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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pindar

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PINDAR (Gr Πίνδαρος, c. 522–443 B.C.), the great lyric poet of ancient Greece, was born at Cynoscephalae, in Boeotia, at the time of the Pythian games (fr. 175, Bergk4, 193),[1] which is taken by Bockh to be 522 B.C. He would thus be some thirty-four years younger than Simonides of Ceos. He was the son of Daiphantus and Cleodice (or Cleidice). The traditions of his family have left their impress on his poetry, and are not without importance for a correct estimate of his relation to his contemporaries The clan of the Aegidae-tracing their line from the hero Aegeus-belonged to the “ Cadmean ” element of Thebes, i.e. to the elder nobility whose supposed date went back to the days of the founder Cadmus A branch of the Theban Aegidae had been settled in Achaean times at Amyclae in the valley of the Eurotas (Pind. Isthm. vi. 14), and after the Dorian conquest of the Peloponnesus had apparently been adopted by the Spartans into one of the three Dorian tribes. The Spartan Aegidae helped to colonize the island of Thera (Pyth. v. 68–70). Another branch of the race was settled at Cyrene in Africa; and Pindar tells how his Aegid clansmen at Thebes “showed honour” to Cyrene as often as they kept the festival of the Carnea (Pyth. v. 75). Pindar is to be conceived, then, as standing within the circle of those families for whom the heroic myths were domestic records. He had a personal link with the memories which everywhere were most cherished by Dorians, no less than with those which appealed to men of “Cadinean” or of Achaean stock. And the wide ramifications of the Aegidae throughout Hellas rendered it peculiarly fitting that a member of that illustrious clan should celebrate the glories of many cities in verse which was truly Panhellenic.

Pindar is said to have received lessons in flute-playing from one Scopelinus at Thebes, and afterwards to have studied at Athens under the musicians Apollodorus (or Agathocles) and Lasus of Hermione. In his youth, as the story went, he was defeated in a poetical contest by the Theban Corinna-who, in reference to his profuse employment of Theban mythology, is said to have advised him “to sow with the hand, not with the sack.” There is an extant fragment in which Corinna reproves another Theban poetess, Myrtis, “for that she, a woman, contended with Pindar” (ὅτι βανὰ φοῦσ’ ἔβα Πινδάροιο ποτ’ ἔριν)—a sentiment which hardly fits the story of Corinna’s own victory. The facts that stand out from these meagre traditions are that Pindar was precocious and laborious. Preparatory labour of a somewhat severe and complex kind was, indeed, indispensable for the Greek lyric poet of that age Lyric composition demanded studies not only in metre but in music, and in the adaptation of both to the intricate movements of the choral dance (ὀρχηςτική). Several passages in Pindar’s extant odes glance at the long technical development of Greek lyric poetry before his time, and at the various elements of art which the lyrist was required to temper into a harmonious whole (see, e.g. Ol. iii. 8, vi. 91, xiii. 18, xiv. 15; Pyth. xii. 23, &c.). The earliest ode which can be dated (Pyth. x.) belongs to the twentieth year of Pindar’s age (502 B.C.), the latest (Olymp. v.) to the seventieth (452 B.C.).[2] He visited the court of Hiero at Syracuse; Theron, the despot of Acragas, also entertained him; and his travels perhaps included Cyrene. Tradition notices the special closeness of his relations with Delphi: “He was greatly honoured by all the Greeks, because he was so beloved of Apollo that he even received a share of the offerings; and at the sacrifices the priest would cry aloud that Pindar come in to the feast of the god.”[3] His wife's name was Megacleia (another account says Timoxena, but this may have been a second wife), and he had a son named Daiphantus and two daughters, Eumetis and Protomache. He is said to have died at Argos, at the age of seventy-nine, in 443 B.C.)

