The victory celebrated in this ode was gained Ol. 80 (460 B.C.) by Alkimedon of Aigina. We know nothing about the victor except what Pindar tells us. He was a Blepsiad (v. 75) of the stock of Aiakos, son of Zeus. There had been much sickness in the family (v. 85). He had lost his father, Iphion (v. 81); his uncle, Kallimachos (v. 82). His grandfather was still living (v. 70). His brother, Timosthenes, had won a Nemean victory (v. 15). His teacher was the famous trainer Melesias, who is mentioned N. 4.93 and 6, 74. There is much dispute whether Alkimedon was an ἔφεδρος or not. See v. 68. The song seems to have been sung immediately after the victory during the procession to the altar of Zeus in the Altis. Pindar knew Aigina well, and the universal of the Aiginetan odes is often so pegged in the knotty entrails of the particular that it is hard to set it free. The victory is the victory of a boy, and the ἀλείπτης, who is entitled to a fair share of the praise in all the boy-odes, seems to have a disproportionate space allotted to him. As an Athenian, Melesias had a certain amount of odium to encounter, and P. found it necessary to vindicate him by recounting the successes of Melesias as well as the successes of those whom he had trained. Mezger sees in the ode a jubilee-tribute to Melesias for the thirtieth victory of his pupils (v. 66) — a notion more German than Greek. After an invocation of Olympia as the mistress of truth, by reason of the happy issue of the oracle delivered by the diviners at the great altar of Zeus (vv. 1-10), the poet says: There are other blessings, but Olympia's prize is the chief. There are other gods, but Zeus is the patron of the Blepsiadai, head of their race (v. 16). Themis, the glory of Aigina, sits by the side of Zeus (v. 22). Apollo, son of Zeus, Poscidon, brother of Zeus, take Zeus's son Aiakos to Troy (v. 31). Then the poet tells the story of Aiakos to show what honor Zeus puts on his son. Aiakos is συνεργός to the gods (v. 32), and Ζηνὶ γενεθλίῳ (v. 16) is echoed in Ζεὺς γένει (v. 83). So far the poem runs smoothly enough, and if the poet had returned to the victor after despatching Aiakos to Aigina, the ode would be less difficult; but the introduction of the trainer jars us, and, in fact, Pindar himself apologizes for it (v. 56). Timosthenes, who ordered the ode — Alkimedon is nowhere addressed, and his youth is emphasized — required this mention of Melesias, who must have been his trainer too; and so Pindar dwells on the importance of having an old athlete as a trainer both for man (v. 63) and boy, both for Timosthenes and for Alkimedon. This brings Alkimedon forward again, but he is soon lost again in the mention of his race — in the mention of the dead sire, who hears in the other world the glory that has come to the house. The prose line of thought would be: The blessing of Zeus on Aiakos was on children's children; and so the brothers, Timosthenes, trained by Melesias, and now Alkimedon, have gained the prize, at Nemea one, at Olympia the other, both in games of Zeus, and even in the lower world the gracious boon is not unknown. The poem is full of prayers, but Aigina was near the point when she would be past praying for. The rhythms are dactylo-epitrite. According to Böckh the mood is a mixture of Dorian and Lydian, in which we should have the blending of sadness with manly joy. Of the four triads, the first is introductory; the second contains the brief myth; the last two are divided between Timosthenes, Melesias's patron, who ordered the ode, and Alkimedon, who won the victory.
Strophe 1μᾶτερ: P. makes free use of family figures. So O. 7.70: ὁ γενέθλιος ἀκτίνων πατήρ, P. 4.176: ἀοιδᾶν πατὴρ Ὀρφεύς, Ο. 13, 10: Ὕβριν Κόρου ματέρα θρασύμυθον N. 5, 6: τέρειναν ματέρ᾽ οἰνάνθας ὀπώραν, N. 9.52: βιατὰν ἀμπέλου παῖδα, P. 5.28: Ἐπιμαθέος θυγατέρα Πρόφασιν. These are not to be effaced, as Dissen would have it. χρυσοστεφάνων = καλλιστεφάνων. So O. 11 (10), 13: χρυσέας ἐλαίας, and P. 10.40.
ἵνα: Always “where” in P.
