The date of this ode is uncertain, and the Scholiasts are at variance. According to Böckh the victory was won Ol. 81 (456 B.C.), shortly after a Pythian victory, Ol. 80, 3 (458 B.C.), which is celebrated in this ode together with the Olympian one (v. 13). Leopold Schmidt finds that Böckh's computation agrees with his theory of P.'s poetical decline. Fennell puts the date Pyth. 30 (468 B.C.), acc. to one Scholiast, on the ground that at the later date (456) the Lokrian oligarchy was threatened, if not overthrown, by the Athenians. Cf. Thuk. 1, 108. Besides his many local successes, Epharmostos had been victorious in all the great national games, and was, consequently, a περιοδονίκης. Pindar tells us all we know of him — his noble personal appearance (v. 119), his ancient stock (v. 58), his intimacy with Lampromachos, also a friend of Pindar's (v. 90). The song was sung in Opus at a festival of Aias Oiliades. The assumption of a banquet gives more point to v. 52. The Lokrians are better known to us through the Epizephyrian representatives of the stock than by the members of the family that remained in Central Greece, and for us Opuntian Lokris is more lighted up by this ode of Pindar's (v. 24) than by the rude inscriptions, which doubtless give a false impression of the people (Hicks, Hist. Inscr. No. 63). Writing may be rude, and song, for which the Lokrians were famous, refined. The position of woman among the Lokrians seems to have been exceptionally influential, and even one who knew nothing of Lokris and the Lokrians could hardly fail to be struck by the predominance of woman in this ode. Pindar is a manner of “Frauenlob,” at any rate, but here “das Ewig-Weibliche” is paramount. Archilochos does not suffice; we must have the Muses (v. 5). Lydian Pelops is mentioned for the sake of the dowry of his bride, Hippodameia (v. 10). Themis and Eunomia (v. 15) are the patronesses of the renowned city, mother of the Lokrians (v. 22). The city is the city of Protogeneia (v. 44). Opus, son of Zeus and an Epeian heroine (v. 62), bore the name of his mother's father (v. 67). When Menoitios is mentioned, his mother is not forgotten (v. 75); Achilles is only Thetis's son (v. 82). The fundamental thought is τὸ δὲ φυᾷ κράτιστον ἅπαν (v. 107). It matters not that in the previous song P. had sung: ἄγνωμον δὲ τὸ μὴ προμαθεῖν (O. 8.60). Here no Melesias is to be praised. The φυά comes from God; hence P. sings, ἄνευ δὲ θεοῦ σεσιγαμένον οὐ σκαιότερον χρῆμ᾽ ἕκαστον (v. 111). The poem is full of the strange dealings, the wonderful workings of the deities, of the Supreme, culminating in the story of Protogeneia and her son. The fortune of Lydian Pelops (v. 10) reminds us of Poseidon. The dowry of Hippodameia was a gift of God, as Pindar's garden of song was allotted him by Fate (v. 28). The Charites are the bestowers of all that is pleasant. Men are good and wise according to the will of Heaven (v. 30). If Herakles withstood the gods themselves (v. 32), it is clear that there was a greater god within him. That god was Zeus, and P., after deprecating impiety toward the gods, tells of the marvels Zeus hath wrought. Behold the miracle of the stones raised up as seed to Deukalion and Pyrrha. That is the decree of Zeus, αἰολοβρόντα Διὸς αἴσᾳ (v. 45). Behold the deluge abated. That is the device of Zeus, Ζηνὸς τέχναις (v. 56). Protogeneia is caught up (v. 62). Zeus interferes again to give life to the dying house (v. 64). Epharmostos has been singularly favored by nature and fortune. Nature and fortune mean God, and the narrative of his successes closes the poem with a recognition of the divine decree that made him quick of hand, ready of limb, and valorous of eye. The Lokrian or Aiolian (logaoedic) rhythms are light and festive. They whirr like arrows (v. 12), they flame (v. 24), they speed faster than mettlesome horse or winged ship (v. 25). The first triad contains the introduction. The myth, the story of the heroine who made Opus what it was, is announced in the first epode, the theme of which is continued in the second triad. After unfolding his moral (ἀγαθοὶ δὲ καὶ σοφοὶ κατὰ δαίμον᾽ ἄνδρες ἐγένοντο), P. resumes the myth, v. 44, tells of Deukalion and Pyrrha and the stone-folk, and the union of Zeus and the ancestress of Opus and the Opuntian nobles. About the city thus founded gathered nobles of different Grecian lands, chief of them Menoitios, father of Patroklos. From this story, which shows what God can do, P. passes, at the close of the third triad, to the achievements of the descendants of this favored stock, and, in the last triad, recounts the exploits of Epharmostos.
