The victory celebrated in this ode was gained by Agesidamos, a boy boxer, son of Archestratos of Epizephyrian Lokris, Ol. 74 (484 B.C.). The following ode (11), composed on the same theme, and produced at Olympia immediately after the victory, was put after the longer ode in the MSS., because it was fancied to be the τόκος mentioned v. 11. This longer poem was sent to Lokris some time afterwards. There is nothing to measure the interval that elapsed, and the poet's expressions of contrition at the long delay must be construed poetically. Hermann and Mommsen assign it to the next Olympiad, De Jongh and Fennell, who see in v. 15 an allusion to Anaxilas of Rhegion (see Introd. O. 1), would put it Ol. 76. Lübbert has written an elaborate essay (Kiel, 1881) to prove that Pindar gave this detailed account of the institution of the Olympian games by the Theban Herakles in distinct opposition to the traditions of the Eleian priests, who referred the establishment of the games to the Idaian Herakles, and the Dactyls, his brothers. See Paus. 8, 7, 6. Lobeck and others consider the Eleian legend a late invention, but Lübbert has proved the great antiquity of Idaian sites in the Peloponnesos, and this theory gives a more plausible explanation of the detail here presented than the gratuitous assumption that the poet went into all these particulars for the benefit of the Epizephyrian Lokrians, as if the Epizephyrians did not have traditions of their own. As a champion of the glory of the Theban Herakles against all comers. Pindar appears in a very natural light. The words which form the key to the poem lock the third antistrophe and the third epode together, ὅ τ᾽ ἐξελέγχων μόνος | ἀλάθειαν ἐτήτυμον | Χρόνος (v. 59). The poet begins by acknowledging a debt: Time shamed him. The truth of the first Olympian games was hidden: Time revealed it. The melody was long suppressed: Time brought it at last, as welcome as the son with whom the wife rewards the long-expectant love of the aging sire. Time brings roses, Time crowns renewed effort. So Herakles suffers repulse. So Agesidamos has a hard struggle, but both succeed at last. Χρόνος γὰρ εὐμαρὴς θεός (Soph.). The poem was written in fulfilment of a promise, in payment of a debt which the poet poetically feigns that he has forgotten (v. 4). He calls on the bystanders to read the ledger of his heart and see where his creditor stands written; he calls on the Muse (Memory) and Truth, the daughter of Zeus, to keep from him the reproach of falsehood (v. 6). Time has brought the blush of shame to him for this heavy arrear of debt (v. 7), but usury can make good the failure of prompt payment (v. 11). The tide of song will wash away the pebble-counters into the depths of poesy, and the debt due to Agesidamos and to Lokris shall be settled, and favor gained besides with Faithfulness, who inhabits the city of the Zephyrian Lokrians, with Kalliope, who is dear to them, as also mail-clad Ares (v. 15). But the poet is not the only one in debt. Agesidamos would have failed, as Herakles failed in the fight with Kyknos, had not Ilas helped him (v. 19). So let him pay his debt of gratitude to Ilas as Patroklos his to Achilles. Native valor, training sharp, and God's favor can raise a mortal to great fame. Only some few reach joy without toil, light without darkness (v. 25). This tribute paid to Ilas for the training sharp, the decrees of Zeus urge the poet to pay another debt — the debt due to Herakles for the establishment of the games hard by the ancient tomb of Pelops — and the heart of the poem is occupied with a detailed account of the origin of the Olympian games and the first celebration (vv. 27-85). Herakles is not the Herakles of Peisandros (O. 9.32); he is not a lonely knight-errant, he is the leader of a host. The version here given bears on its face the impress of a strong local stamp. It is not the common story, that is evident; and the poet draws a sly parallel between his forgotten debts written on the tables of his heart, which Time reveals to his shame (χρόνος, v. 8) and the truth which Time has brought to light (Χρόνος, v. 61). The victors, so far as they can be traced, are all in the belt of the Peloponnesos with which the Lokris of the mother-country had affinity. Arkadia is prominent, Tegea is there (v. 73), and Mantineia (v. 77), and the conclusion bears the broad mark of the device of the Lokrians — the thunderbolt (vv. 86-91). At the close, P. sings how welcome the song must be in coming, as a late child of one's old age; and well it may, for song alone gives immortality. And now he has fulfilled his promise. He has praised the Lokrians, he has praised the son of Archestratos, a vigorous prizer and a Ganymede for beauty (v. 115). The debt is paid, as debts should be paid, with cheeriness, if not with promptness. The Aiolian (logaoedic) rhythms are gay, lilting. The poem ends fitly with Κυπρογενεῖ. Mezger calls attention to the recurrence of χάριν, vv. 14, 19, 86, 104. Of the five triads, the first is occupied with the introduction, the fifth with the conclusion. The story of the Olympian games takes up the central three. There is a little overlapping, but not so much as usual.
