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ON THE VICTORY OF CHROMIOS, OF SYRAKUSE
CHROMIOS, son of Agêsidâmos, was, according to Dissen's conjecture, a member of the Hyllean tribe of Dorians, one of the Hêrakleids who went from Rhodes to Gela (see Pyth. I. 62). He was made by Hiero governor, én iTportos (according to Schol. on Nem. 1x.), of Aetna, founded B.C. 476, of which Deinomenes was titular sovereign (Pyth. I. 58–60). Gelo had given Chromios one of his own and Hiero's sisters in marriage, and had made him, with the other brother-in-law, Aristonoös, a guardian of his son.
It appears however that Polyzêlos, brother of Gelo and Hiero, married Gelo's widow, Dâmareta (Dêmaretê), thus getting control over Gelo's son and heir, so that in supporting Hiero, Chromios was not necessarily betraying his trust. He may well have despaired of his ward being able to cope with his paternal uncles, the youngest of whom, Thrasybulos, was directly responsible for his ruin. It is at any rate clear that Chromios was Hiero's chief supporter. He is said to have been his charioteer. The reason for regarding him as a Gelôan immigrant to Syrakuse is because Pindar tells us (Nem. IX. 40) that in his prime he fought with distinction in the battle on the Helôros, in which Hippokrates, tyrant of Gela, defeated the Syrakusans. As this battle is mentioned in the ode (Nem, ix.) sung at Aetna, it is probable that the Syrakusans of rank who moved thither were new citizens of Syrakuse introduced with Gelo. In the new city they F. II.
were out of danger of surprise by the republican faction, and were reinforced by numbers of Megarians and Peloponnesians which could scarcely have been introduced into the old city, while they were near enough to give effective aid to their friends in Syrakuse. As Akragas and Himera had just before the time of the composition of this ode, Ol. 76. 4, B.C. 473, recovered their freedom, it is probable that Pindar had in view, when mentioning foresight (v. 28), this provision for Deinomenes and precaution against the impending struggle against the tyranny. If so, he lived to see the futility of the policy he thus admired, which was doubtless partly owing to the division of the dynastic party after Hiero's death. Chromios took active part in Hiero's martial enterprises, and as ambassador to Anaxilas, tyrant of Rhêgion, between B.C. 478 and 476 (see Pyth. II. Introd.), he prevented the subjugation of the Lokri Epizephyrii. He won this Nemean victory, Ol. 76. 4, B.C. 473, in the summer. Pindar was in Sicily when this ode was recited before the banquet given in celebration of the victory at Chromios' house in Ortygia, at which the poet was apparently himself present.
The chorus performed it at the apódvpov, i.e. before the principal door of the palace. Mezger well compares Chromios with Thêrôn, and says that his praises came straight from the poet's inmost heart. It is therefore not surprising that the scene of the myth should lie in Thebes. The rhythm is Dorian.
1–7. The ode goes forth from Ortygia in honour of Zeus of
Aetna, on the occasion of Chromios' Nemean victory. 8, 9. The exordium makes mention of gods, as the victor's
merits are derived from them. 10–12. The highest object of ambition, celebration by an Epini
kian ode, has its occasion in victory. 13—18. Praise of Sicily's sacred relation to Persephonê, fertility,
rich cities, glory in war, success in games even at
Olympia. 18. This topic is dismissed. 19–25. For it is Chromios' hospitality which brings the poet to
his halls, and to him praise is due to confound various cavillers.
25—30. Men ought to develope natural gifts of strength and
foresight, with both of which Chromios is endowed. 31, 32. 'One ought not to hoard, but to use wealth for one's own
enjoyment and the benefit of friends, 32, 33. since man's time is short and beset with trouble. 33, 34. Introductory mention of Hêrakles' paramount merits. 35—61. Myth of the infant Herakles and the two snakes. 61-end. Teiresias' prophecy of Hêrakles' toilsome exploits and
their final reward of peaceful bliss.
The application of the latter part of the myth to Chromios is sufficiently obvious to account for there being no formal conclusion to the ode.
