Pindar’s Verbal Art: An Ethnographic Study of Epinician Style

  Wells, James Bradley. 2010. Pindar's Verbal Art: An Enthnographic Study of Epinician Style. Hellenic Studies Series 40. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

3. Ways of Epinician Speaking I

The first chapter of Pindar’s Verbal Art urged a fundamental analytical reorientation to the epinician text, from words written to words spoken. Here a further analytical shift is motivated, that from text to context—more specifically, from text to speech event—as the object of analysis. Chapter Two demonstrated that the epinician text records features that key the speech event of epinician performance—or rhetorically re-key it from the perspective of a modern audience. Chapters 3 and 4 of Pindar’s Verbal Art will describe the speech acts that constitute the event of epinician performance. In this phase of my study of epinician style I draw from Bakhtin’s highly influential essay “The Problem of Speech Genres” (1986:60–102), following the lead of folklorists and linguistic anthropologists who have adapted Bakhtin’s theory of the utterance to the study of texts and contexts whose constitutive features and social dynamics can be described in terms of intertextuality, the dialogical interaction between two or more instances or fields of discourse. [1] The rubric “speech genres” applies to the typical ways of speaking that constitute the epinician way of speaking. In Pindar’s songs, gnomic statements, lyric passages, prayers, angeliai ‘victory announcements’, and mythological narratives are the simple speech genres or ways of epinician speaking that constitute the complex genre epinikion. [2] In this chapter I will first explain my philological methodology and then apply that methodology to a description of epinician lyric passages, gnômai, angeliai, and mythological narratives. Chapter 4 will focus on epinician prayers and conclude my study of the ways of epinician speaking by making some observations about how such a practical taxonomy of epinician speech acts can inform our understanding of epincian art. The Appendix to Pindar’s Verbal Art records the findings of my description of the ways of epinician speaking for all of Pindar’s victory songs.

By referring to ways of epinician speaking, I frame the study of Pindar’s simple speech genres in terms of an ethnographic conception of style, as described by Hymes in his influential essay “Ways of Speaking” (1989). [3] Like Bakhtin, Hymes identifies a relationship between simple and complex genres; he understands genres as “stylistic structures,” the “elementary, or minimal” forms of which include, by way of example, “riddles, proverbs, prayers, but also minimal verse forms, such as the couplet, and such things as greetings and farewells, where those have conventional organization” (1989:442–443). [4] Pindar’s Verbal Art has so far looked at how epinician language is a register, a speech style dedicated to epinician performance. [5] In this chapter and the next I am going a step further to demonstrate that the epinician register is a composite of other registers. Each of the simple speech genres of epinikion—gnomic statements, lyric passages, prayer, angelia, and mythological narrative—has domains of use outside of epinikion, including, certainly, other (complex) genres of verbal art and, very likely, speech situations arising in the course of social life. These simple speech genres, then, are discrete stylistic structures, each possessing a characteristic voicing in its own right. Each simple speech genre of epinikion has a distinctive timbre, and epinician art entails, in part, orchestrating these autonomous voicings into the truly symphonic art of epinician performance. To describe the simple speech genres of epinikion enables us to pull apart, in abstract, the discursive threads that form the fabric of epinician art in order to understand how they combine with one another in practice. To pursue this description in terms of an ethnographic conception of style, specifically, foregrounds the communicative process as the object of analysis, where we can view epinician art as dynamic social action. [6] By contrast, existing studies of the structure or unity of Pindar’s songs treat features like mythological narrative and gnomic statements as discursive chunks that can be manipulated on a page. [7] When we realize that epinikion is performed verbal art that entails speech and situated interaction between composer and audience, such formalism proves inadequate to the task of discovering how Pindar’s art works.

Chapters 3 and 4 of Pindar’s Verbal Art will describe how each simple speech genre of epinikion is constituted by the following features:

Note that I have referred to the “speech subject” as such both to be consistent with Bakhtin’s descriptive terms and because I wish to foreground the importance of human agency in social practice. [
11] From this point of view, the designation “speech subject” is a reminder that, according to the principle of intersubjective objectivity and an ethnographic mode of philology, my analysis aspires to describe epinician speech and performance from the subjective perspective of participants in the event of performance. For Bakhtin (1986:67–76) the “change of speaking subjects” is a feature of the utterance that especially distinguishes the descriptive methodology of his translinguistics from grammar and structural linguistics. The designation “speech subject” is also useful for distinguishing between the speaker or addresser of an utterance and what the utterance is about, the “speech object.” It turns out that in ancient Greek this distinction may correspond to the difference between the grammatical subject of a sentence and the grammatical object of a sentence. In most cases, the speech plan of an utterance is to pursue or, better, perform its speech object. For example, the speech object of one type of prayer is an entreaty, and the speech plan of such a prayer is to perform that entreaty. I qualify below how I identify the spatial and temporal dimensions of each speech genre.