Strophe 1τὸν Ὀλυμπιονίκαν: Prolepsis. Emphatic accusatives naturally seek the head of the sentence. ἀνάγνωτε: Familiar reference to reading and writing, esp. common in Aischylos, e. g., P. V. 789: “ἣν ἐγγράφου σὺ μνήμοσιν δέλτοις φρενῶν” . Compare, further, Choeph. 450, Eum. 275, Suppl. 179; Soph. Triptol. fr. 8: θὲς δ᾽ ἐν φρενὸς δέλτοισι τοὺς ἐμοὺς λόγους. We have here a humorous search in the poet's ledger.
ἐπιλέλαθα=ἐπιλέλησμαι (Schol.). Μοῖσα: The eldest of the old three was Μνήμη.
Ἀλάθεια: With a touch of repentance for the ἐπιλέλαθα. He had forgotten, and so had lied, or seemed to lie. Hence what follows: ἐρύκετον ψευδέων ἐνιπάν. Memory is to find the place, and Truth is to discharge the debt. ὀρθᾷ=δικαίᾳ (Schol.). “Rectifying hand;” the hand that scores off the debt.
ἐνιπὰν ἀλιτόξενον: Is much more poetic than ἀλιτοξένων with ψευδέων. For a like hypallage, compare P. 6.5: Πυθιόνικος ὕμνων θησαυρός, P. 4.255: ὑμετέρας ἀκτῖνος ὄλβου.
Antistrophe 1ὁ μέλλων χρόνος: The morrow to which I had long postponed my payment has come at last, and has revealed to my shame my long arrear of debt.
καταίοχυνε: The aor. as a perfect. The shame is not in the debt — this, too, is a θεόδματον χρέος (O. 3.7) — but in the delay. Cf. P. 9.112. βαθύ. Compare O. 13.62: βαθὺν κλᾶρον. The column of figures grows downward, deeper and deeper as interest is added to principal.
τόκος: Not a separate poem (see Introduction), but payment in full with usance added. ὁρᾶτ᾽ ὦν: So Schneidewin for the unmetrical θνατῶν of the better, the ἀνδρῶν of the inferior MSS. Hermann writes ὀνάτωρ, “beneficial;” in the mercantile sense, “a good round interest.” Mommsen, γε τόκος ἀνδρῶν. So also Mezger. Fennell, who desiderates proof for ὦν with imper. in P., has ὁράτω. One might be satisfied with Homer's οὖν and imper. ψᾶφον: The Schol. refers ψ. to ἐπιμομφάν, “the accumulation of censure.” In view of the technical use of ψᾶφος as “a counter,” it seems more natural to refer it to the debt; but as the ἐπιμομφά consists in the accumulation of the βαθὺ χρέος thus rolled up, there is no great divergency in the two views.
κῦμα: The tide of song, as N. 7.12; I. 6 (7), 19.
ὅπα τε: This parallelism is characteristic of P. Compare O. 2.108. How the wave will wash away with its flow the rolling pebble, and how this new tide of song will pay my growing debt. “How and how”=“as . . . so.” κοινὸν λόγον: “The general account.” What is due to the victor and the victor's home. Thus only does γάρ get a clear reference.
φίλαν . . . ἐς χάριν: “As a loving favor,” and thus get thanks for blame. τίσομεν: Pindar not unaided by Μοῖσα and Ἀλάθεια.
