Three Aeginetan Odes of Pindar: A Commentary on Nemean V, Nemean III & Pythian VIII

Three Aeginetan Odes of Pindar: A Commentary on Nemean V, Nemean III & Pythian VIII

Three Aeginetan Odes of Pindar: A Commentary on Nemean V, Nemean III & Pythian VIII

Three Aeginetan Odes of Pindar: A Commentary on Nemean V, Nemean III & Pythian VIII

Synopsis

A study of three epinicia of Pindar, which have in common that they celebrate victories of Aeginetan athletes and that they respond to the contemporary political situation in Aegina and to circumstances of the victory.The primary objective of this book is to provide an interpretation of each of the three odes as meaningful, coherent works of the literary art. For each ode, it provides a commentary in which problems of text and interpretation are discussed in detail, a structural and metrical analysis, and an interpretative essay, in which the observations of detail are brought together in order to provide an answer to the question as to how the ode at hand could have functioned as a coherent, meaningful epinicion.The introduction addresses questions of method and provides a description of Pindars style.

Excerpt

‘You ought to make things big. People like it that way.’ In spite of Andy Warhol’s dictum, some readers will no doubt be annoyed by the size of this commentary. As an apology to them I can only say they have never been out of my mind while I was working on this book, first, from 1992, as a Leiden University doctorate dissertation, defended 4 November 1996, and later, while I was bringing it into its present form.

The core of this book is formed by the introduction and the interpretative essays in the three odes commented upon. In the introduction, the reader will find my views on the place of a Pindaric ode in its historical setting, on unity, and on Pindar’s style and poetical techniques. The three interpretative essays address the question as to how every single detail in the ode makes sense as a part of a unified specimen of the literary art, composed with the specific purpose of celebrating the glory of a victor for a specifically defined audience at a specific moment in time. The reader who confines himself or herself to these portions of the present book will read the most important things I have to say about Pindar.

The ideal I had in mind for the commentary was to combine the scrutiny of an instrument de recherche with the convenient organization of an easy-reference instrument de lecture. I tried to approach this ideal by offering all the material necessary in order to substantiate my views in a fair way, while at the same time arranging my notes in such a way that those who are interested only in my interpretation of the general purport of a passage, or in some specific details, can easily find their way. The longer notes begin with my conclusion, which is my proposal of how to interpret the text. My adstruction, following it, has been articulated as much as possible by means of headings. Bold printing of Greek words further articulates the semantic discussions. Moreover, I used two different formats of printing, which, I hope, helps the reader to overlook the sometimes copious notes: everything that is not directly relevant to the understanding of the word or words discussed is printed in nested paragraphs in a smaller font size. Each set of notes on a passage that can be considered to form some kind of self-contained unit is preceded by a translation of the passage, printed in italics. I wish to emphasize that these translations do not pretend to literary merit; their sole object is to serve the convenience of the reader, as the shortest possible . . .

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