Strophe 1Ἀρχιλόχου μέλος: The Schol. has preserved two lines of this famous hymn to Herakles: ὦ καλλίνικε χαῖρ᾽ ἄναξ Ἡράκλεες | αὐτός τε καὶ Ἰόλαος, αἰχμητὰ δύο. The hymn was called simply καλλίνικος, the burden being καλλίνικε, and in the absence of music τήνελλα, an imitative word, represented the lyre. Compare Ar. Ach. 1227. It was the “See the conquering hero comes” of the Greek, and was sung in honor of the Olympian victors at the evening procession, unless a special poem was ordered.
φωνᾶεν: Has the effect of a participle, O. 2.93. ὁ τριπλόος: The burden was repeated three times. κεχλαδώς: One of the onomatopoetic perfects which denote intense, not completed, action. “With its full ringing burden,” “with its note thrice swelling.”
ἁγεμονεῦσαι: Acc. to the Schol., one of the companions of the victor struck up in the absence of a musician. In Ar. l. c. Dikaiopolis himself chants the καλλίνικος without reserve.
ἑκαταβόλων: P. Keeps up this figure unusually long, as it is especially familiar. See O. 1.112; 13, 93; P. 1.12, and elsewhere.
φοινικοστερόπαν: The words swell with the theme. We, too, speak of the “red levin,” Hor. “rubente | dextera sacras iaculatus arces.”
ἐπίνειμαι: Only here in P. It has an artillery sound, “sweep,” “rake” (compare ἐπιφλέγων, v. 24), and is used chiefly of destructive agency. So of fire, Hdt. 5, 101; Pol. 14, 5, 7; Diod. Sic. 14, 51; of plague, Thuk. 2, 54; Diod. Sic. 12, 12; of foes, Plut. Caes. 19; Pomp. 25. P. delights in the oxymoron. Compare O. 6.46: ἀμεμφεῖ ἰῷ, and γλυκὺν ὀιστόν, v. 12. ἐ., then, is not “aim at,” but “send arrow after arrow at,” “sweep with hurtling flight.”
Ἱπποδαμείας: Recalls O. 1.70. The Schol. notes that ἕδνον is not used in the regular Homeric sense, as P. 3.94, but as φερνή, “dowry.”
Antistrophe 1γλυκὺν . . . ὀιστόν: Homer's πικρὸς ὀιστός, Il. 23. 867, or “biting arrow,” was to P. as to us a “bitter arrow.” Hence the antithesis γλυκύν.
Πυθῶνάδε: Epharmostos had won a victory at Pytho also, Pyth. 33 = Ol. 80, 3 (458 B.C.), acc. to one Schol. One arrow for Pytho, a shower of bolts for Olympia. χαμαιπετέων: Here with reference to arrows that fall to the ground without reaching their mark.
ἀμφὶ παλαίσμασιν: See P. 2.62. φόρμιγγ᾽ ἐλελίζων: The φόρμιγξ takes the place of the βιός. ἐλελίζων is properly used of the φόρμιγξ, P. 1.4.
κλεινᾶς ἐξ Ὀπόεντος: On the gender, compare O. 3.2: κλεινὰν Ἀκράγαντα. Pindar shows a special interest in the Lokrians (v. 23), and this has given rise to many historical fancies on the part of scholars. αἰνήσαις: Aor., the result, as ἐλελίζων, pres., is the process. Dissen puts a full stop after Ὀπόεντος, and makes αἰνήσαις an opt. unnecessarily.
Θέμις: The family-tree of such abstractions often gets its branches twisted, but P. consistently makes Εὐνομία daughter to Θέμις, O. 13.8. θυγάτηρ . . . οἱ: “She that is daughter to her” — not “her daughter.” N. 7.22 is not a parallel (Erdmann). λέλογχεν: The sing., v. 89.
στεφάνων ἄωτοι: Cf. O. 5.1: στεφάνων ἄωτον γλυκύν. The distributive plural is genuinely Greek. Compare I. 3 (4), 48: τῶν ἀπειράτων γὰρ ἄγνωστοι σιωπαί. Yet ἄωτοι occurs only here and N. 8.9: ἡρώων ἄωτοι. κλυτάν: “To renown” (predicative).