Epode 1Ἀτρέκεια: Not the same with Ἀλάθεια above. ἀλήθεια is truth, as “candor;” ἀτρέκεια, “truth,” as “straightforwardness,” “unswerving accuracy,” a business virtue. Fides iustitiaque (Dissen). In Ἀτρέκεια there may be an allusion to the uprightness of Zaleukos, the Lokrian lawgiver. The Lokrians love honesty. I am honest. They love song. I sing. They are warlike. I will tell of war.
Καλλιόπα: Afterwards especially the heroic Muse. Stesichoros, “who bore the weight of the epos on the lyre” (Quintilian), was of Lokrian origin.
χάλκεος Ἄρης: See O. 11 (10), 19: στρατὸν αἰχματάν. Κύκνεια: The short α, as in Ὀδύσσεια (Aeolic). Kyknos was slain by Herakles in the grove of the Pagasaian Apollo because he had seized the victims destined for the Delphian shrine. So Stesichoros. The poem was doubtless familiar to the Lokrians. The nexus is not over-clear. It is tolerably evident, however, that the victory of Agesidamos was gained after a hard struggle. In the first encounter Kyknos was aided by his father, Ares, and Herakles fled acc. to the proverb, οὐδὲ Ἡρακλῆς πρὸς δύο. But our Lokrian Herakles, Agesidamos, found his one adversary too much for him, and he would have failed, had it not been for the help of his trainer, Ilas, whether that help was the training itself or encouragement during the struggle. The parallel of Patroklos and Achilles with Agesidamos and Ilas gives reason to suspect that the adversary was an ingens Telephus of a boy (O. 9.76). De Jongh sees in this an allusion to the struggle between the Lokrians and Anaxilas of Rhegion.
Ἴλᾳ: The mention of the trainer (ἀλείπτης) is a part, often a large part, of the contract. See O. 8.54.
Ἀχιλεῖ Πάτροκλος: The Lokrians took an especial pride in Patroklos. See O. 9.75. Patroklos was almost universally considered the older of the two, after Homer, Il. 11. 787.
θήξαις: A trainer is called a Ναξία ἀκόνα, I. 5 (6), 73. The same figure is used by Xenoph. Cyr. 1, 2, 10. 6, 41. φύντ᾽ ἀρετᾷ: “Born to achievement.” Cf. N. 7.7: ἀρετᾷ κριθείς. P.'s contempt of the διδακταὶ ἀρεταί (O. 9.108) is reconcilable with the value of training (doctrina sed vim promovet insitam).
Strophe 2ἄπονον . . . παῦροί τινες: Litotes for “no joy without toil.” An ἄπονον χάρμα would not be singable. Connect φάος with χάρμα above, “a joy that is a supreme light to life.”
πρό: “Above.” βιότῳ φάος: Compare O. 2.62: ἀνδρὶ φέγγος.
ἀγῶνα: The place, as in Homer, and not the contest. θέμιτες=θεσμοί, with Διός.
σάματι: O. 1.93. πάρ: O. 1.20.
βωμών ἑξάριθμον: “Six-numbered of altars” (ἑξ. with ἀγῶνα), “with altars six in number.” ἀνήριθμος with the genitive is not parallel. Hypallage, as with ψευδέων ἐνιπὰν ἀλιτόξενον (v. 6), would be scarcely more harsh. On the six altars, see O. 5.5. The passage is corrupt.
Κτέατον: Kteatos and Eurytos, sons of Poseidon, had attacked Herakles and slain most of the army that he had brought from Tiryns, and so prevented him from exacting the pay due him from their uncle, Augeias. In requital, Herakles lay in ambush for them near Kleonai, as they were on their way from Elis to the Isthmus, slew them, marched against Augeias, and put him to death. With the booty thus acquired he established the Olympian games. See O. 2.3. ἀμύμονα: Physically. Such an ἀμύμων was Absalom, 2 Sam. 14, 25: From the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. Such an ἀμύμων was Aigisthos, Od. 1. 29.
