(alphabetic by author’s last name)
Pindar’s Tightrope: Competitive Tyranny and the Epinician Habit
Unless we posit the existence of a non-compete clause between Sicilian tyrants (Bell, M. 1995. “The Motya Charioteer and Pindar’s Isthmian 2.” MAAR 40: 1-42.), we must confront the fact that Pindar explicitly celebrated Theron’s chariot victory over Hieron in the 76th Olympiad when the two were on the verge of war with each other (Diod. Bib. 11.48.3-8). As a xenos to both, how did Pindar walk the tightrope of celebrating each without alienating himself from at least one of the two tyrants? A partial answer may lie in O.1’s relationship to P.2. By eidographical schema, both poems are out of place (Lowe, N. 2007. “Epinician Eidography.” 167-176 in Hornblower, S. & Catherine Morgan. eds. Pindar’s Poetry, Patrons, & Festivals. OUP.) O.1, celebrating a keletes victory, was placed first among the Olympians, though the spot should belong to O.2. Similarly, P.2—an un-ascribed chariot victory—is second among the Pythians. Nevertheless, the odd positions suggest that ancient scholiasts perceived a connection between the poems, even if they were uncertain what it was. Beyond their classifications, there are numerous reasons to believe that each poem references the other. Metrically, the poems exhibit rare irregularities unparalleled outside them (Itsumi, K. 2009. Pindaric Meter: The Other Half. Oxford: OUP. Pg.209.) Moreover, repeated phrases and interconnections between their myths also suggest the reading. I argue that by seeing the two as paired, we may recognize how Pindar was attempting to elevate a lesser chariot victory through co-performance alongside an Olympian epinician to please the defeated Hieron. Significantly, such sleight of hand is not foreign to Pindaric poetry. As Thomas Cole has seen (1987. “1+1=3: Studies in Pindar’s Arithmetic.” AJP 108.4: 553-68.), scholiastic confusion over Pindar’s numbers suggests that he was intentionally opaque when cataloging victories to imply a greater number of them. On this view, the omission of venue in P.2 is critical to understanding how Pindar celebrated Hieron’s victories of 476 in the shadow of Theron’s great victory and how tyrants viewed their victories relationally and agonistically.
Tracking Pindar’s Presence in Sicily
A corpus of fifteen victory odes leaves no doubts regarding the strong ties of xenia that bound Pindar and his Sicilian patrons. Likewise, there is no doubt, according to modern scholarship, on the real presence of the poet in Sicily to ensure the performance (and re-performances) of his own compositions. Yet, differently from contemporary poets such as Simonides and Aeschylus, a deeper analysis of the sources reveals no certain evidence about the visit of Pindar to the island of Deinomenidai and Emmenidai. The only explicit reference, in this respect, is a passage from Vita Ambrosiana (I, p. 3 Drachmann). Instead, according to one ἀπόφθεγμα related to him (I, p. 3 Drachmann = Eust. Prooem. 26, 2 Kambylis), Pindar would have declined any invitation to go to the courts of Sicilian tyrants, for «he wanted to live for himself, not for another». Regardless of the origins and reliability of this anecdote, it is legitimate to investigate at least when exactly, on which date and under which circumstances the Theban poet went to visit the courts of Sicilian rulers. The double purpose of this paper is to collect, compare and deeply analyze all the elements that could validate the assumption of the modern scholars – the physical presence of Pindar in Sicily – which still needs to be demonstrated. Through the analysis based on Pindar’s corpus, but also on other literary sources as well as on the ancient scholia, we will focus on three points, which are historical, linguistic and literary respectively: the eruption of Etna in 479-478 BC (Marm. Par.) or in 476-475 BC (Thuc.), that Pindar would witness trough his poetic descriptions (see Pyth. I); the elements of deixis that he would use to localize himself, for instance, in Syracuse (see Athanassaki 2004); the silence of later literary sources about the stay of Pindar in Sicily (see e.g. Paus. 1.2.3), which strikes if compared to the large amount of information concerning Simonides’ and Aeschylus’ ones.