Epode 1φίλαν πόλιν: Compare v. 89.
μαλεραῖς ἐπιφλέγων ἀοιδαῖς: μαλερός is painfully dazzling. So. O.R. 190: Ἄρεά τε τὸν μαλερόν, ὃς νῦν φλέγει με. μ. ἀ. is almost an oxymoron. P. 5.45: σὲ . . . φλέγοντι Χάριτες, N. 10.2: φλέγεται δ᾽ ἀρεταῖς μυρίαις, I. 6 (7), 23: φλέγεται δ᾽ ἰοπλόκοισι Μοίσαις, P. 11.45: τῶν εὐφροσύνα τε καὶ δόξ᾽ ἐπιφλέγει. See note on v. 7.
ὑποπτέρου: Is the ship a winged thing (a bird) or a finny thing (a fish)? Od. 11. 125: ἐρετμά, τά τε πτερὰ νηυσὶ πέλονται. ὑπό proves nothing in favor of oars, because ὑπόπτερος is “alatus quocumque modo et quacumque corporis parte” (Tafel). Transl. “Winged.”
εἰ σύν τινι μοιριδίῳ παλάμᾳ: The condition is merely formal. This is the key-note of Pindar's poetic claims. Here he is tilling the garden of the Charites. The flaming darts of song are changed into flowers (ἄνθεα ὕμνων, v. 52), with which the keeper of the garden of the Charites pelts his favorites (P. 9.133: πολλὰ μὲν κεῖνοι δίκον φύλλ᾽ ἔπι καὶ στεφάνους) as he showered arrows before. Compare P. 6.2: ἄρουραν Χαρίτων, N. 10.26: καὶ Ἰσθμοῖ καὶ Νεμέᾳ στέφανον Μοίσαισιν ἔδωκ᾽ ἀρόσαι. For the shift compare N. 6.31: ἀπὸ τόξου ἱείς, v. 37: Πιερίδων ἀρόταις.
ἀγαθοὶ . . . καὶ σοφοί: The brave and the wise, the hero (Herakles) and the poet (Pindar). Compare P. 1.42: καὶ σοφοὶ καὶ χερσὶ βιαταί. κατὰ δαίμονα = κατ᾽ αἶσαν.
Strophe 2ἐγένοντο: Empiric aorist. ἐπεί: “Since” (were this not so), “whereas,” “else.”
σκύταλον=ῥόπαλον. Post Homeric. Peisandros of Rhodes first endowed Herakles with the Oriental and solar club. χερσίν: See P. 3.57.
ἁνίκα: “What time.” P. 1.48. P. rolls three several fights into one — the fight of Herakles with Poseidon in Messenian Pylos, because the sea-god's son, Neleus, would not purge him of the bloodguiltiness of the murder of Iphitos; the fight with Hades in Eleian Pylos, because he had carried off Kerberos; the fight with Apollo, because he had stolen a tripod to avenge the refusal of an oracle. So the Scholiast. ἀμφὶ Π.: O. 1.17. ἤρειδε: “Pressed.”
πολεμίζων: πελεμίζων (Thiersch and Bergk) is specious, but we should expect τόξον. Homer does not use πολεμίζειν of single combat, but that is not conclusive.
ῥάβδον: Hades' wand is akin to the caduceus of Hermes, with its well-known miraculous power. Herakles could meet not only two, but three — could match his σκύταλον against Poseidon's jagged trident, Apollo's clangent bow, and Hades' magic wand, because he was supported by his sire. Genius is a match for the divine, is divine. Herakles is a κατὰ δαίμον᾽ ἀνήρ, as P. is a κατὰ δαίμον᾽ ἀοιδός. Compare v. 28. Observe that P. only carries out the thesis ἀγαθοὶ κατὰ δαίμον᾽ ἐγένοντο with Herakles as proof. The σοφοί he leaves untouched, as savoring of presumption.
ἀπὸ . . . ῥῖψον: P. is overcome by his own audacity. A little more and he had matched himself against all the gods and goddesses of song. Compare the sudden start of O. 1.52: ἀφίσταμαι.
