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His style

Pindar was classed by the ancient rhetoricians as an exemplar of the αὐστηρὰ ἁρμονία, as belonging to the same class with Aischylos in tragedy, with Thukydides in history, Antiphon in oratory.1 This classification is
Pindar an exemplar of the αὐστηρὰ ἁρμονία
based on grounds which do not all justify themselves at once to the modern reader, although they have their warrant in the formal system of rhetoric, with its close analysis of figures of speech and figures of thought, its minute study of the artistic effect of the sequence of sounds. But “downright,” “unstudied,” are hardly adjectives that we should apply to Pindar without much modification.2 The famous characteristic of Horace --

Monte decurrens velut amnis imbres
quem super notas aluere ripas,
fervet immensusque ruit profundo
Pindarus ore.

-- emphasizes the opulence of Pindar, the wealth and movement of his poetry. But in
many respects Pindar does not in the least resemble a mountain-torrent, and if we accept the views of those who systematize his course of thought into the minutest channels, we should sooner think of comparing the Pindaric poems with the σεμνοὶ ὀχετοί of the Hipparis (O. 5.12), than with the headlong course of the Aufidus, which Horace evidently has in mind. Pindar's peculiar accumulation of paratactic sentences, clause following clause with reinforcing weight, may indeed be compared with the ever-increasing volume of the mountain-stream as it is fed from hillside and gorge, and there are many passages in which the current runs strong and fast, and needs the large utterance of the profundum os, but the other figure of the Dirkaian swan rising above the din of the torrent of poetry, his wings filled with the strong inspiration of the Muse,3 yet serene and majestic in his flight, is not
to be forgotten. Quintilian (10, 1, 61) echoes Horace, as usual: “Novem lyricorum longe Pindarus princeps spiritus magnificentia, sententiis, figuris, beatissima rerum verborumque copia.

Let us now turn from the characteristics of Pindar, as given by others, to the poet himself. We have not to do with the naïve. Pindar is profoundly self-conscious, and his witness concerning himself is true. He distinctly claims for himself elevation, opulence, force, cunning workmanship, vigorous ex

Pindar's own estimate.
ecution. In what seems to moderns almost unlovely self-assertion, he vindicates his rank as a poet just as he would vindicate his rank as an aristocrat. He is an eagle, his rivals are ravens and daws (O. 2.96; N. 3.82). Bellerophon shooting his arrows from the lone bosom of the chill ether (O. 13.87) is a prefigurement of his poetic exaltation, his power, his directness, and so he never wearies of calling his songs arrows or darts (O. 1.112; 2, 91. 99; 9, 5. 12; 13, 93; P. 1.12. 44; 6, 37), which sometimes fall in a hurtling shower; but sometimes a single arrow hits the mark, sometimes a strong bolt is kept in reserve by the Muse, for Pindar, as an aristocrat, is a man of reserves. Of the richness of his workmanship none is better aware than he. The work of the poet is a Daedalian work, and the sinuous folds are wrought with rare skill (O. 1.105), the art of art is selection and adornment, the production of a rich and compassed surface (P. 9.83). The splendor of the Goddesses of Triumphal Song irradiates him (P. 9.97), and he is a leader in the skill of poesy, which to him is by eminence wisdom (σοφία),4 wisdom in the art of the theme, and in the art of the treatment. Now how far does Pindar's account of himself correspond to the actual impression? What is the immediate effect of the detailed work of his poems, that detailed work by which he is at first more comprehensible? The detail of Pindar's odes produces, from the very outset of the study, an irresistible effect of opulence and elevation. Opulence is wealth that makes itself felt, that suggests, al
most insultingly, a contrast, and that contrast is indigence. It is one half of an aristocrat, elevation being the other, so that in art as in thought, as in politics, as in religion, Pindar is true to his birth and to his order. This opulence, this abundance of resource, shows itself in strength and in splendor, for πλοῦτος is μεγάνωρ, πλοῦτος is εὐρυσθενής. The word splendor and all its synonyms seem to be made for Pindar. He drains dry the Greek vocabulary of words for light and bright, shine and shimmer, glitter and glister, ray and radiance, flame and flare and flash, gleam and glow, burn and blaze. The first Olympian begins with wealth and strength, with flaming fire of gold, and the shining star of the sun. The fame of Hieron is resplendent, and the shoulder of Pelops gleams. No light like the light of the eye, thought the Greek, and the ancestors of Theron were the eye of Sicily, and Adrastos longs for the missing eye of his army. So the midmonth moon in her golden chariot flashed full the eye of evening into the face of Herakles. Wealth is not enough. It must be picked out, set off. It is not the uniform stare of a metallic surface, it must be adorned with the tracery that heightens the value of the background. Pindar delights in elaboration. His epinikion itself, as we have seen, combines the two moral elements of the games πόνος δαπάνα τε. His lyre has a various range of notes, his quiver is full of arrows, and at times such is the shower of notes, such the rain of arrows, such the sparkle and flash and flame of the lights, such the sweet din and rumble and roar of the music of earth and the music of heaven, that the poet himself, overcome by the resources of his own art, confesses his defeat, and by one strong impulse of his light feet, swims out of the deluge of glory with which he has flooded the world of song.5 It requires strength to carry this opulence of splendor, but Pindar's opulence is the opulence of strength as well. He does not carve his bow with curious figures so deeply cut that at the drawing of the string the weapon snaps. His is not a sleepy but a vivid opulence, not a lazy but a swift opulence. Everything lives in his poems, everything is personified. Look at the magical way in which he lights up this great lamp of the architecture of his Odeon in the first Pythian. “O Golden Lyre, joint heirloom of Apollo and the Muses violet-tressed, thou for whom the step, the dancer's step, listeneth.” “Obeyeth” seems too faint. We see the foot poised, tremulously listening for the notes of the phorminx, as if it had a hearing of its own. A few verses further down, “snowy Aitna, nursing the livelong year the biting snow,” not “her snow,” as it has been rendered. It is not hers. It has come down to her from Heaven. It is the child of Zeus, and only rests on her cold bosom, the pillar of the sky. Yet again the couch on which the fettered giant lies goads him and galls him, as if it too had a spite against him, as well as the weight of continent and island that pinches his hairy breast. And so it is everywhere; and while this vividness in some instances is faint to us, because our language uses the same personifications familiarly, we must remember that to the Greek they were new, or, at all events, had not entirely lost their saliency by frequent attrition.

