Talk:Pindar

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Comments[edit]

I don't think "extracted and wikified from a certain encyclopedia" counts as crediting sources - Jim Regan 03:08, 16 Sep 2003 (UTC)


Why did 61.29.106.146 delete half the article? Was there are reason, or was it just vandalism? Bacchiad 05:03, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)

A vandal added: PS: Pindar had a hott penis i touched it once upon a time.
It's true, and I wish. Bacchiad 18:09, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Does anyone else get 15 not 17 when they add up all the books? Is there a reason for this or is it just poor arithmetic? --Colmfinito 17:33, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I have corrected this based on the figures in M.M. Willcock, Pindar: Victory Odes (Cambridge UP, 1995), p. 3. Wareh 21:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

The opening paragraph gets the article off to a pretty poor start, with the pride of place to which it gives an apocryphal and sentimental-to-melodramatic biographical perspective. An ambitious contributor who wanted to replace this with an introduction to Pindar in his cultural context as we can actually understand it would do well to draw from the introduction to Frank Nisetich's Pindar's Victory Songs (Johns Hopkins University Press). Wareh 21:08, 6 April 2006 (UTC)


It seems rather inappropriate to use the abbreviations 'AD' and 'BC' in the article, if i understand right 'AD' (Anno Domino) translates in English as 'year of the lord', and 'BC' is 'before Christ', the more common language nowadays is CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before the Common Era). Yes, I was raised in what i'll call an ancient european religion (Catholicism) but on an article which discusses ancient Greek religion it seems especially bad to mix religious abbreviations. Robwilkens (talk) 14:30, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Article needs replacing[edit]

The present article on Pindar reflects ignorance of the primary sources and at best a certain naivete about the scholarly literature. Any uninformed reader who comes here in search of basic, reliable information will be misled. The author repeats ancient tall tales that no serious person believes. He claims certain things are "now believed" to be the case, as if reporting a scholarly consensus, when in fact one scholar has now argued that they are the case. He doesn't give a clue about what's interesting or essential about Pindar. He is ungrammatical. In short, somebody should just delete this while making a silly face.

I'll come back and fix it myself when I get time.

In the meantime, my nominee for a decent starting point for a general article on Pindar's life and the context and content of his poems would be the introductory matter in W.H. Race's two-volume translation of 1997 in the Loeb Classical Library series. Like most scholars of ancient Greek literature, Race properly gives all ancient anecdotes about Pindar the status of made-up unless and until we have reason to take them seriously. Race explains succinctly the Rube Goldberg reasoning behind what people go around citing as fact about Pindar, such as his life dates. It's not as though you can go down to the Theban city hall and look it all up. Not all but nearly all ancient dates are inferences from data that is questionable to start with. The best you can say for various sets of life dates that are commonly given for Pindar is that they might as well be right, as long as they allow Pindar to be old enough to compose poems in 498 BC and not dead yet in 446 BC. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mstarli (talkcontribs) .

"The author" is the 1911 Britannica, for the most part. I don't like the article either, but it's a decent reflection of the scholarly consensus of the early 20th century. So, your criticisms apply not only to this article, but most scholarship on Pindar. Not that you're wrong--Pindar scholarship before Bundy's work in the late '60s was a mess. Your suggestion to start with Race's introduction is a good one, I think. Another source on the unreliability of ancient biographical traditions in Mary Lefkowitz's Lives of the Greek Poets (her First-Person Fictions might also be a good source for this article). --Akhilleus (talk) 06:16, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't know much about Pindar myself, but I was wondering how one is objectively the greatest poet? If I prefered one of the other nine poets, what would happen?!??! - Kyle543 19:37, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
No one would notice. --Wetman 03:04, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Naively literal[edit]

"Pindar is to be conceived, then, as standing within the circle of those families for whom the heroic myths were domestic records." A sense of aristocratic flattery and courtly propaganda is missing from this impossiblly opaquee assertion, rather typical of the article as a whole, which is very much as if written by the Wikipedian just above. How can a sensible adult assessment of Pindar be arrived at: every commonplace will be tagged "original research" or "POV" by those who have never read a word of Pindar in translation or given the subject a moment's thought. How could an adult get a word in edgewise? --Wetman 03:04, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

rhymes in english ![edit]

elsewhere in wikipedia (see Antikythera Mechanism) the following appears :-

Pindar, one of the nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, said this of Rhodes in his seventh Olympic Ode:
   "The animated figures stand
   Adorning every public street
   And seem to breathe in stone, or
   move their marble feet." 