On the basis of deixis I identify three key dimensions of relationality among the features of simple speech genres. These patterns of relationality provide a basis for empirical description and for discovery of how simple speech genres combine to organize the complex genre of epinikion. My assumption is that, at the level of the complex genre of epinikion, the speech subject is Pindar and the addressee is the audience. In the context of performance a composition’s author, the speech subject, is the event-participant principally accountable to the audience’s evaluation. The composer-audience relationship then provides the communicative and interactional frame within which the emergent frameworks of simple speech genres occur. For this reason, I identify the composer-audience relationship as the origo of epinician performance, the interactional focal point. [15] The features of speech genres are relative to this origo in either of two senses: inclusively or exclusively. [16] Components of a speech genre may be in an inclusive or exclusive relationship relative to the origo of performance, and some features of a speech genre may be inclusive or exclusive relative to other features of the same speech genre. For example, the speech object of mythological narrative (events and figures reported in mythological narrative) is exclusive relative to the speech subject (composer in a third-person voice) and addressee (the audience) of the mythological narrative: events and figures described in an instance of mythological narrative occur in a framework that is exclusive relative to the frame of interaction between composer and audience. As I show below, the fundamentally constitutive feature of what I identify as the lyric speech genre is reflexivity: the speech subject is a participant in the current speech event, and the speech object is regularly some aspect of the current speech event (e.g. song or music or praise); such features of the lyric speech genre are inclusive relative to the frame of interaction between composer and audience.

Gnomic Style

The dominantly constitutive stylistic feature of Pindar’s gnomic style is its inclusive indefiniteness. [22] The rubric “inclusive indefiniteness” captures the fact that the deictic features of gnomic style do not indicate a specific speech subject, addressee, spatial dimension, and temporal dimension (thus the indefinite quality of gnomic statements), but must bear upon the composition in which they occur (thus the inclusive quality of gnomic statements). To clarify this point, I draw from William Hansen’s distinction between structural and applied messages in storytelling, where a structural message is “the central message or point of a text taken by itself as a text without a particular context” and an applied message “is the message that a teller actually employs the story to communicate on a particular occasion, the point he or she wishes to make with it” (1982:101). The aphoristic quality of gnomic statements may tempt us to interpret them as structural messages about social, religious, or moral views that transcend particular contexts and stand (structurally) on their own. [23] Indeed, the pragmatic indefiniteness of the ethnographic features constitutive of gnomic style is implicitly indicative of how gnômai are statements that are of general import and concern humans, again, in general. [24] Although gnomic statements, stylistically, are not anchored to a particular context, the messages of actual gnomic statements are to be understood as applied to the local and emergent context in which they are embedded: the indefiniteness of gnomic style and the practical meaning of gnômai in the emergent context of performance apply to participants in the performance of the song in which they occur. [25] The following is a summary of the gnomic statement’s features:

  • Speech Subject: third-person voice of composer in an inclusive relation to speech object;
  • Addressee: indefinite, but inclusive of all participants in performance event;
  • Speech Object: statements about appropriate speech and/or actions; formal features of the speech object are indefiniteness, deictic (e.g. indefinite article) and lexical (e.g. neuter forms of adjectives used substantively);
  • Speech Plan: to express socially conventional rules for appropriate speech and action;
  • Spatial Dimension: indefinite, but inclusive; the utterance’s addressivity and speech object extend to all participants in the performance event, which, either actually or by convention and rhetorically, occur in face-to-face interaction among Pindar, chorus, and audience;
  • Temporal Dimension: indefinite, but inclusive.

A stretch of gnomic statements at Olympian 1.28–35 illustrates that Pin-dar’s gnômai are constituted by these ethnographic features. Consider first the following passage:

ἦ θαυματὰ πολλά, καί πού τι καὶ βροτῶν
φάτις ὑπὲρ τὸν ἀλαθῆ λόγον
δεδαιδαλμένοι ψεύδεσι ποικίλοις ἐξαπατῶντι μῦθοι.

Olympian 1.28–29

Truly wondrous are many things, and, as it seems, mortals’
speech in excess of a true account,
stories crafted with ornate lies, are utterly deceptive.