Swiftness is a manifestation of strength, and Pindar is swift and a lover of swiftness, to judge by his imagery.

Swiftness we readily recognize in plan, in narrative. In detail work it goes by another name, concentration — the gathering of energy to a point, a summing up of vitality in a word. It is the certainty with which Pindar comes down on his object that gives so much animation, so much strength, so much swiftness to his style. A word, an epithet, and the picture is there, drawn with a stroke. In the second Olympian he is telling of the blessedness of the souls that have overcome. When he comes to the damned, he calls them simply “those.” “The others bear anguish too great for eye to look at.” Non ragioniam di lor. In the same wonderful second Olympian he says, “Liveth among the Olympians she that was slain by the rumble of the thunder, longhaired Semele.” Semele died not “amid,” but “by” the roar. “Killed with report.” The roar was enough to destroy that gentle life, and the untranslatable τανυέθειρα gives at once the crown of her womanhood, the crown of her beauty, the crown of her suffering. Semele lives again as she appeared to Zeus, when he visited her with immortal terrors.

The aristocrat must be rich, must be strong. A man may be both and yet be vulgar, for there is a vulgar beauty, a vulgar genius. The second characteristic of Pindar is elevation. This word is preferred to sublimity, because sublimity is absolute, and is incompatible with the handling of any but the

highest themes. Elevation is relative. You may treat a thing loftily without treating it sublimely. Pindar is not always in the altitudes, though he loves “the lone bosom of the cold ether,” and the fruits that grow on the topmost branches of the tree of virtue, nearest the sun, and the lofty paths along which the victors of Olympia walk. He is not lacking in sportiveness, but whatever he treats, he treats with the reserve of a gentleman, a term which is no anachronism when applied to him. Hence his exquisite purity. “Secret are wise Suasion's keys unto Love's sanctities” he sings himself, and amid the palpitating beauties of Greek mythology he never forgets the lesson that he puts in the mouth of the Centaur (P. 9.42). The opulence, strength, swiftness, elevation, of Pindar's art reveal themselves in varying proportions in the various odes. Noteworthy for its opulence is the seventh Olympian, for Diagoras of Rhodes, the famous boxer, which the Rhodians copied in letters of gold, and dedicated in the temple of Athena at Lindos. What stately magnificence in the famous forefront of the sixth Olympian, in which he sets up the golden pillars of his porch of song. What vividness in his immortal description of the power of music in the first Pythian. Gray's imitation is well known: “ Perching on the sceptred hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king
With ruffled plumes and flagging wing:
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie,
The terror of his beak, and lightnings of his eye.

Matthew Arnold's is not unfamiliar: “ And the eagle at the beck
Of the appeasing, gracious harmony
Droops all his sheeny, brown, deep-feather'd neck,
Nestling nearer to Jove's feet,
While o'er his sovereign eye
The curtains of the blue films slowly meet.

But to begin to cite is never to stop.

Of the various elements that go to make up this total impression of opulence and elevation, some will be considered hereafter. Something will be said of the effect of the rhythms, something of the opalescent variety of the dialect, of the high relief of the syntax, of the cunning workmanship that manifests itself in the order of the words. Let us now turn to a closer consideration of that which first attracts attention in an author, the vocabulary. Much might be said of

the vocabulary, with its noble compounds,6 whether taken from the epic thesaurus, and so consecrated by the mint-mark of a religious past, or created with fresh vitality by the poet himself. In the paucity of the remains of the lyric poets, we cannot always be certain that such and such a word is Pindar's own, but that he was an audacious builder of new words7 is manifest from the fragments of his dithyrambs. Some of the most magnificent are put in the openings of the odes, as O. 2.1:ἀναξιφόρμιγγες ὕμνοιO. 3.4:νεοσίγαλον τρόπον.O. 8.3:ἀργικεραύνου.O. 13.1:τρισολυμπιονίκαν” . P. 1.1:ἰοπλοκάμων.” . P. 2, 1:μεγαλοπόλιες . . . βαθυπολέμου” . P. 8.2:μεγιστόπολι.P. 10, 3:ἀριστομάχου.P. 11, 3:ἀριστογόνῳ” .

The epithets applied to the gods match the splendor of their position. Zeus is “αἰολοβρόντας(O. 9. 45) , “ὀρσίκτυπος(O. 10 [11], 89) , “ὀρσινεφής(N. 5.31) , “ἐγχεικέραυνος(O. 13.77) , “φοινικοστερόπας(O. 9.6) . Poseidon is invoked as “δέσποτα ποντόμεδον(O. 6.103) , is called “βαρύκτυπος Εὐτρίαινα(O. 1.73) . Helios is “φαυσίμβροτος Ὑπεριονίδας(O. 7.39) , and Amphitrite is “χρυσαλάκατος(O. 6.104) , and Athena “ἐγχειβρόμος κόρα(O. 7.43) . And so the whole world of things, animate and inanimate, is endued with life, or quickened to a higher vitality, by Pindar's compounds. The cry is “ἁδύγλωσσος(O. 13.100) , the lyre “ἁδυεπής(O. 10 [11], 103) . Lions acquire something of a human ostentation by “βαρύκομποι(P. 5.57) . The majestic chambers of Zeus are “μεγαλοκευθεῖς(P. 2.33) , and hide awful shapes of doom to punish the intruder. “ὀπιθόμβροτον αὔχημα(P. 1.92) resounds as if the words of themselves echoed down the corridors of Time. There are no ῥήματα γομφοπαγῆ, the rivets are hidden. We have festal splendor here also, not fateful sublimity.

