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The 6th/5th century bce Greek melic (or songwriting) poet Pindar was the most celebrated lyricist of antiquity. His famous victory odes offer a paean to the heroic athlete, and are an attempt to encapsulate, through choral songs of acclamation, the glory of the sportsman's moment of triumph at a variety of Panhellenic festivals including the Olympic Games. His other poems, collected in thirteen books, are largely lost or fragmentary - except for the Paeans - but were devoted to the praise of gods and heroes. Yet Pindar, though still respected, is now considered a difficult poet, and is sometimes dismissed as a reactionary. In this wideranging introduction, Richard Stoneman shows that Pindar's works, even where they seem obscure, follow a logic of their own and reward further study. An unmatched craftsman with words, and witness to a profoundly religious sensibility, he is a poet who takes modern readers to the heart of Greek ideas about the gods, fleeting human achievement and mortality. Theauthor examines questions of performance and genre; patronage; imagery; and reception, from Horace to the twentieth century.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 25.4mm | 432g
  • New York, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 7 bw integrated, 2 maps, 5 line
  • 1780761848
  • 9781780761848

Table of contents


1. Pindar the Poet
2. Pindar's Career
3. The Range of Pindar's Poetry
4.Athletes and Heroes
5. The Practice of Praise
6.Telling Stories

Timeline of Pindar's Career
The Odes of Bacchylides
Festivals, Victors, Events and Myths
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Review quote

In this wide-ranging and stimulating treatment, Richard Stoneman offers a richly detailed and imaginative survey of Pindar's poetry as well as a very welcome foray into his influence on the European lyric tradition from the Renaissance to Romanticism. The book provides a passionate and at the same time very accessible introduction to a difficult subject and will be of undoubted interest not only to undergraduate students but also, more generally, to readers attracted to one of the greatest poets of antiquity. -[Giambattista D'Alessio, Professor of Greek Language and Literature, King's College London]
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About Richard Stoneman

Richard Stoneman is Honorary Visiting Professor in Classics at the University of Exeter, the author of many books, and editor of the Understanding Classics series.
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