the lute and in the
pipe's strains manifold, through immeasurable time: and to the cunning
in words[2] they give matter by the grace of Zeus.

Thus by their worship with the blaze of burnt-offerings among
Aitolians have the mighty sons[3] of Oineus honour, and at Thebes
Iolaos the charioteer, and at Argos Perseus, and by the streams of
Eurotas Polydeukes and Kastor's spear:

But in Oinone the great souls of Aiakos and his sons, who after much
fighting twice sacked the Trojans' town, first when they went with
Herakles, and again with the sons of Atreus.

Now drive me upward still; say who slew Kyknos, and who Hektor, and
the dauntless chief of Ethiop hosts, bronze-mailed Memnon. What man
was he who with his spear smote noble Telephos by Kaikos' banks? Even
they whose home my mouth proclaimeth to be Aigina's glorious isle:
a tower is she, builded from long ago, to tempt the climb of
high-adventuring valour.

Many arrows hath my truthful tongue in store wherewith to sound
the praises of her sons: and even but now in war might Aias' city,
Salamis, bear witness thereto in her deliverance by Aigina's seamen
amid the destroying tempest of Zeus, when death came thick as hail on
the unnumbered hosts. Yet let no boast be heard. Zeus ordereth this or
that, Zeus, lord of all.

Now in pleasant song even these honours also of the games welcome the
joy for a fair victory. Let any strive his best in such, who hath
learnt what Kleonikos' house can do. Undulled is the fame of their
long toil, nor ever was their zeal abated by any counting of the cost.

Also have I praise for Pytheas, for that he guided aright[4] the
course of Phylakidas' blows in the struggle of hands that bring limbs
low, an adversary he of cunning soul.

Take for him a crown, and bring the fleecy fillet, and speed him on
his way with this new winged hymn.

[Footnote 1: Aigina.]

[Footnote 2: Poets.]

[Footnote 3: Meleager and his brothers.]

[Footnote 4: Pytheas had given his brother example, and very probably
precept also, in the pankration.]




       *       *       *       *       *

This ode seems to be of earlier date than the last, though placed
after it in our order. The occasion is similar. Probably it was sung
at a banquet at Lampon's house.

       *       *       *       *       *

As one may do amid merry revel of men, so mingle we a second time the
bowls of Muses' melody in honour of Lampon's athlete progeny.

Our first, O Zeus, was unto thee, when at Nemea we[1] won thy
excellent crown, and now is this second unto the lord[2] of Isthmos
and unto the fifty daughters of Nereus, for that Phylakidas the
youngest son is winner in the games. And be it ours to make ready yet
a third for the Saviour[3], the Olympian one, and in honour of Aigina
make libation of our honey-speaking song.

For if a man rejoice to suffer cost and toil, and achieve god-builded
excellence, and therewithal fate plant for him fair renown, already
at the farthest bounds of bliss hath such an one cast anchor, for the
glory that he hath thereby from God. With such desires prayeth the
son[4] of Kleonikos that he may fulfil them ere he meet death or hoary

Now I call on high-throned Klotho and her sister Fates to draw nigh
unto the praying of the man I love.

And upon you also, golden-charioted seed of Aiakos, I say it is clear
law to me to shed the dew of my good words, what time I set my foot[5]
upon this isle.

For innumerable hundred-foot[6] straight roads are cleft for your
fair deeds to go forth, beyond the springs of Nile, and through the
Hyperboreans' midst: neither is any town so barbarous and strange
of speech that it knoweth not the fame of Peleus, that blissful
son-in-law of gods, or of Aias son of Telamon, and of Aias' sire; whom
unto brazen war an eager ally with Tirynthian men Alkmene's son took
with him in his ships to Troy, to the place of heroes' toil, to take
vengeance for Laomedon's untruth.

There did Herakles take the city of Pergamos, and with help of Telamon
slew the nations of the Meropes, and the herdsman whose stature was as
a mountain, Alkyoneus whom he found at Phlegrai, and spared not of his
hands the terrible twanging bowstring.