The effect of living splendor, produced by Pindar's compounds, is not confined to the compounds. Even the most familiar words are roused to new life by the revival of the

Vivid use of vocabulary.
pristine meaning. It is a canon of Pindaric interpretation that the sharp, local sense of the preposition is everywhere to be preferred, and every substantive may be made to carry its full measure of concreteness. This is distinctly not survival, but revival. We are not to suppose that κρατήρ (O. 6.91) was felt by the Greek of Pindar's time as a male agent, or ἀκόνα (O. 6.82) as a shrill-voiced woman.8 Whatever personification lay in the word was dead to the Greek of that time. Pindar revived the original meaning, and the γλυκὺς κρατήρ is a living creature. In fact it is hardly possible to go wrong in pressing Pindar's vocabulary until
the blood comes. It is true that in many of the long compounds the sensuous delight in the sound is the main thing, and yet even there we find φιλησίμολπε (O. 14.14) and ἐρασίμολπε (O. 14.16) used side by side, in such a way that we cannot refuse to consider how the poet meant them, just as in the same poem (v. 5) he combines the transient pleasure of τὰ τερπνά with the abiding joy of τὰ γλυκέα.9 In the fine feeling of language few poets can vie with Pindar; and though he is no pedantic synonym-monger, like a true artist he delights in the play of his own work. There is danger of over-subtilty in the study of antique style; but Pindar is a jeweller, his material gold and ivory, and his chryselephantine work challenges the scrutiny of the microscope, invites the study that wearies not day or night in exploring the recesses in which the artist has held his art sequestered — invites the study and rewards it. Pindar himself has made φωνάεντα συνετοῖσιν (O. 2.93) a common saying; Pindar himself speaks of his art as ἀκοὰ σοφοῖς (P. 9.84); his call across the centuries is to the lovers of art as art. There is an aristocratic disdain in his nature that yields only to kindred spirits or to faithful service.

The formal leisurely comparison Pindar seldom employs, though he uses it with special effect in the stately openings

Comparison. Metaphor.
of two of his odes, O. 6 and O. 7. In O. 12 the comparison takes the place of the myth, and others are found here and there. But instead of “as” he prefers the implied comparison, which is conveyed by parallel structure such as we find in the beginning of O. 1, of O. 10 (11). In the metaphor, with its bold identification of object and image, Pindar abounds as few poets abound. Every realm of nature, every sphere of human life, is laid under contribution. The sea is his with its tossing waves (O. 12.6) and its shifting currents (O. 2.37). The ruler is a helmsman, whether a prince (P. 1.86; 4, 274), an order (P. 10.72), Tyche (O. 12.3), or the mind of Zeus himself (P. 5.122). To be liberal is to let the sail belly to the wind (P. 1.91). His song is a flood that sweeps away the pebble counters of a long arrear of debt (O. 10 [11], 11). Rebellious insolence is scuttled as a ship is scuttled (P. 8.11); a favoring breeze prospers the course of song (P. 4.3). An eagle, as he calls himself, he loves to dwell in the air (O. 2.97; N. 3.80), to wing his song (P. 8.34). An archer, like his master Apollo, he delights to stretch his bow, to speed his dart (O. 1.97; 2, 91. 99; 9, 5. 12; 13, 93; P. 1.12. 44; 6, 37). Of light and flame, as has been said already, he is never weary. Wealth is a bright and shining star (O. 2.58); fame shines forth (O. 1.23), fame looks from afar (O. 1.94); joy is a light that lights up life (O. 10 [11], 25); his songs in their passionate dance blaze over the dear city of the Opuntians (O. 9.22); the feet of the victor are not beautiful merely, they are radiant (O. 13.36). The games themselves furnish welcome figures — the chariot-race, reserved for grand occasions (O. 6.22; 9, 87; P. 10.65), the hurling of the dart, the wrestling-match (O. 8.25; P. 2.61). Nor does he disdain the homely range of fable and proverb and every-day life.10 The bee, it is true (P. 4.60), was a consecrated emblem before his time; the cow, for a woman (P. 4.142), is as old as Samson. The cock (O. 12.14) was to the Greek the Persian bird, and more poetic than he is to us, even as Chanticleer;11 but the fox figures in Pindar, not only as known in higher speech (O. 11 [10], 20; I. 3 [4], 65), but by the fabulistic nickname κερδώ (P. 2.48). He is not shy of trade and commerce, ledger (O. 11 [10], 2) and contract (O. 12.7). Dante has, in his Inferno, the figure of an old tailor threading his needle; Pindar is not afraid of a metaphor from adjusting clothes (P. 3.83). Aischylos speaks of the net of Ate; the figure is grand, but Aischylos sees poetry in the cork as well (Choëph. 506), and so does Pindar (P. 2.80). A glance at the list of the figures used even in the Olympians and Pythians12 is sufficient to show that life is not sacrificed to elevation.

A word as to mixed metaphor in Pindar. No charge more

Mixed metaphors.
common than this against him, as against Shakespeare; and a rhetorician of the ordinary stamp will doubtless consider the offence as a crime of the first magnitude. The number of metaphors properly called mixed is not so large in Pindar as is supposed;13 nor, in any case, are we to count as mixed metaphor a rapid shifting of metaphors. This is to be expected in the swift movement of Pindar's genius. The disjointedness of Emerson's style has been ingeniously defended on the ground that each sentence is a chapter. And so Pindar's metaphors are slides that come out in such quick succession that the figures seem to blend because the untrained eye cannot follow the rapid movement of the artist. A notorious passage occurs in the first Pythian (v. 86 foll.), in which Pindar touches in quick succession various strings. “Let not fair chances slip. Guide thy host with a just helm. Forge thy tongue on an unlying anvil. If it so chance that ought of import light escapes thee, it becomes of magnitude in that it comes from thee. Of many things thou art steward. Many witnesses are there to deeds of both kinds,” and so on, with a shift in every sentence. In such passages the absence of conjunctions is sufficient to show that no connection was aimed at, and it is the fault of the reader if he chooses to complain of an incongruous blending of things that are left apart.

