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The victory here commemorated was gained P. 24 (Ol. 71, 3) 494 B.C., and was celebrated by Simonides also, acc. to the Schol. on I. 2. The victor, Xenokrates, was an Agrigentine, brother of Theron. Compare O. 2.54: Πυθῶνι δ᾽ ὁμόκλαρον ἐς ἀδελφεὸν Ἰσθμοῖ τε κοιναὶ Χάριτες ἄνθεα τεθρίππων δυωδεκαδρόμων ἄγαγον. The charioteer was Thrasybulos, son of Xenokrates. Böckh thinks that the ode was sung at a banquet held at Delphi in honor of Thrasybulos.

The theme is the glory of filial devotion. As the man that hath dared and died for his father's life, so the man that hath wrought and spent for his father's honor hath a treasure of hymns that nothing shall destroy, laid up where neither rain nor wind doth corrupt.

The simplicity of the thought is not matched by the language, which is a trifle overwrought.

The poet's ploughshare is turning up a field of Aphrodite or the Charites as he draws nigh to the temple centre of the earth where lies a treasure for the Emmenidai, for Akragas, for Xenokrates (vv. 1-9).

A treasure which neither the fierce armament of wintry rain nor storm with its rout of rubble shall bear to the recesses of the sea — a treasure whose face, shining in clear light, shall announce a victory common to thy father, Thrasybulos, and to thy race, and glorious in the repute of mortals (vv. 10-18).

At thy right hand, upheld by thee, rideth the Law, once given in the mountains by the son of Philyra to Peleides when sundered from father and mother, first of all to reverence the Thunderer, then of such reverence never to deprive his parents in their allotted life (vv. 19-27).

There was another, Antilochos, man of might, that aforetime showed this spirit by dying for his father in his stand against Memnon. Nestor's chariot was tangled by his horse, stricken of Paris' arrows, and Memnon plied his mighty spear. His soul awhirl the old man of Messene called: My son! (vv. 28-36).

Not to the ground fell his word. Stedfast the god-like man awaited the foe, bought with his life the rescue of his father, for his high deed loftiest example of the olden time to younger men, pattern of filial worth. These things are of the past. Of the time that now is Thrasybulos hath come nearest to the mark in duty to a father (vv. 37-45).

His father's brother he approaches in all manner of splendor. With wisdom he guides his wealth. The fruit of his youth is not injustice nor violence, but the pursuit of poesy in the haunts of the Pierides, and to thee, Poseidon, with thy passionate love of steeds, he clings, for with thee hath he found favor. Sweet also is the temper of his soul, and as a boon companion he outvies the cellè labor of the bees (vv. 46-54).

The poem is the second in time of Pindar's odes. Eight years separate it from P. 10, and Leop. Schmidt notices a decided advance, although he sees in it many traces of youthfulness. The parallel between Antilochos, son of Nestor, who died for his father, and Thrasybulos, son of Xenokrates, who drove for his, has evoked much criticism, and, while the danger of the chariot-race must not be overlooked, the step from Antilochos to Thrasybulos is too great for sober art.

The poem consists of six strophes, with slight overlapping once, where, however, the sense of the preceding strophe (v. 45) is complete, and the participle comes in as an after-thought (compare P. 4.262). Of these six strophes two describe the treasure, two tell the story of Antilochos, son of Nestor, prototype of filial self-sacrifice, the last two do honor to the victor's son.

The rhythm is logaoedic.

Strophe 1

ἀκούσατε: A herald cry. So ἀκούετε λεῴ, the “oyez” of the Greek courts.

ἑλικώπιδος: This adj. is used of Chryseïs, Il. 1. 98; variously interpreted. “Of the flashing eye” is a fair compromise.

Ἀφροδίτας: Pindar goes a-ploughing, and finds in the field of Aphrodite, or of the Charites, treasure of song. Aphrodite is mentioned as the mistress of the Graces, who are the goddesses of victory. See O. 14.8 foll.