The features of the speech genre gnôma occurring in this passage are:

  • Speech Subject: third-person voice of composer, as indicated by third-person verb ἐξαπατῶντι (line 29) in an inclusive relationship to the speech object;
  • Addressee: all participants in the speech event; there is no evidence of qualified addressivity;
  • Speech Object: appropriate speech; features of indefiniteness include: θαυματὰ πολλά (line 28), neuter plural adjectives used substantively; βροτῶν (line 28) is a generic reference to humans; the adverb που with indefinite pronoun τι (line 28);
  • Speech Plan: to express a basis for evaluating whether mortals’ speech is true or appropriate;
  • Spatial Dimension: indefinite, but inclusive;
  • Temporal Dimension: indefinite, but inclusive; the present tense verb ἐξαπατῶντι (line 29) does not limit the temporal scope of the evaluation to the here and now.

The dominant characteristic of the gnomic statement in lines 28–29 is an inclusive indefiniteness, evidenced by the passage’s speech subject, addressee, speech object, speech plan, and spatial and temporal aspects. Because my focus is upon the epinician text as a record of epinician speech practices, I interpret the force of gnomic statements in terms of the dominantly constitutive framework of social interaction in epinician performance, namely the relationship between composer and audience. From the point of view of this relationship, the speech object of the gnomic statement is inclusive relative to speech subject and addressee. The regular speech object of gnômai, socially conventional rules for appropriate speech and action, guides the composer’s composition and the audience’s reception and evaluation of it. This is another way of explaining how gnomic statements are very often forms of metacommunication that, in a sense, comment upon aspects of epinician speech and performance.

Inclusive indefiniteness is also characteristic of the following lines:

Χάρις δ᾽, ἅπερ ἅπαντα τεύχει τὰ μείλιχα θνατοῖς,
ἐπιφέροισα τιμὰν καὶ ἄπιστον ἐμήσατο πιστόν
ἔμμεναι τὸ πολλάκις.

Olympian 1.30–32

But grace, which provides all mild things for mortals,
bringing honor, it makes the unbelievable believable,

The ethnographic features constituting this passage as a gnomic statement are:

  • Speech Subject: third-person voice of composer, as evidenced by third-person verbs τεύχει (line 30) and ἐμήσατο (line 31) in an inclusive relationship to the speech object;
  • Addressee: all participants in the speech event; there is no evidence of qualified addressivity;
  • Speech Object: kharis and how it effects or jeopardizes appropriate speech; features of indefiniteness include ἅπαντα…τὰ μείλιχα (line 30), a phrase with neuter plural adjectives used substantively; θνατοῖς (line 30); ἄπιστον (line 31) neuter singular adjective used substantively;
  • Speech Plan: to express how kharis benefits mortals and effects appropriate speech;
  • Spatial Dimension: indefinite, but inclusive;
  • Temporal Dimension: indefinite, but inclusive; the present tense of the verb τεύχει (line 30) and the aorist tense (by convention treated as present tense) of the verb ἐμήσατο (line 31) do not limit the temporal scope of this utterance.

This passage too is an example of a gnomic statement that communicates rules for appropriate speech. In this case kharis ‘grace, favor, charm’ (line 30), which serves as a principle of reciprocity throughout Olympian 1, is the force behind persuasive speech. In the case of the performance of Olympian 1 the implication of this general principle is that, if the composition of the song observes the rules for reciprocity entailed in kharis, then the composition is trustworthy. This general principle for appropriate speech sets up another basis (along with lines 28–29, discussed above) for evaluating the composer’s competence. Thus the message communicated by these gnomic statements is not strictly structural but applies to the speech event of Olympian 1’s performance.

This is the last in the series of gnomic statements that we have been considering:

ἔστι δ᾽ ἀνδρὶ φάμεν ἐοικὸς ἀμφὶ δαιμόνων καλά· μείων γὰρ αἰτία.

Olympian 1.35

It is appropriate for a man to say upright things about the gods; for fault is less.

The features occurring in this gnôma are:

  • Speech Subject: third-person voice of composer, indicated by the third-person singular verb ἐστί in an inclusive relationship to the speech object;
  • Addressee: all participants in the speech event; there is no evidence of qualified addressivity;
  • Speech Object: appropriate speech about the gods and the consequences for observing this social convention; features of indefiniteness include: ἀνδρὶ, used here like the indefinite pronoun τινί; the impersonal use of third-person singular verb ἐστί with infinitive φάμεν; the occurrence of neuter plural adjective καλά used substantively;
  • Speech Plan: to express social conventions for appropriate speech about the gods;
  • Spatial Dimension: indefinite;
  • Temporal Dimension: indefinite, but inclusive.