The next point to be considered is the plan of the epinikion. Original genius or not, Pindar was under the domination of

Plan of the Epinikion.
the tradition of his department, and the fragments of Simonides are enough to show that there was a general method of handling the theme common to all the poets. The epinikion is, as we have seen, an occasional poem. The problem is to raise it out of this position, as a mere temporary adornment of the victory, to a creation of abiding worth. The general method must have been reached before Pindar's time; it is his success in execution that has to be considered here. The epinikion has for its basis the fact and the individual; but it rises through the real to the ideal, through the individual to the universal. The light that shines about the victor's head brightens into the light of eternity; the leaf of olive or of laurel becomes a wreath of amaranth. Sheer realism had no place in high Greek art. The statues of the victors in Olympia were not portrait statues. When the victor had overcome three times, then, it is true, he might set up a portrait statue, but three victories of themselves would idealize. The transfiguration which we expect of heaven the Greek sought in art. So the victor and the victory are not described at length. True, the poet sometimes labored under the frightful disadvantage of a commission that dictated an enumeration of all the prizes gained by a certain family. How gracefully, how lightly, he acquitted himself of the task may be seen in O. 7, in O. 13. But apart from such special restrictions — under which everything spiritual and artistic must groan, being burdened, in this travailing world — the poet was free to conceive his subject ideally. The special occasion secured interest and sympathy in advance, gave him the broad earth from which to rise; and not the proudest eagle that ever soared, if once on the earth, can rise without running, though it be but for a little distance, along its black surface: and the epinikion started on the earth. Now change the figure after the Pindaric fashion to the temple — Pindar himself has suggested the comparison (O. 6.1) — some fair Greek temple, repeating the proportions of the clear-cut mountains of Greece just as the Gothic cathedral repeats the forests of Germany; some temple standing on the large level of an acropolis, standing against the sky. The façade of the work is to be illuminated, but not so as to throw a garish light on every detail. Only the salient points are to be brought out, only the characteristic outline, so that as it comes out against the dark sky you seem to have one constellation more. Nay, the new constellation is strangely blended with the old groups of stars, and we cannot tell which is mythic past, which illuminated present.

The sources of the myth have already been indicated. The

The myth.
selection is often suggested by external relations. Now it is the victor's family that furnishes the story, now the victor's home, now the scene of the contest and the presiding god or hero. Sometimes the selection is due to internal motives, and the myth is a model, a parallel, or a prophecy — perhaps all three. This, then, is the function of the myth in the epinikion, the idealization of the present, the transfiguration of the real. This was an artistic necessity for the Greek, and it was in some sort an historical necessity. It reconciled epic and lyric. It gave a new value to epic themes by using them as parallels for the present, while the drama took the last step and made the past the present.

Pindar does not jumble his materials in admired disorder, nor does he sort them after the approved scientific fashion, with subdivision after subdivision, to the exhaustion of all the letters of the alphabet, Roman, italic, Greek, and Hebrew. Analysis does not show the way in which the poem was woven. The fruitful study of Pindar lies through synthesis,

Symmetry in Pindar.
not through analysis, and in the introductions to the several odes an effort has been made to show how the meaning of the whole reveals itself to him who simply follows the poet's guidance. What is dignified by the name of an analysis is often nothing more than a table of contents, a catalogue, the very form of which disguises the lack of connection. Logical disposition will not avail much. Pindar is poetical, not logical. But symmetry there must be, for it is impossible for any one that studies Greek literary art not to count on symmetry. The tendency to balance, to parallelism, is universal. In Greek the tendency is a law. It is needless to enlarge on this. The law of correspondence — measure answering to measure — is fundamental, and has been applied to every sphere of Greek art — pictorial, plastic, literary — not without overstraining, yet not without great profit. In music as in architecture it is unquestioned. Even frivolous Offenbach has said: “Music is an algebra.” Poetry, like music, is made up of equations.

In Pindar the symmetry of form is evident. The odes

Symmetry of form.
are composed either of corresponding strophes or of corresponding triads (strophe, antistrophe, and epode). But this is not enough. There must be within each strophe, each epode, another balance, another correspondence, another symmetry. Westphal first distinctly postulated this correspondence, and opened the way for the establishment of it; but the bold and brilliant originator wearied of his own work, renounced his own principles. J. H. Heinrich Schmidt began his metrical and rhythmical studies as a worker on the lines laid down by Westphal, although he differs from his forerunner at every turn; and Moriz Schmidt,14 well known as a Pindaric scholar, far from being satisfied with the results of his predecessors, has recently set up his schemes in opposition to Westphal's and J. H. H. Schmidt's.

A sample of the divergencies may be given. In the epode of O. 6 Rossbach-Westphal saw three mesodic periods with an epodikon:

I. 3.2.3 II. 442.44 III. 4. epod.

J. H. H. Schmidt marks five, according to his MS. revision, thus:

I. 323 II. 424 III. 44.43 ἐπ. IV. 33.33 V. 44

Moriz Schmidt (p. 71) pronounces both wrong, and constructs a different scheme:

A 6446=20. B 4444=16. A' 66 44=20

It will be observed that the number of bars in Rossbach-Westphal and in J. H. H. Schmidt is the same. In Moriz Schmidt, owing to the greater range he allows himself in the use of τονή and pause — the power of prolonging and the power of resting — the number is slightly increased. He has fifty-six against fifty-three. But the other differences are graver. Still, whether we accept the short periods or the long, the recognition of some principle of symmetry cannot be withheld. These choral structures were made not only to balance each other, but also to balance themselves.

