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δελφίνι κεν τάχος δι' άλμας ίσον είπoιμι Μελησίαν χειρών τε και ισχύος ανίοχον.
competitors sent from Aegina was limited by lot. Of course it is possible that A may be able to throw B by a particular trick by which B is baffled, and that similarly B can throw Cand C can throw A; so that if B and C drew together A would throw D and B and win, whereas if A draws with C, B wins; but still, if A be defeated, it is a poor consolation to hint that he might have won had he been differently paired. But one Schol, seems to have had άνθους προπετής κλάρος, and explains that premature growth of hair excluded them from the boys' wrestling match!
66. For the simile cf. Pyth. II. 51, Frag. 1 , 6. “I will say of Melésias as a trainer eliciting skill and strength that he is equal to a dolphin as to speed through the brine:' i.e. as the dolphin is unsur
passed in speed, so is he unsurpassed in his profession. For åvioχον cf. Simonides, Frag. 149 , γνώθι θεόγνητον προσιδών τον Όλυμιονίκαν | παιδα, παλαισμοσύνης δεξιόν ηνίοχον, | κάλλιστον μεν ιδείν, αθλείν δ' ου χείρονα μορφής.
For ίσον είπoιμι Bergk proposes εικάζουμι or ισάξουμι giving the exact metre of the two corresponding lines, because a Schol. says αντί του τσον αν είπoιμι και τον Μελ. το τάχει δελφίνι τη ισχύϊ και τη τέχνη. The spaced words, however do not seem to be commented upon, but only transcribed. Pindar uses the Epic ίσο in ισοδαίμων, Nem. IV. 84, ισόδενδρος, Frag. 142 , but always (12 times) too- when not part of a compound. In this epode δελφ- υ. 66 corresponds to two short syllables. For mention of the aleipta at the end of the ode cf. Nem. IV.
ON THE VICTORY OF SOGENES OF AEGINA IN THE BOYS'
SÔGENES, son of Theâriôn, of the family of the Euxenidae, of Aegina, won the victory commemorated in this ode in Ol. 79. 4, B.C. 461, according to Hermann's alteration of the impossible date Nem. ed in the Schol. to Nem. v8', the 54th Nemead. The Schol. goes on to state that in the previous Nemead the pentathlon was introduced at Nemea. I do not think it right to alter this date as it is possible that to it the foregoing date was erroneously assimilated. Theâriôn, the victor's father, has been supposed to have been a priest of Hêrakles (vv. 90–94), but had this been the case he would scarcely have been called merely yeitwy. As I have written a separate essay on the pentathlon I need only enumerate such results as bear on the interpretation of this ode. The competitors all contested at the same time and were placed in each kind of trial, only being paired for the wrestling, which came last; the order being-1. leaping, 2. discus-hurling, 3. spear-throwing, 4. running. The victor only had to beat his rivals in three contests out of the five. Generally the winner in the discus-throwing would not win in the running. The wrestling took place in the heat of the afternoon (vv. 72, 73). In the 2nd, 3rd and 4th contests there was a line which must not be overstepped before throwing or starting (v. 71). I think that Sôgenes had over-stepped this line and so lost the spear-throwing after winning in the leaping and discus-throwing. An allusion to this misadventure comes in well with one of the main ideas of the ode, that the noble can afford to have their failures and errors mentioned as a relief to the monotony of praises. In the myth he takes occasion to give a complimentary turn to his version of the death of Neoptolemos, given according to the Schol. (v. 94 ) in a Dithyramb sung at Delphi, whereby the poet had given offence to Aeginêtans. He does not retract or apologise at (unless Aristodêmos is right in saying that Pindar had seemed to represent Neoptolemos as having gone to Delphi étè iepoovaia, Schol. v. 150 , in which case there is an explanation of his language); but rather defends his treatment of the hero, and illustrates it by a similar treatment of Sôgenes. This vindication of his supposed disparagement of the Aeakid whose tomb was at Delphi would be very appropriate to this ode if Theâriôn had to do with the Pythian theôri of Nem. III. 69, 70. That he occupied some prominent position is made probable by the mention of the blame which he had incurred? (vv. 61, 62). The Schol. tells us that Aristarchos' pupil Aristodêmos explained the invocation of Eileithyia as referring to Sôgenes being the child of Theâriôn’s old age, which view is said to be confirmed by an epigram by Simonides. The name Sôgenes suggests that the hope of offspring was small until he was born? Hermann's supposition 3 that Theâriôn had himself contended in games and failed, and that Sôgenes was the first victor in the family, is plausible, but he is not justified in the idea that he had been defeated in the Pythian games by an Achaean (v. 64)4. Pindar appeals to the Thesprôtian descendants of the Achaean Myrmidons from the censure of his Aeginêtan critics, which he notices in this ode as in Ol. vIII. 55, Nem. IV. 39. From vv. 61–68 it seems very probable that Pindar was himself present in Aegina at the recitation of the ode, which was sung before Theâriôn's house, perhaps before a shrine dedicated by him in gratitude for Sôgenes' birth to Eileithyia. From the words άμαχανιάν and έμπεδoσθενέα, υυ. 97, 98 (cf. also αποβλάπτει, υ. 60) in