τό γε λοιδοοῆσαι . . . τὸ καυχᾶσθαι: Both objectionable; a very common use of the articular infinitive. See O. 2.107. λοιδορῆσαι involves taking sides. In tense, λοιδορῆσαι matches ῥῖψον. καυχᾶσθαι and λαλάγει go together. οὐ δεῖ λοιδορῆσαι, therefore ῥῖψον. δεῖ μὴ καυχᾶσθαι, therefore μὴ λαλάγει. So P. leaves the divine warriors facing each other, and holds his peace about his own powers.
Antistrophe 2μανίαισιν ὑποκρέκει: “Keeps in unison with the discordant notes of madness.”
πόλεμον μάχαν τε: The combination of two substantives with τε is common enough in this poem, so vv. 16, 43, 46, 75, 89. It is very rare in model prose, and hence it may be noted as a curiosity that it is exceptionally common in Plato's Timaios — Timaios being an Epizephyrian Lokrian.
χωρὶς ἀθανάτων: χ., “apart from,” “aside from.” φέροις: Imper. opt. “Lend.” Πρωτογενείας: P. seems to have been very familiar with local myths of the Lokrians. The story as told by Mezger, after Böckh and Bossler, is as follows: Deukalion and Pyrrha, grandchildren of Iapetos (compare Hor. “Iapeti genus”) escape the deluge by taking refuge on Parnasos. When the waters subsided, by the devices of Zeus (v. 56), they descended from the mountain (v. 46) to Opus, where, in consequence of an oracle of Zeus, they founded the first town (v. 47), and made the Stone people. To these belonged “the hundred mothers” from whom the Lokrian nobles were descended, as, indeed, the prominence of women among the Lokrians generally is a significant fact. The royal race to which Epharmostos is supposed to have belonged traced their descent from Deukalion and Pyrrha down to Lokros in the male line, and from his adopted son Opus in the female. Lokros was the last of his house, and the race was about to die out with him, but Zeus carried off Protogeneia, daughter of Opus of Elis, and granddaughter of Protogeneia, daughter of Deukalion and Pyrrha; was united to her in the Mainalian mountains, and brought her to the childless Lokros, her cousin, as his wife. Lokros called the offspring of the younger Protogeneia after her father Opus, and gave him the throne. The fame of Opus spread, and many settlers came to him, none dearer than Menoitios.
αἰολοβρόντα Διός: A thunderbolt was the token on the coins of the Lokrians. Ὀποῦς is supposed to be connected with the “eye of God,” lightning.
ὁμόδαμον: They are of the same commonwealth, not of the same blood. Compare the Herakleidai and the Dorians.
σφιν: Refers to Λαοί, “in their honor.” οἶμον λιγύν: οἶμος is more frequently a figurative path. So Engl. “way” yields more and more to “road.” Compare O. 1.110: ὁδὸς λόγων, and Hymn. in Merc. 451: ἀγλαὸς οἶμος ἀοιδῆς (Hom. οἴμη).
αἴνει . . . νεωτέρων: This is said by the Schol. to be an allusion to a sentence of Simonides, who, in blaming P.'s new version of a myth, said, fr. 75 (Bergk): ἐξελέγχει ὁ νέος οἶνος οὔπω (οὐ τὸ, Schneidew.) πέρυσι δῶρον ἀμπέλου: ὁ δὲ μῦθος ὅδε κενεόφρων. P. retorts by insisting on the difference between wine and song. Men want old wine and new song, the former a universal, the latter an Homeric sentiment, Od. 1. 352: τὴν γὰρ ἀοιδὴν μᾶλλον ἐπικλείουσ᾽ ἄνθρωποι, | ἥ τις ἀκουόντεσσι νεωτάτη ἀμθιπέληται. The story has so little warrant that it ought not to weigh, as it does with some, in fixing the date of the ode. Simonides died 456 B.C.
Epode 2λέγοντι μάν: μάν with a note of defiance. Cf. P. 3, 88: “λέγονται μάν” , and especially P. 1.63. The challenge does not refer to the old tale of the deluge, but to the new version of the line of Opus. I renounce the examination of the spider-web speculations that have been spun about the relations of Elis and Opus.
ἄντλον: “The flood,” which rises as the water that rises in the hold of a ship, the regular meaning of ἄντλος. Cf. P. 8.12. The earth appears as a leaky vessel. ἑλεῖν: “Drained.” κείνων: The reference is much disputed. κ.=Λαῶν (Dissen); κ.= Δευκαλίωνος Πύρρας τε (Böckh), which is the more likely by reason of the emphasis on Ἰαπετιονίδος φύτλας.
