Pindar, Olympian Odes

Olympian Odes, Odes of Pindar, translated by Diane Arnson Svarlien, who retains the copyright. Used by ToposText with her gracious permission. (For more on Dr. Arnson Svarlien). This text has 198 tagged references to 74 ancient places.
CTS URN: urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0033.tlg001; Wikidata ID: Q18146776; Trismegistos: authorwork/948     [Open Greek text in new tab]

§ 1.1  Olympian 1: For Hieron of Syracuse Single Horse Race 476 B.C.
Water is best, and gold, like a blazing fire in the night, stands out supreme of all lordly wealth. But if, my heart, you wish to sing of contests, [5] look no further for any star warmer than the sun, shining by day through the lonely sky, and let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia. From there glorious song enfolds the wisdom of poets, so that they loudly sing [10] the son of Cronus, when they arrive at the rich and blessed hearth of Hieron, who wields the scepter of law in Sicily of many flocks, reaping every excellence at its peak, and is glorified [15] by the choicest music, which we men often play around his hospitable table. Come, take the Dorian lyre down from its peg, if the splendor of Pisa and of Pherenicus placed your mind under the influence of sweetest thoughts, when that horse ran swiftly beside the Alpheus, not needing to be spurred on in the race, and brought victory to his master, the king of Syracuse who delights in horses. His glory shines in the settlement of fine men founded by Lydian Pelops,

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§ 1.25   with whom the mighty holder of the earth Poseidon fell in love, when Clotho took him out of the pure cauldron, furnished with a gleaming ivory shoulder. Yes, there are many marvels, and yet I suppose the speech of mortals beyond the true account can be deceptive, stories adorned with embroidered lies; [30] and Grace, who fashions all gentle things for men, confers esteem and often contrives to make believable the unbelievable. But the days to come are the wisest witnesses. [35] It is seemly for a man to speak well of the gods; for the blame is less that way. Son of Tantalus, I will speak of you, contrary to earlier stories. When your father invited the gods to a very well-ordered banquet at his own dear Sipylus, in return for the meals he had enjoyed, then it was that the god of the splendid trident seized you, his mind overcome with desire, and carried you away on his team of golden horses to the highest home of widely-honored Zeus, to which at a later time Ganymede came also, [45] to perform the same service for Zeus. But when you disappeared, and people did not bring you back to your mother, for all their searching, right away some envious neighbor whispered that they cut you limb from limb with a knife into the water's rolling boil over the fire,

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§ 1.50   and among the tables at the last course they divided and ate your flesh. For me it is impossible to call one of the blessed gods a glutton. I stand back from it. Often the lot of evil-speakers is profitlessness. If indeed the watchers of Olympus ever honored a mortal man, [55] that man was Tantalus. But he was not able to digest his great prosperity, and for his greed he gained overpowering ruin, which the Father hung over him: a mighty stone. Always longing to cast it away from his head, he wanders far from the joy of festivity. He has this helpless life of never-ending labor, a fourth toil after three others, because he stole from the gods nectar and ambrosia, with which they had made him immortal, and gave them to his drinking companions. If any man expects that what he does escapes the notice of a god, he is wrong. [65] Because of that the immortals sent the son of Tantalus back again to the swift-doomed race of men. And when he blossomed with the stature of fair youth, and down darkened his cheek, he turned his thoughts to an available marriage, [70] to win glorious Hippodameia from her father, the lord of Pisa. He drew near to the gray sea, alone in the darkness, and called aloud on the deep-roaring god, skilled with the trident; and the god appeared to him, close at hand.

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§ 1.75  Pelops said to the god, "If the loving gifts of Cyprian Aphrodite result in any gratitude, Poseidon, then restrain the bronze spear of Oenomaus, and speed me in the swiftest chariot to Elis, and bring me to victory. For he has killed thirteen suitors, and postpones the marriage of his daughter. Great danger does not take hold of a coward. Since all men are compelled to die, why should anyone sit stewing an inglorious old age in the darkness, with no share of any fine deeds? As for me, on this contest [85] I will take my stand. May you grant a welcome achievement." So he spoke, and he did not touch on words that were unaccomplished. Honoring him, the god gave him a golden chariot, and horses with untiring wings. He overcame the might of Oenomaus, and took the girl as his bride. She bore six sons, leaders of the people eager for excellence. [90] Now he has a share in splendid blood-sacrifices, resting beside the ford of the Alpheus, where he has his attendant tomb beside the altar that is thronged with many visitors. The fame of Pelops shines from afar in the races of the Olympic festivals, [95] where there are contests for swiftness of foot, and the bold heights of toiling strength. A victor throughout the rest of his life enjoys honeyed calm, so far as contests can bestow it. But at any given time the glory of the present day is the highest one that comes to every mortal man.

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§ 1.100   I must crown that man with the horse-song in the Aeolian strain. I am convinced that there is no host in the world today who is both knowledgeable about fine things and more sovereign in power, [105] whom we shall adorn with the glorious folds of song. A god is set over your ambitions as a guardian, Hieron, and he devises with this as his concern. If he does not desert you soon, I hope that I will celebrate an even greater sweetness, [110] sped by a swift chariot, finding a helpful path of song when I come to the sunny hill of Cronus. For me the Muse tends her mightiest shaft of courage. Some men are great in one thing, others in another; but the peak of the farthest limit is for kings. Do not look beyond that! [115] May it be yours to walk on high throughout your life, and mine to associate with victors as long as I live, distinguished for my skill among Greeks everywhere.

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§ 2.1  Olympian 2: For Theron of Acragas Chariot Race 476 B.C.
Songs, rulers of the lyre, what god, what hero, what man shall we celebrate? Indeed, Pisa belongs to Zeus; and Heracles established the Olympic festival, as the finest trophy of battle; [5] and Theron must be proclaimed because of his victorious four-horse chariot, Theron who is just in his regard for guests, and is the bulwark of Acragas, the strength of the city, the choicest bloom of illustrious ancestors, who labored much with their spirits, and won a sacred home by the river, and were [10] the eye of Sicily; their allotted lifetime attended them, bringing wealth and grace to their inborn excellence. But you, son of Cronus and Rhea, who rule over your home on Olympus, and over the foremost of festivals, and over the ford of Alpheus, be warmed by our songs and graciously preserve their ancestral land [15] for their future generations. When deeds have been accomplished, whether justly or contrary to justice, not even Time the father of all things could undo the outcome. But forgetfulness may come, with favorable fortune. Under the power of noble joys, malignant pain is subdued and dies, whenever god-sent Fate lifts prosperity on high. This saying applies to the daughters of Cadmus on their lovely thrones: they suffered greatly, but their heavy sorrow collapsed in the presence of greater blessings.

