Pindar, Olympian Odes

LCL 56: 178-179

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Pindar

Olympian 11

This poem commemorates the same event as the previous one, and their relationship has long been debated. The scholia claim that Ol. 11 was written to pay the interest on the debt mentioned in Ol. 10, while many modern editors (e.g., Dissen, Gildersleeve, Fennell, and Farnell) have followed Boeckh in reversing the order of the two odes on the supposition that Ol. 11 was performed immediately at Olympia and that it promises the longer ode (Ol. 10). The latter view gains some support from the poet’s statement at Ol. 10.100 that he saw Hagesidamus win at Olympia, but neither poem makes an explicit reference to the other.

The poem opens with a priamel in which the needs of sailors for winds and of farmers for rain are capped by the need of victors for commemorative songs (1–6). In a brief praeteritio (recognized as such by E. L. Bundy), the poet asserts that much can be said in praise of Olympic victors, and that he is eager to praise at length, but declines to do so by saying that with divine help and poetic skill he can succeed just as effectively with a succinct account (7–10). He briefly states Hagesidamus’ achievement and offers to grace his Olympic crown by honoring the people of Western Locri (11–15). The poet dispatches the Muses to the celebration there (i.e. in Western Locri) and praises the Locrians for their hospitality, good taste, intelligence, and

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Pindar

martial prowess (16–19). He assures the Muses that they will find the Locrians as he has described them, for no more than foxes or lions could they change their nature (19–20).

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pindar-olympian_odes.1997