So much for symmetry of form. Is there any corresponding symmetry of contents? We find it elsewhere in Greek poetry. We find response of antistrophe to strophe in the

Symmetry of contents.
drama, not only in form, but to a certain degree in sense. Are we to renounce this in Pindar? Does the development of the ode go its own way regardless of the form? This has been practically the conclusion of the editors of Pindar from Erasmus Schmid, with his formidable rhetorical analysis of the odes, down to Mezger, with his reinforcement of the Terpandrian νόμος. This Terpandrian νόμος, mentioned in Pollux 4, 66, and touched on by Böckh,15
Terpandrian νόμος
contains seven parts: ἐπαρχά, μεταρχά, κατατροπά, μετακατατροπά, ὀμφαλός, σφραγίς, ἐπίλογος. ἐπαρχά Westphal identified with the old-fashioned προοίμιον, μεταρχά he changed into ἀρχά, ἐπίλογος being the same as ἐξόδιον, and he applied the Terpandrian scheme in this form to the odes of Pindar as well as to the choruses of Aischylos.16 In the same year Moriz Schmidt published his translation of the Olympian odes divided into the members of the Terpandrian νόμος,17 and in Mezger's commentary on Pindar (1880) much space has been given to the advocacy of the scheme.18 Pindar, says Mezger in substance, composed his poems for oral delivery, and consequently wished to be understood at once. But even to his contemporaries, in spite of all their advantages, the immediate comprehension of his poems would have been impossible if they had not had some outside help. Of these extraneous aids, three, melody, musical accompaniment, and dance, are lost for us irrecoverably. But there was a tradition, a fixed norm for such compositions, a τεθμός from which the epinikion must not vary, a τεθμός not only for the contents, but also for the form. To be sure, the old interpreters in their blindness knew nothing of this; but Böckh and Dissen observed certain laws of structure, certain recurrences, certain symmetrical responses. Thiersch proved the triple division προκώμιον, μέσον τοῦ ᾁσματος, ἐπικώμιον: but it was reserved for Westphal to set forth and establish the proposition that Aischylos, in the composition of his choruses, and Pindar, in that of his epinikia, followed the νόμος of Terpander with its sevenfold division. This Mezger considers Westphal to have made evident for all the forty-four odes except eight, at least so far as the three principal parts are concerned; and these principal parts are — beginning, middle, and end. But the establishment of these principal parts does not carry us beyond Thiersch. What we want is the normal number seven,19 as,

Westphal himself seems to feel that the lover of Pindar will rebel against the thought that the great poet wrought according to a mere mechanical formula; but the Pindaric scholars that have followed Westphal seem to have no such scruples. The mystic and Delphic ὀμφαλός exercises on them a special fascination that reminds one of the days of the ὀμφαλόψυχοι,20 and there is an undeniable charm about the scheme. The three certain parts are beginning, middle, and end, and for these we have the high authority of Aristotle (Poet. c. 7). The seven normal parts remind one of the seven parts of the comic parabasis, and as the seven parts of the parabasis are seldom found in their completeness, so the Terpandrian νόμος seldom has its full number. The name ὀμφαλός is not only mystic and Delphic, it has indirectly a Platonic warrant. Plato demands of every λόγος that it shall be a ζῷον, that it shall lack neither head nor foot,21 and if neither head nor foot, why should it lack the central navel? The ὀμφαλός, then, is the organic centre of the poem, and contains a myth. True, “there is no myth in the ὀμφαλός of P. 1 and 9, N. 1 and 10, I. 2 and 6,” but the rule is not rigid22 at any rate, and we must be satisfied with an approximation. As a rule, then, the ὀμφαλός contains a myth, while the beginning (ἀρχά) and the close (σφραγίς) contain the praises of the victor and his house. Then there are transitions between the ἀρχά and the ὀμφαλός, just as in oratory the προκατάστασις prepares the way for the διήγησις: there are transitions between the ὀμφαλός and the σφραγίς. But in this way Terpandrian compositions might be made out of Demosthenes' Philippics, and it is hard to see what has been gained except two or three quaint names for familiar relations.

But Mezger has reinforced Westphal's theory by a discovery of his own. While committing the odes of Pindar to memory

Mezger's recurrent word.
he noticed the frequent recurrence of the same word, or close equivalent, in the corresponding parts of strophe and antistrophe, epode and epode. These recurrent words are all significant, all mark transitions, and were all intended as cues to aid the memory of the chorus and to guide the thoughts of the hearers. It is a mnemonic device, but more than a mnemonic device, for it lets us into the poet's construction of his own poem, and settles forever the disputed meanings of the odes.23 If this were true, it would hardly heighten our admiration of antique art, and although the coincidences are interesting and the observation of them a proof of loving study that deserves to be honored, the discovery of the recurrent word is not the end of all controversy — there are too many recurrent words.24

Of course, the acceptance of the Terpandrian νόμος and the doctrine of the recurrent word puts an end to anything like proportion in the contents of a Pindaric ode. Compare, for instance, Blass's analysis of a prooimion of Demosthenes, and Mezger's exhibit of the composition of an ode of Pindar. You may not agree with Blass, but there is an architectonic principle in the one, while it is utterly incredible that we should have such proportions as:

O. I.: 7(π.)+16(.)+4(κ.)+69(.)+7(μ.)+11(ς.)+6(ε.) (p. 95.)

O. III.: 5(π.)+8(.)+2(κ.)+18(.)+4(μ.)+4(ς.)+4(.) (p. 175.)

O. XIII.: 23(π.)+6(ἐπ.)+17(.)+6(κ.)+40(.)+5(μ.)+16(ς.)+ 2(.). (p. 459.)

P. I.: 28(π.)+14(.)+3(κ.)+(12+3+20) (.)+4(μ.)+14(ς.)+ 2(.). (p. 83.)

Contrast this with Blass's analysis of the prooimion of De Corona (§ 1-8):