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§ 2.25   Long-haired Semele, who died in the roar of the thunderbolt, lives among the Olympians; Pallas is her constant friend, and indeed so is father Zeus, and she is loved by her ivy-crowned son. And they say that even in the sea, among the ocean-daughters of Nereus, immortal life [30] is granted to Ino for all time. Truly, for mortal men at least, the time when we will reach the limit of death is by no means fixed, nor when we will bring a peaceful day, the sun's child, to an end in unworried well-being. But at various times various currents, both of pleasure and of toil, come to men. [35] In such a way does Fate, who keeps their pleasant fortune to be handed from father to son, bring at another time some painful reversal together with god-sent prosperity, since the destined son met and killed Laius, and fulfilled the oracle of Pytho, spoken long before. But the sharp-eyed Erinys saw it, and destroyed his warlike sons through mutual slaughter. Yet Polyneices, when laid low, left behind him a son, Thersander, honored in youthful contests and in the battles of war, [45] a scion to defend the house of the descendants of Adrastus. And it is fitting that the son of Aenesidamus, whose roots grew from that seed, should meet with songs of praise and with the lyre. For in Olympia he himself received a prize of honor; at Pytho

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§ 2.50   and at the Isthmus, the Graces who love them both brought garlands of flowers to his equally blessed brother for his four-horse team, victorious in the twelve courses of the race. To attempt a contest and be successful brings release from sadness. Wealth adorned with excellence brings many opportunities, rousing deep wild ambitions; [55] it is a brilliant star, a man's true light, at least if one has and knows the future, that the reckless souls of those who have died on earth immediately pay the penalty-and for the crimes committed in this realm of Zeus there is a judge below the earth; with hateful compulsion he passes his sentence. But having the sun always in equal nights and equal days, the good receive a life free from toil, not scraping with the strength of their arms the earth, nor the water of the sea, [65] for the sake of a poor sustenance. But in the presence of the honored gods, those who gladly kept their oaths enjoy a life without tears, while the others undergo a toil that is unbearable to look at. Those who have persevered three times, on either side, to keep their souls free from all wrongdoing, [70] follow Zeus' road to the end, to the tower of Cronus, where ocean breezes blow around the island of the blessed, and flowers of gold are blazing, some from splendid trees on land, while water nurtures others. With these wreaths and garlands of flowers they entwine their hands

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§ 2.75   according to the righteous counsels of Rhadamanthys, whom the great father, the husband of Rhea whose throne is above all others, keeps close beside him as his partner. Peleus and Cadmus are counted among them, and Achilles who was brought there by his mother, when she had persuaded the heart of Zeus with her prayers- Achilles, who laid low Hector, the irresistible, unswerving pillar of Troy, and who consigned to death Memnon the Ethiopian, son of the Dawn. I have many swift arrows in the quiver under my arm, [85] arrows that speak to the initiated. But the masses need interpreters.3 The man who knows a great deal by nature is truly skillful, while those who have only learned chatter with raucous and indiscriminate tongues in vain like crows against the divine bird of Zeus. Now, bend your bow toward the mark; tell me, my mind, whom are we trying to hit [90] as we shoot arrows of fame from a gentle mind? I will aim at Acragas, and speak with true intent a word sworn by oath: no city for a hundred years has given birth to a man more beneficent in his mind or more generous with his hand [95] than Theron. But praise is confronted by greed, which is not accompanied by justice, but stirred up by depraved men, eager to babble and to bury the fine deeds of noble men. Since the sand of the shore is beyond all counting, who could number all the joys that Theron has given others?

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§ 3.1  Olympian 3: For Theron of Acragas Chariot Race 476 B.C.
I pray that I may be pleasing to the hospitable sons of Tyndareus and to Helen of the beautiful hair while I honor renowned Acragas by raising my song in praise of Theron's victory at Olympia, won by the choicest of horses with untiring feet. With this in view the Muse stood beside me when I found a shining new manner [5] of fitting the splendid voice of the victory procession to the Dorian sandal. For the garlands twined around his hair exact from me this sacred debt, to blend harmoniously for the son of Aenesidamus the embroidered song of the lyre and the cry of the flutes with the arrangement of words, and Pisa bids me to raise my voice - Pisa, from which [10] god-fated songs come often to men, for anyone over whose brow the strict Aetolian judge of the Greeks tosses up around his hair the gray-green adornment of olive leaves, fulfilling the ancient behests of Heracles; the olive which once the son of Amphitryon brought from the shady springs of the Danube, [15] to be the most beautiful memorial of the Olympian contests, when he had persuaded the Hyperborean people, the servants of Apollo, with speech. With trustworthy intentions he was entreating them for a shady plant, to be shared by all men and to be a garland of excellence in the grove of Zeus which is hospitable to all. For already the altars had been consecrated to his father, and in mid-month the full evening's eye shone brightly, the Moon on her golden chariot, and he had established the consecrated trial of the great games along with the four years' festival beside the sacred banks of the Alpheus. But Pelops' sacred ground was not flourishing with beautiful trees in the valleys below the hill of Cronus. He saw that this garden, bare of trees, was exposed to the piercing rays of the sun.