Among the Greeks of his own and later times Pindar was pre-eminently distinguished for his piety towards the gods. He tells us that, “near to the vestibule” of his house (Pyth. iii. 78), choruses of maidens used to dance and sing by night in praise of the Mother of the Gods (Cybele) and Pan-deities peculiarly associated with the Phrygian music of the flute, in which other members of Pindar's family besides the poet himself are said to have excelled. A statue and shrine of Cybele, which he dedicated at Thebes, were the Work of the Theban artists, Aristomedes and Socrates. He also dedicated at Thebes a statue to Hermes Agoraios, and another, by Calamis, to Zeus Ammon. The latter god claimed his especial veneration because Cyrene, one of the homes of his Aegid ancestry, stood “where Zeus Ammon hath his seat,” i.e. near the oasis and temple (Pyth. iv. 16). The author of one of the Greek lives of Pindar says that, “when Pausanias the king of the Lacedaemonians was burning Thebes, some one wrote on Pindar’s house, ‘Burn not the house of Pindar the poet’; and thus it alone escaped destruction.” This incident, of which the occasion is not further defined, has been regarded as a later invention.[4] Better attested, at least, is the similar clemency of Alexander the Great, when he sacked Thebes one hundred and eight years after the traditional date of Pindar’s death (335 B.C.). He spared only (1) the Cadmeia, or citadel, of Thebes (thenceforth to be occupied by a Macedonian garrison); (2) the temples and holy places; and (3) Pindar’s house. While the inhabitants were sold into slavery, exception was made only of (1) priests and priestesses; (2) persons who had been connected by private ξενία. with Philip or Alexander, or by public ξενία. with the Macedonians; (3) Pindar’s descendants. It is probable enough, as Dio Chrysostom suggests (ii. 33), that Alexander was partly moved by personal gratitude to a poet who had celebrated his ancestor Alexander I. of Macedon. But he must have been also, or chiefly, influenced by the sacredness which in the eyes of all Hellenes surrounded Pindar’s memory, not only as that of a great national poet, but also as that of a man who had stood in a specially close relation to the gods, and, above all, to the Delphian Apollo.[5] Upwards of six hundred years after Pindar’s death the traveller Pausanias saw an iron chair which was preserved among the most precious treasures of the temple in the sanctuary at Delphi. It was the chair, he was told, “in which Pindar used to sit, whenever he came to Delphi, and to chant those of his songs which pertain to Apollo” (x. 24, 5).

During the second half of Pindar’s life, Athens was rising to that supremacy in literature and art which was to prove more lasting than her political primacy. Pindar did not live to see the Parthenon, or to witness the mature triumphs of Sophocles; but he knew the sculpture of Calamis, and he may have known the masterpieces of Aeschylus. It is interesting to note the feeling of this great Theban poet, who stands midway between Homeric epos and Athenian drama, towards the Athens of which Thebes was so often the bitterest foe, but with which l1e himself had so large a measure of spiritual kinship. A few words remain from a dithyramb in which he paid a glowing tribute to those “sons of Athens” who “laid the shining foundations of freedom” (παῖδες Ἀθαναίων ἐβάλοντο φαεννὰν κρηπῖδ’ ἐλευθερίας, fr. 55, Bergk4, 77), while Athens itself is thus invoked: ῶ ταὶ λιπαραὶ καὶ ἰοστέφανοι καὶ ἀοίδιμοι Ἑλλάδος ἔρεισμα, κλειταὶ Ἀθᾶναι δαιμόννιον πτολίεθρον (fr. 54, Bergk4, 76). Isocrates, writing in 353 B.C., states that the phrase Ἑλλάδος ἔρεισμα, “stay of Hellas,” so greatly gratified the Athenians that they conferred on Pindar the high distinction of προξενία. (i.e. appointed him honorary consul, as it were-for Athens at Thebes), besides presenting him with a large sum of money (Antidosis, 166). One of the letters of the pseudo-Aeschines (Ep. iv.) gives an improbable turn to the story by saying that the Thebans had fined Pindar for his praise of Athens, and that the Athenians repaid him twice the sum.[6] The notice preserved by Isocrates—less than one hundred years after Pindar’s death—is good warrant for the belief that Pindar had received some exceptional honours from Athens. Pausanias saw a statue of Pindar at Athens, near the temple of Ares (i. 8, 4). Besides the fragment just mentioned, several passages in Pindar’s extant odes bespeak his love for Athens. Its name is almost always joined by him with some epithet of praise or reverence. In alluding to the great battles of the Persian wars, while he gives the glory of Plataea to the Spartans, he assigns that of Salamis to the Athenians (Pyth. i. 76). In celebrating (Pyth. vii) the Pythian victory of the Athenian Megacles, he begins thus: “Fairest of preludes is the renown of Athens for the mighty race of the Alcmaeonidae. What home, or what house, could I call mine by a name that should sound more glorious for Hellas to hear?” Referring to the fact that an Aeginetan victor in the games had been trained by an Athenian, he says (Nem. v. 49) “meet it is that a shaper of athletes should come from Athens”—and recollecting how often Pindar compares the poet’s efforts to the athlete’s, we may well believe that he was thinking of his own early training at Athens.