ὑμέτεροι πρόγονοι: Refers to Epharmostos and his family.
Ἰαπετιονίδος: See O. 3.14.
κοῦροι κορᾶν: Stress is laid again on the distaff side, and it is hard to resist the inference that the novelty of P.'s story consists in dissociating Protogeneia from the Λαοί, the child of Deukalion and Pyrrha from their stone offspring; hence ἀρχᾶθεν.
κορᾶν . . . Κρονιδᾶν: Used by poetic extension for Protogeneia the younger and Zeus, the pl. for the sing., as in fr. IV. 3, 11: γόνον ὑπάτων μὲν πατέρων μελπέμεν γυναικῶν τε Καδμειᾶν ἔμολον (of Dionysos). Bornemann's κόρας . . . φερτάτου is a purely arbitrary simplification. ἐγχώριοι βασιλῆες: ἐγχώριοι is used in opposition to ἐπακτοί. “A purely native line of kings until . . .”
Strophe 3πρὶν Ὀλύμπιος . . . ἔνεικεν: The Schol. makes a full stop at αἰεί, and considers πρίν an adverb, with γάρ omitted =πρότερον γάρ. But πρίν requires a standard of reference and αἰεί forces a close combination. πρίν with the ind. always means “until,” which here marks the introduction of new blood.
ἕκαλος: Acc. to Schol.=λάθρα. Compare Il. 8. 512: μὴ μὰν ἀσπουδί γε νεῶν ἐπιβαῖεν ἕκηλοι, with reference to an escape under cover of the night (διὰ νύκτα).
μίχθη: Cf. O. 6.29. Μαιναλίαισιν ἐν δειραῖς: In Arkadia.
Λοκρῷ: Not merely πρὸς Λοκρόν. Cf. O. 1.46. αἰών: “Time.” ἐφάψαις: As a weight of sorrow.
ἔχεν=φέρεν. Compare P. 3.15: φέρουσα σπέρμα θεοῦ καθαρόν.
ἐκάλεσσέ νιν . . . ἔμμεν: With the same fulness as O. 6.56: κατεφάμιξεν καλεῖσθαι.
πόλιν ὤπασεν: Acc. to another tradition (Eustath. on Il. 2. 531), Lokros had been forced to yield to Opus.
Antistrophe 3ἀφίκοντο δέ ϝοι: For the dat. see P. 4.124, where there is a gathering of heroes, as also N. 8.9.
Ἄργεος: Then at the head of Greece. Θηβᾶν: Pindar's home. Notice the τε ... τε here, the δὲ . . . δέ further on; significant change from parallelism to contrast. Ἀρκάδες: On account of the joyance Μαιναλίαισιν ἐν δειραῖς. Πισᾶται: By reason of the Olympian games.
υἱὸν δ᾽ Ἄκτορος: Il. 11. 785: Μενοίτιος, Ἄκτορος υἱός.
Μενοίτιον: Patroklos is tenderly treated in the Iliad, and often called by his patronymic. So Μενοιτιάδης, Il. 1. 307; 9, 211; 11, 608; 16, 420; 17, 270; 18, 93; Μενοιτίου υἱός, Il. 11. 605; 16, 278. 307. 827; 18, 12.
Τεύθραντος πεδίον: Compare I. 7 (8), 49: ὃ [sc. Ἀχιλλεὺς] καὶ Μύσιον ἀμπελόεν | αἵμαξε Τηλέφου μέλανι ῥαίνων φόνῳ πεδίον. Teuthras was adoptive father of Telephos and king of Mysia. μολών. Rarely, as here, with a simple acc. (N. 10.36).
δεῖξαι ι μαθεῖν: Lit. “to show (so as) to (make one) perceive,” “to show beyond a doubt.” Compare N. 6.9: τεκμαίρει . . . ἰδεῖν, So. O.R. 792: δηλώσοιμ᾽ ὁρᾶν, So. El. 1458: κἀναδεικνύναι . . . ὁρᾶν.
γ᾽ ἶνις: The MSS. have γόνος, unmetrical; Schneidewin Θετιόγνητος, Bergk γ᾽ ὄζος, Mommsen ϝίννος, Bothe γ᾽ ἶνις, in which I have acquiesced, though γ᾽ is a poor piece of patchery, as often.