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§ 3.25   And so his spirit prompted him to travel to the land of the Danube, where the horse-driving daughter of Leto had received him when he came from the mountain-glens and deep, winding valleys of Arcadia; through the commands of Eurystheus, compulsion from his father urged him on the quest of the doe with the golden horns, which once Taygete [30] had inscribed as a sacred dedication to "Artemis who sets things right" [Orthosia]. Pursuing that doe he had also seen that land beyond the cold blasts of Boreas; there he had stood and marvelled at the trees, and sweet desire for them possessed him, to plant them around the boundary-line of the horse-racing ground with its twelve courses. And now in his kindness he comes regularly to this festival of ours, together with the godlike [35] twin sons of deep-waisted Leda. For Heracles, when he ascended to Olympus, assigned to them the ordering of the marvellous contest of men, the contest in excellence and in the driving of swift chariots. And so my spirit somehow urges me to say that glory has come to the Emmenidae and to Theron through the dispensation of the sons of Tyndareus with their fine horses, because that family comes to them with the most hospitable feasting-tables of any mortal men, observing the rites of the blessed gods with pious thoughts. If water is best and gold is the most honored of all possessions, so now Theron reaches the farthest point by his own native excellence; he touches the pillars of Heracles. Beyond that the wise cannot set foot; nor can the unskilled set foot [45] beyond that. I will not pursue it; I would be a fool.

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§ 4.1  Olympian 4: For Psaumis of Camarina Chariot Race 452 B.C.
Charioteer of the thundercloud with untiring feet, highest Zeus! Your Horae (seasons), whirling to the embroidered notes of the lyre's song, sent me as a witness of the most lofty games. When friends are successful, the noble immediately smile on [5] the sweet announcement. Son of Cronus, you who hold Aetna, the wind-swept weight on terrible hundred-headed Typhon, receive, for the sake of the Graces, this Olympic victory-procession, [10] this most enduring light of widely powerful excellence. For the procession comes in honor of Psaumis' chariot; Psaumis, who, crowned with the olive of Pisa, hurries to rouse glory for Camarina. May the god be gracious to his future prayers, since I praise a man who is most eager in the raising of horses, [15] who rejoices in being hospitable to all guests, and whose pure thoughts are turned towards city-loving peace. I will not stain my words with lies. Perseverance is what puts men to the test, and what saved the son of Clymenus from the contempt of the Lemnian women. He won the foot race in bronze armor, and said to Hypsipyle as he went to take the garland: "Such is my swiftness;

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§ 4.25   and I have hands and heart to match. Even on young men gray hair often grows, even before the expected age."

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§ 5.1  Olympian 5: For Psaumis of Camarina Mule Car Race? 460 or 456 B.C.
Daughter of Ocean, with a smiling heart receive the sweet bloom of lofty excellence and Olympian garlands, the gifts of Psaumis and of his mule car team with untiring feet. Psaumis who, exalting your city, Camarina, which cares for its people, [5] honored the six double altars, at the greatest festivals of the gods, with the sacrifice of oxen and in contests on the fifth day, contests of horse teams, and mule teams, and of riding the single horse. To you he has dedicated rich renown by his victory, and he had his father Acron and his new-founded home proclaimed by the herald. Coming from the lovely homes of Oenomaus and of Pelops, [10] he sings of your sacred grove, Pallas protector of the city, and of the river Oanis, and the local lake, and the sacred canals with which Hipparis waters its people, and swiftly builds a tall-standing grove of steadfast dwellings, bringing this host of citizens out of helplessness into the light. [15] Always, when it is a question of excellence, toil and expense strive to accomplish a deed that is shrouded in danger; those who are successful seem wise, even to their fellow-citizens. Savior Zeus, high in the clouds, you who dwell on the hill of Cronus and honor the wide-flowing Alpheus and the sacred cave of Ida! I come as your suppliant, singing to the sound of Lydian flutes, entreating you to adorn this city with glorious hosts of noble men; and that you, Psaumis the Olympic victor, delighting in the horses of Poseidon, may carry on to the end a pleasurable old age with your sons standing beside you. If a man cultivates both prosperity and health, being generous with his possessions and winning praise as well, let him not seek to become a god.

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§ 6.1  Olympian 6: For Hagesias of Syracuse Mule Car Race 472 or 468 B.C.
Raising the fine-walled porch of our dwelling with golden pillars, we will build, as it were, a marvellous hall; at the beginning of our work we must place a far-shining front. If someone were an Olympic victor, [5] and a guardian of the prophetic altar of Zeus at Pisa, and a fellow-founder of renowned Syracuse, what hymn of praise would that man fail to win, by finding fellow-citizens ungrudging in delightful song? Let the son of Sostratus know that this sandal fits his divinely-blessed foot. But excellence without danger [10] is honored neither among men nor in hollow ships. But many people remember, if a fine thing is done with toil. Hagesias, that praise is ready for you, which once Adrastus' tongue rightly spoke for the seer Amphiaraus, son of Oicles, when the earth swallowed up him and his shining horses. [15] In Thebes, when the seven pyres of corpses had been consumed, the son of Talaus spoke in this way: "I long for the eye of my army, a man who was good both as a prophet and at fighting with the spear." And this holds good as well for the man of Syracuse who is master of our victory-procession. Though I am not prone to quarrel, and not overly fond of victory, I would even swear a great oath, and on this point at least I will clearly bear witness for him; and the honey-voiced Muses will give their consent. Phintis, come now and yoke the strength of mules for me, quickly, so that we can drive the chariot along a clear path, and I can at last arrive at the race of these men.

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§ 6.25   For those mules above all others know how to lead the way along this path, since they have won garlands at Olympia. And so it is right to open for them the gates of song; and I must go today, in good time, to Pitana, beside the ford of Eurotas. Pitana, who, it is said, lay with Poseidon son of Cronus, [30] and bore a child, violet-haired Evadne. But she hid her unwedded pregnancy in the folds of her robe. And in the appointed month she sent servants, and told them to give the baby to be tended by the hero, Aepytus son of Eilatus, who ruled over the Arcadians at Phaesana, and had his allotted home on the Alpheus, [35] where Evadne was raised, and first touched the sweets of Aphrodite beneath Apollo's embrace. She did not escape the notice of Aepytus in all the time that she was hiding the offspring of the god; no, he went to Pytho, pressing down the unspeakable anger in his spirit with intense concern, to consult the oracle about this unbearable disaster. And she laid down her purple and saffron girdle, and her silver pitcher, and beneath a blue-shaded thicket gave birth to a god-inspired boy. The golden-haired god sent gentle-minded Eleithuia and the Fates to help her. From her womb and her sweet birth-pangs Iamus came right away into the light. In her distress, [45] she left him on the ground. But by the will of the gods, two gray-eyed serpents nurtured him with the harmless venom of bees, caring for him. And when the king had driven back from rocky Pytho, he questioned everyone in the household about the child whom Evadne had borne. For he said that he was begotten by Phoebus,