Antistrophe 2Αὐγέαν λάτριον . . . μισθὸν ὑπέρβιον: Chiastic position, especially effective at the end of the verse. λάτριον=ἀντὶ τῆς λατρείας, the well-known menial service of cleansing the stalls. “That he might exact of Augeias, despite unwillingness and o'erweening might, the wage for his menial service.” Some combine ὑπέρβιον with μισθόν.
πράσσοιτο: See O. 3.7. ὑπὸ Κλεωνᾶν: In Argolis. Kleonai was on the crest of a hill. Hence ὑπό.
καὶ κείνους: καί, “in his turn.” Ἡρακλέης: The name of the subject kept back to the close of the period, as often in P., O. 6.9; 13, 17; P. 12.17; I. 5 (6), 30. 35. 40. Cf. also O. 1.26; 3, 20. ἐφ᾽ ὁδῷ: An offset against the ambush of the Moliones.
Epode 2Μολίονες: The Siamese twins of antique fable, no monsters, however, in Homer, who calls them, Il. 11. 750, Ἀκτορίωνε Μολίονε παῖδε. The name M. came from the mother's side of the house. ὑπερφίαλοι: Like uncle, like nephews, v. 31: Αὐγέαν . . . ὑπέρβιον. καὶ μάν: μάν gives a solemn preparation for the doom of Augeias. ξεναπάτας: So Iason is called ξειναπάτας by Medeia, Eur. Med. 1392.
Ἐπειῶν βασιλεύς: Augeias. ὄπιθεν ι οὐ πολλόν = οὐ πολὺ ὕστερον.
στερεῷ: Almost personifies πυρί. Transl. “pitiless.” Note also the vividness of the dat. (O. 6.35).
ὀχετόν: Fire and axe are not enough. The river-bank has yielded, and the doomed city settles into a deep channel of woe.
ἑὰν πόλιν: Effective position. If πατρίδα is treated as an adj. with πόλιν, the color is lost.
ἀποθέσθαι: Cf. O. 8.68.
ὕστατος: “Last of the three,” and so “at last.”
θάνατον αἰπύν: Homer's αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον. He fell into the same ὀχετός with the city.
Strophe 3ἔλσαις: Orig. ϝέλσαις.
σταθμᾶτο: “Laid off.” ἄλσος: Not yet a grove (O. 3.18), and not necessarily a grove (Schol.).
περὶ δὲ πάξαις=περιφράξας (Schol.). ἐν καθαρῷ: “In the open.”
δόρπου λύσιν: “Resting-place for the evening meal” (Fennell).
τιμάσαις: Coincident action. Cf. O. 7.5.
Antistrophe 3μετά: “Among.” One of the six double altars was consecrated to Artemis and Alpheios. See O. 5.5.
Κρόνου=Κρόνιον. Cf. P. 3.67: ἤ τινα Λατοΐδα κεκλημένον.
ἇς: Asiat. Aeol. and Dor. = ἕως.
νιφάδι: The snow of the old time is an offset against the sun of the time of Herakles. O. 3.24.
παρέσταν: The Moirai were present to help, as at the birth of Iamos (O. 6.42). μὲν . . . τε: O. 4.13. ἄρα: “As was meet.”
ἀλάθειαν ἐτήτυμον: ἀλήθεια, orig. “candor,” needs the reinforcement of “reality.” τὸ ἐτήτυμον is τὸ ὄντως ὄν. Truth to impression is proved to be truth to reality. The broidered tales (O. 1.29) perish, but the true record prevails (ἁμέραι δ᾽ ἐπίλοιποι μάρτυρες σοφώτατοι). Things will right themselves — nay, have righted themselves — and Time, the Recorder, is Time the Herald. Nothing can be more evident than P.'s championship of the Lokrians against false traditions.
Epode 3Χρόνος: See v. 34. κατέφρασεν: Fulness and accuracy are both implied in κατά and in φράζω.
ἀκρόθινα: For the word, see O. 2.4. The “firstlings” were Herakles' share, and this he separates from the lots of his companions.
σὺν Ὀλυμπιάδι: The Schol. transl. by ἐν Ὀ. This effaces σύν. To resort to ἓν διὰ δυοῖν, “with the victories of the first Olympiad,” is a coarse expedient. “The first Olympiad” is “the first Olympic contest” (Bergk).