But when he went to call the son of Aiakos to the voyage he found the
whole company at the feast. And as he stood there in his lion's skin,
then did Telamon their chief challenge Amphitryon's son of the mighty
spear to make initiative libation of nectar, and handed on unto him
the wine-cup rough with gold.

And Herakles stretched forth to heaven his invincible hands and spake
on this wise: 'If ever, O father Zeus, thou hast heard my prayer with
willing heart, now, even now, with strong entreaty I pray thee that
thou give this man a brave child of Eriboia's womb, that by award of
fate my friend may gain a son of body as staunch[7] as this hide that
hangeth about me, which was of the beast that I slew at Nemea, first
of all my labours; and let his soul be of like sort.'

And when he had thus spoken, the god sent forth the king of birds,
a mighty eagle, and sweet delight thrilled him within, and he spake
aloud as a seer speaketh: 'Behold, the son whom thou askest shall
be born unto thee, O Telamon:' also after the bird's name that had
appeared unto them he said that the child's name should be the mighty
Aias[8], terrible in the strife of warring hosts: so he spake, and
sate him down straightway.

But for me it were long to tell all those valiant deeds. For for
Phylakidas am I come, O Muse, a dispenser of thy triumphal songs, and
for Pytheas, and for Euthymenes[9]; therefore in Argive fashion my
tale shall be of fewest words.

Three victories have they won in the pankration of Isthmos, and others
at leafy Nemea, even these noble sons and their mother's brother: how
fair a portion of song have they brought to light! yea and they water
with the Charites' delicious dew their clan of the Psalychidai, and
have raised up the house of Themistios, and dwell here in a city which
the gods love well.

And Lampon, in that he bestoweth practice on all he doth, holdeth
in high honour the word of Hesiod which speaketh thereof[10], and
exhorteth thereunto his sons, whereby he bringeth unto his city a
general fame: and for his kind entreating of strangers is he loved, to
the just mean aspiring, to the just mean holding fast; and his tongue
departeth not from his thoughts: and among athlete men he is as the
bronze-grinding Naxian whetstone amid stones[11].

Now will I give him to drink of the holy water of Dirke, which
golden-robed Mnemosyne's deep-girdled daughters made once to spring
out of the earth, beside the well-walled gates of Kadmos.

[Footnote 1: I. e. Pytheas. See Nem. v.]

[Footnote 2: Poseidon.]

[Footnote 3: [Greek: Zeus Sotaer], to whom the third cup at a feast
was drunk. He is here invoked also to give a third victory to the
family at the Olympic games.]

[Footnote 4: Lampon.]

[Footnote 5: Figuratively said, as elsewhere.]

[Footnote 6: A hundred feet wide, seemingly.]

[Footnote 7: Not 'invulnerable.' A magic invulnerability was only
attributed to heroes by later legend.]

[Footnote 8: From [Greek: aietos] an eagle.]

[Footnote 9: Maternal uncle of Pytheas and Phylakidas.]

[Footnote 10: [Greek: melete de ergon ophellei]. Opp. 411.]

[Footnote 11: I. e. he stimulates their zeal and skill. The Naxian
whetstone seems to be emery.]




       *       *       *       *       *

The date of this ode is not fixed, but it has been supposed that the
battle referred to--apparently a defeat--in which the winner's uncle
was killed was the battle of Oinophyta, fought B.C. 457. But this, and
the notion that the democratic revolution at Thebes is referred to,
are only conjectures.

       *       *       *       *       *

Wherewithal of the fair deeds done in thy land, O divine Thebe, hath
thy soul had most delight? Whether when thou broughtest forth to the
light Dionysos of the flowing hair, who sitteth beside Demeter to whom
the cymbals clang? or when at midnight in a snow of gold thou didst
receive the mightiest of the gods, what time he stood at Amphitryon's
doors and beguiled his wife, to the begetting of Herakles? Or when
thou hadst honour in the wise counsels of Teiresias, or in Iolaos the
cunning charioteer, or the unwearied spears of the Spartoi? or when
out of the noise of the strong battle-cry thou sentest Adrastos home
to horse-breeding Argos, of his countless company forlorn? or when
thou madest the Dorian colony of the men of Lakedaimon stand upright
upon its feet[1], and the sons of Aigeus thy progeny took Amyklai,
according to the oracles of Pytho?