Pindar’s versatility as a lyric poet is one of the characteristics remarked by Horace (Odes, iv. 2), and is proved by the fragments, though the poems which have come down entire represent only one class of compositions—the Epinicia, or odes of victory, commemorating successes in the great games. The lyric types to which Works.the fragments belong, though it cannot be assumed that the list is complete, are at least numerous and varied.

(1) Ὕμνοι, Hymns to deities—as to Zeus Ammon, to Persephone, to Fortune. The fragmentary ὕμνος entitled Θηβαίοις seems to have celebrated the deities of Thebes. (2) Παιᾶνες, gments. paeans, expressing prayer or praise for the help of a protecting god, especially Apollo, Artemis or Zeus. (3) Διθύραμβοι, Dithyrambs, odes of a lofty and impassioned strain, sung by choruses in honour of Dionysus (cf. Pind. Ol. xiii. 18, ταὶ Διωνύσου πόθεν ἐξέφανεν σὺν βοηλάτᾳ Χάριτες διθυράμβῳ—where Pindar alludes to the choral form given to the dithyramb, c. 600 B.C., by Arion—βοηλάτης, " ox-driving, ” perhaps meaning “winning an ox as prize”). (4) Προσόδια, Processional Songs, choral chants for worshippers approaching a shrine. One was written by Pindar for the Delians, another for the Aeginetans. (5) Παρθένια, Choral Songs for Maidens. The reference in Pyth. iii. 78 to maidens worshipping Cybele and Pan near the poet’s house is illustrated by the fact that one of these Παρθένια invoked “Pan, lord of Arcadia, attendant of the Great Mother, watcher of her awful shrine” (fr. 72, Bergk4, 95). (6) Ὑπορχήματα, Choral Dance-Songs, adapted to a lively movement, used from an early date in the cult of Apollo, and afterwards in that of other gods, especially Dionysus. To this class belongs one of the finest fragments (84, Bergk 4, 107), written for the Thebans in connexion with propitiatory rites after an eclipse of the sun, probably that of the 30th of April 463 B.C. (7) Ἐγκώμια, Songs of Praise (for men, while i9;.u/on were for gods), to be sung by a f<&>;/ns or festal company. In strictness éyxtbpiov was the genus of which é7l'Ll/IKLOV was a species; but the latter is more conveniently treated as a distinct kind. Pindar wrote encomia for Theron, de spot of Acra as, and for Alexander I. (son of Amyntas), king of Macedon. (8) Exbma, Festal Songs. The usual sense of 0'K6)LOV is a drinking-song, taken up by one guest after another at a banquet. But Pindar s ¢n<6>¢a were choragand anti strophic. One was to be sung at Corinth by a chorus of the fkpaaevxef attached to the temple of Aphrodite Ourania, when a certain Xenophon offered sacrifice before going to compete at Olympia. Another brilliant fragment, for Theoxenus of Ten-edos, has an erotic character. (9) Opfp/oc, Dirges, to be sung with choral dance and the music of the flute, either at the burial of the dead or in commemorative rituals. Some of the most beautiful fragments belong to this class (106-110, Bergk4, 129-133). One of the smaller fragments (114, Bergk4, 137)-in memory of an Athenian who had been initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries (iédw Kei:/a)-has been conjecturally referred to the Gpiix/os which Pindar is said to have written (schol. Pyth. vii. 18) for Hippocrates, the grandfather of Pericles. A number of small fragments, which cannot be certainly classified, are usually given as ég aéfpkwv ei6&>v, “of uncertain class.” On comparing the above list with Horace, Odes, iv. 2, it will be seen that he alludes to No. 3 (d1thyrambos); to Nos. 1, 2, and 7 (seu deos regesve canit); and to No. 9 (/iebzlz s onsae juvenemve raptum Plorat)-as well as to the extant Epmzcza (gave guos Elea domum reduczt Palma caelestes). Works.