Why does this rhyme in English ...street ...feet? Surely he spoke Greek
--83.105.33.91 12:48, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

I now remember the description by Greek poet Simonides of Ceos in 480 B.C of the Spartans defeat by the Persians thus:-
tell it in Sparta thou that passes by
here, faithfull to her charge, her soldiers lie

again, it rhymes in english but english did not even exist at all then
--83.105.33.91 11:32, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

it must be a translation that rhymed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chelany (talkcontribs) 22:27, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Concerns with article[edit]

- Two points come to mind at once:

  • first, that the absence of an English article on the epinikion as a form of poetry is a major detriment to any attempt to write an article about Pindar; I recall reading such an article once and would like to know the rationale for it's deletion; analagous article exist in at least two other languages on Wiki;
  • second, that the attempt to class this within LGBT concerns is a naive projection of modern, post-Freudian categories onto ancient cultures where they would have been seen as alien, if not nonsensical. It is a commonplace, after Foucault, that homosexuality as a concept was invented in the nineteenth century; it would be nice if the present state of Wiki's content reflected this rather than a distortion of the past (for political motives, perhaps?). I have deleted the LBGT section until a more scholarly treatment of Greek notions of sexuality is available. 69.248.159.181 00:21, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

- For that matter, the assertion that "a good portion" of his poetry is concerned with pederasty is also ridiculous. Two odes and a paean probably written for someone else are a drop in the ocean of the man's reported work (described earlier in the article as "vast and varied"). Who is trying to colonize this article, and why? 69.248.159.181 00:29, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Please don't remove Wikiproject notices without discussing it first. The Wikiproject notice is nothing more than a statement that the members of that project are interested in the article. Certainly the concept of homosexuality is a recent invention; however, there's a growing body of research into same-sex relationships in classical antiquity (whether sexual or otherwise). So it's hardly inappropriate for the LGBT wikiproject to take an interest in the article.
That said, I agree with your comment about the language in the article, and I invite you to make any edits you think appropriate. --Akhilleus (talk) 01:21, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Pindar and Pindarus?[edit]

Hello all. I was redirected to Pindar from Pindarus; I was searching for Pindarus because he is named as an actor criticised for his "extravagant style of acting" by Aristotle in his Poetics (1462a?). I know that the tragic poets also often performed in their plays, but we're talking about two different people, right? Can anyone confirm or better yet point to any other sources on the actor? Many thanks, DionysosProteus (talk) 15:38, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

They're different people with the same name. Greek Πίνδαρος is Latinized as Pindarus; while the poet is universally known as Pindar in English, the actor is usually called Pindarus or Pindaros. For more info on the actor you might start by looking at Pat Easterling, Greek and Roman Actors: Aspects of an Ancient Profession (Cambridge 2002). --Akhilleus (talk) 16:34, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

That's very useful - many thanks. DionysosProteus (talk) 00:33, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Pindar and Horace[edit]

I added a quote from Horace and a translation by James Michie. The tranlsation includes the word 'christen' but at least it's lower case c and it's a good poetic effect - it is certainly surprising in the context but Pindar himself is not without surprises (though anachronism isn't usually one of them). In fact I think Michie captures Pindar better than Horace does. Horace without a hair out of place even in Sapphic mode doesn't quite communicate the island vigour of Pindar. I intend doing a bit of editing on this article. I won't wax lyrical. I think there is room for mention of the myths and maybe I'll start with that. Or maybe I'll lose interest. We'll find out! Amphitryoniades (talk) 07:42, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

There is currently a table listing the victory odes in chronological order. It creates lots of unused space on the right. Maybe a full table with more info can be constructed out of this - victor's name, hometown, event. A separate table can follow it, listing mythological identities next to the odes they appear in, all linked to relevant articles. That's the plan at the moment. Really, this article is a job for SuperScholar, but since he's off somewhere else putting out fires or whatever, BoyScholar will have to do (nobody has edited this article since 2008!). Amphitryoniades (talk) 00:11, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