ἄρουραν: Cf. O. 9.29: Χαρίτων ... κᾶπον, N. 6.37: Πιερίδων ἀρόταις, 10, 26: Μοίσαισιν ἔδωκ᾽ ἀρόσαι.

ὀμφαλόν: See P. 4.74; 8, 59; 11, 10.

ἐριβρόμου: Refers most naturally to the noise of the waterfall, though the gorge was full of echoes, the roar of the wind, the rumble of thunder (v. 11), the rattling of chariots, the tumult of the people.

νάιον: The MSS. have ναόν, for which Hermann writes νάιον = ναοῦ, “of the temple” (cf. v. 6), Bergk and many editors λάινον.

Ἐμμενίδαις: O. 3.38.

ποταμίᾳ ... Ἀκράγαντι: Cf. O. 2.10: οἴκημα ποταμοῦ. Akragas, the city, is blended with the nymph of the river Akragas. See P. 9.4; 12, 2.

καὶ μάν: P. 4.90.

ὕμνων | θησαυρός: A store of victories is a treasure-house of hymns.

πολυχρύσῳ: P. 4.53: πολυχρύσῳ ποτ᾽ ἐν δώματι.

τετείχισται: The figure shifts from the field to the gorge, or rather the temple in the gorge, where the treasure is safely “guarded by walls.”

Strophe 2

χειμέριος ὄμβρος: The original of

quod non imber edax, non Aquilo impotens
possit diruere.

ἐπακτός: The rain comes from an alien quarter. Compare the hatefulness of the ποιμὴν ἐπακτὸς ἀλλότριος, O. 10 (11), 97.

ἐριβρόμου: P., with all his ποικιλία, is not afraid to repeat, as a modern poet would be. See P. 1.80.

στρατός: The figure is perfect. Rain comes across a plain, or across the water, exactly as the advance of an army. One sees the στίχες ἀνδρῶν. The wall protects the treasure against the hostile (ἐπακτός) advance.

ἀμείλιχος: “Relentless,” “grim.”

ἄξοισι: With the plur. compare Eur. Alc. 360:καί μ᾽ οὔθ᾽ Πλούτωνος κύων οὔθ᾽ οὑπὶ κώπῃ ψυχοπομπὸς ἂν Χάρων ἔσχον” . Similar plurals are not uncommon with disjunctives in English. In Lat. compare

Tum nec mens mihi nec color
certa sede manent.

παμφόρῳ χεράδει: So, and not χεράδι. The nominative is χέραδος, not χεράς. The Schol. says χερὰς μετὰ ἰλύος καὶ λίθων συρφετός. It seems to be rather loose stones, and may be transl. “rubble.”

τυπτόμενον: So Dawes for τυπτόμενος. Bergk's κρυπτόμενον is not likely. The whirlwind drags the victim along while he is pounded by the storm-driven stones. The rain is an army (imber edax), the wind is a mob (Aquilo impotens).

πρόσωπον: The πρόσωπον is the πρόσωπον τηλαυγές of the treasure-house made luminous by joy (P. 3.75). Mezger: “thy countenance” (of Thrasybulos) after Leop. Schmidt. We should expect τεόν, and we need the τεῷ that we have.

πατρὶ τεῷ ... κοινάν τε γενεᾷ: π. depends on κοινάν, not on ἀπαγγελεῖ.

λόγοισι θνατῶν ... ἀπαγγελεῖ: “Will announce to the discourses of mortals,” will furnish a theme to them. Cf. P. 1.93: μανύει καὶ λογίοις καὶ ἀοιδοῖς.

εὔδοξον: Proleptic.

ἅρματι νίκαν | Κρισαίαις ἐν πτυχαῖς: All run together, “a Pythian chariot-victory,” as I. 2, 13: Ἰσθμίαν ἵπποισι νίκαν.

Strophe 3

σχέθων: Shall we write σχεθών aor. or σχέθων pres.? Most frequently aor., the form seems to be used as a present here.

