Thursday, April 22, 2021



Pindar, Isthmian Odes 5.8-16 (tr. Anthony Verity):
And in athletic competitions too a man wins longed-for glory
when many crowns have bound his hair
for victories gained by hands or swiftness of feet.
But men's prowess is decided by the gods;
truly, two things only shepherd life to its sweetest perfection:
if a man is blessed with flourishing prosperity,
and if he enjoys a noble reputation.
Do not seek to become Zeus;
if a share of these blessings comes to you, you possess everything.
Mortal ways suit mortal men.

ἔν τ᾽ ἀγωνίοις ἀέθλοισι ποθεινὸν
κλέος ἔπραξεν, ὅντιν᾽ ἀθρόοι στέφανοι
χερσὶ νικάσαντ᾽ ἀνέδησαν ἔθειραν
ἢ ταχυτᾶτι ποδῶν.        10
κρίνεται δ᾽ ἀλκὰ διὰ δαίμονας ἀνδρῶν.
δύο δέ τοι ζωᾶς ἄωτον μοῦνα ποιμαίνοντι τὸν ἄλπνιστον εὐανθεῖ σὺν ὄλβῳ,
εἴ τις εὖ πάσχων λόγον ἐσλὸν ἀκούῃ.
μὴ μάτευε Ζεὺς γενέσθαι· πάντ᾽ ἔχεις,
εἴ σε τούτων μοῖρ᾽ ἐφίκοιτο καλῶν.        15
θνατὰ θνατοῖσι πρέπει.
C.M. Bowra, Pindar (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), p. 191:
Pindar certainly regards the victor's lot not merely as enviable but as among the most splendid portions that can befall anyone. It brings glory, happiness, fame, an extended sense of being and some kind of survival in remembrance after death; it excites admiration and love. This is as much as a man can hope for, and when he has it, he does after all, in his own sphere, enjoy some of the felicity of the gods, and that must suffice for him.

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