Pindar, Olympian Odes

LCL 56: 92-93

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Pindar

Olympian 5

This is the only victory ode in our MSS whose Pindaric authorship has been questioned. A heading in the Ambrosian MS (1.138.21 Dr.) states, “this poem was not among the texts, but in the commentaries of Didymus [1st cent. b.c.] it was said to be Pindar’s. ”Although this information has occasioned much discussion of the poem’s status, no compelling arguments for its exclusion from Pindar’s works have been advanced. It celebrates Psaumis’ victory in the mule car (apene), at some time between the resettlement of the city of Camarina in 461/460 and the elimination of the event from the Olympic games in 444. The most probable date is 448.

Each of its three triads (the shortest in the victory odes) addresses a different deity. In the first, Camarina is asked to welcome Psaumis, who exalted the city that bears her name at the Olympic games by providing feasts of oxen and furnishing entries in the races with chariots, mules, and single horses. His victory has brought glory to his newly built city and to his father Acron (1–8).

Upon his return from Olympia, Psaumis sings the praises of Pallas Athena, the Oanus River, the lake of Camarina, and the Hipparis River, which sustains the citizens through its canals. Psaumis apparently aided his people by building houses for them (9–14). Hard work and

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expenses are required to compete for a victory whose achievement is risky and uncertain, but when a man succeeds, even his townsmen credit him with wisdom (15– 16).

Finally, the poet invokes Zeus the Savior to grant the city more deeds of valor and wishes Psaumis a happy old age with his sons at his side (17–23). He concludes with the observation that a man who possesses adequate wealth and uses it to acquire fame has reached a mortal’s limits (23–24).

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pindar-olympian_odes.1997