ἐμπύροις τεκμαιρόμενοι: Pyromancy, divination by means of altar flames, was practised by the Iamidai (see O. 6). παραπειρῶνται: παρά here produces the effect of reverent shyness. ἀργικεραύνου: The thunderbolt is figured on coins of Elis.
εἴ τιν᾽ ἔχει λόγον: “If (whether) he hath any utterance to make,” “any decision to give.” εἰ interrog. also in P. 4.164.
μαιομένων ... θυμῷ: “Eagerly seeking.”
ἀρετάν = ἀρετᾶς κλέος, as O. 7.89
ἀμπνοάν: Well chosen for a wrestler.
Antistrophe 1ἄνεται: Impersonal. “Accomplishment is accorded.” The pass. impersonal is not over-common in Greek. πρὸς χάριν εὐσεβείας: “In requital of their piety.”
ἀλλά: Invocation renewed with fervor. “Nay.” Compare O. 4.6. εὔδενδρον ... ἄλσος: See O. 3.23.
στεφαναφορίαν: Of the winner.
σὸν γέρας: Such an honor as thine — the wreath of victory. ἕσπητ（αι): The generic relative may omit ἄν in P. This is, in fact, the original form. So O. 3.11; 6, 75 al. In ἕσπηται, ἑ represents the reduplication (for σεσπ.), and is not dropped. See Od. 12. 349.
ἄλλα ... ἀγαθῶν: In prose ἄλλα ἀγαθά. This reflection is intended to console Timosthenes. The neut. pl. with verb pl. is especially appropriate here, as the notion is distributive.
Epode 1Τιμόσθενες: A brother of Alkimedon. On δέ after voc. see O. 1.36. πότμος: Here = Μοῖρα.
Ζηνὶ γενεθλίῳ: Every man has his δαίμων γενέθλιος (O. 13.105). He who has Ζεὺς γενέθλιος has the highest. Compare P. 4.167: ὅρκος ἄμμιν μάρτυς ἔστω Ζεὺς ὁ γενέθλιος ἀμφοτέροις. πρόφατον = πρόφαντον, “illustrious.”
ἔργῳ: Parallel with ἐσορᾶν, as if the dat. force of the inf. were felt (= ὄψει). The τε complements: appearance and reality are exhaustive. κατὰ ϝεῖδος ἐλέγχων: κατά with ἐ. Tyrtai. 10, 9: αἰσχύνει τε γένος, κατὰ δ᾽ ἀγλαὸν εἶδος ἐλέγχει.
ἐξένεπε: Causative, as O. 5.8: ἐκάρυξε. Compare P. 1.32: κᾶρυξ ἀνέειπέ νιν. — δολιχήρετμον: Od. 8. 191: Φαίηκες δολιχήρετμοι.
Σώτειρα ... Θέμις: O. 9.16: Σώτειρα ... Εὐνομία, O. 12.2: Σώτειρα Τύχα. Διὸς ξενίου: Owing to the active commerce of Aigina, many suits were brought by strangers before the courts, hence the special propriety of ξενίου. The probity of the Aiginetans was conspicuous. So just below, παντοδαποῖσιν ... ξένοις | κίονα δαιμονίαν.
πάρεδρος: So. O. C. 1384: “Ζηνὸς Δίκη πάρεδρος ἀρχαίοις νόμοις.” ἀσκεῖται: “Is honored,” “receiveth homage.” N. 11.8: καὶ ξενίου Διὸς ἀσκεῖται Θέμις. The personification is kept up. P. 3.108: τὸν ἀμφέποντ᾽ αἰεὶ φρασὶν | δαίμον᾽ ἀσκήσω.
Strophe 2ἔξοχ᾽ ἀνθρώπων: Compare O. 1.2. ὅθι ... ῥέπῃ: I read ὅθι with the Schol., ῥέπῃ with Bergk. “Where there is heavy weighing in many ways.” “Where there is much in the balance and the balance sways much.” Aigina was a great commercial centre; Aiginetan standards were known all over Greece, and Aiakos, the son of Aigina, was a famous judge. Compare P. 8.98: Αἴγινα, φίλα μᾶτερ, ἐλευθέρῳ στόλῳ | πόλιν τάνδε κόμιζε Δὶ καὶ κρέοντι σὺν Αἰακῷ. This makes the ῥοπή signification of ῥέπῃ the more probable. We have to do with the scales of justice and the Aiginetan talent. Schol.: ὅταν γὰρ τὸ ἐν τῷ ζυγῷ ἐλαφρὸν ᾖ, εὐχερὲς τὴν ἰσότητα γνῶναι: ἐὰν δὲ βαρύ, δυσχερές.