τοι ... νιν: νιν anticipates ἐφημοσύναν. See O. 7.59; 13, 69. Another view makes νιν the father, who stands on the right of the son in the triumphal procession. Bergk writes νυν, after the Schol. τοίνυν.

ἐπιδέξια χειρός: Compare Od. 5. 277: τὴν ... ἐπ᾽ ἀριστερὰ χειρὸς ἔχοντα. The commandment is personified. She is mounted on the chariot of Thrasybulos as a πολύφιλος ἑπέτις (cf. P. 5.4), and stands on his right hand because upheld by him. The word shall not fall to the ground. It is an ὀρθὸν ἔπος. Cf. v. 37: χαμαιπετὲς ... ἔπος οὐκ ἀπέριψεν.

τά: Compare, for the shift, P. 2.75: οἷα.

μεγαλοσθενῆ: So with Bergk for μεγαλοσθενεῖ. The teacher is to be emphasized this time.

Φιλύρας υἱόν: Cheiron, P. 3.1. On Achilles' education in the abode of Cheiron, see N. 3.43. The Χείρωνος ὑποθῆκαι were famous. The first two of them seem to have been identical with the first two of Euripides' three, Antiop. fr. 46: θεούς τε τιμᾶν τούς τε θρέψαντας γονεῖς. Compare also P. 4.102.

ὀρφανιζομένῳ. Verbs of privation connote feeling, hence often in the present where we might expect the perfect. Compare στέρομαι and ἐστέρημαι, privor and privatus sum. Achilles is parted from father and mother.

μάλιστα μὲν Κρονίδαν: The meaning, conveyed in P.'s usual implicit manner, is: Zeus above all the gods, father and mother above all mankind.

βαρυόπαν: Immediately applicable to the κεραυνῶν πρύτανιν, but στεροπᾶν κεραυνῶν

τε form a unit (O. 1.62).

ταύτας ... τιμᾶς = τοῦ σέβεσθαι.

γονέων βίον πεπρωμένον = τοὺς γονέας ἕως ἄν ζῶσιν.

Strophe 4

ἔγεντο: For ἐγένετο (as P. 3.87) = ἐφάνη, “showed himself.”

καὶ πρότερον: In times of yore as Thrasybulos now (καί).

φέρων: With νόημα is almost an adjective, τοιοῦτος τὸν νοῦν.

ἐναρίμβροτον: Occurs again, I. 7 (8), 53: μάχας ἐναριμβρότου.

Αἰθιόπων Μέμνονα: This version of the story is taken from the Αἰθιοπίς of Arktinos.

Νεστόρειον: O. 2.13.

ἐπέδα: Il. 8. 80: Νέστωρ οἶος ἔμιμνε Γερήνιος οὖρος Ἀχαιῶν οὔ τι ἑκών, ἀλλ᾽ ἵππος ἐτείρετο, τὸν βάλεν ἰῷ δῖος Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἑλένης πόσις ἠυκόμοιο. In Homer it is Diomed that comes to the rescue. Still the death of Antilochos by the hand of Memnon was known to the poet of the Odyssey, 4, 188.

δαϊχθείς: O. 3.6.

ἔφεπεν: “Plied,” “attacked him with.”

Μεσσανίου: Not from Triphylian, but from Messenian Pylos. See P. 4.126.

δονηθεῖσα φρήν: See P. 1.72.

Strophe 5

χαμαιπετές = ὥστε χαμαιπετὲς εἶναι. Compare O. 9.13: οὔτοι χαμαιπετέων λόγων ἐφάψεαι.

αὐτοῦ: “On the spot,” hence “unmoved,” “stedfast.”

μὲν ... τε: O. 4.13.

τῶν πάλαι: τῶν depends on ὕπατος.

γενεᾷ: Cf. Il. 2. 707: ὁπλότερος γενεῇ.

ὁπλοτέροισιν: The position favors the combination, ἐδόκησεν -- ὁπλοτέροισιν -- ὕπατος. Antilochos belonged to the ὁπλότεροι, and the position accorded to him by them was the more honorable, as younger men are severer judges.