Sicily between Literature and Philosophy: Pindar and Xenophanes at the court of Hiero of Syracuse
Literature and Philosophy are habitually conceived as separate disciplines including different discursive models and audiences. This paper aims at loosening this disciplinary compartmentalisation focusing on the figures of Pindar and Xenophanes, seen as representatives of the same cultural and intellectual milieu, a one that is embodied by the Sicilian tyrant Hiero of Siracuse. It is scholarly held that the tyrant surrounded himself with a group of intellectuals (Morgan 2015, Gostoli 1999) to promote and consolidate his reign after a delicate political situation. By participating in this cultural and political scenario, Pindar and Xenophanes show not only to share formal affinities, that is the performative context of their poetry, but also ideological kinship in the way they polemically position themselves against the tradition. The paper examines some texts by Pindar and Xenophanes that can be arguably dated to the time of their Sicilian sojourn. Xenophanes’ elegy D59 LM, possibly performed at the court of Hieron of Siracuse, inserts in the traditional agenda of lyric poets hints of theological assumptions by addressing some mythological stories as ‘false’, through the use of the craft metaphor. Pindar exploits the same metaphor in Olympian 1 to make similar claims that are arguably theologically charged, although scholars usually ascribe them to the poetics of archaic generic fittingness. Pindar’s Olympian 9 represents an additional point of contact with Xenophanes’ speculation on the gods, as seen in fr. D8 LM: a concern with detaching human behaviours from the Olympians seems to carry, beyond the poetic agenda, epistemic scrupulous. Finally, a further speculative linguistic and hermeneutical parallel between Pindar’s Olympian 1, 35 and Xenophanes’ D 59, 24 LM dealing with the more ‘plausible’ way of envisioning the gods corroborates the ideological kinship between the two.
L’Etna e il mito di Tifeo come paradigma poetico
Pindaro nomina l’Etna prevalentemente in connessione con Tifeo / Tifone, collocato sotto l’Etna dopo essere stato sconfitto da Zeus. La citazione della vicenda che vede coinvolti Zeus/Tifeo/Etna si trova sempre nella parte iniziale del componimento (Olimpica IV, Pitiche I e VIII; necessariamente diverso il discorso per il fr. 93 Snell-Maehler); in ciascuna Ode seguono poi immagini mitiche o riferimenti a vicende storiche per le cui connessioni la critica ha proposto varie interpretazioni: nell’Olimpica IV la citazione delle donne di Lemno viene connessa alle caratteristiche fisiche dell’atleta Psamide. Nella Pitica I, che celebra Ierone e la città di Etna, la figura di Filottete è funzionale al riscatto del dolore fisico e della malattia di Ierone; i conflitti con i Fenici e gli Etruschi, il ricordo delle guerre persiane, le figure di Creso (esempio da imitare) e di Falaride (esempio negativo) devono esortare o celebrare Ierone. Nella Pitica VIII, l’egineta Aristomene, vittorioso nella lotta, viene celebrato mediante il ricordo dell’assalto degli Epigoni a Tebe, i quali combattono per una giusta causa, così come le città che cercavano di ribellarsi ad Atene, tra cui Egina.Tramite il confronto con altre fonti (in particolare Esiodo) e una più precisa analisi della vicenda che coinvolge Zeus/Tifeo/Etna, metterò in luce la funzione di tale mito come chiave di lettura dalle molteplici valenze; sarà quindi possibile cogliere ulteriori nessi poetici e di senso (finora non evidenziati dalla critica) tra i blocchi compositivi e le numerose altre immagini utilizzate dal poeta.
The Ancient Theory of Paradigms and two Sicilian Odes of Pindar
Although the term paradigm is widespread in the Pindaric criticism, the ancient theory about paradigms is mostly neglected: almost always the Pindaric myths are considered paradigmatic as they are provided with a universal value (e. g. Schadewaldt 1928, Illig 1932, Bowra 1964). This meaning is quite modern and depends more on Pindar’s interpretation of scholars than on the outlook of ancient Greeks. The rare references to ancient theory fail to recognize the possible consequences of such identification (from Oehler 1925 to Angeli Bernardini 1983). On the contrary, the rhetorical theory shows how a mythical example remains a particular case taken in comparison with the argument in question. Rhetorical sources and all Greek literature undoubtedly show that the most important property of the paradigmatic process is the so-called “modulation du paradigme” (Nouhaud 1982): the overlap of the two elements taken in comparison must therefore not be symmetrical as we expect and there is room for a considerable degree of freedom (Rhet. ad Alex. 1430a 6-11; Quint. 5, 11, 6; cfr. Nicolai 2007; 2011; Sonnino 2017). I believe that being aware of this dynamic is crucial in the Pindaric interpretation, both regarding the exegesis of the punctual passages and the general issue of the relationship between epinician poetry and its historical context. My goal will be to explain this argument with the help of two Sicilian odes of Pindar: Ol. 2 for Theron of Acragas and Ol. 4 for Psaumis of Camarina.
