The New Student's Reference Work/Pindar
Pin′dar, the chief lyric poet of Greece, was born about 522 B. C. near Thebes, and died at Argos in 443 B. C. He began his career as a writer of choral odes at 20, and, soon reaching the highest rank, composed odes for men in all parts of the Hellenic world. Wherever he went he was honored and loved for his own sake as well as for his art. States vied with each other in doing him honor. Two conquerors of Thebes, Pausanias the Spartan, during the Peloponnesian War, and Alexander the Great left no other dwelling in Thebes standing than the house in which Pindar had lived. Of most of his poems we have fragments only. The Triumphal Odes, celebrating triumphs in the Olympian, Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian games are entire. Pindar treats the victory not as a mere incident, but as connected with the victor's whole life and history. He loves to dwell on the moral side of it; not merely on the bodily prowess, but on the temperance, love to parents or piety which secured the favor of the gods who granted success. The groundwork of his poetry consists in the legends which form the Greek religious literature.