I am going to include mythical figures in the chronological table of odes as this will save space. I am using Geoffrey Conway's "The Odes of Pindar" as a reference. The dates occasionally differ from those in the article but I've stuck with the latter since Conway gives no source for his dates. However, I'll cite Conway as a source for the table since there are many features in common and I'll supplement it with the existing citation for the dates. I might as well borrow from his intro to describe the odes and the myths associated with them. Amphitryoniades (talk) 06:21, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

biography[edit]

I intend writing the biography back to front, beginning with Pindar's death and ending with his birth. Pindar himself sometimes reversed the sequencing of mythical stories and this will give the reader a taste of the Pindar medicine. There are some bits of info in the biography that don't quite seem right to me and I'll delete them if I can't find sources to back them up. The article tells us that Pindar was proxenos of the Athenians. I find that hard to believe. I think he was actually a proxenos of Aegina, where he had many friends. Also the article lists the names of his daughters and wife - this is not sourced and I wonder what unlikely source it is based on. I suspect the source is Plutarch, his fellow-Theban and a man who never let the facts get in the way of sentimentality. Amphitryoniades (talk) 23:41, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

I removed this passage from the biography (italics mine):

Pindar also visited the cities of Delphi and Athens, where he may have written one or two dithyrambs to be sung at the Great Dionysiae, of which only fragments are extant. A reference in Isocrates' Antidosis (166), records Pindar's success in the city. Out of the 45 odes, 11 are written for Aeginetans, which makes it likely that he visited the powerful island of Aegina. He became proxenos of the Athenians(ref/Oral performance and its context By C. J. Mackie Page 83 ISBN 9004136800>) and the Molossians(ref/The Extant Odes of Pindar By Pindar Page 152 ISBN 1426443935<)(ref/Thucydides and Pindar By Simon Hornblower page 180 ISBN 0199249199).

I don't like deleting reference material and somebody might find a way to reintroduce 'The Extant Odes of Pindar', though I am not quite sure what facts it is supporting. Also - does Isocrates refer to success in Delphi or Athens? Also I haven't found any other support for Pindar as proxenos of Athens and I can't believe he would risk local resentment by taking on that role. Anyhow it's here for anyone to restore if a need is felt. Amphitryoniades (talk) 07:07, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Just to let you know that all your work to improve the Pindar article is really appreciated.  :) --Chaleyer61 (talk) 05:06, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks - a thumbs up always helps. Sometimes editing is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube and that's the case here. But I'm getting there bit by bit. Amphitryoniades (talk) 05:56, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Whoa, whoa, whoa. This isn't a poem, it's an informative article. There's no need to add unnecessary literary flair to it. Having the biography back to front is confusing and bizarre. As for the strange disclaimer that this section "is naive in its reliance on the odes as biographical sources and it even includes a few clearly fanciful elements from ancient accounts", I think that clearly should be removed. We can just preface any potentially spurious information with something like "In his odes, Pindar describes..." or "Some of the more fanciful information written about Pindar includes..." or something like that. Know what I mean? 216.54.22.188 (talk) 21:18, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I strongly agree with 216.54.22.188. I understand what Amphitryoniades was going for, but the reverse-chronological-order style makes the article very confusing and (IMHO) unencyclopedic. Seeing that I wasn't the only one who felt this way, I was going to try to rewrite the biography section in chronological order, but I lack enough knowledge of Ancient Greece to feel comfortable doing that. If there's anyone else who would be willing to take up the task of reorganizing the biography section... I also agree with 216.54.22.188 about the disclaimer about the reliability of sources. A biography section with a disclaimer like that is not very useful - when reading it, I have no idea which parts I can trust and which parts I can't. In my opinion, someone familiar with Pindar should rewrite the section as 216.54.22.188 suggested. Mr. Granger (talk) 19:07, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