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§ 6.50   and that he would be, for men on earth, a prophet above all mortals, and that his race would never fail. Such was his speech. But they claimed that they had neither seen nor heard the baby, born four days ago. For it had been hidden in the rushes and the boundless thicket, [55] his tender body washed in the golden and purple light of violets. Therefore his mother declared that he should be called for all time by this immortal name, "Iamus." And when he had attained the delightful fruit of golden-crowned Youth, he went down into the middle of the Alpheus, and called on wide-ruling Poseidon, his grandfather, and on the Archer who watches over god-built Delos, praying that the honor of caring for the people be on his head, under the clear night sky. His father's voice responded in clear speech, and sought him out: "Rise, my son, and follow my voice here to a place that welcomes all." They came to the steep rock of the lofty hill of Cronus. [65] There the god gave him a double treasure of prophecy: there and then to hear a voice that did not know how to lie; and when bold-plotting Heracles came, the sacred scion of the Alcidae, and founded for his father a festival frequented by mortals and the greatest ritual of contests, [70] then he commanded him to establish an oracle on the highest altar of Zeus. Since then the race of the sons of Iamus has been very famous throughout Greece. Prosperity attended them; and by honoring excellence, they walk along a bright path. Every action brings evidence.

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§ 6.75  Envious blame from others hangs over those who have once driven first down the final course of a race, and on whom honored Grace has shed glorious beauty. But if, Hagesias, it is true that the men on your mother's side, living below the boundaries of Cyllene, piously gave many gifts, with prayers and sacrifices, to the herald of the gods, Hermes, who rules over games and the dispensation of contests, and honors Arcadia, the home of fine men, it is that god, son of Sostratus, who with his loud-thundering father fulfills your good fortune. I think I have on my tongue a shrill whetstone, which steals over me (and I am willing) with fair-flowing breaths. My mother's mother was the nymph of Stymphalus, blossoming Metopa, [85] who bore horse-driving Thebe, whose delicious water I drink, while I weave my embroidered song for heroic spearmen. Now rouse your companions, Aeneas, first to shout the praises of Hera Parthenia, and then to know whether we have truly escaped the ancient reproach [90] of men's speech, "Boeotian pig." For you are a faithful herald, a message-stick of the lovely-haired Muses, a sweet mixing-bowl of loud-sounding songs. Tell them to remember Syracuse and Ortygia, which Hieron rules with his pure scepter and with good counsels, [95] while he attends on the worship of Demeter of the red feet, and on the festival of her daughter with her white horses, and on the might of Aetnaean Zeus. The sweet-voiced lyres and music are familiar with Hieron. May time not creep up and disturb his prosperity, but may he with loving friendliness welcome the victory-procession of Hagesias as it comes to one home from his other home within the walls of Stymphalus, leaving his motherland, Arcadia of the fine flocks. On a stormy night it is good to have two anchors to throw down from a swift ship. May a god lovingly bestow a glorious lot on the men of both cities. Master, ruler of the sea, husband of Amphitrite of the golden distaff, grant straight sailing free from troubles, [105] and give new growth to the delightful flower of my songs.

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§ 7.1  Olympian 7: For Diagoras of Rhodes Boxing-Match 464 B.C.
As when someone takes a goblet, all golden, the most prized of his possessions, foaming with the dew of the vine from a generous hand, and makes a gift of it to his young son-in-law, welcoming him with a toast from one home to another, [5] honoring the grace of the symposium and the new 5 marriage-bond, and thereby, in the presence of his friends, makes him enviable for his harmonious marriage-bed; I too, sending to victorious men poured nectar, the gift of the Muses, the sweet fruit of my mind, I try to win the gods' favor [10] for those men who were victors at Olympia and at Pytho. That man is prosperous, who is encompassed by good reports. Grace, which causes life to flourish, looks with favor now on one man, now on another, with both the sweet-singing lyre and the full-voiced notes of flutes. And now, with the music of flute and lyre alike I have come to land with Diagoras, singing the sea-child of Aphrodite and bride of Helios, Rhodes, [15] so that I may praise this straight-fighting, tremendous man who had himself crowned beside the Alpheus and near Castalia, as a recompense for his boxing, and also his father Damagetus, a man pleasing to Justice, living on the island of three cities near the foreland of spacious Asia, among Argive spearmen. I shall want to proclaim my message for them, the widely powerful race of Heracles, and tell correctly from the beginning, from Tlepolemus, the story that concerns all. For, on the father's side, they boast descent from Zeus, while, on the mother's, they are descendants of Amyntor, through Astydameia. But around the minds of men

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§ 7.25   countless errors loom; and this is impossible to discover: what is best to happen to a man, now and in the end. For indeed, striking Licymnius, the bastard brother of Alcmena, with a staff of hard olive-wood as he came out of the chamber of Midea, [30] the founder of this land once killed that man, in anger. Disturbances of the mind lead astray even a wise man. Tlepolemus went and sought the god's oracle. To him the golden-haired god spoke, from his fragrant sanctuary, of a voyage by ship from the shore of Lerna straight to the pasture land with sea all around it, where once the great king of the gods showered the city with golden snow, [35] when, by the skills of Hephaestus with the bronze-forged hatchet, Athena leapt from the top of her father's head and cried aloud with a mighty shout. The Sky and mother Earth shuddered before her. Then even the god that brings light to mortals, son of Hyperion, enjoined his dear children to observe the obligation that was soon to be due: that they should be the first to build for the goddess an altar visible to all men, and by founding a sacred burnt-offering warm the spirit of the father and of the daughter who thunders with her spear. She who casts excellence and joys into men is the daughter of Forethought, Reverence. [45] Truly, a cloud of forgetfulness sometimes descends unexpectedly, and draws the straight path of action away from the mind. For they climbed the hill without bringing the seed of burning flame; and they established the sacred precinct on the acropolis with fireless sacrifices. Zeus brought to them a yellow cloud