Pindar’s epinicians for Sicilian athletic victors are notable for their lack of mythical narratives featuring “home-grown” local heroes and founding figures that embody civic values specific to the Greek West, analogous to the Aiakidai in Aegina, Heracles in Thebes, Bellerophon in Corinth, or Battos in Cyrene. And yet, the Sicilian odes feature some of the most memorable, intensely studied and scrutinized myths in all of Pindaric corpus. This paper considers some of the factors that contributed to this disparity, mainly in the context of historical developments in the Greek West in the sixth and fifth century BCE that resulted in the complex political and social dynamics in the region. Consequently, Pindar’s strategy in praising the local victors and their hometowns is twofold: 1) by placing emphasis on local landscapes and divinities embodied in it, such as Arethusa in Syracuse or Typhoeus in Aetna, the poet is able to connect those places to the narratives that express core civic and communal values, and 2) in highlighting the Dorian heritage of the Greek West, Heracles becomes a key mythical figure for the region, both as a proto-athlete in general and the founder of the Olympic agones in particular.
The Pindaric Paradox of Fifth Century Sicilian “Greekness” in the Epinician Odes
In this paper I identify and discuss the paradox of Sicilian “Greekness” in
Pindar’s epinician odes to Sicilian victors: Pindar’s Sicilian odes acting at once as, on the one hand, a commissioned attempt by the Sicilian tyrants to assert the thriving and unbroken “Greekness” of the island through poetic heraldry of military and athletic victory; and on the other as descriptive and praiseworthy glimpses at the developed and idiosyncratic “Sicilian” character of the island, its rulers, and its people (in other words, Sicily’s “other-than-Greekness”). That is to say, I will explore how Pindar’s Sicilian odes functioned as Pan-Hellenic testaments to the perpetually robust “Greekness” of Sicily’s Greek poleis, a message sponsored by the Sicilian tyrants themselves, while at the same time revealing the distinct identity and individual character of something specifically Sicilian in fifth century Magna Graecia: something differently shaped militarily, politically, and socially from that of Greece during that century. In the first part of the paper, I consider Pindar’s odes for Sicilian victors in two ways: first for their function to assert the “Greekness” and position of Sicily and its powerful tyrants alongside that of the other great Greek poleis in the fifth century; and second for what they also assert, both intentionally and inadvertently, about the uniquely Sicilian character, or “other-thanGreekness”, of the Sicilian tyrants and cities like Siracusa and Akragas. In the second part, I conclude that both aspects of Pindar’s Sicilian odes show that there was an awareness on both sides that the Sicilian powers were distantly engaged in their own sphere of rule, military struggles, and development, while actively trying to overcome this perceived distance through continuous and victorious participation in athletic competitions. There exists an important connection between Pindar’s odes both praising the “Greekness” of Sicily, and in the process revealing its “other-than-Greekness”.
Hieron of Syracuse and the Greek Songworld
Pindar’s third Pythian ode, composed for Hieron, tyrant of Syracuse, is almost silent on the subject of athletic victory, but teems with other modes of song: kletic paean and epithalamion, cultic praise and epic kleos. This generic ambiguity, coupled with the biographical tradition of Hieron’s illness, has resulted in scholarly charges that Pythian 3 is not really an epinician at all. (Robbins 1990; TsitsibakouVasalos 2012) I argue, in contrast, that Pythian 3 engages in an innovative generic experiment with two complementary goals: first, to articulate the place of epinician in relation to other modes of song of the early fifth century and, second, to praise Hieron by establishing him, as Syracusan ruler rather than athletic victor, as the exemplary epinician laudandus. To the extent that the song is effective, it promises. Pindar’s Syracusan patron an enduring place in the shared Greek poetic imaginary as the embodiment of epinician excellence. I first demonstrate the ode’s concern with generic self-definition by analyzing the programmatic discourses of efficacious and inefficacious song in the myth of Asklepios that dominates the first half of the ode. I argue that the myth’s interweaving of paeanic and epinician motifs redefines possibility and impossibility as a function of genre and defines the exaltation that epinician praise provides. I then show that the accumulation of generic markers in the ode’s conclusion establishes Hieron as the exalted recipient of epinician praise in contrast to the epic models to whom he is compared: Peleus and Kadmos, mortals whose exceptional identity is marked by their opportunity to hear the Muses themselves sing, and Nestor and Sarpedon whose memories are preserved by resounding songs (ἐπέων κελαδεννῶν, 113). In Pythian 3, then, Pindar redefines the Greek songworld and assures Hieron’s place within it as laudandus par excellence.