τίς δή: P. gets out of the tedious dependent form as soon as possible.
χείρεσσι: Is satisfied by πάλᾳ, v. 73, and πυγμᾶς, v. 74. ποσίν τε καὶ ἅρματι: Closely joined by τε καί, on account of their kinship in speed; afterwards distributed into ποσσὶ τρέχων, v. 71, and ἀν᾽ ἵπποισι, v. 76.
ἀγώνιον ἐν δόξᾳ θέμενος εὖχος: Much disputed. The contrast between ἐν δόξᾳ and ἔργῳ must be insisted on: δόξα, usually “glory,” is “opinion” P. 1.36, and N. 11.24: ἐμὰν δόξαν. ἐν δόξᾳ θέμενος=προθέμενος, “setting before his mind” the glory (εὖχος) of the games. The Schol., however, makes ἐν δόξᾳ θ. εὖχος = ἔνδοξον νομίσας τὸ νικῆσαι. καθελών: Cf. P. 5.21: εὖχος ἑλών.
Strophe 4στάδιον . . . ἀρίστευσεν: Compare O. 4.22: νικῶν δρόμον. εὐθὺν τόνον: “A straight stretch” — not the δίαυλος. So the Schol.
Λικύμνιον: See O. 7.29.
Οἰωνός: Nephew of Alkmene, first cousin of Herakles. According to Pausan. 3, 15, 4, he was killed in Sparta, ἡλικίαν μειράκιον, not very consistent with Pindar's στρατὸν ἐλαύνων. Μιδέαθεν: Midea was in Argolis. The name of Oionos's grandmother was Midea. See O. 7.29.
Ἔχεμος: Who afterwards killed Hyllos, the son of Herakles. Paus. 8, 5, 1.
Δόρυκλος: Unknown. ἔφερε: Imperfect of vision, what Shilleto calls the panoramic imperf. Compare O. 8.49. τάνυεν. τέλος: “Prize.” P. 9.128; I. 1, 27.
Antistrophe 4Σᾶμος: Mentioned in the Choliambi of Diphilos: στρέψας δὲ πώλους ὡς ὁ Μαντινεὺς Σῆμος | ὃς πρῶτος ἅρματ᾽ ἤλασεν παρ᾽ Ἀλφειῷ. ὡλιροθίου=ὁ Ἁλιρροθίου. Halirrhothios, son of Poseidon, and so an hereditary charioteer.
Φράστωρ: Unknown, as well as Nikeus below. P. is following local records.
μᾶκος . . . ἔδικε=μακρὰν ἔρριψε ῥῖψιν (Schol.). δὲ Νικεὺς: So Ambros. for δ᾽ Ἐνικεύς. πέτρῳ: In I. 1, 24, cited as a parallel for the dat., Christ reads αἰχμαίς=αἰχμάς. χέρα κυκλώσαις: Od. 8. 189: τόν ῥα (sc. δίσκον) περιστρέψας.
ὑπὲρ ἁπάντων: “Above”=“beyond.” So N. 9.54; I. 2, 36. συμμαχία=σύμμαχοι.
παραίθυξε: Tr., “shot past;” the cheer flashed by. See P. 1.87, note. For the last two contests the πένταθλον was afterwards substituted. See I. 1, 26: οὐ γὰρ ἦν πενταέθλιον ἀλλ᾽ ἐφ᾽ ἑκάστῳ | ἕργματι κεῖτο τέλος. P. sticks to his record. It would not be strange if this whole description was composed to save the neglected memory of Doryklos and Phrastor and Nikeus. ἐν δ᾽ ἕσπερον ι ἔφλεξεν: ἐνέφλεξεν, “lighted up.” Compare O. 3.20. The full moon, hence εὐώπιδος σελάνας, was a necessary part of the institution. The light of the moon meets the shout of the army.
Epode 4ἀείδετο: “Rang with song.” This use of the passive is not very common in Greek. Cf. Eur. I. T. 367: “αὐλεῖται πᾶν μέλαθρον” , Heraclid. 401: “θυηπολεῖται δ᾽ ἄστυ.”