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§ 7.50   and rained on them abundant gold. And the gray-eyed goddess herself bestowed on them every art, so that they surpassed all mortal men as the best workers with their hands; and the roads bore works of art like living, moving creatures, and their fame was profound. For a wise craftsman, even superior skill is free from guile. The ancient stories of men tell [55] that when Zeus and the immortals were dividing the earth among them, Rhodes was not yet visible in the expanse of the sea, but the island was hidden in the salty depths. Helios was absent, and no one marked out a share for him; in fact they left him without any allotment of land, although he was a holy god. And when Helios mentioned it, Zeus was about to order a new casting of lots, but Helios did not allow him. For he said that he himself saw in the gray sea, growing from the bottom, a rich, productive land for men, and a kindly one for flocks. And he bid Lachesis of the golden headband [65] raise her hands right away, and speak, correctly and earnestly, the great oath of the gods, and consent with the son of Cronus that that island, when it had risen into the shining air, should thereafter be his own prize of honor. And the essence of his words was fulfilled and turned out to be true. There grew from the waters of the sea [70] an island, which is held by the birthgiving father of piercing rays, the ruler of fire-breathing horses. And there he once lay with Rhodes, and begat seven sons who inherited from him the wisest minds in the time of earlier men; and of these one begat Cameirus, and Ialysus the eldest, and Lindus. Each had his own separate share of cities

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§ 7.75   in their threefold division of their father's land, and their dwelling-places were named after them. There it is that a sweet recompense for his pitiful misfortune is established for Tlepolemus, the first leader of the Tirynthians, as for a god: a procession of flocks for burnt sacrifice and the trial of contests. With the flowers from these Diagoras has had himself crowned twice, and at the renowned Isthmus four times, in his good fortune, and again and again at Nemea and in rocky Athens; and the prizes of the bronze shield in Argos and the works of art in Arcadia and Thebes are familiar with him, and the duly ordered contests [85] of the Boeotians, and Pellana and Aegina, where he was six times victor. And in Megara the list carved in stone gives no other account. But, Father Zeus, you who rule over the ridges of Atabyrium, grant honor to the hymn ordained in praise of an Olympian victor, and to the man who has found excellence as a boxer, and grant to him honored grace [90] in the eyes of both citizens and strangers. For he walks a straight course on a road that hates arrogance, knowing clearly the sound prophetic wisdom of his good ancestors. Do not bury in obscurity the shared seed of Callianax. When the Eratidae are graced with victories, the city too holds festivities; but in a single space of apportioned time [95] the winds shift quickly from moment to moment.

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§ 8.1  Olympian 8: For Alcimedon of Aegina Boys' Wrestling 460 B.C.
Mother of golden-crowned contests, Olympia, queen of truth! where prophets, judging from burnt sacrifices, inquire of Zeus of the flashing thunderbolt, if he has any message to give concerning men [5] whose spirits are seeking to attain great excellence and a breathing-space from toils. Accomplishment is granted to the prayers of men in gratitude for their piety. Well-wooded grove of Pisa beside the Alpheus, [10] welcome this victory-procession and the garland we bring to the victor; the man who is attended by your splendid prize of honor has great glory forever. Some good things come to one man, some to another; with the favor of the gods, there are many paths of success. [15] Timosthenes, fortune has allotted you and your brother to the care of your ancestor Zeus, who made you renowned at Nemea, and made Alcimedon an Olympic victor beside the hill of Cronus. He was beautiful to look at, and his deeds did not belie his beauty when by his victory in wrestling he had Aegina with her long oars proclaimed as his fatherland. There the savior Themis, seated beside Zeus the god of hospitality, is honored more than among all other men. For when there is a heavy weight in the balance that sways many ways, to judge with a straight mind and not inopportunely

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§ 8.25   is a difficult struggle. But some ordinance of the immortals set up as a divine pillar for visitors of all kinds this sea-girt land-and may the dawning time to come never tire of fulfilling this- [30] guarded by the Dorian people since the time of Aeacus, whom wide-ruling Poseidon and the son of Leto, when they were about to build the crown of walls to encircle Ilium, summoned as a fellow worker; for it was fated that when war arose, [35] in the city-destroying battles, that wall would breathe forth ravening smoke. And three gray-green serpents, when the wall was newly built, tried to leap into it; two of them fell down, stunned, and gave up their lives, and the third leapt up with a cry. Pondering this adverse omen, Apollo said right away: "Pergamos is taken, hero, through the works of your hands-so says a vision sent to me from the son of Cronus, loud-thundering Zeus- [45] not without your sons: the city will be destroyed with the first generation, and with the third." The god spoke clearly, and then hurried on his way, driving to Xanthus, and to the Amazons with their fine horses, and to the Danube. And the wielder of the trident drove his swift chariot to the sea-washed Isthmus,

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§ 8.50   bringing Aeacus here on his golden horses, and going to see the ridge of Corinth, famous for its feasts. But nothing can be equally delightful to all men. If I have, in my song, exalted the glory of Melesias for his training of beardless youths, [55] let envy not strike me with a rough stone. For I will tell how he himself won the same grace at Nemea, and later, among men, in the battle of the pancratium. To teach is easier for one who has knowledge himself. And it is foolish not to learn in advance; for the minds of those with no experience are insubstantial. Melesias, beyond all others, could speak of those deeds: what manner of training will advance a man who is going to win the most longed-for glory from the sacred games. [65] Now it is his honor that his thirtieth victory has been won for him by Alcimedon, who, with divine good fortune, yet without falling short in his own manliness, thrust off from himself and onto the four limbs of other boys a hateful homecoming with contemptuous talk and a secret way back, [70] and breathed into his father's father the force that wrestles off old age. Hades is forgotten by a man with good accomplishments. But I must awaken memory and tell

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§ 8.75   of the choicest victory of hands for the Blepsiads, who are now crowned with their sixth garland from the contests flourishing with leaves. Even the dead have a share in rites performed according to law; the dust does not cover the good grace of their kinsmen. Having heard the voice of Hermes' daughter, Angelia, Iphion might tell Callimachus of the splendid adornment at Olympia, which Zeus gave to their race. May he be willing to grant noble deeds upon noble [85] deeds, and to ward off bitter diseases. I pray that, for the share of fine things allotted to them, Zeus may not cause the mind of Nemesis to waver; rather, may he grant a painless life, and thus give new growth to themselves and their city.