Pindar’s Sicilian Subterfuge(s): mapping Sicily onto Greece
In this talk, I employ readings and maps of Pindar’s Sicilian odes to clarify the devices that made the island appear part of Greece. Throughout, I utilize a database of spatial evidence comprising all late choral poetry and the only surviving Sicilian drama, Euripides’ Cyclops. This control grounds initial, comparative inquiries. Did Pindar treat Sicily differently than other places in his corpus? In late choral? If it can be argued that Euripides’ narrative othered this volcanic, Cyclopean island vis-à-vis recognizably ‘Greek’ territory, how, by contrast, did Pindar make it familiar? There has been a boom in spatial approaches to ancient literature (Purves, 2010; de Jong, 2012; Gilhuly & Worman, 2014). This includes Pindar (Calame, 2012; Currie, 2012; Ćulumović, 2016). However, investigation is limited to generic and biographical spaces: stadia (Eckerman, 2013 & 2014); Thebes (Berman, 2015). Research into other spaces is socio-political (Burnett, 2005; Fearn, 2011; Morgan, 2015). I build my method of studying space out of Griffith’s early (in terms of classics’ ‘spatial turn’) ‘geographic subterfuge’ (2008): i.e., that Olympian 1 (20) constructed a subterranean connection between Arethusa and Alpheios. Griffith shows myth altered geographic perceptions causing Sicily to participate within ‘Hellas’. I consider other means of similarly influencing audiences’ ‘cognitive maps’ in three studies of the devices that made Sicily a tangible, recognizably ‘Greek’ space: i.) Pindar’s use of time/tense in Nemean 1 & 9 to demarcate a real Sicilian ‘futurity’ from an othered, mythic time associated with the wider Mediterranean; ii.) How the prevalence of mountains, rivers, and geographic features in Pythian 1 & Isthmian 2 installed Sicily within familiar topographic categories; iii.) How the list of explicit and implicit place-references in Olympian 6 (its ‘itinerary’) effected a Sicilian-Peloponnesian network. These select readings demonstrate the subtlety of Pindar’s geographic subterfuge(s) and his success in ‘Greekifying’ Sicilian space.
“Connections: Thebes, Acragas, and Syracuse in several of Pindar’s Sicilian Odes”
I will begin by surveying Pindar’s treatment of his homeland of Thebes in relation to the homelands, in several Sicilian victory odes, of the rulers Hieron and Theron. For Hieron, I will draw my examples from Pythians 2 and 3, for Theron, from Olympians 2 and 3. In particular, I will examine connections between Thebes and Syracuse, and Thebes and Acragas. Not only does Pindar (as laudator) create semantic and syntactic overlap between his homeland and theirs (as laudandi); he also depicts bi-directional movement by ego and the victor and in some cases by mythic figures between mainland Greece and Sicily, or, in Heracles’ two round-trip journeys in Olympian 3, between Olympia and the land of the Hyperboreans. Epinician journeys invite savvy interpreters, from then to now, to connect the Sicilian homelands to Thebes on the mainland; mythic journeys have more subtle implications. For both one can ask: Is there symmetry or asymmetry between the homelands? Is the connection hierarchic and condescending and one-directional, or reciprocal? Based on diverse patterns of movement either toward Sicily from mainland Greece or from Sicily back to the mainland (and in one case, Pythian 3, back to Pindar’s very home in Thebes), I attempt to ascertain where the poet locates status and prestige and civilization – in other words, where he stands on issues of the center and periphery, of colonizer and colonized.
Which path will you follow? Homer’s universe and Pindar’s afterlife
In this paper, I want to offer a disruptive interpretation of the underworld narrative of Olympian 2, by moving away from the established approach that seeks to separate and define specific religious/cultic beliefs, and looking instead at the mythic tradition which Pindar exploits in order to paint an image of the afterlife which is as diverse as it is familiar. I argue specifically, that the poet makes use of the old Homeric tripartite division of the universe (sky, earth, underworld, cf. Il. 15.185-99), to create an afterlife that parallels that very structure, and in which the souls follow a symbolic path of ascension from mortal nature to divine exaltation. The afterlife is visualised as a three levelled construct where the lower level is reserved for the impious, the in-between level for the pious as an idealised earthly existence free from toil and suffering, whereas the upper level, can be found following the path of Zeus next to the tower of Cronos and offers essentially a deification of the soul on the Isle of the Blessed (O. 2.65-80). This model, if superimposed upon the Homeric division of the cosmos would reflect precisely the geographical elements of the underworld, the earth and heaven, with the last level, representing a plain of existence in the sky. This interpretation finds support in a comment by Aristotle regarding the alleged Pythagorean belief of the sun being conceived as the “tower of Zeus” (Fr.204, 10), thus placing Pindar’s Isle of the Blessed beyond the constraints of the earth and firmly within a visualised celestial realm.
‘Turn the brightness outward’ – Muthos and Paideia in Pindar and Plato
Water is the best thing of all and gold
Shines like flaming fire at night,
More than all a great man’s wealth (Olympian 1).