Nay, but the glory of the old time sleepeth, and mortals are unmindful
thereof, save such as married to the sounding stream of song attaineth
unto the perfect meed that wisdom[2] giveth. New triumph now lead for
Strepsiades with melodious hymn: for at Isthmos hath he borne away the
pankratiast's prize. Wondrous in strength is he, and to look upon of
goodly shape, and his valour is such as shameth not his stature.

So shineth he forth by grace of the Muses iris-haired, and to his
uncle of like name hath he given to share his crown, for albeit
bronze-shielded Ares gave him over unto death, yet remaineth there for
the valiant a recompense of renown. For let whoso amid the cloud of
war from his beloved country wardeth the bloody shower, and maketh
havoc in the enemy's host, know assuredly that for the race of his
fellow-citizens he maketh their renown wax mightily, yea when he is
dead even as while he was yet alive.

So didst thou, son[3] of Diodotos, following the praise of the warrior
Meleagros, and of Hektor, and of Amphiaraos, breathe forth the spirit
of thy fair-flowering youth amid the company of fighters in the front,
where the bravest on slenderest hopes bare up the struggle of war.

Then suffered I a pang unspeakable, but now hath the earth-grasper[4]
granted unto me a calm after the storm: I will set chaplets on my hair
and sing. Now let no jealousy of immortals mar whatever sweet thing
through a day's pursuit I follow, as it leadeth on up to old age, and
unto the term of life appointed.

For all we in like manner die, albeit our lots be diverse. If any lift
up his eye to look upon things afar off, yet is he too weak to attain
unto the bronze-paved dwelling of the gods. Thus did winged Pegasos
throw his lord Bellerophon, when he would fain enter into the heavenly
habitations and mix among the company of Zeus. Unrighteous joyance a
bitter end awaiteth.

But to us, O Loxias of the golden-flowing hair, give also at thy
Pythian games a new fair-flowering crown.

[Footnote 1: The Theban Aigidai helped the mythical 'return of the

[Footnote 2: Wisdom of bards.]

[Footnote 3: Strepsiades the uncle.]

[Footnote 4: Poseidon.]




       *       *       *       *       *

All that we can be certain of as to the date of this ode is that it
was written soon after the final expulsion of the Persians. From the
first strophe we learn that Kleandros had won a Nemean as well as an
Isthmian victory, and perhaps this ode really belongs to the former.
It was to be sung, it seems, before the house of Telesarchos the
winner's father, at Aigina.

       *       *       *       *       *

For Kleandros in his prime let some of you, ye young men, go stand
before the shining portal of his father Telesarchos, and rouse a song
of triumph, to be a glorious recompense of his toils, for that he hath
achieved reward of victory at Isthmos, and hath showed his strength in
the games of Nemea.

For him I also, albeit heavy at heart[1], am bidden to call upon the
golden Muse. Yea since we are come forth from our sore troubles let
us not fall into the desolation of crownlessness, neither nurse our
griefs; but having ease from our ills that are past mending, we will
set some pleasant thing before the people, though it follow hard on
pain: inasmuch as some god hath put away from us the Tantalos-stone
that hung above our heads, a curse intolerable to Hellas.

But now hath the passing of this terror ended my sore disquietude, and
ever it is better to look only on the thing hard by. For the guile of
time hangeth above the heads of men, and maketh the way of their life
crooked, yet if Freedom abide with them, even such things may mortals

But it is meet that a man cherish good hope: and meet also that I,
whom seven-gated Thebes reared, proffer chiefly unto Aigina the
choicest of the Graces' gifts, for that from one sire were two
daughters[2] born, youngest of the children of Asopos, and found
favour in the eyes of the king Zeus.

One by the fair stream of Dirke he set to be the queen of a city of
charioteers, and thee the other he bare to the Oinopian isle, and lay
with thee, whence to the sire of great thunderings thou didst bear the
godlike Aiakos, best of men upon the earth.

