Places: Odes

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First transcribed: Epinikia, 498-446 b.c.e. (English translation, 1656)

Type of work: Poetry

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*Olympia

*Olympia. OdesSacred Greek city, near the Ionian Sea on the western side of the Peloponnesian Peninsula, that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the gods, and named after his home, Mt. Olympus. Held every four years from the eighth century until the end of the fourth century b.c.e., the Games at Olympia took precedence over all wars, which were suspended so that warring factions and their leaders could attend and participate.


*Pytho. Greek city renamed Delphi in honor of the oracle sacred to Apollo. The Pythian Games, in honor of Apollo, were held on the southern slope of Mount Parnassus on the mainland of Greece.


*Nemea (NEE-mee-ah). This shrine to Zeus was located in the Nemean Valley, southeast of Olympia, near present-day Argos. Games held here included musical contests, whose winners were crowned with ivy.

*Isthmus of Corinth

*Isthmus of Corinth. Held in the shadow of a shrine sacred to the sea god Poseidon, the Isthmian Games were conducted on the narrow strip of land that joined the Peloponnesian Peninsula to the Greek mainland. The modern towns of Isthmus and Corinth are near where these ancient Games were held.

BibliographyGreengard, Carola. The Structure of Pindar’s Epinician Odes. Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1980. Surveys Pindar’s literary technique, focusing on organizational structure. Bibliographical references and an index.Hubbard, Thomas Kent. The Pindaric Mind: A Study of Logical Structure in Early Greek Poetry. Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1985. Provides criticism and interpretation of the epinicia. Broadens his discussion to explore the issue of thought and structure in archaic Greek poetry as a whole. Bibliography.Lefkowitz, Mary R. First-Person Fictions: Pindar’s Poetic “I.” Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1991. A rhetorical analysis of the epinicia, focusing upon the poet’s image of self and how that image is conveyed. Bibliographical references and an index.Norwood, Gilbert. Pindar. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1945. Good general survey of Pindar’s poetry. Includes material on Pindar’s society, diction, symbolism, and meter. The bibliography contains a number of useful references.Race, William H. Pindar. Boston: Twayne, 1986. A good starting place for study of Pindar’s poetry. Contains a summary of all that is known about Pindar’s life. Discusses Greek athletics and the legacy of Pindar.Steiner, Deborah. The Crown of Song: Metaphor in Pindar. London: Duckworth, 1986. Studies the imagery in Pindar’s poetry. Includes an analysis of metaphors concerning plants and animals and a treatment of Pindar’s use of Greek legends. Discusses the athletic metaphor in the epinicia.
Categories: Places