Pindar sets the frame of reference of his epinikia by drawing upon myths and maxims establishing the parallels between the events of victory and divine or heroic paradigms, and thereby expanding the individual consciousness beyond a transient moment of celebration. Pindar does not commemorate the victors as individuals but transforms them into the representatives of the highest areta (the Doric conception of excellence clarified by W. Jaeger). In endowing individual achievements with an enduring purpose and meaning in the context of shared traditions and knowledge, Pindar’s odes point to the sphere of transcendence of regional dissidence and strife. Pindar appears to have been the first to contrast muthos to logos with respect to traditional stories about the gods. In Olympian 1.28-29 Pindar uses muthoi and pseudea (lies) interchangeably to contrast ‘embroidered tales’ about the gods with his account of myths as logos alathes (language of truth). In Nemean 7.21-25 muthoi and pseudea are used synonymously with respect Homer’s ‘sweet singing’ and contrasted with alatheia. Pindar’s victory odes seek to instruct through praise. Pindar’s incorporation of myths and maxims as warnings and instructions emphasises the connexion between the particular and the universal, and above all, areta and truth. Pindar’s odes establish the groundwork for the task of poetry articulated in the educational programme of Plato’s Republic. Pindar’s distinction between the traditional narrations of myth and his interpretations of myths as logos (Olympian 7.21, Nemean 1.34) bring Pindar closer to Plato’s view of myths and supplies a defence of his odes against Plato’s criticism of the poets (including Homer, Hesiod, Archilochus, Pindar, Simonides, and Aeschylus) in the Republic (2. 363a-367a). In Pythian 3 (written for Hieron) Pindar affirms the vigour of moral capacity to surmount adversities to ‘turn the brightness outward’
Pindar and the Lines of Sicilian Flight
Pindar’s poetry remains continually suspended in flight. His extensive narrative voyages enable readers to trace an exceedingly rich panoply of tracks along multiplicative desire paths, taking audiences far and wide while simultaneously returning them to key sites of Hellenic territorialization, such as Syracuse and its neighboring Sicilian environs. From Quintilian (Inst. 10.1.61) onwards, scholars have long struggled to pin down these epinician poems. John Hamilton writes that his “transitions are difficult to track, verses soar off into a cloudy digression or come to an abrupt halt” (2003, 3). Yet such lines of flight can also be understood using the philosophies of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who write, “A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo” (1987, 25). Taking Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome and its numerous valences as my model, I apply these to Pindar’s Sicilian odes (especially Ol. 1, 3, Pyth. 1-3) in order to shed new light on several long-debated Pindaric topics. These include the role of first-person statements amidst the choral collective in epinician (re)performances (Mullen 1982; Lefkowitz 1991; Currie 2004; Stamatopoulou 2014), which need not be seen as contradictory. The rhizome also allows us to view Pindar’s concerns with patronage and the flows of capital as part of “the flexibility of epinician as a genre…that works to place the victor appropriately in an intricate network of local and panhellenic beliefs and practices” (Morgan 2015, 2; Kurke 1991). Likewise, Deleuze and Guattari offer further insights into the new pragmatics of Pindaric language (Bonifazi 2004), whose relative pronouns reveal a poetics of becoming rather than dialectic being. Finally, the rhizome enables us to view the Pindaric landscape as generating its own fluid networks between Sicilian poleis and the Hellenic mainland, with the mobility of key recurring sites such as the River Alpheus mirroring the broader Mediterranean crossings of the epinician narratives.
Virginia Lewis (keynote)
Myth and Place in Pindar’s Odes for Sicily
Critics have often observed that Pindar’s Sicilian odes lack the type of local heroes that are featured in his epinician poetry for victors from other parts of the Greek world (e.g. Rose 1974, Willcock 1974, Hubbard 1992, Morrison 2007). While mythical sections of odes for victors from Thebes, Aegina, and Cyrene, for example, incorporate civic heroes, there are no comparable civic figures for the five Sicilian cities whose victors Pindar celebrates in song (Aitna, Akragas, Himera, Kamarina, and Syracuse). I argue that the unique political climate of fifth-century Sicily in which Greeks frequently migrated, willingly or not, from one city to another required a novel style of mythmaking: when citizens had only recently come to inhabit a city and experienced frequent political upheaval, the notion of autochthonous civic heroes, such as the Aiakidai in Aegina, would have strained the limits of plausibility. Instead of incorporating civic heroes, Pindar developed a uniquely Sicilian style of mythmaking that accounted for and extolled the mixed populations that inhabited the island by linking Panhellenic myth to local places. By considering examples of myths located in specific places in odes for the five Sicilian cities celebrated by Pindar, I demonstrate that the political climate in Sicily tested Pindar’s poetic flexibility and inspired a distinct mode of representation that was unique to the Sicilian odes: whether establishing a civic identity for a single city, a regional identity for Sicily, or the identity of a ruler and his family, the ties drawn between myth and physical places, as symbols charged with meaning, provided a sense of stability for local audiences and shaped an international reputation for Sicilian cities and their citizens.