The Epinicia.—The ἐπινίκια (sc., μέλη), or ἐπινἰκοι (sc. ), “Odes of Victory,” form a collection of forty-four odes, traditionally divided into four books, answering to the four great festivals: (1) Ὀλυμπιονῖκαι (sc. ὕμνοι): fourteen odes for winners of the wild olive-wreath in the Olympian games, held at Olympia in honour of Zeus once in four years; (2) Πυθιονῖκαι twelve odes for winners of the laurel-wreath in the Pythian games held at Delphi in honour of Apollo, once in four years, the third of each Olympiad; (3) Νεμεονῖκαι eleven odes for winners of the pine-wreath in the Nemean games, held at Nemea, in honour of Zeus, once in two years, the second and fourth of each Olympiad; and (4) 'Io0, utov'Zxa.1.: seven odes for winners of the parsley wreath in the Isthmian games, held at the Isthmus of Corinth, in honour of Poseidon, once in two years, the first and third of each Olympiad. The Greek way of citing an ode is by the nomin plur followed by the numeral, e.g. “the ninth Olympian” is Ὀλυμπισνῖκαι θ′. The chronological range of the collection (so far as ascertainable) is from 502 B.C. (Pyth. x.) to 452 B.C. (Ol. v.). With respect to the native places of the victors, the geographical distribution is as follows: for the mainland of Greece proper, 13 odes; for Aegina, 11; for Sicily, 15; for the Epizephyrian Locrians (southern Italy), 2; for Cyrene (Africa), 3.

The general characteristics of the odes may be briefly considered under the following heads: (1) language; (2) treatment of theme; (3) sentiment—religious, moral and political; (4) relation to contemporary art.

1. The diction of Pindar is distinct in character from that of every other Greek poet, being almost everywhere marked by the greatest imaginative boldness. Thus (a) metaphor is used even for the expression of common ideas, or the translation of familiar phrases, as when a cloak is called (Ol. ix. 97) “a warm remedy for winds.” (b) Images for the highest excellence are drawn from the farthest limits of travel or navigation, or from the fairest of natural objects, as when the superlative hospitality of a man who kept open house all the year round is described by saying, “far as to Phasis was his voyage in summer days, and in winter to the shores of Nile” (Isthm. ii. 41); or when Olympia, the “crown” or “flower” of festivals, is said to be excellent as water, bright as gold, brilliant as the noonday sun (Ol. i ad init.) This trait might be called the Pindaric imagery of the superlative. (c) Poetical inversion of ordinary phrase is frequent, as, instead of, “he struck fear into the beasts,” “he gave the beasts to fear” (Pyth. v. 56). (d) The efforts of the poet’s genius are represented under an extraordinary number of similitudes, borrowed from javelin-throwing, chariot-driving, leaping, rowing, sailing, ploughing, building, shooting with the bow, sharpening a knife on a whetstone, mixing wine in a bowl, and many more. (e) Homely images, from common life, are not rare; as from account-keeping, usury, sending merchandise over sea, the σκυτάλη or secret dispatch, &c. And we have such homely proverbs as, “he hath his foot in this shoe,” i.e. stands in this case (Ol. vi. 8). (f) The natural order of words in a sentence is often boldly deranged, while, on the other hand, the syntax is seldom difficult. (g) Words not found except in Pindar are numerous, many of these being compounds which (like ἐναρίμβροτος, καταφυλλοροεῖν, &c.) suited the dactylic metres in their Pindaric combinations. Horace was right in speaking of Pindar’s “nova verba,” though they were not confined to the “audaces dithyrambi.”