The main idea of the poem is to exalt the enjoyment, both in this life and hereafter, of ease, good cheer, and fame earned by the strenuous exercise of natural powers during youth and prime. Chromios' ancestor, Hêrakles, afforded a conspicuous illustration of such a theme, and perhaps to some extent his marriage with Hêbê presented a parallel to Chromios' splendid alliance.
There is no need to suppose that by reciting the infantine courage of Herakles the poet meant to imply that the valour of Chromios had been precocious. On the other hand, the precocity of Herakles is a signal instance, as Aristarchos said, of the innate courage and vigour ascribed to his descendant.
The introduction of the prophecy of Teiresias is a natural device for bringing in the career and reward of Herakles, so that it is needless to suppose, with Müller (Hist. of Gk. Lit. I. p. 224, trans.), that the mention of the seer and also of foresight, v. 27, implies that Pindar had predicted Chromios' victory. V. 27 rather ascribes to Chromios the faculty which Thukydides notes as characteristic of Themistokles (I. 128)-οικεία γαρ συνέσει, ούτε προμαθών ες αυτήν ούτε επιμαθών...(ην) των μελλόντων επί πλείστον του γενησομένου άρισTos elkaorís. Chromios very likely inspired the successful policy of Gelo and Hiero. Leop. Schmidt again seems to be mistaken in supposing that vv. 18—32 have reference to the poet. Modern editors have generally paid too little attention to Aristarchos' view, but with this exception I agree with Mezger. Dissen's general explanation is correct, though he refines too much, especially in regarding the infant exploit of Herakles as meant for a parallel to Chromios' early valour at the battle of Helôros, at the date of which
he was probably about forty years old (see on Nem. IX. 42). There is a side allusion to Himera and Chromios' land-fights generally in v. 62, and to the sea-fight off Cumae in the next verse.
In an ode sung in Ortygia there would scarcely be any reference to the fight of Helôros, in which Syrakusans were defeated. There is nowhere a more prominent division of the ode than at
Yet this is inside Mezger's óupadós, vv. 13–30 (20 is a misprint). Moreover, v. 31, 32 take up v. 19—24, after the partly gnômic, partly laudatory digression.
The main divisions then of the ode are vv. 1–7, 8–12, 13—18, 19—33, 33—72.
There is a possible bearing of the myth which has not, I believe, been noticed, namely, that Amphitryon was a type of hospitality, so that Chromios' palace might suggest the scene of the myth in this connection.
The ode is one of the finest examples of Pindar's art. Especially admirable is the vigorous word-painting of the myth.
"Αμπνευμα σεμνόν 'Αλφεού,
1. "Αμπνευμα.] “Hallowed spot where Alpheus took breath;' i.e. after his pursuit of Arethusa under the sea. This myth veils the transference by Dorian colonists of the cult of Artemis Potamia from Elis to Ortygia, cf. Pyth. II. 7. According to analogy άμπνευμα ought to mean recovered breath,' but for the concrete meaning changing to that of the place of the action, cf. uavthiov. The word auttv., suggesting Tv jóxow durvoáv (Ol. viii. 7), at once strikes the key-note of the general sentiment of the ode.
2. áros.] As Ortygia is supposed to be the original settlement, it is rather Συρακοσσών ρίζα (cf. Pyth. iv. 15) than Oálos (cf. 01. 11.
45) in the sense of scion. Perhaps it means 'the leader,' whence the other quarters of the city branched. If it means a part' we must suppose that it and the other quarters spring from a common av@unv, i.e. from Sicily or the Dorian stock. Prof. Paley renders Oálos by 'pride.'
3. Obuvcov.] Cf. Il. xxiv. 615, év Σιπύλη όθι φασί θεάων έμμεναι ευνάς | Νυμφάων, αίτ’ αμφ' 'Αχελώϊον ερρώoavto, Plut. de fluv. et mont. 5. 3, Καυκάσιον όρος εκαλείτο το πρότερον Boρέου κοίτη. .
4. Δάλου κασιγνήτα.] The two favourite islands of Artemis are her nurslings metaphorically, and hence are regarded as sisters. σέθεν.]
.] Cf. Mady. & 60 Rem. 4.