δυσπαλές: More or less pointed allusion to the πάλη of the victor. ἁλιερκέα: See P. 1.18; I. 1, 9.
κίονα: O. 6.2. δαιμονίαν: O. 6.8.
ἐπαντέλλων: Coming time is a rising sun. Neither time nor sun grows weary. But three or four years afterwards (456 B.C.) the island was taken by the Athenians. See Thuk. 1, 108.
Antistrophe 2Δωριεῖ λαῷ ταμιευομέναν: For the dat. see O. 12.3: τὶν ... κυβερνῶνται θοαὶ | νᾶες. The island obeys the rule of the Doric folk, as the ships obey the helm of Tyché. ἐξ Αἰακοῦ: “From the time of Aiakos.” Aiakos was an Achaian, but the Dorians appropriated the mythic heroes of the tribes they succeeded, especially as the chiefs were often not Dorian. Note that we have to do with oracle and prophecy from the beginning of the ode.
παῖς ὁ Λατοῦς: The partnership is well known. Il. 7. 452 (Poseidon speaks): τοῦ δ᾽ [sc. τείχεος] ἐπιλήσονται, τὸ ἐγὼ καὶ Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων | ἥρῳ Λαομέδοντι πολίσσαμεν ἀθλήσαντε. εὐρυμέδων: Poseidon is also εὐρυβίας (O. 6.58) and εὐρυσθενής (O. 13.80), and Εὐρύπυλος is his son (P. 4.33).
μέλλοντες ἐπὶ ... τεῦξαι (= ἐπιτεῦξαι): The aor. after μέλλω, as O. 7.61; P. 9.57. The pres., O. 8.64. P. does not use the normal future. στέφανον: “Battlement.” Compare P. 2.58: εὐστεφάνων ἀγυιᾶν.
ἦν ὅτι: Not a harsh hyperbaton. νιν = στέφανον. If a mortal had not joined in the work, the city could never have been taken (Schol.).
λάβρον ... καπνόν: Cf. P. 3.40: σέλας λάβρον Ἁφαίστου. λάβρος in Homer is used of wind and wave, river and rain; in P. the sphere is different.
Epode 2δράκοντες ... οἱ δύο μὲν ... εἷς δέ: Distributive apposition, much more vivid than the genitive use. γλαυκοί is glossed by φοβερόφθαλμοι. For the basilisk glare, see P. 4.249: γλαυκῶπα ... ὄφιν, O. 6.45: γλαυκῶπες δράκοντες. νέον = νεωστί.
ἐσαλλόμενοι: The conative present is translated by the Schol. βουλόμενοι εἰσελθεῖν. κάπετον = κατέπεσον. We should have expected κάππετον. The two who fell were Achilles and Aias; the one who entered was Neoptolemos, son of Achilles (Schol.).
αὖθι: “On the spot.” ἀτυζομένω: Hardly seems applicable to the representatives of Achilles and Aias. The Scholiast feels this, for we find in the paraphrase ἐν ἄτ ῃ ἐγένοντο: ἀπέθανον γάρ.
ψυχὰς βάλον: Contrast the choked serpents of N. 1.46: ἀγχομένοις δὲ χρόνος | ψυχὰς ἀπέπνευσεν μελέων ἀφάτων.
βοάσαις: “With a cry” (of victory). Mythical serpents may make mythical outcry. The aor. part. is not prior to the leading verb. Cf. O. 9.15.
ἀντίον: “Adverse,” with τέρας (Schol.). ὁρμαίνων = διαλογιζόμενος, διανοούμενος (Schol.). Not satisfactory. The Scholia give also ὁρῶν, θεασάμενος pointing to a corruption in ὁρμαίνων. A possible translation is “Apollo straight came rushing on and openly (ἀντίον） declared the prodigy.” Compare Od. 17. 529: ἔρχεο, δεῦρο κάλεσσον, ἵν᾽ ἀντίον αὐτὸς ἐνίσπῃ.