I. § 1-2 II. § 3-4 III. § 5-6 IV. § 7-8
3.2 | 2.3 | 3.3 4.4 | 3.5 | 5.3 2.4 | 4 | 4 | 4.2 |
= 16 = 24 = 24 = 8 | 8, = 16

True, it may be said that the inner organism of a Pindaric ode need not correspond to the outer form, and that the five triads of the third Pythian may be chopped up into seven Terpandrian parts — chopped up, for the knife does not come down on the rhythmical joints. But where shall we find anything like this in Greek literature? The further we penetrate into Greek poetry, the greater reason have we to acknowledge the reign of symmetry. Violation of symmetry, of correspondence, may be referred in every instance either to defective tradition or to designed disturbance. As in Greek architecture, so in Greek poetry, departures from symmetry are not only suffered, but enjoined, for the sake of a higher symmetrical effect, for the maintenance of the feeling of life. The straight line of mechanics becomes the curved line of art. The entasis of the Doric column, the flexure of the Doric stylobate, are familiar illustrations of the law of visual effect. The Greek artist had regard to the position that his work was to occupy, to the angle in which it would present itself to the eye of the beholder. So in Greek poetry we must consider the law of higher symmetry, the principle of artistic unity, the calculated effect on the hearer — and we must remember that we have to do with the hearer, not with the reader. Στιχομυθία is well, but when passionate utterance gives two verses the time of one, we must not heedlessly apply the knife because the passage looks out of balance. But these interferences apart, we expect a symmetry in contents corresponding to symmetry in form, and we cannot admit a logical division which shall ruthlessly run across all the lines of the artistic structure. We must seek the symmetry of thought, where the symmetry of the form is revealed, in strophe, in triad. Each strophe has its office, each triad its function. The only concessions that must be made to logical distribution are those that must be made in the same department of art. We must simply allow the strophe and the triad the same play that we allow foot and series in the verse.25

Reduce the Terpandrian νόμος to a more simple expression, see in it nothing more than a somewhat bizarre statement of the general principles that manifest themselves in an oration of Isokrates or a dialogue of Plato as well as in an ode of Pindar, and it would be easier to become a Terpandrian, cer

tainly easier than to accept Dissen's elaborate systematization. In his chapter De dispositione partium, Dissen has treated at length the arrangement of the elements of the epinikion — the preparatory office of the prooimion and the interweaving of the parts. “With the exception of the very short pieces,” he says, “all Pindar's odes have at least two parts besides the prooemium,” and Dissen has interested himself in showing how the poet prepares his theme, interposes a myth, and then returns to his theme, and how from the simple arrangements aba and abab, the poet advances to abaca, ababa, abcba, abcbda, abacbc, abcbab, abcadc, and the crowning glory, abcdcda.

There is, of course, an element of truth in these recurrences. There is a cyclical movement in many of the Pindaric odes. The myth is usually belted by the praise of the victor and the victor's home, but it is impossible to accept an elaborately systematic arrangement of the subject within the symmetrical structure of the rhythm and independent of it. Dyads and triads there are in Pindar, but they do not disturb the rhythmical working of the odes; and Dissen often elevates to the rank of an organic part what has been brought in simply as a foil. According to him everything in Pindar must have a deep significance, an independent value, a special allusion, whereas much is put there for the sake of heightening the effect by contrast.

Dissen has gone through all the odes and reduced them to schemes, for which he claims great simplicity and beauty.

Furtwängler26 has selected a few, and expended on them a great wealth of fancy. It cannot be said of him that he is indifferent to the claims of symmetry. To him the Pindaric odes are so many temples, and he sees ground-plans and elevations, and rows of columns, and groups of figures in the rhythmical structures of Pindar. Most persons will consider Furtwängler's book a waste of fancy and ingenuity, and yet it has not been written all in vain. Temple and ode are both built on a plan, both obey the laws of symmetry, and so one may serve to illustrate the other. But the manifestations are different. The temple is to be devel oped from the cell, the ode from the rhythm. Regard the ode as a great verse and much of the difficulty in finding symmetry in the Pindaric poems will disappear.

The verse, as a rhythmical structure, is made up of verse-feet; the verse, as a logical unit, is made up of word-feet. The coincidence and the discrepancy of verse-foot and word-foot constitute respectively diaeresis and caesura, if, indeed, one may be allowed to use this nomenclature, which certainly has its convenience.

Now a verse in which verse-foot and word-foot should coincide throughout as in the famous “sparsis | hastis | longis | campus | splendet et | horret” of Ennius would lack unity, and a succession of them would be intolerably monotonous. Hence the office of caesura to effect unity by dividing a word between two feet and so to force a more energetic recitation. Diaeresis serves to distribute the masses, caesura to unite them.

Of course where the masses are so large as in the Pindaric odes there is not the same danger of monotony. Each triad might present a complete whole. In fact each strophe, each antistrophe, each epode, might be rounded off as a separate element without much offence. But the Greek sense of unity demanded a less mechanical distribution, and the parts of each ode often fit into each other as the parts of an hexameter or a trimeter. The preparation, as Dissen would call it, does not count, nor does the connection. The body of the thought falls within the limits; that is enough. The study of the Pindaric odes suggests the lines of color used in maps to designate boundaries. The eye is not offended by the excurrence there nor the mind by the excurrence here. Making this allowance then, and suffering the sense to bind strophes and triads together while the dominant themes of strophes and triads are distinct, we shall find no insuperable difficulty in establishing simple and easy proportions for most of the Pindaric poems. Problems there will always be, and bold would be the man who should maintain that he had said the last word on such a theme.

Of the forty-four Pindaric odes, seven only are composed in single strophes.

Of these, O. 14 has two, P. 12 four, N. 2 five, P. 6 six, I. 7 seven, N. 9 eleven, N. 4 twelve.