1 So Dissen. To this he refers the mention of Aias, vv. 24—27.
2 Mr Holmes suggests that one of Theâriôn's family, perhaps a brother of Sôgenes, was afflicted with feeble health or some special physical infirmity, and thus appeared in mournful contrast to the blooming boyhood of the victor.' This idea he supports by vv. 95—101. See
The Nemean Odes of Pindar with
3 De Sogenis Aeginetae victoria quinquertio dissertatio. Leipsig, 1822.
4 Leop. Schmidt agrees that he had been defeated at the Pythian games.
the prayer to Hêrakles (a god of hot springs) I gather that Theâriôn was an invalid not unlikely to die by an inglorious death from disease and already dead to an active life. If such infirmity had been induced by a wound or injury for which he had to thank his own fault or folly (or if detractors represented this as being the case), Theâriôn himself would see his own lot illustrated by the untimely deaths brought on themselves by Neoptolemos and Aias. This view gives point to vv. 30—34 where it is said that honour does not depend on the manner of a man's death but comes to those whose renown God rears up as a choice plant.' Some hypothesis is needed, in addition to the acceptance of the Scholiast's explanation of the parts of the ode which refer to Neoptolemos, to furnish a clue to the connection between the different sections of this poem, which is undoubtedly distinguished for intricacy. Simplicity and comprehensiveness are the chief claims of any such hypothesis. Whether that now advanced possesses these qualifications in an equal or a greater degree than others must be decided by criticism. Certainly the conflicting views of my predecessors are none of them sufficiently satisfactory to preclude fresh suggestions.
1–8. Invocation of Eileithyia, to whom men owe life and
glorious youth. Yet fate appoints divers careers for
who are ready to foster athletic prowess. 11–16. Victory gives a pleasing theme to poets without whom
achievements are covered in oblivion. 17, 18. Wise mariners wait for a good wind, and do not suffer
loss through impatience for gain. 19, 20. Rich and poor must equally die (and be forgotten unless
the rich be immortalised by song). 20—23. Homer by his art gave Odysseus higher fame than he
deserved. 23, 24. Most men are blind of heart.
24—30. Had men known the truth, mighty Aias would not have
slain himself. 30, 31. Death is the common lot. 31–34. But honour accrues to those whose fame God cherishes
after death. 34, 35. Who visit Delphi (as perhaps Sôgenes intended). 35—48. There lies Neoptolemos, who, after noble exploits, was
slain there, that an Aeakid might preside over Pythian
rites. 48, 49. Three words suffice; that witness presides over games
with perfect honesty, 50–52. Aegina furnishes examples of glory. 52, 53. But satiety is to be avoided (too much praise is distaste
ful). 54–58. Our lives naturally differ, no one attains prosperity in
every respect. 58–60. Theârión enjoys a reasonable amount—a reputation for
bravery and unimpaired intelligence (so that he can do
the poet justice). 61–69. The poet's defence against the charge of having calum
niated Neoptolemos. 70–79. Praise of Sôgenes with apology for digression and allu
sion to overstepping the line from which the competitors throw the
spear. 80–84. Adoration of Zeus. 84–86. Who became the father of Aeakos that he might rule
over Aegina and be a comrade to Hêrakles. 87–89. Now a good neighbour is a supreme blessing. 89–94. Such is Hêrakles to Sôgenes. 94—101. Prayer to Hêrakles to obtain for Sôgenes and Theâriôn
health, strength, prosperity and illustrious descendants. 102–104. The poet resumes his protest that he has not spoken
disrespectfully of Neoptolemos. (The connection with what precedes is obscure, but nevertheless sufficient. The yépas õpelov is victory in the Pythian games, cf. vv.
34, 35.) 104, 105. To repeat the same thing three or four times argues lack
of resources and is like one who babbles Διός Κόρινθος to children.