Pindar and the Construction of Syracusan Monarchy in the by Kathryn A. Morgan

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By Kathryn A. Morgan

This groundbreaking booklet makes an attempt an absolutely contextualized studying of the poetry written by means of Pindar for Hieron of Syracuse within the 470s BC. It argues that the victory odes and different occasional songs composed via Pindar for the Sicilian tyrant have been a part of an intensive cultural application that incorporated athletic festival, coinage, structure, sanctuary commitment, urban origin, and masses extra. within the tumultuous years following the Persian invasion of Greece in 480, elite Greek leaders and their towns struggled to capitalize at the Greek victory and to outline themselves as loose peoples who triumphed over the specter of Persian monarchy. Pindar's victory odes are an incredible contribution to Hieron's aim of panhellenic pre-eminence, redescribing modern tyranny as an instantiation of golden-age kingship and consonant with most sensible Greek culture. In a fragile means of cultural legitimation, the poet's compliment deploys athletic victories as a symptoms of extra basic preeminence. 3 preliminary chapters set the level via providing the historical past and tradition of Syracuse less than the Deinomenid tyrants, exploring problems with functionality and patronage, and juxtaposing Hieron to rival Greek leaders at the mainland. next chapters research in flip all Pindar's preserved poetry for Hieron and participants of his courtroom, and contextualizes this poetry through evaluating it to the songs written for Hieron by means of Pindar's poetic modern, Bacchylides. those odes strengthen a in particular "tyrannical" mythology during which a hero from the prior enjoys strange closeness with the gods, in basic terms to deliver spoil on him or herself via failing to regulate this closeness correctly. Such detrimental exemplars counterbalance Hieron's luck and current the risks opposed to which he needs to (and does) defend himself via regal advantage. The readings that emerge are marked via unprecedented integration of literary interpretation with the political/historical context.

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It is more difficult to reconstruct the locations and circumstances under which lyric performances would have taken place. The theater is a possibility, but there are other options (the palace, the agora), and I shall spend some time considering them. This issue is particularly pressing given the implicit connections of some of Pindar’s odes with sympotic venues and the suggestions of festival performance made by various scholars. We shall need to ponder the implications of venue for audience size, and I shall be suggesting an approach that allows multiple performances and maximizes the number of people who would be exposed to the victory songs.

31. Oost 1976: 230, although I am less convinced that the Deinomenids “took the royal title” (227). Rather, what they were called and what they called themselves would have depended on the protocols of a particular situation. 29. 32 The Iliad introduced the notion that one can be more or less “kingly,” as when Agamemnon claims to be “kinglier” than Achilles (Il. 160). 34 The Greek audience of Pindar’s odes will want to know whether Hieron’s monarchic status is matched by his abilities and where to locate him within the spectrum of regal excellence.

Nestor and Sarpedon (with whom the poem closes), figures who, as we shall see, are deeply implicated in the complexities of unattainable wishes, are known to us only through song. Pindar’s insistence on the possible and his refusal of immortalizing fantasy normalizes Hieron’s position in the Greek world order. Hieron’s illness gives the poet the opportunity to deepen our conception of what victory means and present a nuanced appreciation of the effect of vicissitude even on the extraordinarily blest.

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