Line 35 focuses upon one particular dimension of kharis, understood in Olympian 1 as a principle of reciprocity: the reciprocal relationship between gods and humans. To read the passage as a moralizing statement or as an expression of Pindar’s religious views does not account for how the passage applies in performance. Given the patterning of features generic to gnomic statements, this passage, like other gnômai, is generalizing in a way that is inclusive of participants in the event of Olympian 1’s performance. From this point of view line 35 expresses a criterion for the audience’s evaluation of the composer’s observance of rules for appropriate speech. Positive evaluation of Pindar’s speech about the gods affirms that Pindar does kharis well, with the further implication, based upon lines 30–32, that his speech is true (piston ‘believable’, line 31) and the still further implication that when Pindar praises Hieron, this praise is valid.

Line 35 concludes the argument of lines 28–35 about appropriate speech. The ideas, points of view, and values that these lines express can be understood in their emergent sense not as Pindar’s philosophical outlooks or moral attitudes but as artistic messages. At a formal level, Pindar’s gnomic statements are wholly couched in the artistic idiom of epinikion: lines 28–35 are keyed to epinician performance. In addition, the content of the lines is artful because its argument about appropriate speech applies in a particular (pragmatic) way to praise poetics: as a means for evaluating the performance of Olympian 1 as a work of verbal art.

The Lyric Speech Genre

The dominant feature of this speech genre is its self-reflexive quality, [27] which characteristically has a first-person speech subject so that it is, in part, “lyric” in Jakobson’s sense of lyric poetry as “oriented toward the first person” (1960:357). Pindar regularly describes composition or speech or performance using the lyric speech genre, so that it is reflexive in the sense that its speech object and/or speech plan typically has something to do with the current moment of communication. The rubric “lyric” has the further advantage of being consistent with Nagy’s demonstration (1990:35), on the basis of historical linguistics, that the designation of “lyric poetry” or “melic poetry” is applicable to Pindar: it is appropriate that the simple speech genre characterized by reflexive features (representing communication, from the point of view of the individual epinician song) should correspond to the broader generic category of Archaic Greek song types to which it belongs. The lyric speech genre has the following features:

  • Speech Subject: first person, singular (composer) or plural (chorus), in an inclusive relation to the speech object;
  • Addressee: audience as participant in framework of lyric speech genre and in speech object of that framework (not always indicated in the text, but implicit to social interaction among composer, chorus, and audience);
  • Speech Object: epinician language, epinician performance, participants in the event of epinician performance, or the speech plan of epinikion;
  • Speech Plan: to praise, to sing, or to describe epinician language, conventions, and performance;
  • Spatial Dimension: immediate, “here”;
  • Temporal Dimension: immediate, “now.”

The following passage is one example of the lyric speech genre:

ἐμοὶ δ᾽ ἄπορα γαστρίμαργον μακάρων τιν᾽ εἰπεῖν· ἀφίσταμαι.

Olympian 1.52

For me it is impossible to say that any of the blessed ones is gluttonous; I stay away from that.

The features of the lyric speech genre occurring in this passage are:

  • Speech Subject: first person, indicated deictically by the pronoun ἐμοί and by the verb ἀφίσταμαι;
  • Addressee: not indicated;
  • Speech Object: appropriate speech about the gods and the expression of the composer’s observance of this convention of propriety;
  • Speech Plan: to communicate the composer’s observance of propriety concerning speech about the gods;
  • Spatial Dimension: immediate, as indicated by reference to a participant in performance, the composer (ἐμοί and the first-person singular verb ἀφίσταμαι refer to the composer);
  • Temporal Dimension: immediate, as indicated by the present tense of the implied verb ἐστί and by the present tense of the verb ἀφίσταμαι.

The features of this lyric passage have the dominantly organizing feature of reflexivity: they refer to features constitutive of the current speech genre—the speech subject, speech object, speech plan, spatial dimension, and temporal dimension. Although there is no explicit reference in the passage to an addressee, the accumulated evidence of my analysis of speech genres in Pindar’s epinikia indicates that, on the basis of the very facts that line 52 is a lyric speech genre and that the lyric speech genre has a reflexive quality, the passage can be understood to take place within the framework of interaction between epinician performer/composer and the epinician audience. [
28] Pindar’s expression of willingness to observe social conventions about appropriate speech implies the audience’s evaluation of his song on the basis of criteria for appropriate speech, anchoring the utterance in the origo of performance, the composer-audience interaction.