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§ 9.1  Olympian 9: For Epharmostus of Opus Wrestling-Match 466 B.C.
The resounding strain of Archilochus, the swelling thrice-repeated song of triumph, sufficed to lead Epharmostus to the hill of Cronus, in victory-procession with his dear companions. [5] But now, from the bow of the Muses who, shooting from afar, send a shower of such arrows of song as these on Zeus of the red lightning-bolt and on the sacred height of Elis, which once the Lydian hero Pelops [10] won as the very fine dowry of Hippodameia. And shoot a winged sweet arrow to Pytho; for your words will not fall to the ground, short of the mark, when you trill the lyre in honor of the wrestling of the man from renowned Opus. Praise Opus and her son; [15] praise her whom Themis and her glorious daughter, the savior Eunomia, have received under their protection; she flourishes with excellence beside your stream, Castalia, and beside the Alpheus. From there the choicest garlands glorify the famous mother-city of the Locrians with her splendid trees. I am lighting up that dear city with fiery songs, and more swiftly than a spirited horse or a winged ship

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§ 9.25   I will send that message everywhere, so surely as I, by some destined skill, am cultivating the exquisite garden of the Graces; for they are the givers of delight, but men become brave and skillful by divine will. For [30] how could Heracles have wielded his club against the trident, when Poseidon took his stand to guard Pylos, and pressed him hard, and Phoebus pressed him hard, attacking with his silver bow; nor did Hades keep his staff unmoved, with which he leads mortal bodies down to the hollow path [35] of the dead. My mouth, fling this story away from me! Since to speak evil of the gods is a hateful skill, and untimely boasting is in harmony with madness. Do not babble of such things now. Keep war and all battles apart from the immortals. But lend your tongue to the city of Protogeneia, where, by the ordinance of Zeus with the flashing thunderbolt, Pyrrha and Deucalion came down from Parnassus and made their first home, and without the marriage-bed [45] they founded a unified race of stone offspring, and the stones gave the people their name. Arouse for them a clear-sounding path of song; praise wine that is old, but praise the flowers of songs that are new. They tell, indeed,

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§ 9.50   how the strength of the waters overwhelmed the dark earth; but by the skills of Zeus the ebbing tide suddenly drained off the flood. From these were descended your ancestors with their bronze shields, [55] young men sprung from the beginning from the stock of the daughters of Iapetus and from the powerful sons of Cronus, always a native line of kings, until the ruler of Olympus carried off the daughter of Opus from the land of the Epeians, and lay with her peacefully in the glens of Mount Maenalus, and brought her to Locrus, so that age would not overtake him and lay the burden of childlessness on him. His bride was carrying in her womb the seed of the greatest god, and the hero rejoiced to see his adopted son, and gave him the same name as his mother's father, Opus, [65] a man beyond words in beauty and fine deeds. Locrus gave him a city and a people to govern, and strangers came to him from Argos and Thebes, from Arcadia and Pisa. But among the settlers he chiefly honored the son of Actor [70] and Aegina, Menoetius, whose son went with the Atreidae to the plain of Teuthras, and stood alone beside Achilles, when Telephus turned to flight the mighty Danaans, and attacked their ships beside the sea, to reveal to a man of understanding

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§ 9.75   the powerful mind of Patroclus. From that time forward, the son of Thetis exhorted him in deadly war never to post himself far from his own man-subduing spear. May I be a suitable finder of words as I move onward in the Muses' chariot; may boldness and all-embracing power attend me. Because of his friendship with my people and his excellence, I went to honor the Isthmian crowning of Lampromachus, when both he and Epharmostus were victors [85] on a single day. And then there were two other joyous victories at the gates of Corinth, and others won by Epharmostus in the vale of Nemea; and at Argos he won glory in a contest of men, and as a boy at Athens. And at Marathon, when he was barred from competing with the beardless youths, [90] how he endured the contest for silver cups among the older men! Having subdued those men by the trick of quickly shifting balance without falling, with what a roar of applause did he pass through the ring, in his prime, and handsome, and having accomplished the finest deeds. [95] Again, among the Parrhasian people he was marvellous to look at, at the festival of Lycaean Zeus, and when at Pellana he carried off as his prize a warm remedy against chilly winds. The tomb of Iolaus bears witness for him, and also Eleusis by the sea, for his splendid achievements. That which is inborn is always the best; but many men strive to win glory with excellence that comes from training. Anything in which a god has no part is none the worse for being quelled in silence. For some roads [105] lead farther than others, and a single occupation will not nourish us all. The paths to skill are steep; but, while offering this prize of song, boldly shout aloud [110] that this man, by the blessing of the gods, was born with deftness of hand and litheness of limb, and with valor in his eyes; and at the banquet of Aias son of Oileus he laid his victorious garland on the altar.

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§ 10.1  Olympian 10: For Hagesidamus of Western Locri Boys' Boxing 476 B.C.
Read me the name of the Olympic victor, the son of Archestratus, where it has been written in my mind. For I owed him a sweet song, and I have forgotten. But come, Muse, you and the daughter of Zeus, unforgetting Truth: with the hand that puts things right, [5] keep from me the blame for lying, for wronging my friend. Approaching from far away, the future has arrived and made me ashamed of my deep debt. Still, payment with interest has a way of dissolving the bitter reproach of men. [10] Now, just as the flowing wave overwhelms the rolling pebble, so shall I pay my account in full, in gratitude and friendship. For unswerving Exactitude rules the city of the Western Locrians, and Calliope is important to them, and bronze-armored Ares. [15] Battle with Cycnus set back even Heracles, strong and violent; let Hagesidamus, victorious as a boxer at Olympia, offer thanks to Ilas, just as Patroclus did to Achilles. With the help of a god, one man can sharpen another who is born for excellence, and encourage him to tremendous achievement. Without toil only a few have attained joy, a light of life above all labors. The laws of Zeus urge me to sing of that extraordinary contest-place which Heracles founded by the ancient tomb of Pelops