Pindar and Sicilian Nymphs
In Pindar’s odes for Sicilian athletes we notice a singular feature: masculine elements found in his epinician celebration of victors from other Greek cities are less in evidence. Pindar’s Sicilian poetic programme was adapted to the topography of the island. Springs and rivers abound in Sicily, and were critical to the survival and success of early Greek settlers. Ever-flowing sources of fresh water were (and are) numinous places, and the settlers honoured the divine figures who inhabited them. From these nymphs the settlers and their descendants derived their individual and collective identities, and Pindar respected this. It is no surprise that in arguably his most famous Sicilian ode, the First Olympian – which celebrated Hieron’s victory in a horse race – the first words are ἄριστον μἐν ὕδωρ. In Olympian 12 Pindar pays tribute to a victor from Himera, a city on the north coast of Sicily with thermal baths, by highlighting Ergoteles’ return from the games to the eponymous nymph’s warm baths. In Olympian 4 Pindar describes the victorious Psaumis returning with his olive crown as “eager to arouse kudos for Kamarina,” a city that took its name from the local lake and its nymph. In Olympian 5, also for Psaumis, it is the nymph Kamarina who is invited to receive the poet’s tribute. In the Third Pythian, an ode suffused with the poet’s concern for Hieron’s health, Pindar expresses his wish to have been able to make a personal visit to the side of the ailing tyrant, to Syracuse, identified as the “fountain of Arethusa.” This paper will look at several of Pindar’s Sicilian odes, comparing their poetic and ideological programme to others, those honouring Aeginetan victors for example, noting the differences when Pindar recognizes this island’s waters and its local nymphs.
La scrofa, la scimmia e radamanti: La παροιμία come mezzo espressivo di Pindaro per la polemica contro la corte di Siracusa: due casi di studio
Dopo essersi smarcata dalle posizioni di BUNDY e PAVESE, la critica pindarica appare sempre più incline a riconoscere negli epinici l’esistenza di un io poetico e di rivendicazioni tipiche di un regime di concorrenza. Poco, tuttavia, è stato scritto in merito al modo in cui il poeta esprimerebbe tali rivendicazioni. Questo studio individua nella παροιμία e nelle immagini tipiche dell’αἶνος (genere che VAN THIEL accosta alla παροιμία) una delle modalità espressive cui Pindaro affida i suoi strali o che, più generalmente, ricorre quando il discorso sembra spostarsi dalla lode del destinatario a un piano più meramente personale. Le due odi prese in esame, Olimpica 6 e Pitica 2, sono destinate alla corte siracusana e si collocano entrambe, con ogni probabilità, a cavallo tra gli anni ’70 e ’60 del V secolo, laddove parte della critica (CINGANO, GENTILI, GIANNINI) suppone un raffreddamento dei rapporti tra Pindaro e la corte di Ierone. Se la παροιμία della scrofa beotica (Ol 6. 90) è da questa analisi compresa come una risposta ad alcuni critici siracusani che dovettero screditare Pindaro anche per mezzo di simili luoghi comuni, tale atteggiamento del poeta appare ancor più manifesto nel finale di Pitica 2: anche in questo caso, Pindaro adopera un fitto tessuto di metafore e riferimenti animali che riecheggiano l’immaginario tipico dell’αἶνος e alcune παροιμίαι la cui esistenza è attestata o ricostruita. Se la γνώμη costituisce uno degli elementi cardine in cui si articola il discorso elogiativo di Pindaro, il presente lavoro si propone di evidenziare come la παροιμία, che della γνώμη è “sorella minore” in quanto a estensione e registro (KINDSTRAND, RUSSO, TOSI), occorra negli epinici laddove il poeta pare abdicare al suo primario interesse elogiativo per ribattere alle accuse che, ai suoi occhi, potevano minare l’appetibilità della sua arte in un regime di forte concorrenza.
Between stone and song: The celebration of Sicilian tyrants’ victories in agonistic epigrams and epinician odes.
This paper aims at investigating the relationship between epinician odes and agonistic epigrams composed to celebrate the victories of Sicilian aristocrats. As is well known, Sicilian tyrants appreciated several forms of self-promotion and celebration, including the epinician song commissioned to a professional poet and the erection of a monument in a Panhellenic sanctuary, which normally also featured an inscribed epigram. For example, in 468 BC Hieron, when he gained his last grandiose victory at Olympia, commissioned Bacchylides the Epinician 3 and the sculptor Onatas a bronze monument with an inscribed epigram (17 Ebert) to celebrate it; the runner Ergoteles of Himera commissioned Pindar Olympian 12 for his victory at Pytho in 470 BC and a statue with a four-line epigram for his last victory at Olympia in 464 BC. In both cases, I will examine the differences and the similarities between the language and the ideology of both poetic forms, in relationship with the expected audience / context of performance. More comparisons between Pindar’s Sicilian odes and other agonistic epigrams (e.g. Polyzalos’ dedication at Delphi) will contribute to elucidate the complex web of relations between the two contemporary and rival genres, in order to show the reciprocal influences.
