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For the occasion of this ode see the Introduction to the preceding one, where Böckh's view has been followed. Leop. Schmidt calls it a promissory note, while the old arrangers imagined it to be interest on deferred payment. This is the first Olympian victory celebrated by Pindar, and Schmidt thinks that P. shows great satisfaction at receiving the commission. This may be true, but Schmidt does not succeed in explaining why P. should have postponed the execution so long.

The thought of the poem is, “Song, God-given, is the true complement of God-given victory.” There is a time for all things; time for winds, for showers. The time of all for song is when success is achieved by help of toil; then 'tis a beginning of fame hereafter, a sworn warranty of great achievements. High above envy is dedicated this praise for Olympian victors. This glory my tongue would fain feed full, but 'tis God alone can give a heart of wisdom. This glory I can sing as an adornment over and above thy olive wreath and foster the name of the Lokrian stock. There revel, ye Muses, for I will be bound that it is an hospitable race, acquainted with beauty, wise to the highest point, and warlike. Nor fox nor lion changes nature.

The rhythms are Dorian (dactylo-epitrite). Leop. Schmidt remarks on the inferior impressiveness and majesty of the rhythms as compared with other poems. However that may be, the proportion of dactyls is unusually small, though about the same as in O. 12, which belongs to the period of full maturity. Böckh says: “ad Lydiam declinat harmoniam.

The strophe sets forth the importance of the song, the antistrophe the divine calling of the poet, the epode the noble stock of the victor. Thus this brief poem contains all the elements of the ἐπινίκιον except the myth. To this effect, Mezger.


ἔστιν ἀνθρώποις , κτἑ.: Pindaric approach by parallels, of which the type is given O. 1 (init.). See also O. 3.42, and compare N. 3.6: διψῇ δὲ πρᾶγος ἄλλο μὲν ἄλλου, | ἀθλονικία δὲ μάλιστ᾽ ἀοιδὰν φιλεῖ.

ἀνέμων: The wind is not necessarily suggested by the voyage of Agesidamos, but wind suggests rain. In Greece navigation and agriculture go hand in hand. Hesiod puts agriculture first.

παίδων: A common personification; hence less felt, though not wholly effaced. See note on O. 8.1; N. 4.3; 9, 52.

πράσσει: So with Christ for πράσσοι. Schol., Hartung, Bergk have πράσσῃ, but P. prefers the pres. indic. in the generic condition. The opt. protasis with universal present in the apodosis occurs P. 1.81. 82; 8, 13. 14; I. 2, 33. 34, but the circumstances are somewhat different.

τέλλεται: Cited as an example of the schema Pindaricum (agreement of a plural subject with a singular verb), of which there are very few examples in P. Here we read, with A, ἀρχά, and the example disappears. This syntactical figure gives no trouble when plural nouns are mixed with singulars or neuters — of course, disjunctives do not count, as P. 10.41, q. v. — nor much when the verb precedes, for the singular is the general and the plural the particular. Compare fr. IV. 3, 16. In P. 10.71 there is a various reading, κεῖνται for κεῖται, in P. 4.246, τέλεσαν for τέλεσεν. In Plat. Gorg. 500 D, for εἰ ἔστι B has εἰ ἐστιν, which points to ἐστόν (Hirschig). In Aischyl. Pers. 49στεῦται” rests on a correction of M; the other MSS. have στεῦνται.

πιστὸν ὅρκιον: “A certain pledge for mighty deeds of emprise.” Cf. N. 9.16: ὅρκιον . . . πιστόν. These songs are to be the beginning of future renown and a witness to great achievements. They are called a pledge because they bind themselves to prove what has been done. On shifting genitive (λόγων) and dative (ἀρεταῖς), see O. 6.5.


ἀφθόνητος: The gloss πολυφθόνητος shows that the word was a puzzle here. “Beyond the reach of envy,” Böckh after the Schol., who says that images may be taken down, but the hymn cannot be destroyed.

ἄγκειται: The best MSS. have ἔγκειται, but ἄγκειται is established by the Schol. and the sense. The song is an ἀνάθημα, O. 13.36; I. 4 (8), 17.

τὰ μέν: Schol.: ταῦτα τὰ κατορθώματα καὶ τὰ ἐγκώμια τῶν ἐν Ὀλυμπίᾳ νενικηκότων. As often, μέν and δέ attack different members of the antithesis with chiastic effect, P. 1.21.

ἁμετέρα: Plural of the chorus.

