Pindar, Olympian Odes

LCL 56: 208-209

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Pindar

Olympian 14

This is the only ode to a victor from Orchomenus (Erchomenus in Boeotian spelling) and consists mainly of a hymn to the Graces (Χάριτες), associated with the city from ancient times (Paus. 9.35.1–7). Since the date of 476 given by the scholia is not confirmed by P. Oxy. 222, the poem is usually ascribed to 488, the date most likely to have been altered by a scribal error (cf. Gaspar 50). According to the scholia the event (not indicated in the poem) was the stadion in the boys’ category. It is the only ode to consist of just two strophes.

The poet invokes the Graces as guardians of Orchomenus and providers of all pleasure for mortals (1–7). They are also present at the gods’ festivals and seated beside Apollo (8–12). In the second strophe the poet re-invokes them by name as Aglaia (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Good Cheer), and Thalia (Festivity) and, because she helped bring it about, asks the last of these to look kindly upon the present celebration of Asopichus’ Olympic victory (13–20). The sudden appearance of the word μελαντειχέα (“black-walled”) casts a shadow over the so-far joyful ode, as the poet asks Echo to convey the news of the young man’s victory to his dead father in Hades (20–24).

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pindar-olympian_odes.1997