2. The actual victory which gave occasion for the ode is seldom treated at length or in detail—which, indeed, only exceptional incidents could justify. Pindar’s method is to take some heroic myth, or group of myths, connected with the victor’s city or family, and, after a brief prelude, to enter on this, returning at the close, as a rule, to the subject of the victor’s merit or good fortune, and interspersing the whole with moral comment. Thus the fourth Pythian is for Arcesilaus, king of Cyrene, which was said to have been founded by men of Thera, descendants of one of Jason’s comrades. Using this link, Pindar introduces his splendid narrative of the Argonauts. Many odes, again, contain shorter mythical episodes—as the birth of Iamus (Ol. vi), or the vision of Bellerophon (Ol. xiii)—which form small pictures of masterly finish and beauty. Particular notice is due to the skill with which Pindar often manages the return from a mythical digression to his immediate theme. It is bold and swift, yet is not felt as harshly abrupt—justifying his own phrase at one such turn—καί τινα οἶμον ἴσαμι βραχύν (Pyth. iv. 247). It has been thought that, in the parenthesis about the Amazons’ shields (quibus Mos unde deductus . . . quaerere distuli, Odes, iv. 4, 18), Horace was imitating a Pindaric transition; if so, he has illustrated his own observation as to the peril of imitating the Theban poet.

3. a. The religious feeling of Pindar is strongly marked in the odes “From the gods are all means of human excellence.” He will not believe that the gods, when they dined with Tantalus, ate his son Pelops, rather Poseidon carried off the youth to Olympus. That is, his reason for rejecting a scandalous story about the gods is purely religious, as distinct from moral, it shocks his conception of the divine dignity. With regard to oracles, he inculcates precisely such a view as would have been most acceptable to the Delphic priesthood, viz. that the gods do illumine their prophets, but that human wit can foresee nothing which the gods do not choose to reveal. A mystical doctrine of the soul’s destiny after death appears in some passages (as Ol. ii. 66 sq). Pindar was familiar with the idea of metempsychosis (cf. ibid. 68), but the attempt to trace Pythagoreanism in some phrases (Pyth. ii. 34, iii. 74) appears unsafe. The belief in a fully conscious existence for the soul in a future state, determined by the character of the earthly life, entered into the teaching of the Eleusinian and other mysteries. Comparing the fragment of the Θρῆνος (114, Bergk4, 137), we may probably regard the mystic or esoteric element in Pindar’s theology as due to such a source.

b. The moral sentiment pervading Pindar’s odes rests on a constant recognition of the limits imposed by the divine will on human effort, combined with strenuous exhortation that each man should strive to reach the limit allowed in his own case. Native temperament (φυή) is the grand source of all human excellence (ἀρετή), while such excellences as can be acquired by study (διδακταὶ ἀρεταἰ, Ol. ix. 100) are of relatively small scope—the sentiment, we may remark, of one whose thoughts were habitually conversant with the native qualities of a poet on the one hand and of an athlete on the other. The elements of ὑγίεις ὄλβος—“sane happiness,” such as has least reason to dread the jealousy of the gods—are substance sufficing for daily wants and good repute (εὐλογία). He who has these should not “seek to be a god.” “Wealth set with virtues” (πλοῦτος ἀρεταῖς δεδαιδαλμένος), as gold with precious gems, is the most fortunate lot, because it affords the amplest opportunities for honourable activity. Pindar does not rise above the ethical standard of an age which said, “love thy friend and hate thy foe” (cf. Pyth. ii. 83; Isthm. iii. 65). But in one sense he has a moral elevation which is distinctively his own; he is the glowing prophet of generous emulation and of reverent self control.