This man even among divinities became a decider of strife: and his
godlike sons and his sons' sons delighting in battle were foremost in
valour when they met in the ringing brazen melley: chaste also were
they approved, and wise of heart.

Thereof was the god's council mindful, what time for the hand of
Thetis there was strife between Zeus and glorious Poseidon, each
having desire that she should be his fair bride, for love had obtained
dominion over them.

Yet did not the wisdom of the immortal gods fulfil for them such
marriage, when they had heard a certain oracle. For Themis of wise
counsels spake in the midst of them of how it was pre-destined that
the sea-goddess should bear a royal offspring mightier than his
father, whose hand should wield a bolt more terrible than the
lightning or the dread trident, if she came ever into the bed of Zeus,
or of brethren of Zeus.

'Cease ye herefrom: let her enter a mortal's couch and see her son
fall in war, who shall be as Ares in the might of his hands, and as
the lightning in the swiftness of his feet. My counsel is that ye give
her to be the heaven-sent prize of Peleus son of Aiakos, whom the
speech of men showeth to be their most righteous, an offspring of
Iolkos' plain. Thus straightway let the message go forth to Cheiron's
cave divine, neither let the daughter of Nereus put a second time
into your hands the ballot-leaves of strife. So on the evening of the
mid-month moon shall she unbind for the hero the fair girdle of her

Thus spake the goddess her word to the children of Kronos, and they
bowed their everlasting brows. Nor failed her words of fruit, for they
say that to Thetis' bridals came those twain kings even with the rest.

Out of the mouths of the wise hath the young valour of Achilles
been declared to them that beheld it not. He it was who stained the
vine-clad Mysian plain with the dark blood of Telephos that he shed
thereon, and made for the sons of Atreus a safe return across the sea,
and delivered Helen, when that he had cut asunder with his spear the
sinews of Troy, even the men who kept him back as he plied the work
of slaughterous battle on the plain, the strength of Memnon and
high-hearted Hektor, and other chiefs of pride. Unto all these did
Achilles, champion of the Aiakid race, point the way to the house of
Persephone, and thereby did he glorify Aigina and the root whence he
was sprung.

Neither in death was he of songs forsaken, for at his funeral pyre and
beside his tomb stood the Helikonian maiden-choir, and poured thereon
a dirge of many melodies. For so the immortals willed, to give charge
unto the songs of goddesses over that valorous man even in his death.

And now also holdeth such charge good, and the Muses' chariot speedeth
to sound the glories of Nikokles the boxer[3]. Honour to him who in
the Isthmian vale hath won the Dorian parsley: for he even as Achilles
overcame men in battle, turning them to confusion, with hand from
which flight was vain. Him shameth not this kinsman of his father's
noble brother. Wherefore let some one of the young men his fellows
twine for Kleandros a wreath of tender myrtle for his pankratiast
victory. For the games whose name is of Alkathoos[4], and the youth of
Epidauros[5], have ere now entertained him with good hap. To praise
him is given unto the good: for in no hidden corner quenched he his
youth, unproven in honourable deeds.

[Footnote 1: Because, though the Persians had been defeated, Thebes,
Pindar's city, had not shared the glory.]

[Footnote 2: Thebe and Aigine.]

[Footnote 3: Uncle of the winner.]

[Footnote 4: A son of Pelops: he slew the lion of Kithairon.]

[Footnote 5: The Epidaurian games were in honour of Asklepios.]


Nearly two-thirds of the Fragments cannot be assigned to any distinct
class: the rest are divided among (1) [Greek: Epinikia], or Triumphal
Odes (such as are the odes remaining to us entire), (2) [Greek:
Hymnoi], or Hymns sung by a choir in honour of gods, (3) [Greek:
Paianes], or Hymns of a like kind but anciently addressed especially
to Apollo and Artemis for their intervention against pestilence, (4)
[Greek: Dithyramboi], or choral songs of more general compass, verging
sometimes on the drama, (5) [Greek: Prosodia], or Processional Songs,
(6) [Greek: Parthenia], or Songs for a Choir of Maidens, (7) [Greek:
Hyporchaemata], or Songs with Accompaniment of Dance, (8) [Greek:
Enkomia], or Odes sung by a [Greek: komos] in praise of some person
but not necessarily on any special occasion, (9) [Greek: Skolia], or
Songs to be sung at Banquets, (10) [Greek: Thraenoi], or Dirges.



