Category: Pindar commentary
|April 13, 2018||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pindar commentary||
2018.04.13 | By Gregory Nagy
Pindar’s Pythian 6 is one of the earliest attested compositions attributed to this poet. Highlighted in Pindar’s song here is the grand epic moment when the youthful hero Antilokhos gives up his own life for his father Nestor after the old hero gets entangled in his chariot—and is just seconds away from getting killed by the hero Memnon, whose onrush is now thwarted by the dutiful son. Antilokhos gets killed while rescuing his father, and the song of Pindar goes on to praise the young hero’s filial piety by holding it up as a model for Thrasyboulos, son of Xenokrates of Akragas. The father’s chariot team was winner of the four-horse chariot race in 490 BCE at the Pythian Festival in Delphi. In the comments that follow, we will see that the chariot driver may well have been Thrasyboulos himself, as signaled by way of a gesture: he is pictured as crowning himself with a garland of victory. A parallel gesture is noted by Malcolm Bell in his study of a most celebrated marble statue known today as the Motya Charioteer.
|November 10, 2017||By Maša Ćulumović listed under Guest Post, Pindar commentary||
2017.11.10 | By Maša Ćulumović
Olympian 5 is one of the few Pindaric odes that lack a mythical narrative. The focus, instead, is on the victor himself and on his role in the resettlement of his hometown of Kamarina. The ode refers also to other benefactions credited to the victor, especially the glory of two Olympic victories that made his homeland famous. Extended descriptions of Kamarina and of the victor’s latest victory in Olympia are especially striking. My comments focus on those descriptions, and I analyze them from the standpoint of a subfield of linguistics, pragmatics, as I proceed to examine the spatial orientations and shifts effected through verbal signs and cues.
|October 5, 2017||By Gregory Nagy listed under By Gregory Nagy, Pindar commentary|
2017.10.05 | By Gregory Nagy
Pindar’s Isthmian 8 highlights the hero Achilles, who is for us defined primarily by the Homeric Iliad—though he had been a prominent figure also in other epic traditions, as we see for example in the surviving plot-outline of the Aithiopis, ‘the song of the Ethiopians’, which was an epic belonging to a body of poetry commonly known as the epic Cycle. Also highlighted in Isthmian 8 are two epic opponents of Achilles: they are (1) Hector, the hero who is for us defined primarily by the Iliad, and (2) Memnon, a prominent hero in the Aithiopis, whose ‘Ethiopian’ identity is conventionally signaled in ancient Greek vase-paintings by portraying him or his attendants as “African” or “black” in appearance. The use of these two descriptive words is problematic, however, since they may suggest a racial reading in contexts where no racism had been intended.
|September 28, 2017||By Gregory Nagy listed under Pindar commentary||
2017.09.28 | By Gregory Nagy
Pindar’s Nemean 7 is to me one of his most exquisite compositions. For literary critics, however, the compactness and precision of Nemean 7 make this song a most intimidating work of art. What I offer here is merely a modest attempt at a start in interpreting some of the song’s most radiant moments.