c. The political sentiments of the Theban poet are suggested by Pyth. xi. 52; “In polities I find the middle state crowned with more enduring good, therefore praise I not the despot’s portion; those virtues move my zeal which serve the folk.” If in Pyth. ii. 87, a democracy is described as ὁ λάβρος στρατός, “the raging crowd,” it is to be noted that the ode is for Hiero of Syracuse, and that the phrase clearly refers to the violence of those democratic revolutions which, in the early part of the 5th century B.C., more than once convulsed Sicilian cities. At Thebes, after the Persian wars, a “constitutional oligarchy” (ὀλιγαρχία ἰσόνομος, Thuc. iii. 62) had replaced the narrower and less temperate oligarchy of former days (δυναστεία οὐ μετὰ νόμων), and in this we may probably recognize the phase of Greek political life most congenial to Pindar. He speaks of a king’s lot as unique in its opportunities (Ol. i. 113), he sketches the character of an ideal king (Pyth. iii. 71); but nothing in his poetry implies liking for the τυραννίς as a form of government. Towards the Greek princes of Sicily and Cyrene his tone is ever one of manly independence; he speaks as a Greek citizen whose lineage places him on a level with the proudest of the Dorian race, and whose office invests him with an almost sacred dignity. In regard to the politics of Hellas at large, Pindar makes us feel the new sense of leisure for quiet pursuits and civilizing arts which came after the Persian wars. He honours “Tranquillity, the friend of cities” (Ἁσυχία φιλόπολις, Ol. iv. 16). The epic poet sang of wars; Pindar celebrates the “rivalries of peace.”

4. Pindar’s genius was boldly original; at the same time he was an exquisite artist. “Mine be it to invent new strains, mine the skill to hold my course in the chariot of the Muses; and may courage go with me, and power of ample grasp” (Ol. ix. 80). Here we see the exulting sense of inborn strength, in many other places we perceive the feeling of conscious art—as in the phrase δαιδάλλειν, so apt for his method of inlaying an ode with mythical subjects, or when he compares the opening of a song to the front of a stately building (Ol. vi. 3). Pindar's sympathy with external nature was deeper and keener than is often discernible in the poetry of his age. It appears, for example, in his welcome of the season when “the chamber of the hours is opened, and delicate plants perceive the fragrant spring” (fr. 53, Bergk 4, 75), in the passage where Jason invokes “the rushing strength of waves and winds, and the nights, and the paths of the deep” (Pyth. iv. 195), in the lines on the eclipse of the sun (fr 84, Bergk,4 107), and in the picture of the eruption, when Etna, “pillar of the sky, nurse of keen snow all the year,” sends forth “ pure springs of tire unapproachable” (Pyth i. 20) The poet’s feeling for colour is often noticeable —as in the beautiful story of the birth of Iamus—when Evadne lays aside her silver pitcher and her girdle of scarlet web; the babe is found, “its delicate body steeped in the golden and deep purple rays of pansies” (Ol. vi 55).

