In This Article Pindar

  • Introduction
  • Biographies
  • General Overviews
  • Bibliographies
  • English Translations
  • Collections of Papers
  • Text
  • Emendations
  • Lexicons
  • Traditional Interpretation
  • Rhetorical Interpretation
  • New Historical Interpretation
  • Religion
  • Use of Earlier Greek Poetry
  • Style
  • Reception

Classics Pindar
by
Mary R. Lefkowitz
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0043

Introduction

Pindar has been admired since antiquity for the dramatic brilliance of his poetry. Of the various genres in which he wrote, only the odes that he wrote in honor of victors in the Greek games have come down to us as complete poems; his other works survive only in fragments. The victory odes (epinikia) display an extraordinary ability to draw from earlier myth the details that would confer lasting meaning on the specific occasions that he had been called to celebrate. Although his extended narratives can be relatively easy to follow, Pindar has acquired a reputation for difficulty because of the dazzling speed with which he moves from topic to topic, as well as the complex metrical forms in which he composed his poetry.

Biographies

Pindar was born in Thebes in Boeotia, probably in 518 BCE. The ancient lives preserve improbable stories about his childhood and conflicting testimony about the names of his parents and other members of his family (Lefkowitz 1981, pp. 57–66.). Most of what we know about his life comes from his works: his talent was recognized by the time he was twenty, when he was invited to write for a young victor in Thessaly (Pythian Ode 10, 498 BCE); he died sometime after 446 BCE, the date of the victory celebrated in his Pythian Ode 8, the last of his poems that can be securely dated. He was commissioned by patrons all over the Greek world, and he appears to have traveled to many of the places that he celebrates. The biographies from the Byzantine manuscripts may be found in Drachmann 1903. There is also a brief biography in Suidas Lexicon (Adler 1928–1938, vol. 4, pp. 132–133).

  • Adler, Ada. 1928–1938. Suidas lexicon. 5 vols. Leipzig: Teubner.

    E-mail Citation »

    The Greek text and evolving English translation are available online.

  • Drachmann, A. B. 1903. Scholia vetera in Pindari carmina. Leipzig: Teubner.

    E-mail Citation »

    Contains the text of the biographies of Pindar from Byzantine manuscripts. (Reprint, Amsterdam: Adolph M. Hakkert, 1969.)

  • Lefkowitz, Mary R. 1981. The lives of the Greek poets. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

    E-mail Citation »

    Collection of biographies of Greek poets; see chapter on Pindar.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.

Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article

Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.

If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email onlinemarketing@oup.com to express your interest.

Article

Up

Down