τὸν ἐγκώμιον ἀμφὶ τρόπον: “Like banquet music.” A curious use of ἀμφί, which makes the tune the centre of the song.
ἀρχαῖς . . . προτέραις: “The beginnings of yore,” the establishment of the games by Herakles. ἑπόμενοι: Seems to hint at deviation on the part of others. ἐπωνυμίαν χάριν: “As a namesake grace of the proud victory, we will sing forth the thunder . . . of Zeus.” The victory is Olympian, let us sing, to grace it, Olympian thunder. Perikles the Olympian was Perikles the Thunderer. χάριν is the result of κελαδησόμεθα βροντάν.
νίκας: So P. 1.30: τοῦ ἐπωνυμίαν. ἀγερώχου: See P. 1.50. κελαδησόμεθα=εἴπωμεν (Schol.).
πυρπάλαμον βέλος: “Bolt of the firehand.” Hor. Od. 1, 2, 2: “rubente | dextera sacras iaculatus arces.” The thunderbolt is figured on the coins of the Epizephyrian Lokrians.
ἐν ἅπαντι κράτει . . . ἀραρότα: “In every victory fit emblem.” Mezger, after Friese, makes it “in which dwells omnipotence.”
χλιδῶσα: “Swelling.” O. 9.2: κεχλαδώς.
Strophe 5τὰ . . . φάνεν: Neut. pl. with verb pl. gives more individuality and more life. We distinguish the strains. Cf. P. 1.13. For φάνεν of music, compare So. O. R. 186: “παιὰν δὲ λάμπει.”
ὧτε: So Böckh for ὥστε.
νεότατος τὸ πάλιν: “The reverse of youth.” So O. 12.11: ἔμπαλιν τέρψιος, P. 12.32: ἔμπαλιν γνώμας.
ἐπακτὸν ἀλλότριον: One thinks of “this Eliezer of Damascus.”
θνᾴσκοντι στυγερώτατος: Out of the almost epic fulness of this passage it has falsely, if not foolishly, been gathered that Agesidamos had become old while waiting for Pindar's song. In one sense, yes! οἱ δὲ ποθεῦντες ἐν ἤματι γηράσκουσιν. The late song is as welcome as a child of one's old age. Nothing more hateful than to die and leave no heir of one's body. Nothing more hateful than to die and leave no memorial of one's hard-earned glory. As the child keeps up the name, so the lyre keeps up the fame. We have no right to assume that Agesidamos was on the brink of the grave. The poet simply declares that he is secure from any such disaster as oblivion.
Antistrophe 5κενεὰ πνεύσαις: “Having spent his strength and breath in vain.” Cf. N. 3.41: ἄλλοτ᾽ ἄλλο πνέων, and P. 2.61: παλαιμονεῖ κενεά. μόχθῳ: Semi - personification. “Procures for Toil naught but a little pleasure,” the fleeting glory of the unsung victory.
εὐρύ: Predicative. The fame is spread “abroad” by the fostering Muses.
Epode 5ἐγὼ δέ: In contradistinction to the Muses. συνεφαπτόμενος: “Lending a helping hand.”
ἀμφέπεσον: “Embraced,” “took to my heart.” What was promise is performance.
καταβρέχων: Cf. I. 5, 21: ῥαινέμεν εὐλογίαις, P. 8.57: Ἀλκμᾶνα στεφάνοισι βάλλω, ῥαίνω δὲ καὶ ὕμνῳ. Above ἀναπάσσει suggests roses. ἐρατόν: The son of Archestratos is not old enough to have lost his bloom.
εἶδον: Here no figure. The poet promised when he saw him, and then forgot. χερὸς ι ἀλκᾷ: Cf. v. 68: χείρεσσι.
κεκραμένον: “Endued,” literally “blended;” see P. 10.41.
ἀναιδέα . . . μόρον: Theogn. 207: θάνατος ἀναιδής. Death is a true λᾶας ἀναιδής, “unabashed,” “regardless,” “ruthless.” σὺν Κυπρογενεῖ: With the favor of Aphrodite.