The spirit of art, in every form, is represented for Pindar by χάρις—“the source of all delights to mortals” (Ol. i. 30)—or by the personified Charites (Graces). The Charites were often represented as young maidens, decking themselves with early flowers-the rose, in particular, being sacred to them as well as to Aphrodite In Pindar's mind, as in the old Greek conception from which the worship of the Charites sprang. the instinct of beautiful art was inseparable from the sense of natural The period from 500 to 460 B.C., to which most of Pindar's extant odes belong, marked a stage in the development of Greek sculpture. The schools of Argos, Sicyon and Aegina were effecting a transition from archaic types to the art which was afterwards matured in the age of Pheidias. Olympia forms the central link between Pindar's poetry and Greek sculpture From about 560 B.C. onwards sculpture had been applied to the commemoration of athletes, chiefly at Olympia. In a striking passage (Nem. v. ad. init.) Pindar recognizes sculpture and poetry as sister arts employed in the commemoration of the athlete, and contrasts the merely local effect of the statue with the wide diffusion of the poem “No sculptor I, to fashion images that shall stand idly on one pedestal for aye; no, go thou forth from Aegina, sweet song of mine, on every freighted ship, on each light bark.” Many particular subjects were common to Pindar and contemporary sculpture Thus (1) the sculptures on the east pediment of the temple at Aegina represented Heracles coming to seek the aid of Telamon against Troy—a theme brilliantly treated by Pindar in the fifth Isthmian; (2) Hiero’s victory in the chariot-race was commemorated at Olympia by the joint work of the sculptors Onatas and Calamis; (3) the Gigantomachia, (4) the wedding of Heracles and Hebe, (5) the war of the Centaurs with the Lapithae, and (6) a contest between Heracles and Apollo, are instances of mythical material treated alike by the poet and by sculptors of his day The contemporary improvements in town architecture, introducing spacious and well paved streets, such as the ςκυρωτὴ ὁδός; at Cyrene (Pyth. v 87) suggests his frequent comparison of the paths of song to broad and stately causeways (πλατεῖα πρόσοδοι—ἐκατόμπεδοι κέλευθοι, Nem. vi. 47, Isthm. vi. 22). A song is likened to cunning work which blends gold, ivory and coral (Nem. vii. 78). Pindar's feeling that poetry, though essentially a divine gift, has a technical side (σοφία), and that on this side it has had an historical development like that of other arts, is forcibly illustrated by his reference to the inventions (σοφίσματα) for which Corinth had early been famous He instances (1) the development of the dithyramb, (2) certain improvements in the harnessing and driving of horses, and (3) the addition of the pediment to temples (Ol. xiii. 21)

In the development of Greek lyric poetry two periods are broadly distinguished During the first, from about 600 to 500 B.C., lyric poetry is local or tribal—as Alcaeus and Sappho write for Lesbians, Alcman and Stesichorus for Dorlans During the second period, which takes its rise in the sense of Hellenic unity created by the Persian wars, the lyric poet addresses all Greece. Pindar and Simonides are the great representatives of this second period, to which Bacchylides, the nephew of Simonides, also belongs. These, with a few minor poets, are classed by German writers as die universalen Meliker. The Greeks usually spoke, not of “lyric,” but of “melic” poetry (i.e. meant to be sung, and not, like the epic, recited), and “universal melic” is lyric poetry addressed to all Greece. But Pindar is more than the chief extant lyrist. Epic, lyric and dramatic poetry succeeded each other in Greek literature by a natural development. Each of them was the spontaneous utterance of the age which brought It forth. In Pindar we can see that phase of the Greek mind which produced Homeric epos passing over into the phase which produced Athenian drama. His spirit is often thoroughly dramatic-witness such scenes as the interview between Jason and Pelias (Pyth. iv.), the meeting of Apollo and Chiron (Pyth. ix), the episode of Castor and Polydeuces (Nem. x.), the entertainment of Heracles by Telamon (Isthm. v.). Epic narrative alone was no longer enough for the men who had known that great trilogy of national life, the Persian invasions; they longed to see the heroes moving and to hear them speaking. The poet of Olympia, accustomed to see beautiful forms in vivid action or vivid art, was well fitted to be the lyric interpreter of the new dramatic impulse. Pindar has more of the Homeric spirit than any Greek lyric poet known to us. On the other side, he has a genuine, if less evident, kinship with Aeschylus and Sophocles. Pindar's work, like Olympia itself, illustrates the spiritual unity of Greek art.

