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Pythian 5
For Arcesilas of Cyrene Chariot Race 462 B. C.

Wealth is widely powerful, whenever a mortal man receives it, blended with pure excellence, from the hands of fortune, and takes it as a companion that makes many friends. [5] Arcesilas, favored by the gods, from the first steps of your famous life you seek for it with glory, by the grace of Castor with his golden chariot, [10] who, after the wintry storm, sheds calm on your blessed hearth. Skillful men are better able to bear even god-given power. Great prosperity surrounds you, as you walk with justice. [15] First, since you are a king of great cities, your inborn eye looks on this as a most revered prize of honor, united with your mind; [20] and you are blessed even now, because you have already earned the boast of victory with your horses from the renowned Pythian festival, and you will welcome this victory-procession of men, a delight for Apollo. And so, do not forget, when you are celebrated in song around Cyrene's sweet garden of Aphrodite, [25] to set the god in the highest place as the cause of all things, and to love Carrhotus above all your companions. He did not bring with him Excuse, the daughter of late-thinking Afterthought, when he came to the house of the descendants of Battus who rule by right; [30] but he was welcomed beside the waters of Castalia, and he flung over your hair the prize of honor for the victorious chariot; his reins were undamaged in the precinct of the twelve swift-footed courses. For he broke no part of his strong equipment; it hangs dedicated there, [35] all the handiwork of dextrous craftsmen, which he brought past the hill of Crisa to the hollow valley of the god. The cypress shrine keeps it [40] beside the statue which the Cretan bowmen set up in the Parnassian chamber, carved from a single piece of wood. Therefore it is fitting to welcome a benefactor with a willing mind. [45] Son of Alexibias, the lovely-haired Graces make you radiant. You are blessed, you who have, even after great hardship, a memorial of the best words. For among forty [50] drivers who fell, having brought your chariot through unscathed with a fearless mind, you have come now from the splendid games to the plain of Libya and your ancestral city. But no man is without a share of toils, or ever will be. [55] Yet the ancient prosperity of Battus continues, despite its dispensation of both good and bad, a tower of the city and a most brilliant shining eye to strangers. Even loud-roaring lions fled in fear from Battus, when he unleashed on them his voice from across the sea. [60] And Apollo, the first leader, doomed the beasts to dread fear, so that his oracles to the guardian of Cyrene would not go unfulfilled. It is Apollo who dispenses remedies to men and women for grievous diseases, [65] and who bestowed on us the cithara, and gives the Muses' inspiration to whomever he will, bringing peaceful concord into the mind, and who possesses the oracular shrine; wherefore he settled the mighty descendants of Heracles and Aegimius in Lacedaemon [70] and in Argos and in sacred Pylos. But it is my part to sing of the lovely glory that comes from Sparta, where the Aegeidae were born, and from there [75] they went to Thera, my ancestors, not without the gods; they were led by a certain fate. From there we have received the feast with its many sacrifices, and at your [80] banquet, Carneian Apollo, we honor the well-built city of Cyrene, which is held by foreigners who delight in bronze, the Trojan descendants of Antenor. For they came with Helen, after they had seen their native city consumed in the smoke [85] of war. And that horse-driving race was faithfully welcomed with sacrifices by men who came to them bringing gifts, men whom Aristoteles1led, when, with his swift ships, he opened a deep path across the sea. And he founded precincts of the gods that were greater than before, [90] and he established, for the processions of Apollo, protector of men, a straight cut, level, paved road for the clatter of horses' hooves, where at the edge of the marketplace he rests by himself in death. He was blessed when he dwelled among men, [95] and thereafter a hero worshipped by the people. Apart from him, in front of the houses, are the other sacred kings who took their allotted places in Hades, and somehow below the earth they hear, in their minds, great excellence sprinkled with gentle dew [100] by the outpourings of victory-songs—prosperity for themselves, and a justly earned and shared grace for their son Arcesilas. It is fitting for him, in the song of the young men, to celebrate Phoebus with his golden sword, [105] now that he has received from Pytho the graceful victory-song as a compensation for his expense. Intelligent men praise him. I will say what has been said by others: [110] he nurtures a mind and tongue that are beyond his years; in courage he is a long-winged eagle among birds; his strength in competition is like a bulwark. Among the Muses, he has had wings since he was a child in his dear mother's lap, [115] and he has proved himself a skillful charioteer. He has boldly tried every local opportunity for fine deeds, and now a god gladly brings his power to perfection; and in the future, blessed sons of Cronus, grant him the same, both in deeds and in counsels, [120] lest some fruit-destroying blast of winter wind quell his life. The great mind of Zeus steers the fortune of men that he loves. I pray to him [125] to grant another prize of honor at Olympia to the race of Battus.

1 The other name of the founder of Cyrene, Battus.

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  • Commentary references to this page (34):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 1-150
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 911-1085
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 68
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 177
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 563
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 726
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 240
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 782
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 552
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 2.199
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 4.174
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 4.606
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 1.317
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 5.509
    • George W. Mooney, Commentary on Apollonius: Argonautica, 3.666
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 1
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 10
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 13
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 14
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 2
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 3
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 5
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 6
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 7
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 8
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 9
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 1
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 10
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 2
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 3
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 4
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 6
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 8
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, 9
  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter II
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, His style
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, Dialect
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, Syntax
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, Pindar's life
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