Epode 3σφετέρας: Homer uses σφέτερος of pl. only. Of sing., “his,” O. 13.61; P. 4.83; I. 5 (6), 33; I. 7 (8), 55; of pl., “their,” I. 2, 27; P. 10.38. The Scholiast remarks how much more honorable Pindar makes the position of Patroklos than Homer does. This divergence from Homer in small matters is a sign of independence of spirit, not of ignorance. Which of the two, Achilles or Patroklos, was ἐραστής, which ἐρώμενος, which the older, which the younger, was much discussed. See Plato's Sympos. 180.
ἔην: A sudden transition. Remember that prayer is always in order, and many asyndeta fall under this head, O. 1.115. A similar shift is found N. 7.50. P. suddenly remembers the heavy load he had to carry, the contract list of the victories of Epharmostos, and prays for more power. “May I find words.” Compare Homer's petition to the Muses, goddesses of Memory, before he begins the catalogue of the ships, Il. 2. 484. ἀναγεῖσθαι: “For my progress” through all the victories of Epharmostos. ἀνά gives the force of “all through.” In N. 10.19: βραχύ μοι στόμ᾽ ἀναγήσασθαι, the figure is effaced; not necessarily so in I. 5 (6), 56: ἐμοὶ δὲ μακρὸν πάσας ἀναγήσασθαι ἀρετάς. Here ἐν Μοισᾶν δίφρῳ, for which see O. 6.22, keeps the figure alive.
πρόσφορος: The traditional “fit,” whether “fit” (for the Muses), “fit” (for the theme), “fit for (ἐν) the Muses' car,” “fit to rehearse” (ἀναγεῖσθαι), gives neither satisfactory sense nor sharp image. If πρόσφορος can be understood as προσφορὰν προσφέρων (cf. v. 116), the passage is perfect. P. is “a bearer” of precious gifts. He would mount the Muses' chariot, passing through the long line of victories with a tribute of praise to each, and for his attendants he wishes poetic Daring and ample Power.
τόλμα: Compare O. 13.11: τόλμα τέ μοι | εὐθεῖα γλῶσσαν ὀρνύει λέγειν.
ἕσποιτο: In v. 16 the concord (λέλογχεν) is with the unit produced by τε, here with the nearer. For the form ἕσπ., see O. 8.11. προξενίᾳ: According to the Schol. Lampromachos was a πρόξενος of the Thebans and a kinsman of Epharmostos. Pindar's coming is a tribute to affection and to achievement. The datives are = διά with acc. ἦλθον: In song. Compare O. 7.13: κατέβαν.
τιμάορος: To claim the honor due. μίτραις: The pendent woollen ribbons of the wreath; hence, by synecdoche, the garland itself.
Strophe 4ἔργον: Cognate acc., being = νίκην. Compare P. 8.80.
ἐν Κορίνθου πύλαις: Poetic variation for Isthmus. χάρμαι: Not in the Homeric sense, but = χάρματα. So also Professor Postgate (Am. Journ. of Phil. III., p. 337). The “horrid” (√ghar) χάρμαι for “contests” would not be endurable in P., who does not tolerate μάχαι of ἀγῶνες, except in a figure (O. 8.58).
ταὶ δέ: “Some.”
Ἄργει . . . ἐν Ἀθάναις: The omission of the preposition with the first and the addition of it to the second word occurs sixteen times in P., according to Bossler's count, but, as Bossler himself admits, all the examples are not cogent, e. g. O. 7.12; P. 4.130 (cf. O. 1.2. 6). Clear are, e. g., P. 1.14; 2, 59; I. 1, 29. The principle seems to be the same as the omission of the first negative, for which see P. 3.30; 6, 48.
συλαθεὶς ἀγενείων: Bold brachylogy. “Reft of the beardless,” of the privilege of contending with the beardless. Cf. O. 8.54.
ἀμφ᾽ ἀργυρίδεσσιν: The prize consisted of silver goblets. On ἀμφί with dat., see O. 7.80.
ὀξυρεπεῖ δόλῳ: “With a quick sleight of shifting balance.” By this light read So. O.R. 961: σμικρὰ παλαιὰ σώματ᾽ εὐνάζει ῥοπή.
ἀπτῶτι: Many a trick ends in a fall for the trickster.
κύκλον: The ring of spectators. ὅσσᾳ βοᾷ: Of applause. P. 4.241; O. 10 (11), 80.