ἀμφὶ τεαῖς ... ἐργασίαις: “About (and by reason of) the works of thy hands.” “Where thou hast wrought.” The weak point is indicated Il. 6. 433: παρ᾽ ἐρινεόν, ἔνθα μάλιστα | ἄμβατός ἐστι πόλις καὶ ἐπίδρομον ἔπλετο τεῖχος. ἁλίσκεται: Praesens propheticum.
πεμφθὲν ... Διός: The construction is lightened by φάσμα Κρονίδα, K. being the subjective genitive.
Strophe 3ἄρξεται: Acc. to the Schol. ἀ. = ἀρχὴν λήψεται. “The capture will begin with the first generation and (end) with the fourth.” Better ἄρξεται, “will be swayed.” So Hdt. 3, 83, ἀρχθήσομαι, like so many -θήσομαι futures, being late. Bergk conjectures ῥήξεται. ῥάξεται, though lacking early proof, has a vigorous ring.
τετράτοις: These numbers have given trouble, so that it has been proposed to read with Ahrens and Bergk τερτάτοις (Aeol.) = τριτάτοις (Meister, Gr. Dial. 1, 43). The genealogy is this:
|Aiakos Telamon Aias Peleus Achilles Neoptolemos Phokos Panopeus Epeios|
Ξάνθον: The prepos. is often suspended in P. See O. 9.94; P. 1.14; P. 4.130, and elsewhere. Ξάνθος, the divine name of the Σκάμανδρος. Il. 20. 74: ὃν Ξάνθον καλέουσι θεοί, ἄνδρες δὲ Σκάμανδρον. ἤπειγ᾽ ἤ: The codices have ἤπειγε or ἤπειγεν. Ἀμαζόνας: The friends of Artemis, who lived on the Thermodon. Apollo goes from river to river. Cf. O. 6.58: Ἀλφεῷ καταβὰς ἐκάλεσσε ... τοξοφόρον Δάλου θεοδμάτας σκοπόν. Ἴστρον: O. 3.14.
Ὀρσοτρίαινα: So also P. 2.12; N. 4.86. ἐπ᾽ Ἰσθμῷ ... τάνυεν: Cf. O. 2.99: ἐπί τοι Ἀκράγαντι τανύσαις. For the gender, O. 7.81.
ἀποπέμπων: “Bringing home.”
δεῦρο: To Greece from Troy and so to Aigina. ἀν᾽ ἵπποις χρυσέαις: so O. 1.41: χρυσέαισιν ἀν᾽ ἵπποις.
Antistrophe 3δειράδα: The Isthmus or “neck” of land (Schol.). δαιτικλυτάν: “Feast-famed.” So Bergk for δαῖτα κλυτάν, formed like θεμιπλέκτοις, N. 9.52.
τερπνὸν ... οὐδέν: The contrast is between the life of the gods and the life of men. Apollo is happy in three places, Poseidon in two. But human beings are not equally happy everywhere. Timosthenes was victorious at Nemea, Alkimedon at Olympia. An Athenian would not be at home in Aigina, nor an Aiginetan at Athens. This commonplace prepares, after a fashion, the way for the inevitable mention of Melesias.
Μελησία: An Attic trainer. See N. 4 and 6, end. No favorite in Aigina, as we may gather from P.'s cautious tone. ἐξ ἀγενείων κῦδος: See note on O. 1.2: νυκτὶ πῦρ. “Glory from training beardless youths.” ἀνέδραμον ὕμνῳ: A bold equivalent of ἀνύμνησα. Compare the use of διεξιέναι, διεξελθεῖν, and Simon. Amorg. 10: τί ταῦτα μακρῶν διὰ λόγων ἀνέδραμον; “If I have traversed in song to its full height the glory of Melesias.” This is the objection of the cavillers, dramatically put in the aor., and not in the fut. P. uses the fut. only once certainly (fr. VII. 4, 15) in the protasis of a conditional sentence, and εἰ with aor. subj. is generic. See O. 6.11.