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§ 10.25   with its six altars, after he killed Cteatus, the flawless son of Poseidon and Eurytus too, with a will to exact from the unwilling Augeas, strong and violent, the wages for his menial labor. [30] Heracles lay in wait in the thicket below Cleonae, and in his turn overcame those men by the roadside; for once before those arrogant Moliones had destroyed his Tirynthian army, when it was encamped in the valley of Elis. And indeed it was not much later before the man who betrayed his friend, [35] the king of the Epeians, saw his land with all its possessions, his own city, sink into a deep channel of destruction beneath unyielding fire and blows of iron. A fight with a stronger man is impossible to push away. So even he, by his own senselessness, last of all found himself captured and did not escape sheer destruction. But the brave son of Zeus gathered the entire army and all the spoils together in Pisa [45] and measured out a sacred precinct for his supreme father. He enclosed the Altis all around and marked it off in the open, and he made the encircling area a resting-place for feasting, honoring the stream of the Alpheus along with the twelve ruling gods.

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§ 10.50   And he called it the Hill of Cronus; it had been nameless before, while Oenomaus was king, and it was covered with wet snow. But in this rite of first birth the Fates stood close by, and the one who alone puts genuine truth to the test, [55] Time. Time moved forward and told the clear and precise story, how Heracles divided the gifts of war and sacrificed the finest of them, and how he established the four years' festival with the first Olympic games and its victories. Who won the first garland, with the skill of his hands or feet or chariot, setting the boast of victory in his mind and achieving it with his deeds? In the foot race the best at running the straight course [65] with his feet was the son of Licymnius, Oeonus, who had come from Midea at the head of an army. In wrestling, Echemus won glory for Tegea. And the prize in boxing was won by Doryclus, who lived in the city of Tiryns. And in the four-horse chariot [70] the victor was Samos of Mantinea, the son of Halirhothius. Phrastor hit the mark with the javelin. Niceus sent the stone flying from his circling arm beyond all the others, and his fellow soldiers raised a sudden burst of loud cheering.

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§ 10.75   The lovely light of the moon's beautiful face lit up the evening and in the delightful festivities the whole precinct rang with a song in praise of victory. Even now we will follow the first beginnings, and as a namesake song of proud victory, we will shout of the thunder and the fire-wrought shaft of Zeus who rouses the thunder-clap, the burning bolt that suits omnipotence. Swelling music will answer the reed-pipe in songs [85] which have come to light beside famous Dirce, after a long time, but like a long-desired child from the wife of a man who has already reached the opposite of youth, who fills his father's mind with the warmth of love; since his wealth falling into the hands of a stranger who is master of another home [90] is the most hateful thing to a dying man. And, Hagesidamus, when a man with fine achievements but no songs reaches the house of Hades, he has spent his strength and his breath in vain and gained only a short-lived delight with his effort. But on you the soft-singing lyre and the sweet flute scatter grace [95] and the Pierian daughters of Zeus nurture your wide fame. While I, earnestly lending my hand, have embraced the famous tribe of the Locrians, showering with honey their city of fine men. And I praised the lovely son of Archestratus, whom I saw at that time beside the Olympic altar, winning victory with the valor of his hands-beautiful in form, and blended with that youthful bloom which once [105] kept Ganymede from shameless death, with the help of Cyprian Aphrodite.

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§ 11.1  Olympian 11: For Hagesidamus of Western Locri Boys' Boxing 476 B.C.
There is a time when men's need for winds is the greatest, and a time for waters from the sky, the rainy offspring of clouds. But when anyone is victorious through his toil, then honey-voiced odes [5] become the foundation for future fame, and a faithful pledge for great deeds of excellence. This praise is dedicated to Olympian victors, without stint. My tongue wants to foster such themes; [10] but it is by the gift of a god that a man flourishes with a skillful mind, as with anything else. For the present rest assured, Hagesidamus son of Archestratus: for the sake of your boxing victory, I shall loudly sing a sweet song, an adornment for your garland of golden olive, [15] while I honor the race of the Western Locrians. There, Muses, join in the victory-song; I shall pledge my word to you that we will find there a race that does not repel the stranger, or is inexperienced in fine deeds, but one that is wise and warlike too. For neither the fiery fox nor loud-roaring lions change their nature.

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§ 12.1  Olympian 12: For Ergoteles of Himera Long Foot Race 466 B.C.
I entreat you, child of Zeus the Deliverer, saving Fortune, keep protecting Himera, and make her powerful. For by your favor swift ships are steered on the sea, and on dry land rushing battles [5] and assemblies where counsel is given. But men's expectations are often tossed up and then back down, as they cleave the waves of vain falsehood. Never yet has any man on earth found a reliable token of what will happen from the gods. Our understanding of the future is blind. [10] And therefore many things fall out for men contrary to their judgement, bringing to some reversal of delight, while others, having encountered grievous storms, in a short time exchange their troubles for high success. Son of Philanor, truly, like a cock that fights at home, even [15] the fame of your swift feet would have shed its leaves ingloriously beside your native hearth, if hostile civil strife had not deprived you of your Cnossian fatherland. But as things are, Ergoteles, having been crowned with garlands at Olympia, and twice from Pytho, and at the Isthmus, you exalt the hot baths of the Nymphs, while keeping company with them beside your own fields.