A second lyric passage in Olympian 1 also has the dominantly organizing feature of reflexivity:

ἐμὲ δὲ στεφανῶσαι 100
κεῖνον ἱππίῳ νόμῳ
Αἰοληΐδι μολπᾷ
χρή· πέποιθα δὲ ξένον
μή τιν᾽ ἀμφότερα καλῶν τε ἴδριν †ἅμα καὶ δύναμιν κυριώτερον
τῶν γε νῦν κλυταῖσι δαιδαλωσέμεν ὕμνων πτυχαῖς. 105

Olympian 1.100–105

It is necessary for me to crown
that man with a rider’s measure
in Aeolic song.
I am persuaded that there is not any host
both skilled in upright things and at the same time more
sovereign in power
among people today to ornament with famous layers of hymns.

The features of the lyric speech genre occurring in this passage are:

As with line 52, lines 100–105 also possess the dominantly organizing feature of reflexivity: all of the passage’s features explicitly concern the current speech event and participants in that event.

The example passages illustrate that in the lyric speech genre the fields of relationality have a reflexive quality: the chronotope is the here and now of performance; the relationship between the speech object—epinician language, epinician performance, participants in the event of epinician performance, or the speech plan of epinikion—is inclusive relative to both the participant framework (composer and audience) and to the chronotope (i.e. what is happening here and now is epinician speech). The reflexive quality of the lyric speech genre, then, can be seen in the social interaction among participants, its chronotopic configuration, and the contiguity of the speech object and speaking itself.

Angelia, Victory Announcement

Angelia is a simple speech genre that replicates what scholars identify as a conventional mode of discourse associated with athletic competition, the formal announcement of the athlete’s victory. The conventional victory announcement may have included the athlete’s name, his ancestry (often identified by the athlete’s patronymic), the name of his home, and the event in which he was victorious. Pindar frequently uses words such as angelia ‘message, news, announcement’, [31] angellein ‘to proclaim’, [32] and angelos ‘messenger’ [33] to describe epinikion as the action of proclaiming the achievement of an athlete. Here I cite Laura Nash, whose book, The Aggelia in Pindar, is dedicated to the study of the relationship between Pindar’s epinikion and the conventional victory announcement (1990:15):

The relationship between the conventional victory announcement at the site of the games and the epinician angelia is a case of what Bakhtin calls heteroglossia. [

Heteroglossia is a form of dialogization in which a work of verbal art organizes within itself a multiplicity of registers and speech genres conventional to other contexts and events of communication. [36] In the case of angelia, we witness uniquely and unambiguously a form of social heteroglossia in which Pindar organizes within his epinician composition a speech type, angelia, that belongs to a speech situation with its own constellation of schemes and strategies for communication. No other simple speech genre constitutive of the complex genre of epinikion draws such a direct connection between epinician performance and a historically attested domain of social practice as angelia does. Angelia is a discursive bridge between an epinician song and the achievement that it commemorates. Indeed, this connection between art and reality is one impetus to read Pindar as a historical record. In terms of my overall project, then, the simple speech genre angelia is a point of analysis that especially calls attention to philological methodology. The limitation of existing studies of epinician performance can be described as an inability to come to terms with what I think of as a fact of human social practice, that art is reality. [37] So the context of epinician performance is not—neither in the first instance, nor for the purposes of description and interpretation of the epinician texts—the historical backdrop understood as dates, names, and places, but, as it turns out, epinician performance itself. The recognition that heteroglossia is characteristic of epinician art draws attention to the need for a mode of description that aspires to discover, not only the cause-and-effect relationship between the conventional victory announcement and epinikion, but also the artistic effects of dialogization. To that end, I present here a summary of the ethnographic features of the epinician angelia:

  • Speech Subject: composer in third-person voice exclusive from speech object (i.e. the composer is not a participant in the events that he describes);
  • Addressee: audience as a participant in framework of speech genre;
  • Speech Object: athlete, athlete’s family, athlete’s home state, and events that have occurred in a frame of social interaction temporally and spatially non-immediate relative to performance, such as the athlete’s victory and/or prior victories, athletic victories of members of the athlete’s family, and other achievements of the athlete or his family; the athlete whom an epinician song commemorates and/or his family members are potentially participants in the reported events as well as the event of performance;
  • Speech Plan: to report to the audience events that have occurred in a frame of social interaction non-immediate relative to performance event;
  • Spatial Dimension: usually non-immediate relative to performance event;
  • Temporal Dimension: usually non-immediate relative to performance event, but can track from non-immediate to immediate relative to the performance event.