The fact that certain glosses and lacunae are common to all cur MSS. of Pindar make it probable that these MSS. are derived from a common archetype. Now the older scholia on Pindar, which appear to have been compiled mainly from the commentaries of Didymus (c. 15 B.C.), sometimes presuppose a urer text than ours. But the compiler of these older scholia lived after Herodian (A.D. 160). The archetype of our MSS., then, cannot have been older than the end of the 2nd century. Our MSS. fall into two general classes: (1) the older, re resenting a text which, though often corrupt, is comparatively free from interpolations; (2) the later, which exhibit the traces of a Byzantine recension, in other words, of lawless conjecture, down to the 14th or 15th century. To the first class belong Parisinus 7, breaking off in Pyth. v.; Ambrosianus I, which has only Ol. i.-xii.; Mediceus 2; and Vatlcanus 2-the two last-named being of the highest value. The editio princeps is the Aldine (Venice, 1513). A modern study of Pindar may be almost said to have begun with C. G. Heyne's edition (1773). Hermann did much to advance Pindaric criticism. But August Bockh (1811–1821), who was assisted in his commentary by L. Dissen, is justly regarded as the founder of a scientific treatment of the poet. The edition of Theodor Bergk (Poetae lyrici graeci, new ed. by O. Schroder, 1900) is marked by considerable boldness of conjecture, as that of Tycho Mommsen (1864) by a sometimes excessive adherence to MSS A recension b W. Christ has been published in Teubner's series (2nd ed., 1896) , also with Prolegomena and commentary (1896), and by O. Schroder (1908). The complete edition of J. W. Donaldson (1841) has many merits; but that of C. A. M. Fennell (1879–1883; new ed., 1893–1899) is better adapted to the needs of English students. The Olympia and Pythia have been edited by B. L. Gildersleeve (1885), the Nemea and Isthmia by J. B. Bury (1890–1892); the Scholta by E. Abel (1890, unfinished) and A B Brachmann (1903) There is a special lexicon by J. Rumpel (1883). The translation into English prose by Ernest Myers (2nd ed, 1883) is excellent; verse translation by . C. Baring (1875), and of the Olympian Odes by Cyril Mayne (1906). Pindar's metres have been analysed by J. H. H. Schmidt, in Die Kunstformen der griechischen Poeste (Leipzig, 1868–1872). On Pindar generally, see monographs by A. F. Villemain (1859), L. Schmidt (1862), G. Lubbert (1882), A Croiset (1880), Christ, Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur (1898); and the little volume by F. D. Morice in Blackwood's Ancient Classics for English Readers. exhaustive bibliographical information on the earlier literature will be found in Engelmann, Scriptores graeci (1881); see also L. Bornemann, in Bursian's Jahresbericht, (cxvi. 1904), with special reference to chronological questions and Pythta, i, ii., iii. Some considerable fragments of the paeans were discovered in 1906 by B P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt (see Oxyrhynchus papyri, pt. v. pp. 24–81); some critical notes will be found in Classical Review, Feb. 1908 (A. E. Housman).  (R. C. J.; X.) 

  1. The references are to the edition of Pindar by C. A. M. Fennel (1807–1890) and the fourth edition of Bergk’s Poetae lyrici graeci.
  2. According to others, his latest poem is the eighth Pythian ode, 450 or 446
  3. Πινδάρον γένος, in ed. Aid.
  4. A. Schäfer, Demosthenes und seine Zeit. iii. 119.
  5. It will be remarked that history requires us to modify the statement in Milton’s famous lines—
    “The great Emathian conqueror bade spare
    The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
    Went to the ground.”
    Indeed, the point of the incident depends much on the fact that the temples and Pindar’s house were classed together for exemption.
  6. Compare Jebb, Attic Orators, ii. 143.