μὴ βαλέτω: The 3 p. aor. imper. with μή is much more common than it is sometimes repre sented to be.
καὶ ... χάριν: The whole passage is much disputed. The sense seems to be: Do not envy the glory of Melesias gained from his teaching art; he hath practised what he taught. If he taught boys to win, he himself won as a boy a wrestling-match; nay, won afterwards, as a man, the pankration. To train is easier for him that knows himself what struggle means. Foolish it is not to learn in advance, for giddier are those that have not tried. So he, as teacher and as athlete, could better tell what the prizers should do. By emphasizing Melesias' own achievements, P. justifies Alkimedon in employing him, and tries to salve the wounded feelings of the Aiginetans. Νεμέᾳ ... χάριν: Compare v. 83: κόσμον Ὀλυμπίᾳ.
ἐρέω: The old modal use of the future = ἔχω εἰπεῖν. ταύταν = τοιαύταν, the same kind of honor that Alkimedon gained — a victory in wrestling. ἀνδρῶν μάχαν: Leop. Schmidt calls this a metaphor, as μ. cannot be used literally of a game. Still εὐθυμάχαν (O. 7.15) is used of a boxer.
Epode 3τὸ διδάξασθαι: Only a more intense διδάξαι, “To get one's men into training.” The two articular infinitives are noteworthy, as the construction is somewhat rare in P. The demonstrative sense is still perceptible. “This thing of teaching.”
κεῖνα ... ἔργα: The πάλη, the παγκράτιον. κεῖνος: Melesias. 63. τρόπος: “Training.”
Ἀλκιμέδων ... ἑλών: In prose usu. τὸ Ἀλκιμέδοντα ἑλεῖν. See P. 2.23.
νίκαν τριακοστάν: Mezger thinks that the apparently disproportionate space allotted to Melesias is to be accounted for partly by this round number. It was a professional jubilee for the old ἀλείπτης. See Introd.
Strophe 4τύχᾳ ... δαίμονος: So P. 8.53: τύχᾳ θεῶν, N. 4.7: σὺν Χαρίτων τύχᾳ, N. 6.27: σὺν θεοῦ δὲ τύχᾳ. οὐκ ἀμπλακών: Neg. expression of τυχών. ἀ. often in tragic poets = ἁμαρτών. — 68. τέτρασιν: The most simple way of fulfilling the conditions is to suppose sixteen contestants, eight pairs, four bouts, the victors in each bout wrestling off the ties. Alkimedon, as the final victor, would then have thrown his four boys. If an ἔφεδρος, or “odd man,” is assumed at any point in the match, the calculation is more complicated, and the number may be as low as nine. With nine contestants (four pairs and an ἔφεδρος), the fourth bout would have been wrestled by the victor and the ἔφεδρος of the third. In this way Alkimedon might have thrown four boys, provided he was not himself an ἔφεδρος, which is an unnecessary inference drawn by some commentators from v. 67: τύχᾳ μὲν δαίμονος. The ἔφεδρος was considered lucky because he came with fresh strength to contend with a wearied victor, but if Alkimedon was to be an ἔφεδρος at all and defeat four boys personally and not by proxy, there must have been at least five bouts. In any case, the ἔφεδρος seems to have drawn lots with the others at the end of each bout, so that the same person was not necessarily ἔφεδρος throughout. The “reasonable plans” vary according to the editors. See P. 8.81. ἀπεθήκατο: “Put off from himself” as something hateful. Compare O. 10 (11), 43: νεῖκος δὲ κρεσσόνων | ἀποθέσθ᾽ ἄπορον. γυίοις: Emphasis on the important element, as in ἔτλα καὶ Δανάας ... δέμας (Soph.); σθένος ἡμιόνων (O. 6.22), γυῖα being the main thing in wrestling. So N. 7.73: αἴθωνι πρὶν ἁλίῳ γυῖον ἐμπεσεῖν (of a pentathlete saved from wrestling). Compare Il. 23. 726: κόψ᾽ ὄπιθεν κώληπα τυχών, ὑπέλυσε δὲ γυῖα. — 69. νόστον , κτἑ.: ν. is the return to the town, ἀτιμοτέραν γλῶσσαν refers to the jibes and jeers of enemies in the gate, ἐπίκρυφον οἶμον to the slinking to the mother's house by the back way. Compare the parallel passage, P. 8.81: τέτρασι δ᾽ ἔμπετες ὑψόθεν | σωμάτεσσι κακὰ φρονέων | τοῖς οὔτε νόστος ὁμῶς | ἔπαλπνος ἐν Πυθιάδι κρίθη | οὐδὲ μολόντων πὰρ ματέρ᾽ ἀμφὶ γέλως γλυκὺς | ὦρσεν χάριν: κατὰ λαύρας δ᾽ ἐχθρῶν ἀπάοροι | πτώσσοντι, συμφορᾷ δεδαγμένοι. There is a savagely boyish note of exultation in both passages.