I guess Amphitryoniades isn't very encyclopaedic! Neither am I (our viewpoints are generally identical). But I'm sure he won't stop anyone who wants to rewrite any part of this article, and neither will I. If you want to put this article in the usual chronological order, go ahead! However, I certainly will stick my nose in if anybody edits out appropriate information. We don't actually know much about Pindar's life and a proper biography needs to point out how unreliable the ancient sources are and why they are considered unreliable. If the reader goes away feeling how confusing the picture is, then she/he has a pretty good picture of the state of recent scholarship. The information is already there in the article. You just need to reorder it. While you are at it, you might as well re-order Pindar's poems chronologically, since he wasn't very encyclopaedic either. (:?) Sir Gawain McGarson (talk) 04:03, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Diet of hate/envy[edit]

My current edit features a translation by Conway of Pythian2, addressed to Hieron, including these words: Grown fat on the harsh words of hate. (barulogois echthesin piainomenon) My edit characterizes this description as highly individual, even eccentric, but I've just come upon these words by Bacchylides (frag3), also to Hieron, in 'Greek Lyric Poetry' by Campbell: grows fat with envy (phthonoi piainetai). Pindar's poem predates Bacchylides' poem and maybe this is an example of Bacchylides acting like the thieving raven or ape that Pindar complains about. On the other hand, maybe the image of growing fat on hate/envy didn't originate with Pindar but has some pedigree. It could be a reminder to stick close to sources and not to extrapolate from sourced comments by scholars (which is what I did there). Anyhow, there is a handful of bonafide scholars here at Wiki and they might know something about the pedigree of growing fat on hate/envy. I might have to redraft the relevant passage.

In fact, there are other echoes of Pindar's Pythian2 in Bacchylides' frag3 - the repetition theos...theos in Pindar's stanza is echoed by Bacchylides as theon theon. I guess B is taking an ironic swipe at P, rather than stealing. But it strongly suggests that Pindar's image Grown fat on the harsh words of hate really is his own invention and isn't borrowed from other sources - otherwise B wouldn't bother apeing him. Amphitryoniades (talk) 04:27, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

I've now redrafted the passage to avoid the claim that Grown fat on the harsh words of hate is original or eccentric phrasing by Pindar. I merely refer to it as 'curious'. Amphitryoniades (talk) 23:30, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Not so sure[edit]

I've spent a bit of time on this article and I'm not satisfied that all my decisions have been good ones. I almost seem to be trying to rival Pindar in perversity and obscurantism at times. Anyhow, I won't object to anyone substantially rewriting it. Amphitryoniades (talk) 06:19, 22 May 2010 (UTC) Possibly I wrote the above comment while suffering writer's nausea. In the cool light of a new day, I think the article is basically well conceived and structured and it remains a good platform for futher additions or embellishments over time. Amphitryoniades (talk) 00:04, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Theocritus[edit]

A red-letter contributor cited a paper about Pindar's influence on Theocritus. I deleted it because it was badly placed and wrongly formatted and yet it looks as if it could be very interesting. It should be reinstated as soon as there is a section on Pindar's influence. So far, I haven't found anything else about his influence on other poets. He was the crowning glory of Greek lyrical poetry - and an admired dead end. Here is the Theocritus link: http://www.jstor.org/pss/261689. So now we need a section on P's influence. Amphitryoniades (talk) 12:40, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

To do[edit]

Things needing to be added:

  • A section on fragments - some of Pindar's most famous and interesting sayings are in fragments and the article needs a scholarly overview of their nature and transmission. I have Bowra's O.U.P. edition and I can drag some info out of it - numbers of fragments per genre, their sources - but not much, and its probably outdated now with so much material emerging from Egyptian rubbish bins.
  • A section on Pindar's influence or lack of it.
  • Information about the manuscript history of the victory odes. Amphitryoniades (talk) 22:40, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

