Sunday, March 30, 2014


Pindar's Victory Odes

Robert Yelverton Tyrrell (1844-1914), Essays on Greek Literature (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1909), p. 2:
The fact is, the character of the 'Odes of Victory' as a literary phenomenon has been very imperfectly apprehended. It is hard for us to figure to the imagination a form of art which partakes in nearly equal parts of the nature of a collect, a ballad, and an oratorio; or to enter into the mind of a poet who is partly also a priest, a librettist, and a ballet master; who, while celebrating the victory of (perhaps) a boy in a wrestling match, yet feels that he is not only doing an act of divine service and worship, but preaching the sacred truth of the unity of the Hellenes and their common descent from gods and heroes. The Odes of Pindar have their source in a religious feeling, almost as alien from ours as it is from that which sent the children through the fire to Moloch, or strewed with corpses the path of Juggernaut's car.

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