ἀντίπαλον: “That wrestles with.”
ἄρμενα πράξαις = εὖ πράξας, as P. 8.52: ἀντία πράξει = κακῶς πράξει.
Antistrophe 4ἀλλ᾽ ἐμέ: The ἀλείπτης teaches, the poet sings, the victor, being a boy, gets only a boy's share.
χειρῶν ἄωτον ... ἐπίνικον: “The victorious prime of their hands,” “the fruit of their victorious hands,” καρπὸν ὃν αἱ χεῖρες αὐτῶν ἤνεγκαν. Compare P. 10.23: χερσὶν ἢ ποδῶν ἀρετᾷ κρατήσαις. Melesias is praised, N. 9, end: δελφῖνί κεν | τάχος δι᾽ ἅλμας εἰκάζοιμι Μελησίαν | χειρῶν τε καὶ ἰσχύος ἁνίοχον. Βλεψιάδαις: The dative emphasizes the gain.
φυλλοφόρων: Cf. P. 9.133: πολλὰ μὲν κεῖνοι | δίκον φύλλ᾽ ἔπι καὶ στεφάνους.
κάν = κατά. ἐρδομένων: The MSS. have ἐρδόμενον, which is harsh. The expression κατὰ νόμον ἔρδειν is sacrificial. So Hes. Theog. 416: καὶ γὰρ νῦν ὅτε πού τις ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων | ἔρδων ἱερὰ καλὰ κατὰ νόμον ἱλάσκηται. τὰ νόμιμα, iusta, often of funeral rites.
οὐ κόνις: On the free position of the neg., see O. 1.81.
συγγόνων κεδνὰν χάριν: The dust does not hide (from the dead) the noble grace of (their living) kinsmen. As the dead are not insensible of rites paid in their honor, so they are not blind to the glory gained by their kindred.
Epode 4Ἑρμᾶ: Hermes is ψυχοπομπός, and has a right to an extemporized daughter Ἀγγελία, who plays the same part as the well - established Ἠχώ does, O. 14.21. Ἰφίων . . . Καλλιμάχῳ: Iphion is supposed to be the father, and Kallimachos the uncle, of Alkimedon.
κόσμον Ὀλυμπίᾳ: Cf. v. 56. σφι . . . γένει: γένει is not epexegesis to σφι. σφι depends on the combination γένει ὤπασεν, “made a family gift to them.” See O. 2.16.
ἐσλὰ δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἐσλοῖς: ἐπί is = “heaped on.” See O. 2.12; 11 (10), 13.
εὔχομαι: Asyndeton, as often in prayers. Zeus is invoked. Cf. O. 1.115. ἀμφὶ καλῶν μοίρᾳ: The dat. of the thing at stake, as περί with dat. διχόβουλον: “Of divided mind.” Zeus is not to make (θέμεν) Nemesis double-minded. She is not to waver; she is to be a steady friend. P. 10.20: μὴ φθονεραῖς ἐκ θεῶν | μετατροπίαις ἐπικύρσαιεν, N. 10.89: οὐ γνώμᾳ διπλόαν θέτο [Ζεὺς] βουλήν. It must be remembered that matters were ἐπὶ ξυροῦ ἀκμῆς in Aigina. Others, “Of different mind,” “hostile.” διχ. νέμεσιν θ., “to rouse factious discontent” is too colorless.
ἄγων=ἐπάγων. Compare O. 2.41: “οὕτω . . . Μοῖρα. . . ἐπί τι καὶ πῆμ᾽ ἄγει.”