The following passage contains what were probably the conventional elements of the formal victory announcement that occurred at the site of a victory:

20      ὅτε παρ᾽ Ἀλφεῷ σύτο δέμας
          ἀκέντητον ἐν δρόμοισι παρέχων,
          κράτει δὲ προσέμειξε δεσπόταν,
          Συρακόσιον ἱπποχάρμαν βασιλῆα· λάμπει δέ οἱ κλέος
          ἐν εὐάνορι Λυδοῦ Πέλοπος ἀποικίᾳ.

Olympian 1.20–24

…when beside the Alpheos River the horse drove,
extending its ungoaded body in the race,
and united its master with dominance,
the Syracusan king and horse rider. His renown shines bright
in the colony with noble people, the colony of Lydian Pelops.

This passage includes reference to the athlete Hieron (lines 22–23), to his home, Syracuse (line 23), and the event in which he was victorious, the single horse race (lines 20–22). To identify Syracuse as the “colony of Lydian Pelops” (line 24) describes Hieron’s home in a way that serves simultaneously to refer to its mythological foundation and to introduce the segment of mythological narrative that begins in line 25. The ethnographic features of angelia in this passage are:

  • Speech Subject: composer-performer(s) in a third-person voice, indicated by third-person verbs προσέμειξε (line 22) and λάμπει (line 23);
  • Addressee: audience as the hearer of this angelia; audience does not participate in reported events;
  • Speech Object: the event of athletic competition at Olympia (a frame non-immediate relative to performance), the athlete’s victory, and Hieron’s kleos ‘renown’ (line 23);
  • Speech Plan: to report to the audience events that have occurred in a frame of social interaction that is non-immediate and/or distinctive from the current composer-audience interaction;
  • Spatial Dimension: the events connected with the athletic competition are spatially non-immediate relative to the performance frame, but the description of Hieron’s kleos (line 23) may be seen as relevant to a spatially contiguous (i.e. immediate) frame;
  • Temporal Dimension: the events connected with the athletic competition are temporally non-immediate relative to the performance frame, but the description of Hieron’s kleos (line 23) is in a temporally contiguous frame, as indicated by the present tense verb λάμπει (line 23).

Even in cases where there may be contiguity with respect to spatial and temporal dimensions of the event of performance and events reported during performance in the angelia speech genre, the respective frames of interaction entailed in performance and reported events remain distinct. In the following passage Pindar uses present tense verbs, which locate events described in the angelia as temporally contiguous with the event of performance, to describe Hieron as a ruler in Sicily, the location of the athlete’s home polis of Syracuse:

          θεμιστεῖον ὃς ἀμφέπει σκᾶπτον ἐν πολυμήλῳ
          Σικελίᾳ δρέπων μὲν κορυφὰς ἀρετᾶν ἄπο πασᾶν,
          ἀγλαΐζεται δὲ καί
15      μουσικᾶς ἐν ἀώτῳ.

Olympian 1.11–15

who tends the traditional scepter in Sicily, full of flocks,
who, while he plucks the flower of every virtue,
is also adorned
with the peak of musical craft.

The features of angelia occurring in this passage are:

  • Speech Subject: composer in third-person voice, indicated by the third-person verbs ἀμφέπει (line 12) and ἀγλαΐζεται (line 14);
  • Addressee: audience, which hears the report, but does not participate in action described (here, ruling in Sicily);
  • Speech Object: Hieron, participant in event of performance, indicated deictically by the relative pronoun ὅς (line 12), whose antecedent is Hieron (line 11), and his rule in Sicily;
  • Speech Plan: to report and to commemorate, indicated by the verb ἀγλαΐζεται (line 14), whose subject is ὅς (line 12);
  • Spatial Dimension: indeterminate, but distinctive frame from event of performance, as indicated principally by the third-person voice of the speaker;
  • Temporal Dimension: immediate relative to, but distinctive from, the event of performance.

To conclude this description of Pindar’s angelia, a practical taxonomy of the ethnographic features of the speech genre is valuable for identifying the connection between the commemorating event of performance and the achievement that epinician performance celebrates—the connection between the deed of victory and the word of performance. Further, our knowledge of the stylistic boundaries of the angelia speech genre enable us to identify how Pindar’s compositions can artfully integrate diverse ways of speaking into the epinician way of speaking. The identification of such dynamics of heteroglossia is an important component to our fluency in epinician art and, in Chapter Five, will help us to discover novelistic features of epinician style.