Hither! Olympian gods to our choice dance, and make your grace to
descend thereon and to glorify it, ye who in sacred Athens visit the
city's incensed centre-stone, and her famed market-place of splendid
ornament; receive ye violet-entwined crowns and drink-offerings of
spring-gathered herbs, and look on me who am come from the house of
Zeus with my bright song a second time unto the ivy-crowned god, whom
we call Bromios, even the god of clamorous shout.

To sing the offspring[1] of the Highest and of Kadmeaen mothers am I

In Argive Nemea the prophet of the god overlooketh not the branch of
palm, what time with the opening of the chamber of the Hours, the
nectarous plants perceive the fragrant spring[2].

Then, then are strown over the face of the eternal earth the lovely
violet-tufts, then are roses twined in hair, then sound to the flute's
accompaniment voices of song, then sound our choice hymns unto the
honour of bright-filleted Semele ...

[Footnote 1: Dionysos, son of Zeus and of Semele, daughter of Kadmos.]

[Footnote 2: Bockh has suggested the following ingenious explanation
of this passage. In the temple of Zeus at Nemea grew a sacred palm,
and a branch of this was given, together with his crown, to a winner
in the Nemean games. Pindar had been at those games in the winter, and
means that he, like the priest of the temple, could foresee from the
tokens of the branch that spring was approaching, and with spring the
vernal Dionysia at Athens.]



Hail! god-reared daughter of the sea, earth-shoot most dear to
bright-haired Leto's children, wide earth's immoveable marvel, who of
mortals art called Delos, but of the blessed gods in Olympus the dark
earth's far-seen star[1]... ... For of old time it[2] drifted before
the waves and stress of winds from every side; but when she[3] of
Koios set foot thereon, as the swift pains of her travailing drew
nigh, then verily from roots deep down in earth there sprang upright
four pillars with adamantine base, and on their capitals they held up
the rock: there was the goddess delivered, and looked upon her blessed

[Footnote 1: The old mythical name of Delos was Asteria.]

[Footnote 2: The island.]

[Footnote 3: Leto.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Wherefore, O Light of the Sun, thou that seest all things and givest
bounds unto the sight of mine eyes--wherefore O star supreme hast thou
in the daytime hidden thyself, and made useless unto men the wings of
their strength and the paths that wisdom findeth, and hastest along a
way of darkness to bring on us some strange thing?

Now in the name of Zeus I pray unto thee, O holy Light, that by thy
swift steeds thou turn this marvel in the sight of all men to be for
the unimpaired good hap of Thebes. Yet if the sign which thou showest
us be of some war, or destruction of harvest, or an exceeding storm of
snow, or ruinous civil strife, or emptying of the sea upon the earth,
or freezing of the soil, or summer rains pouring in vehement flood, or
whether thou wilt drown the earth and make anew another race of men,
then will I suffer it amid the common woe of all....




.... For them shineth below the strength of the sun while in our world
it is night, and the space of crimsonflowered meadows before their
city is full of the shade of frankincense-trees, and of fruits of
gold. And some in horses, and in bodily feats, and some in dice,
and some in harp-playing have delight; and among them thriveth all
fair-flowering bliss; and fragrance streameth ever through the lovely
land, as they mingle incense of every kind upon the altars of the


.... BY happy lot travel all unto an end that giveth them rest from
toils. And the body indeed is subject unto the great power of death,
but there remaineth yet alive a shadow of life; for this only is from
the gods; and while the limbs stir, it sleepeth, but unto sleepers
in dreams discovereth oftentimes the judgment that draweth nigh for
sorrow or for joy..


But from whomsoever Persephone accepteth atonement made for an ancient
woe, their souls unto the light of the sun above she sendeth back
again in the ninth year. And from those souls spring noble kings,
and men swift and strong and in wisdom very great: and through the
after-time they are called holy heroes among men......


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