ἀμφὶ τοκεῦσιν: Prose, περὶ τοὺς τοκέας.

τὰ μὲν παρίκει: The parallel is strained, and it is hard to keep what follows from flatness, although we must never forget the personal risk of a chariot-race.

τῶν νῦν δέ: Contrast to τῶν πάλαι.

πατρῴαν ... πρὸς στάθμαν: “To the father-standard,” “to the standard of what is due to a father.” Not “to the standard set by our fathers.” Antilochos was and continued to be an unapproachable model. Xen. Kyneg. 1, 14:Ἀντίλοχος τοῦ πατρὸς ὑπεραποθανὼν τοσαύτης ἔτυχεν εὐκλείας ὥστε μόνος φιλοπάτωρ παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἀναγορευθῆναι.

Strophe 6

πάτρῳ: Theron.

νόῳ δὲ πλοῦτον ἄγει: Compare P. 5.2. 3: ὅταν τις ... [πλοῦτον] ἀνάγῃ. νόῳ, “with judgment.”

ἄδικον οὔθ᾽ ὑπέροπλον: On the omission of the first οὔτε, see P. 10.29: ναυσὶ δ᾽ οὔτε πεζὸς ἰών. A similar omission of “neither” is common enough in English. So Shakespeare, “The shot of accident nor dart of chance,” “Thine nor none of thine,” “Word nor oath;” Byron, “Sigh nor word,” “Words nor deeds.” ἄδικον and ὑπέροπλον are proleptic. The youth that he enjoys is not a youth of injustice or presumption.

ἥβαν δρέπων: Cf. O. 1.13.

σοφίαν: O. 1.116.

Ἐλέλιχθον: Cf. P. 2.4.

ὀργᾷς ὃς ἱππειᾶν ἐσόδων: This is Christ's reading. “Who art passionate in thy love of chariot contests.” ὀργᾷς construed like ὀρούεις (P. 10.61). The inferior MSS. have εὗρές θ᾽, the better ὀργαῖς πάσαις, which is supposed to be a gloss to μάλα ϝαδόντι νόῳ = ἑκόντι νόῳ, P. 5.43, but when did ἁδών ever mean ἑκών̣ μάλα ϝαδόντι νόῳ must mean that the spirit of Thrasybulos had found favor in Poseidon's eyes. All the MSS. have ἱππείαν ἔσοδον. ἵππειαι ἔσοδοι = ἱππικαὶ ἅμιλλαι.

γλυκεῖα δὲ φρήν: Supply ἐστι, which P. seldom uses. O. 1.1.

συμπόταισιν ὁμιλεῖν = ἐν ταῖς συμποτικαῖς ὁμιλίαις. καί throws it into construction with ἀμείβεται. To say that “a spirit that is sweet to associate even with one's boon companions surpasses the honey and the honeycomb” is a bit of sour philosophizing that does not suit the close of this excessively sugary poem.

τρητὸν πόνον: Has a finical, précieux, sound to us.

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hide References (22 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (22):
    • Euripides, Alcestis, 360
    • Homer, Iliad, 1.98
    • Homer, Iliad, 2.707
    • Homer, Iliad, 8.80
    • Homer, Odyssey, 5.277
    • Pindar, Nemean, 3
    • Pindar, Nemean, 6
    • Pindar, Olympian, 1
    • Pindar, Olympian, 14
    • Pindar, Olympian, 2
    • Pindar, Olympian, 3
    • Pindar, Olympian, 4
    • Pindar, Olympian, 7
    • Pindar, Olympian, 9
    • Pindar, Pythian, 1
    • Pindar, Pythian, 10
    • Pindar, Pythian, 2
    • Pindar, Pythian, 3
    • Pindar, Pythian, 5
    • Pindar, Pythian, 9
    • Xenophon, On Hunting, 1.14
    • Pindar, Pythian, 4
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