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Pythian 8
For Aristomenes of Aegina Wrestling 446 B. C.

Kindly Peace, daughter of Justice, you who make cities great, holding the supreme keys of counsels and of wars, [5] receive this honor due to Aristomenes for his Pythian victory. For you know both how to give and how to receive gentleness, with precise timing. And yet, whenever anyone drives pitiless anger into his heart, [10] you meet the strength of your enemies roughly, sinking Arrogance in the flood. Porphyrion did not know your power, when he provoked you beyond all measure. Gain is most welcome, when one takes it from the home of a willing giver. [15] Violence trips up even a man of great pride, in time. Cilician Typhon with his hundred heads did not escape you, nor indeed did the king of the Giants.1 One was subdued by the thunderbolt, the other by the bow of Apollo, who with a gracious mind welcomed the son of Xenarces on his return from Cirrha, crowned with [20] a garland of laurel from Parnassus and with Dorian victory-song. His island with her just city has not fallen far from the Graces, having attained the famous excellence of the Aeacidae; she has had perfect [25] glory from the beginning. She is praised in song for having fostered heroes who were supreme in many victory-bearing contests and in swift battles; and she is distinguished in these things even for her men. But I do not have the time to set up [30] their whole long story to the lyre and the gentle voice, for fear that satiety would come and distress us. But my debt to you, child, which comes running at my feet, your latest fine achievement, let it fly on the wings of my artfulness. [35] For in wrestling you follow in the footsteps of your mother's brothers, and you do not disgrace Theognetus at Olympia, nor the bold-limbed victory of Cleitomachus at the Isthmus. And by exalting the clan of the Midylids, you fulfill the prophecy which once Amphiaraus the son of Oicles spoke in riddling words, when he saw, in seven-gated [40] Thebes, those sons standing by their spears, when they came from Argos on that second march, the Epigoni. Thus he spoke, while they were fighting: “By nature the genuine spirit of the fathers [45] is conspicuous in the sons. I clearly see Alcmaeon, wielding a dappled serpent on his blazing shield, the first at the gates of Cadmus. And he who suffered in the earlier disaster, the hero Adrastus, now has the tidings of a better [50] bird of omen. But at home his luck will be the opposite. For he alone of the Danaan army will gather the bones of his dead son, by the fortune sent from the gods, and come with his people unharmed [55] to the spacious streets of Argos, the city of Abas.” So spoke Amphiaraus. And I myself rejoice as I fling garlands over Alcmaeon and sprinkle him with song, because this hero is my neighbor and guardian of my possessions, and he met me when I was going to the songful navel of the earth, [60] and he touched on prophecies with his inborn arts. And you, Apollo, shooting from afar, you who govern the glorious temple, hospitable to all, in the hollows of Pytho, there you granted the greatest of joys. [65] And before, in your festival at home, you brought him a coveted gift for the pentathlon. Lord, I pray that with a willing mind I may observe a certain harmony on every step of my way. [70] Justice stands beside the sweet-singing victory procession. I pray that the gods may regard your fortunes without envy, Xenarces. For if anyone has noble achievements without long toil, to many he seems to be a skillful man among the foolish, [75] arming his life with the resources of right counsel. But these things do not depend on men. It is a god who grants them; raising up one man and throwing down another. Enter the struggle with due measure. You have won a prize of honor at Megara, and in the valley of Marathon; and at the local contest of Hera [80] you were dominant in action with three victories, Aristomenes. And you fell from above on the bodies of four opponents, with grim intent; to them no cheerful homecoming was allotted, as it was to you, at the Pythian festival; [85] nor, when they returned to their mothers, did sweet laughter awaken joy. They slink along the back-streets, away from their enemies, bitten by misfortune. But he who has gained some fine new thing in his great opulence [90] flies beyond hope on the wings of his manliness, with ambitions that are greater than wealth. But the delight of mortals grows in a short time, and then it falls to the ground, shaken by an adverse thought. [95] Creatures of a day. What is someone? What is no one? Man is the dream of a shadow. But when the brilliance given by Zeus comes, a shining light is on man, and a gentle lifetime. Dear mother Aegina, convey this city on her voyage of freedom, with the blessing of Zeus, and the ruler Aeacus, [100] and Peleus, and good Telamon, and Achilles.

1 Porphyrion, mentioned above.

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  • Commentary references to this page (29):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 1086-1109
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 463-512
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 711
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1170
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1326
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 370
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 131
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1426
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 3.5
    • W. Walter Merry, James Riddell, D. B. Monro, Commentary on the Odyssey (1886), 12.27
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 18.501
    • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 9.522
    • 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, 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, 5
    • 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 (7):
    • 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 III
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, Pindar's thought
    • 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
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (2):
    • Apollodorus, Library, Apollod. 1.6
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Pindar: The Olympian and Pythian Odes, Syntax
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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