In fact, the Praefatio to Bowra's OUP edition contains a nice summary of manuscript issues and I'll use that. It might be a bit outdated but it still gives the reader an idea of the work done by scholars in bringing us the text - we never read Pindar until he has first passed through the guts of a scholar. Not just any scholar is good enough for this task - it has to come out with as few imputies and corruptions in it as possible, as if it came from a newly born infant. I'm not sure that Bowra is the best model in that case. He seems to rely on intuition or 'gut feeling' more than other scholars, or maybe he is just more honest. Anyhow, others can build on my edit later. Amphitryoniades (talk) 03:07, 9 June 2010 (UTC) Bowra often refers to a codex as 'bombycinus', which I've translated as silk. It's hard to imagine a book made of silk leaves but who knows what the old monks used to get up to? I'll leave it as silk, in spite of scruples, until I found out otherwise. Amphitryoniades (talk) 08:22, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Note?[edit]

This is a rather strangely put-together article. What's with the paragraphs in the middle section that begin Note:? Either these are "notes" that would be digressions in the body of the text, in which case they belong in footnotes, or they're a proper part of the body text, and Note: just means "nota bene," as in "I think this is important, but I don't really know how to structure the article to incorporate these observations." At any rate, not really WP convention. Cynwolfe (talk) 02:18, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

The use of notes there is explained early in the biography section: "Some of the problematic aspects of this traditional approach are then illustrated in notes at the end of relevant paragraphs" i.e. The biography deals with two different approaches to Pindar's life, traditional and recent. They each have something to offer, so consigning the notes to mere footnotes is not appropriate in this case. If you have something better in mind, let's hear it. McOoee (talk) 02:48, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
I just checked out nota bene and I quote: "While "N. B." is often used in academic writing, "note" is a common substitute." So. McOoee (talk) 02:52, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
The comments above might indicate I'm not prepared to adapt. I have now removed 'note' and put the paragraphs in italics instead, which may be a better way to present things. At any rate, it might better suit your conventionally wired brain, and it shows off my aptitude for adaptability. McOoee (talk) 06:27, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
It might be more adaptable to rewrite these paragraphs as conventional prose—and easier for readers to follow, which is surely the more important criterion. If the paragraphs are meant to contrast a traditional view and a recent view, this needs to be made explicit throughout. An easy way of doing so is to attribute the various positions to the writers that hold them, e.g. "Bowra characterizes Pindar as such and such... In contrast, Bundy writes that Pindar's personality cannot be excavated from his poetry..." and so on. --Akhilleus (talk) 13:59, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
My point was that if Note: simply means nota bene, equivalent in English to "it should be noted that," then MOS discourages this type of construction. See WP:EDITORIALIZING. I don't consider this "editorializing" myself (I would describe "it should be noted" as appropriate to the didactic mode rather than encyclopedic writing, or merely as an unnecessary deixis), but that's the convention. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:16, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

If you want to rewrite this article – be my guest! There is even a chance you might make it better, though your comments suggest you won't be doing much research. You are more interested in issues of style. Hopefully this won't distract you from work that really needs to be done, such as fixing the mess at Pederasty in ancient Greece. McOoee (talk) 23:05, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

What a difference a day makes! There were 27 ratings for this article and all criteria were rated well above 4 (two were rated 5). I did some more work to improve it further and that cleared the ratings boxes. Today there are 15 ratings and all criteria are rated 1. What does this prove? Wow! The above criticisms must be right! McOoee (talk) 22:18, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

The above criticisms are confined to one point of idiosyncratic structuring. The article is well-developed, uses fine sources such as Bowra, and reads engagingly. Perhaps in this case a class, all descending at once and making mischief? I see perfectly insane ratings all the time. But I the project ratings need updated too, so I'll be presumptuous and change G&R's. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:58, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

OK, that tastes like a cup of Good Faith and I'll swallow it, even without the sugar. I've now removed the McRap banner as your project has made a realistic assessment of the article. Yes the structure is a bit idiosyncratic but so are Pindar's poems and I think its alright to give the reader a sense of that. Some of the prose is a bit on the lyrical side but so is Bowra's Pindar. It's OK to dance when the music plays and poetry is music. Otherwise what's the point? McOoee (talk) 06:28, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

New book[edit]

Pindar and the Emergence of Literature by Boris Maslov, 2015, Cambridge University Press. Chronicle new book listing says: "Draws on such theorists as Alexander Veselovsky, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Olga Freidenberg in a study of the ancient Greek poet." Maybe of interest here...Jodi.a.schneider (talk) 19:56, 9 November 2015 (UTC)