Most of them are in triads:

One triad O. 4, 11 (10), 12; P 7 4
Three triads O. 3, 5; N. 5, 6, 8, 11; I. 2, 4, 5, 6 10
Four triads O. 1, 8, 9; P. 2, 5, 10, 11; N. 1, 3; I. 1 10
Five triads O. 2, 6, 7, 10 (11), 13; P. 1, 3, 8, 9; N. 7, 10; I. 3 12
Thirteen triads P. 4 1
Total 44

It is evident that the single-strophe poems will admit of greater freedom of handling, and I shall take those up after discussing the triadic poems.

One triad is evidently too short for any except slight occasional poems.

In O. 4, an exceptional poem, the strophe has chiefly to do with God, the antistrophe chiefly with man, the epode is an illustrative myth. In O. 11 (10) the antithetical structure runs through strophe, antistrophe, and epode, but each member revolves about a separate element of the epinikion. O. 12 rocks even more than O. 11 (10). Each element is distinct. P. 7 has been considered a fragment, but whether it is a fragment or not, each member has its special office.

Two-triad poems do not occur.27 The only two-strophe poem, O. 14, is suspicious, and cannot be cited to prove that two triads would give ample room. If we are to have introduction, myth, and conclusion, it would be hard to distribute them properly through two triads. Three triads give a natural division, and so we find that it is used nearly as often as five, though the number five suggests a better proportion logically. Each triad has its dominant theme. O. 5 occupies an exceptional position among the Pindaric poems, but the distribution forms no exception. There is no overlapping in it.

Four triads are used as often as three. There is no mechanical uniformity, but, as we should expect, the introduction usually dominates one triad, the myth two, the conclusion one, in most of the odes. This is the type 1. 2. 1. Overlapping is the rule (1.(2).1) or (1.2).1 or 1.(2.1). In Pindar's earliest piece, P. 10, there is no overlapping, and the student of English versification is reminded of the early timidity of blank verse.

Five triads might be expected to distribute themselves thus: Introduction = 1, Myth = 3, Conclusion = 1, and this is substantially the arrangement in most of them. P. 8, with 2. 1. 2, forms an interesting exception, for which the notes must be consulted, as well as for the arrangement in O. 13, and P. 1, which have a quasi-epodic structure, two triads representing strophe, two antistrophe, and one epode. P. 3 and P. 9 are thrown out of line by the position of the myth.

In the Fourth Pythian we have no less than thirteen triads, and it might seem at first as if the epic mass had crushed the lyric proportion. But when we examine the structure more closely, we find that the first three triads form the overture, if I may say so. It is a prelude which gives the motif of the piece. These three triads are followed by seven triads with the story of the Argonauts in detail, while the conclusion is prepared and consummated in the last three triads. It is true that the mass of the story carries it on into the eleventh triad, but the grand scale prepares us for a wider aberration.

Of the strophic poems, O. 14 has already been considered. In P. 12 we recognize the familiar distribution 1. 2. 1. P. 6 is represented by 2. 2. 2.

In N. 2 there is a curious iteration of the name of the victor and his family, (1.1) + (1.1). The twelve strophes of N. 4 divide into 3. 6. 3, the eleven of N. 9 into 2. 7. 2. I. 7 has not yielded satisfactory results.

To those who must have sharp figures at any cost, these statements will be disappointing; but the exact symmetry is cared for in the rhythm, the metre. All that we could fairly expect here is a general balance.

1 DIONYS. HAL., De compos. verborum, p. 150 (R.).

2 In the treatise just cited DIONYSIOS gives an analysis of one of Pindar's dithyrambs (fr. IV. 3), but his comments turn on phonetics. Another characteristic of Pindar may be found in his Veterum scriptorum censura, p. 224, which, though not free from professional cant, is worth quoting: “ζηλωτὸς δὲ καὶ Πίνδαρος ὀνομάτων καὶ νοημάτων εἵνεκα καὶ μεγαλοπρεπείας καὶ τόνου καὶ περιουσίας καὶ κατασκευν̂ς καὶ δυνάμεως καὶ πικρίας μετὰ ἡδονῆς καὶ πυκνότητος καὶ σεμνότητος καὶ γνωμολογίας καὶ ἐνεργείας καὶ σχηματισμῶν καὶ ἠθοποιΐας καὶ αὐξήσεως καὶ δεινώσεως: μάλιστα δὲ τῶν εἰς σωφροσύνην καὶ εὐσέβειαν καὶ μεγαλοπρέπειαν ἠθῶν


Multa Dircaeum levat aura cycnum
tendit, Antoni, quotiens in altos
nubium tractus.

4 P. 4.248: πολλοῖσι δ᾽ ἅγημαι σοφίας ἑτέροις

5 It will be observed by those who know Pindar already, that I have taken no notice of the various interpretations and readings that have been suggested for this passage (O. 13.114). In an edition like the present, one has the right to choose what would be useful for beginners, or needful for self-vindication. Those who cannot believe that Pindar is speaking of his own feet may compare the metaphor in

μακρά μοι
αὐτόθεν ἅλμαθ᾽ ὑποσκάπτοι τις: ἔχω γονάτων ἐλαφρὸν ὁρμάν

. For the comic side of the swimming singer, compare Ar. Ran. 244:χαίροντες ᾠδῆς πολυκολύμβοισι μέλεσιν” . How any one can consider ἄνα to mean “Lord,” in this passage, is to me as yet a mystery.

6 BRÄUNING, De adjectivis compositis apud Pindarum, Berlin, 1881.


Seu per audaces nova dithyrambos
verba devolvit.

8 “A Greek who called a thought an ἀκόνη, was using a less startling image than we should use in calling it a whetstone; to call the teacher of a chorus a κρατήρ was not the same thing as it would be for us to call him a bowl.” — JEBB.

9 J. H. H. SCHMIDT, in his Griechische Synonymik, has paid much attention to Pindar. These matters have been touched lightly in the notes, in the hope that a good book, based on Schmidt, might one day supply the needs of our schools.