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§ 13.1  Olympian 13: For Xenophon of Corinth Foot Race and Pentathlon 464 B.C.
While I praise a house that has been three times victorious at Olympia, gentle to her own citizens, and hospitable to strangers, I shall recognize prosperous Corinth, [5] the portal of Isthmian Poseidon, glorious in her young men. There dwell Eunomia and her sisters, the secure foundation of cities: Dike, and Eirene, who was raised together with her, the guardians of wealth for men, the golden daughters of wise Themis. They are resolute in repelling [10] Hybris, the bold-tongued mother of Koros. I have fine things to tell, and straightforward boldness urges my tongue to speak. It is impossible to conceal one's inborn nature. As for you, sons of Aletes, often the Seasons have sent you victorious splendor [15] for your consummate excellence when you won in sacred contests, and often into the hearts of men the Seasons rich in flowers have cast ancient inventiveness. But the fame for every work is due to its inventor. Whence did the Graces of Dionysus first come to light, with the ox-driving dithyramb? Who invented the bridle for the harness of horses, or placed the double king of birds on top of the temples of gods? And in Corinth the sweet-breathing Muse blossoms, and also Ares, with the deadly spears of young men. Highest lord

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§ 13.25   of Olympia, ruling far and wide; for all time, father Zeus, may you be ungrudging of our words, and ruling this people in safety, grant a straight course to the fair wind of Xenophon's good fortune. Receive the ordained song of praise in honor of his garlands, the procession which he leads from the plains of Pisa, [30] since he has been victorious in both the pentathlon and the foot race; he has attained what no mortal man has ever attained before. Two wreaths of wild celery crowned him, when he appeared at the Isthmian festival; and Nemea does not speak differently. [35] The brilliance of his father Thessalus' feet is stored up by the streams of the Alpheus, and at Pytho he has honor for the single and the double foot race within the circuit of a single day's sun; and in the same month, in rocky Athens, one swift-footed day placed three very beautiful prizes on his head, and the games of Athena Hellotis give him seven victories. In the games of Poseidon between the two seas, the songs would be too long that could tell of all the victories won by Terpsias and Eritimus, with their father Ptoeodorus. And as for all the times you were best at Delphi, and in the lion's pastures, I am ready to contend with many [45] over the number of your honors; for, truly, I would not know how to give a clear account of the number of pebbles in the sea. Each thing has its limit; knowing it is the best and most timely way. And I, sailing on my own course for the common good,

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§ 13.50   and singing of the wisdom and the battles of ancient men in their heroic excellence, shall not falsify the story of Corinth; I shall tell of Sisyphus, who, like a god, was very shrewd in his devising, and of Medea, who resolved on her own marriage against her father's will, and thus saved the ship Argo and its seamen. [55] And again, in the fight long ago before the walls of Dardanus, Corinthians seemed to decide the issue of battles on either side: some of them attempting, with the dear race of Atreus, to recover Helen, and others doing everything they could to oppose the attempt. And the Danaans trembled before Glaucus, when he came from Lycia; he boasted to them that in the city of Peirene lay the rule and rich estate and hall of his ancestor, Bellerophon, who once suffered greatly when beside the spring he wanted to harness Pegasus, the son of the snake-entwined Gorgon; [65] until the maiden Pallas brought to him a bridle with golden cheek-pieces. The dream suddenly became waking reality, and she spoke: "Are you sleeping, king, son of Aeolus? Come, take this charm for the horse; and, sacrificing a white bull, show it to your ancestor, Poseidon the Horse-Tamer." [70] The goddess of the dark aegis seemed to say such words to him as he slumbered in the darkness, and he leapt straight up to his feet. He seized the marvellous thing that lay beside him, and gladly went to the seer of the land,

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§ 13.75   and he told the son of Coeranus the whole story: how, at the seer's bidding, he had gone to sleep for the night on the altar of the goddess, and how the daughter herself of Zeus whose spear is the thunderbolt had given him the spirit-subduing gold. The seer told him to obey the dream with all speed; and, when he sacrificed a strong-footed bull to the widely powerful holder of the earth, straightaway to dedicate an altar to Athena, goddess of horses. The power of the gods accomplishes as a light achievement what is contrary to oaths and expectations. And so mighty Bellerophon eagerly [85] stretched the gentle charmed bridle around its jaws and caught the winged horse. Mounted on its back and armored in bronze, at once he began to play with weapons. And with Pegasus, from the chilly bosom of the lonely air, he once attacked the Amazons, the female army of archers, [90] and he killed the fire-breathing Chimaera, and the Solymi. I shall pass over his death in silence; but Pegasus has found his shelter in the ancient stables of Zeus in Olympus. But I, while casting the whirling javelins with straight aim, must not miss the mark [95] as I speed many shafts with the strength of my hands. I have come as a willing champion of the Muses on their splendid thrones and of the race of Oligaethus. I shall make their many victories at the Isthmus and at Nemea manifest in a few words; and, as a truthful witness under oath, the sweet-tongued cry of the noble herald, who announced their victories sixty times at both places, will confirm my words. Their victories at Olympia seem to have already been mentioned; and of those in the future I could tell clearly when the time comes. For now I am hopeful, although a god controls [105] the outcome. If the good fortune of their family continues, we shall leave this to Zeus and Enyalius to accomplish. They won six times beneath the brow of Parnassus; and all their victories in Argos and in Thebes, and all that shall be witnessed by the royal Lycaean altar that rules over the Arcadians, and by Pellana, and Sicyon, and Megara, the beautifully enclosed precinct of the Aeacidae, [110] and Eleusis and splendid Marathon, and the wealthy and beautiful cities beneath the high crest of Aetna, and Euboea-you may search through all Greece, and you will find that their victories are more than the eye can see. Come, swim away with agile feet! [115] Zeus the Accomplisher, grant reverence, and a sweet good fortune of delights.

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§ 14.1  Olympian 14: For Asopichus of Orchomenus Boys' Foot Race ?488 B.C.
You who have your home by the waters of Cephisus, who dwell in the town of beautiful horses: songful queens, Graces of splendid Orchomenus, guardians of the ancient race of Minyans, [5] hear me; I am praying. For with your help all delightful and sweet things are accomplished for mortals, if any man is skillful, or beautiful, or splendid. Not even the gods arrange dances or feasts without the holy Graces, who oversee everything [10] that is done in heaven; with their thrones set beside Pythian Apollo of the golden bow, they worship the everlasting honor of the Olympian father. Lady Aglaia, and Euphrosyne, lover of dance and song, daughters of the strongest god, [15] listen now; and you, Thalia, passionate for dance and song, having looked with favor on this victory procession, stepping lightly in honor of gracious fortune. For I have come to sing of Asopichus in Lydian melodies and chosen phrases, because the Minyan land is victorious at Olympia, thanks to you. Now go, Echo, to the dark-walled home of Persephone and bring the glorious message to his father; when you see Cleodamus, tell him that his son, by the famous valley of Pisa, has wreathed his youthful hair with the wings of the renowned games.

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