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On First Reading Pindar: The Fifth Isthmian

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2009


There has been a revolution in Pindaric studies in the last twenty years; hardly an issue of a classical periodical now appears without a new treatment of one of the forty-five epinician odes, the author putting into practice the genre-centred approach which began (more or less) with W. Schadewaldt's Der Aufbau des pindarischen Epinikion (Halle) in 1928, and had its greatest forward impulse from E. L. Bundy's Studia Pindarica (Berkeley and Los Angeles) in 1962.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 1978

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1. Köhnken, A., CQ 24 (1974), 199206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2. Péron, J., RPh 50 (1976), 5878Google Scholar; Köhnken, , Glotta 54 (1976), 63–6.Google Scholar

3. A brilliant advance was made in this field by Köhnken, , Die Funktion des Mythos bei Pindar (Berlin, 1971CrossRefGoogle Scholar; reviewed in CR 24 (1974), 191–6Google Scholar), where he showed the incredibly varied effect of the choice and treatment of myth in six odes.

4. Many odes of course do not fulfil this pattern. There are ‘non-myth’ odes, and there are odes with the myth at the beginning or the end. What we seek, however, is the basic form of the typical ode.

5. Hamilton, R., Epinikion (The Hague, 1974), p. 7Google Scholar, is over-critical of positional statements of this sort made by E. Thummer in the first volume of his Isthmian commentary.

6. κρέσσων γὰρ οὶκτιρμοῦ Φθόνος (P. 1.85).

7. Herodotus 8.93.

8. τέθμιον σαΦέστατον (I. 6.20).

9. In addition to the older commentaries, we now have Thummer's edition of the Isthmian Odes (2 vols; Heidelberg, 1968–9); there are useful comments on points of detail also in Wüst, E., Pindar als geschichtschreibender Dichter (Tübingen, 1967), pp. 230–43.Google Scholar

10. ‘Mir kam die Strophe in den Sinn, als ich die Boote der Colleges von Cambridge auf dem Cam unter der Junisonne dahinschiessen sah und Ruderer und Zuschauer gleichermassen von den Leidenschaften des Spieles erglühten’ (Pindaros, p. 202).Google Scholar