10 A homely figure seems to underlie P. 1.81:πείρατα συντανύσαις” . Of this the commentators have made nothing satisfactory, though the general drift is clear enough, “summing up the chief points of many things in brief compass.” The metaphor of a rope-walk would explain συντανύσαις, πείρατα being the ropes or strands.

11 Yet see Ar. Ran. 935:εἶτ᾽ ἐν τραγῳδίαις ἐχρῆν κἀλεκτρυόνα ποιῆσαι;

12 See Index of Subjects, s. v. Metaphors.

13 See note on P. 10.53.

14 M. SCHMIDT, Ueber den Bau der Pindarischen Strophen, Leipzig, 1882.

15 De Metris Pindari, p. 182.

16 Prolegomena zu Aeschylos Tragödien, p. 75, Leipzig, 1869.

17 MORIZ SCHMIDT, Pindar's Olympische Siegesgesänge — Griechisch und Deutsch, Jena, 1869.

18 Terpandrian composition has found no favor with J. H. H. SCHMIDT, Kunstformen iv. p. 635 fgg., or CROISET, Pindare, p. 126 sqq.

19 The organism is so elastic that Mezger makes eight parts, retaining the ἐπαρχά rejected by Westphal.

20Ὀμφαλόψυχοι dicti primum Bogomili; deinde ita appellati per ludibrium a Barlamo Calabro monachi aetatis istius qui se ἡσυχαστάς vocabant, a modo quo preces fundebant, κινοῦντες nempe τὸν αἰσθητὸν ὀφθαλμὸν σὺν ὅλῳ νοΐ ἐν μέσῳ τῆς κοιλίας ἤγοὐν κατὰ τὸν ὀμφαλόν”, etc. — DUCANGE.

21 Phaidr. 264 c:ἀλλὰ τόδε γε οἶμαί σε φάναι ἄν, δεῖν πάντα λόγον ὥσπερ ζῷον συνεστάναι σῶμά τι ἔχοντα αὐτόν αὑτοῦ ὥστε μήτε ἀκέφαλον εἶναι μήτε ἄπουν ἀλλὰ μέσα τε ἔχειν καὶ ἄκρα, πρέποντ᾽ ἀλλήλοις καί τῶ: ὅλῳ γεγραμμένα

22 BULLE makes the following summary, which shows how very elastic the νόμος is: (a) eight are excluded as not being constructed according to the τεθμός: (b) eight have the seven parts; (c) fourteen have neither προοίμιον nor ἐξόδιον: (d) five have no προοίμιον: (e) seven have no ἐξόδιον: (f) one has neither προοίμιον nor κατατροπά: (g) one has no μετακατατροπά (Philolog. Rundschau, 1881, col. 5).

23 Only a few examples can be cited: O. 7.20 (Τλαπολέμου), 77 (Τλαπολέμῳ), 18 (τρίπολιν), 75 (τρίχα δασσάμενοι); P. 1.43 (ἔλπομαι), 83 (ἐλπίδας). The exact position is not always insisted on, as O. 1.23. 96 (κλέος ... Πέλοπος). Nothing so evident as the threefold stelle of Dante, at the end of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.

24 BULLE cites, l. c., O. 1.21. 39 (παρέχων), 67. 80 (γάμον); O. 2.4. 48 (πολέμου), 3. 77 (Διός), 19. 85 (πάντων), 66 (φράσαις), 110 (φράσαι); O. 6.77. 98 (᾿Αγησία), 52 (ἀκοῦσαι), 66 (ἀκούειν); P. 1.20 (Αἴτνα), 60 (Αἴτνας); P. 3.5. 74 (ποτέ), 4 (Κρόνου), 57 (Κρονίων), and others.

25 See CROISET'S chapter on this subject in his Pindare, p. 354 foll. The views I am here presenting I have long entertained, but in this, as in all other matters, I am more desirous of thinking a right thought than a new one. As I have not gone into the question of the relation of strophe to antistrophe and epode, I would add here that J. H. H. SCHMIDT, in his Kunstformen (III. p. 350), has shown that Pindar has paused about twice as often at the end of the strophe as at the end of the antistrophe. The object of this, as Schmidt thinks, is to break up the mechanical balance of strophe and antistrophe, or, as he puts it, A + (A+B) is more common than A + A + (B). This is, of course, a reinforcement of the position taken here.

26 W. FURTWÄNGLER, Die Siegesgesänge des Pindaros, Freiburg, 1859.

27 J. H. H. SCHMIDT, Kunstformen, IV. p. 349.

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hide References (41 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (28):
    • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers, 506
    • Pindar, Isthmean, 3
    • Pindar, Nemean, 3
    • Pindar, Nemean, 5
    • Pindar, Olympian, 1
    • Pindar, Olympian, 10
    • Pindar, Olympian, 11
    • Pindar, Olympian, 12
    • Pindar, Olympian, 13
    • Pindar, Olympian, 14
    • Pindar, Olympian, 2
    • Pindar, Olympian, 3
    • Pindar, Olympian, 5
    • Pindar, Olympian, 6
    • Pindar, Olympian, 7
    • Pindar, Olympian, 8
    • Pindar, Olympian, 9
    • Pindar, Pythian, 1
    • Pindar, Pythian, 10
    • Pindar, Pythian, 11
    • Pindar, Pythian, 2
    • Pindar, Pythian, 3
    • Pindar, Pythian, 5
    • Pindar, Pythian, 6
    • Pindar, Pythian, 8
    • Pindar, Pythian, 9
    • Pindar, Pythian, 4
    • Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Book 10, 1.61
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (13):
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 244
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 935
    • Pindar, Nemean, 5
    • Pindar, Olympian, 1
    • Pindar, Olympian, 13
    • Pindar, Olympian, 2
    • Pindar, Olympian, 6
    • Pindar, Olympian, 7
    • Pindar, Pythian, 1
    • Pindar, Pythian, 10
    • Pindar, Pythian, 3
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 264c
    • Pindar, Pythian, 4
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