ὡραῖος: P. dwells on the personal beauty of the victors whenever he has an excuse. So O. 8.19; 10 (11), 114; N. 3.19.
Antistrophe 4τὰ δέ: “Then again.” O. 13.55; P. 8.28; I. 3 (4), 11. Παρρασιῳ στρατῷ: At the Lykaia, in Arkadia, O. 13.108; N. 10.48.
ψυχρᾶν . . . εὐδιανὸν φάρμακον αὐρᾶν: The prize was a woollen garment (χλαῖνα). Compare Hipponax, fr. 19: χλαῖναν | δασεῖαν ἐν χειμῶνι φάρμακον ῥίγευς. The games were the Hermaia, and were held, according to the Schol., in winter. ὁπότε: Never generic in P. except with subj.
Πελλάνᾳ: In Achaia. Compare O. 7.86; 13, 109. σύνδικος: Schol. μαρτυρεῖ. Compare O. 13.108: μαρτυρήσει Λυκαίου βωμός. Ἰολάου: The Iolaia were celebrated near Thebes. Compare I. 1, 16 foll. On the tomb of Iolaos, see P. 9.90. Amphitryon was buried there also.
Ἐλευσίς: The Eleusinia, in honor of Demeter and Koré (τὼ θεώ), are mentioned also O. 13.110; I. 1, 57. ἀγλαΐαισιν: The dat. αὐτῷ still lingers in the mind. “Witness to him . . . and to his splendid achievements.”
τὸ δὲ φυᾷ κράτιστον ἅπαν: The keynote of the poem. A natural reflection after the long list of victories due to native endowment in contrast with the fruitless efforts of those who have tried to gain glory by mere training — the ψεφεννοὶ ἄνδρες (compare N. 3.41), whose numberless ventures come to naught.
ἄνευ δὲ θεοῦ , κτἑ.: “Each ungodded thing — each thing wherein God hath no part — is none the worse (for) remaining quenched in silence.” A good specimen of P.'s terse participiality. See note on O. 3.6. τὸ ἄνευ θεοῦ is τὸ μὴ φυᾷ. Deep silence is to bury the διδακταὶ ἀρεταί, but loud proclamation (cf. ὄρθιον ὤρυσαι) is to announce the heaven-sent valiance of this man.
ἐντὶ γὰρ ἄλλαι , κτἑ.: Each thing must have the blessing of God. Some roads lead further than others; not all of us can prosper in one path of work. The heights of skill are steep. Of one Epharmostos has reached the pinnacle. For this no silence, but loud heralding.
Epode 4ὁδῶν . . . μελέτα: The Schol. cites Il. 13. 730: ἄλλῳ μὲν γὰρ ἔδωκε θεὸς πολεμήια ἔργα, | ἄλλῳ δ᾽ ἐν στήθεσσι τιθεῖ νόον εὐρυόπα Ζεύς.
τοῦτο . . . ἄεθλον: The ἐπινίκιον. See v. 87.
ὤρυσαι: A howl of defiance, as if P. were a watch-dog. To us the word has a note of exaggeration. Hence Ahrens: ἄρυσαι=γάρυσαι, but ὤ. is not worse in its way than the “dies diei eructat verbum” of the Vulgate.
δαιμονίᾳ: Adv., δαιμονίᾳ μοίρᾳ (Schol.).
ὁρῶντ᾽ ἀλκάν: “With valor in his eyes.” So πῦρ δεδορκώς, φόβον βλέπων, Engl., “look daggers.”
Αἰάντειόν τ᾽ ἐν δαιτὶ ϝιλιάδα: With Mommsen. “At the banquet of Oïliades he crowned victorious the Aias-altar.” This seems better here than “At the banquet he crowned the altar of Aias Oïliades,” the genitive being in apposition with the adjective in -ιος, as in Γοργείη κεφαλὴ δεινοῖο πελώρου (Il. 5. 741), Νεστορέῃ παρὰ νηὶ Πυλοιγενέος βασιλῆος (Il. 2. 54). ϝιλιάδα for Ὀιλιάδα. Aias, son of Oïleus, was a Lokrian, Il. 2. 527: Λοκρῶν δ᾽ ἡγεμόνευεν Ὀιλῆος ταχὺς Αἴας. His effigy is seen on the coins of Opus. The postscript -τε comes in very well. ἐπεστεφάνωσε: “Crowned in commemoration (ἐπί).” So Fennell. Rather “heaped wreaths upon.”