ποιμαίνειν: “Tend,” “cherish,” “make our care.” Compare also the use of βουκολεῖν. The figure is not to be pressed.

ἐκ θεοῦ δέ: P. modestly acknowledges his dependence on God. Compare P. 1.41: ἐκ θεῶν γὰρ μαχαναὶ πᾶσαι βροτέαις ἀρεταῖς.

ἀνήρ: O. 1.66.

ὁμοίως: So von Leutsch, who has expiscated it out of the ἴσως καὶ αὐτῷ τῷ τρόπῳ (τῷ αὐτῷ τρ.) and ὁμοίως ὥσπερ καὶ σὺ νενίκηκας of the old Scholiasts. “We are fain to sing thy praise, but our success depends on God, as well as thine.” The old MSS. have ὁμῶς ὦν, the interpolated ἐσαεί after διαπαντός of the Schol. Mommsen reads: πραπίδεσσιν: ὅμως ὦν ἴσθι, κτἑ.


ἐπὶ στεφάνῳ: “Over and above,” “topping.” So O. 3.6: χαίταισι . . . ζευχθέντες ἔπι στέφανοι. Mommsen retains ἀμφί of the Ambros.

χρυσέας ἐλαίας: χρ. figurative. O. 8.1: χρυσοστεφάνων ἀέθλων, N. 1.17: φύλλοις ἐλαιᾶν χρυσέοις, P. 10.40: δάφνᾳ χρυσέᾳ.

ἀλέγων: “Caring for;” hence “praising,” ὑμνῶν (Schol.).

ὔμμιν: So Bergk and De Jongh after the Scholiasts, the MSS. μή μιν. The subject of ἀφίξεσθαι is “We,” “I and the Muses.” Compare Od. 12. 212: ἐκφύγομεν καί που τῶνδε μνήσεσθαι ὀίω (sc. ἡμᾶς). νιν, in anticipation of στρατόν, would be forced (in spite of O. 7.60); with reference to the return of Agesidamos to his home, unnatural.

μηδέ: For the one neg., compare P. 10.41: νόσοι δ᾽ οὔτε γῆρας. So. Phil. 771: ἑκόντα μήτ᾽ ἄκοντα, Eur. Hec. 373:λέγουσα μηδὲ δρῶσα” . The neg. μή, as after a verb of swearing (O. 2.102).

ἀπείρατον καλῶν , κτἑ.: The Epizephyrian Lokrians well deserved this praise. For their poets — Xenokritos, Erasippos, Theano — see the classical dictionaries. The Λοκρικὰ ᾁσματα reflected the passionate and erotic character of the people. The poems of Nossis, preserved in the Anthologia Palatina, are well worth study.

αἰχματάν: Especially noted is their victory over the Krotoniates on the banks of the Sagra. Cf. O. 10 (11), 17.

τὸ γὰρ ἐμφυὲς . . . ϝῆθος: The equable dactylo-epitrite rhythm allows this separation of article and substantive (Stein). Cf. O. 7.13 (?); 12, 5; P. 12.20.

ἀλώπηξ: This need not refer to ἀκρόσοφον. Perhaps only the lionpart holds. Still compare I. 3 (4), 65.

διαλλάξαντο: “Change” (gnomic aor.). So with Lehrs, v. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Schröder (Am. Journ. of Phil. XII. p. 386). The MSS. διαλλάξαιντο, “May change,” the so-called potential optative without ἄν. However, the examples commonly cited for this opt. in Pindar, N. 3.20; P. 11.50, cannot be considered stringent. O. 3.45, the opt. is imperative. In prose ἄν is necessary, and Hartung writes here: διαλλάξαιντ᾽ ἂν ἦθος, which is forbidden by the digamma.

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hide References (21 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (21):
    • Aeschylus, Persians, 49
    • Euripides, Hecuba, 373
    • Homer, Odyssey, 12.212
    • Pindar, Nemean, 1
    • Pindar, Nemean, 3
    • Pindar, Nemean, 4
    • Pindar, Nemean, 9
    • Pindar, Olympian, 1
    • Pindar, Olympian, 13
    • Pindar, Olympian, 2
    • Pindar, Olympian, 3
    • Pindar, Olympian, 6
    • Pindar, Olympian, 7
    • Pindar, Olympian, 8
    • Pindar, Pythian, 1
    • Pindar, Pythian, 10
    • Pindar, Pythian, 11
    • Pindar, Pythian, 12
    • Plato, Gorgias, 500d
    • Sophocles, Philoctetes, 771
    • Pindar, Pythian, 4
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