Ambivalence and Power: Music in Pindar’s Pythian I
Since antiquity, Pindar has been widely recognised as one of the most self-conscious of all literary artists. The poet’s celebration of his medium perhaps finds its most exalted expression in the opening lines of Pythian I, recently and aptly described as a ‘reflection of the victory ode itself’ (Fearn 2017). We hear of the capacity of Apollo’s lyre to quench the fire of Zeus’ thunderbolt, reduce the supreme god’s eagle and violent war-god Ares to peaceful slumber, and enchant the minds of all the gods, while at the same time inducing terror in Zeus’ enemies, above all Typhon himself, the cosmic monster buried deep under Etna, whose struggles to escape his punishment explain the volcano’s terrifying eruptions. Scholars have explored the richness of this opening imagery and its significance for the poem as a whole including its political, ethical and mythological concerns, as well as for the ode’s laudandus, Hieron of Syracuse. While not discounting these issues, this paper discusses Pindar’s preoccupation with music’s power at the beginning of the ode and analyses the terminology he uses to describe the extraordinary and ambivalent effects of Apollo’s lyre and what it represents. I argue that Pindar’s panegyric to music incorporates concepts of the psychological powers of visual and verbal artworks found in the epics of Homer and Hesiod, as well as developing topoi found elsewhere in his poetic corpus. Pindar’s rich language also anticipates many ideas found in the Sicilian sophist Gorgias, notably his celebrated views on logos, psychology and artworks in his Encomium of Helen. In its grandeur and its sophistication, then, the beginning of Pythian I can be seen to embrace ideas that have a pivotal position in the history of Greek aesthetics.
Neither Hieron nor Theron: The myth of Heracles and the victory of Chromius in Pindar’s first Nemean
In the corpus of Pindaric epinikions, the first Nemean represents one of the most important and instructive examples of how the relationship between myth and laudandus is not always easy to detect. The ode, unfortunately less famous than those dedicated to Theron and Hieron, sings the equestrian victory of Chromius, one of the most trusted men at the service of the Syracusan tyrant. The dating is problematic (between 480 and 471 B.C.); moreover, the references to Syracuse and the probable allusions to Aetna (a Hieronian foundation) have always made it difficult to understand on what occasion the poem took place. The epinikion, in which Pindar’s compositional ability reaches its highest point, invites the reader into a radiant environment, in which the agonal glory of the winner mirrors the splendor and the political and military power of Sicily at the time of tyrannies. This debut is followed by the story about newborn Heracles: his feat, that is the killing of the two snakes sent by Hera, constitutes the first occasion in which the hero shows his virtues. The solemn and dramatic tone of the narration reaches its climax in the appearance of Tyresias, who foretells for Heracles a future of victories and glory. The killing of the snakes therefore foreshadows a heroic experience which will end with apotheosis and achievement of immortality. This paper surveys ancient and modern debates concerning the ode and its complex network of references and attempts to demonstrate that the myth is presented as a “parable of predestination”: the hero’s feat seems to be a mythical transfiguration of Chromius’ victory at Nemea, which – as Tyresias did for Heracles – is described by Pindar as the first of a long series.
Carmi che varcano il mar Ionio: su alcune figure di trasmissione della poesia nelle odi siciliane
Alcuni degli epinici siciliani alludono all’invio del carme (Pyth. 2) o contengono espliciti riferimenti a figure di mediazione fra il poeta e i suoi destinatari (Isthm. 2, Ol. 6). Nella Istmica 2, per Trasibulo di Agrigento, è inscritto nel testo un nome proprio di persona, Nicasippo, a cui il poeta chiede di ἀπονέμειν le parole (vv. 47-8). Il verbo è problematico, ma è stato proposto (Catenacci 1999) di intenderlo – rivalutando l’interpretazione scoliastica (τὸ γὰρ ἀπόνειμον ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀνάγνωθι) – con il significato peculiare di ‘leggere’, con rinvio all’esecuzione pubblica del canto. L’altro caso in cui Pindaro fa esplicita menzione di un personaggio al quale il poema viene affidato è l’Olimpica 6 per Agesia di Siracusa, in cui il poeta si rivolge a Enea definendolo σκυτάλα Μοισᾶν (v. 91), con un riferimento metaforico ad un atto di comunicazione scritta. Sembra plausibile ipotizzare che l’immagine della scitala alluda al testo scritto che Enea reca con sé, cosa che sarebbe pienamente coerente con la successiva richiesta al dio Posidone (vv. 103-105) di assicurare una buona navigazione e concedere favore alla poesia, dal momento che anche quest’ultima, per essere trasmessa, dovrebbe viaggiare per mare. Alla luce di questa idea del carme come prodotto materiale che viaggia, si può provare a riconsiderare il luogo problematico della Pitica 2, per Ierone siracusano, in cui l’ode è inviata «al modo di una merce fenicia» (vv. 67-68), valutando la possibilità che anche in questa espressione si celi un’allusione alla natura scritta del carme. L’analisi dei testi darà occasione di svolgere alcune considerazioni sulle possibili implicazioni dell’esperienza o della rappresentazione pindarica della scrittura, con particolare riferimento alla possibilità da essa assicurata che, in costante relazione con le dimensioni dell’oralità, la poesia si diffonda lontano nello spazio e nel tempo.
Pindar and Hieron in Pythian 2 and Olympian 1: tyrant’s hegemony vs poet’s autonomy
The oldest ode for Hieron, Pythian 2, portrays him as a capable and outstanding man, wise, blessed by the gods, and one whose deeds distinguish him from other mortals. I argue that the aim is to legitimise the political position that Hieron had acquired without any legitimate or hereditary claim, and for this reason he is not given the title of “king” in the ode. In Olympian 1, the use of regal terminology is clear and Hieron is explicitly celebrated as king. I support the view that Pindar’s use of the term was not a matter of flattery, but derived from a wider use of the term by Hieron himself, presenting his power as legitimate and constitutional rather than as a result of usurpation. The two odes can be seen as paired in their striking use of central mythological narratives featuring infamous transgressors that are treated as narratives of violated reciprocity. Both odes employ a technique that points clearly to the ideological work going on. The poet remains silent when he deals with events and facts that could have negative connotations. In other words, Pindar presents Hieron in the way the tyrant wanted, while at the same time he uses mythological exempla which are negative. Why Pindar does it? How does the poetry function, what does it serve, and to what extent is it used for propaganda? How does the poet retain his autonomy and defend freedom? The purpose of this paper is to examine what kind of dynamic is formed between the poet and a tyrant.
Pindar and Aeschylus in Sicily: Wandering Poets and their Patrons
Pindar in the odes for the Sicilian victors presents himself in the persona of a wandering poet who elicits patronage from foreign hosts with his songs. In his first Nemean (19-24) for the Sicilian Chromius he declares that he stood singing at Chromius’s door waiting to receive a meal in a house that is not unaccustomed to foreigners. As he suggests here, Pindar did not travel alone to Sicily: we know that he shared patrons with the Ceans Simonides and Bacchylides, Xenophanes of Colophon and the Athenian tragedians Aeschylus and (possibly) Phrynichus. The Sicilian tyrants equally form part of a Panhellenic network of patrons, which includes other far flung groups such as the Athenians and Spartans, as Pindar makes clear in Pythian 1 (75-80), an ode composed for the Syracusan tyrant Hieron. Travel was thus an essential part of the poet’s work and Sicily a common destination. Here I examine the works that Pindar produced in Sicily alongside those tragedies that were produced by Aeschylus for Hieron. Scholars have sometimes been unwilling to recognise that both Aeschylus and Pindar worked, though in different genres, as foreign poets in the same context and with the same purpose: to praise a Sicilian patron and his people. In one recent work on wandering poets, it has been suggested that ‘the song-culture of Athens . . . remained generally independent of the mobility of the rest of the Greek world’ (Hunter, R. and Rutherford, I., eds. 2009. Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture. Cambridge, 13). Here I will suggest, by contrast, that there are strong similarities in the ways in which both poets manipulate myth, so that the tragedies of Aeschylus are, like the songs of Pindar, also works that can travel ‘in the manner of Phoenician merchandise’ (Pind. Pyth. 2.67-8).
In sickness and in health: Pindar’s relation with his patron Hieron I of Syracuse and its literary form
Pindar composed Olympian 1 to honour the victory of Hieron in horse-race. Pythian 3 was composed on another occasion, probably in the aftermath of a victory in a horse-race and Hieron’s illness. The connection between these two different odes is the celebration of Hieron as a tyrant of Syracuse. This interesting diptych, which follows Hieron’s life in two different occasions, in health and sickness, in happiness and misfortune, provides us with excellent insight on the relation between patron and poet. This relation is further illustrated by a third ode, Pythian 2, which is the most obscure and difficult to explain ode and probably composed in-between the other two odes. In my paper, I ‘ll explore the poetics of the relation between patron and poet. I will focus on how this relation is articulated through literary means within the odes, the motifs Pindar uses, and the discourse he employs to address Hieron. I will also discuss Pindar’s subtle art of persuasion to discuss difficult topics such as his patron’s health, a difficult topic which underscores his literary independence and illustrates how the poet manipulates his artistic authority.