Mythological Narrative

While there are many existing studies of myth in Pindar’s epinikia that focus upon formal qualities, such as the length of mythological narrative and its position in an ode, [38] and mythological content, [39] none consider the generic quality of the style of mythological narratives. Indeed, Richard Hamilton, author of an often-cited work on the structure of the victory ode, has written that “there appears to be no standard pattern governing its structure” (1974:56). But it is possible to identify the ethnographic features of the style of mythological narrative in even the briefest passages: [40]

  • Speech Subject: performer in third-person voice exclusive from speech object;
  • Addressee: audience, exclusive from the speech object;
  • Speech Object: actor(s) and actions excluded from the performance frame of interaction;
  • Speech Plan: to narrate traditional stories or to display portions of them;
  • Spatial Dimension: mythological; interactive framework for participants in narrated events is in an exclusive relation to performance;
  • Temporal Dimension: mythological, which ranges from the mythological past to immediate, relative to the performance event.

Mythological narrative is constituted by a mode of pastness that distinguishes it from that of angelia: mythological narrative concerns events in which possible participants in the event of performance (e.g. the athlete, members of the athlete’s family, the audience) do not participate. [
41] The chronotope “mythological” serves to indicate this exclusive relation of the speech object(s) of mythological narrative relative to the event of performance. Mythological narrative is temporally transcendent in that the telling of events occurring in a mythological chronotope can bear upon the present of performance, in part, by virtue of the fact that performance is the nexus between the event of narration and narrated events. [42]

The first brief stretch of mythological narrative occurring in Pindar’s Olympian 1 focalizes the song’s treatment of the Pelops myth upon a particular facet—the story of how Pelops got his ivory shoulder:

25      τοῦ μεγασθενὴς ἐράσσατο Γαιάοχος 25
          Ποσειδάν, ἐπεί νιν καθαροῦ λέβητος ἔξελε Κλωθώ,
          ἐλέφαντι φαίδιμον ὦμον κεκαδμένον.

Olympian 1.25–27

…whom [i.e. Pelops] the earth-embracing, mighty Poseidon desired,
after Klotho removed him from the purified cauldron.
And Pelops was well furnished with a shoulder bright with ivory.

The features occurring in these lines are:

  • Speech Subject: composer in third-person voice, indicated by third-person verbs ἐράσσατο (line 25) and ἔξελε (line 26);
  • Addressee: audience, non-participant in, and so excluded from, the speech object (the narrated events);
  • Speech Object: Poseidon’s desire for Pelops and how Pelops got his ivory shoulder;
  • Speech Plan: to narrate Poseidon’s desire for Pelops and how Pelops got his ivory shoulder;
  • Spatial Dimension: mythological;
  • Temporal Dimension: mythological, indicated by the speech object (a traditional story) and by aorist verbs ἐράσσατο (line 25) and ἔξελε (line 26).

The longest segment of mythological narrative in Olympian 1 recounts the deeds of Pelops. In the context of the poem as a whole, Pindar sets up the mythological figure of Pelops as an exemplar in the fulfillment of the principle of reciprocity conveyed by the word kharis:

65      τοὔνεκα {οἱ} προῆκαν υἱὸν ἀθάνατοί <οἱ> πάλιν
          μετὰ τὸ ταχύποτμον αὖτις ἀνέρων ἔθνος.
          πρὸς εὐάνθεμον δ᾽ ὅτε φυάν
          λάχναι νιν μέλαν γένειον ἔρεφον,
          ἑτοῖμον ἀνεφρόντισεν γάμον
70      Πισάτα παρὰ πατρὸς εὔδοξον Ἱπποδάμειαν
          σχεθέμεν. ἐγγὺς {δ᾽} ἐλθὼν πολιᾶς ἁλὸς οἶος ἐν ὄρφνᾳ
          ἄπυεν βαρύκτυπον
          Εὐτρίαιναν· ὁ δ᾽ αὐτῷ
          πὰρ ποδὶ σχεδὸν φάνη.
75      τῷ μὲν εἶπε· “Φίλια δῶρα Κυπρίας ἄγ᾽ εἴ τι, Ποσείδαον, ἐς χάριν
          τέλλεται, πέδασον ἔγχος Οἰνομάου χάλκεον,
          ἐμὲ δ᾽ ἐπὶ ταχυτάτων πόρευσον ἁρμάτων
          ἐς Ἆλιν, κράτει δὲ πέλασον.
          ἐπεὶ τρεῖς τε καὶ δέκ᾽ ἄνδρας ὀλέσαις
80      μναστῆρας ἀναβάλλεται γάμον
          θυγατρός. ὁ μέγας δὲ κίνδυνος ἄναλκιν οὐ φῶτα λαμβάνει.
          θανεῖν δ᾽ οἷσιν ἀνάγκα, τά κέ τις ἀνώνυμον
          γῆρας ἐν σκότῳ καθήμενος ἕψοι μάταν,
          ἁπάντων καλῶν ἄμμορος; ἀλλ᾽ ἐμοὶ μὲν οὗτος ἄεθλος
85      ὑποκείσεται· τὺ δὲ πρᾶξιν φίλαν δίδοι.” 
          ὣς ἔννεπεν· οὐδ᾽ ἀκράντοις ἐφάψατο
          ἔπεσι. τὸν μὲν ἀγάλλων θεός
          ἔδωκεν δίφρον τε χρύσεον πτεροῖσίν τ᾽ ἀκάμαντας ἵππους.
          ἕλεν δ᾽ Οἰνομάου βίαν παρθένον τε σύνευνον·
          ἔτεκε λαγέτας ἓξ ἀρεταῖσι μεμαότας υἱούς.
90      νῦν δ᾽ ἐν αἱμακουρίαις
          ἀγλααῖσι μέμικται,
          Ἀλφεοῦ πόρῳ κλιθείς,
          τύμβον ἀμφίπολον ἔχων πολυξενωτάτῳ παρὰ βωμῷ· τὸ δὲ κλέος
          τηλόθεν δέδορκε τᾶν Ὀλυμπιάδων ἐν δρόμοις
95      Πέλοπος, ἵνα ταχυτὰς ποδῶν ἐρίζεται 
          ἀκμαί τ᾽ ἰσχύος θρασύπονοι.

Olympian 1.65–96

For that reason the immortals sent Tantalos’ son back
again among the quick-fated race of men.
When at the flowering age
whiskers covered his chin with dark,
he turned his thoughts to ready marriage,
to have from her father, the man from Pisa, the widely renowned Hippodameia.
After going near the gray sea alone in darkness,
he called upon the heavy-pounding god
with the good trident.
Near at his feet the god appeared.
Pelops addressed him: “Come on, Poseidon, if at all the cherished gifts of Kypria result in grace,
restrain the bronze spear of Oinomaos,
bear me on the swiftest chariot
to Elis, and bring me to dominance.
After killing thirteen men,
suitors, he delays the marriage
of his daughter. Great risk does not fall to a mortal who lacks strength.
Among those for whom it is necessary to die, why would anyone
sit in darkness and foolishly boil off a nameless old age
and be without a share in all upright things? But this contest lies before me.
May you grant the desired deed.”
Thus he spoke and did not use unfulfilled
words. Glorifying him, the god
gave both a golden chariot-board and untiring horses with wings.
Then Pelops took Oinomaos’s might and the virgin for a bride.
He fathered six sons, leaders of the people and eager for virtue.
Now Pelops has been included
in splendid blood offerings,
reclining at the course of the Alpheos River,
having an often-visited tomb beside an altar that hosts many people.
In the races of Pelops the renown of the Olympic Games
radiates from far off,
where swiftness of feet
and the boldly working peaks of strength contend.

The ethnographic features occurring in this passage are:

The examples of mythological narrative from Olympian 1 serve to illustrate the stylistic patterns of the speech genre and to identify an overall pattern to the variety of mythological references and passages in Pindar’s epinikia. This ethnographic description of mythological narrative opens up the possibility of describing an individual epinician song as a dynamic communicative process, as we will see in Chapter Five.

In the next chapter I will continue to describe the ways of epinician speaking, focusing on the last speech genre of prayer. Because Pindar’s prayers have diverse forms and because my ethnographic study of them bears upon the salient Pindaric problems of first-person futures and praise poetics, I have dedicated Chapter 4 entirely to this topic.


[ back ] 1. See generally Bauman 1992, Briggs and Bauman 1992, Hanks 1987 and 1996b, and Tarkka 1993. See Bauman 1992:138–139 specifically on “dialogic genres” and Briggs and Bauman 1992 and Tarkka 1993 on intertextuality. For applications of speech genre studies in linguistic anthropology and folklore to Archaic Greek verbal art, see Martin 1984 and 1989:42–44, 85, and 171. In contrast to the dialogical and dynamic approach to intertextuality modeled by these scholars, Morrison applies intertextuality in the close-cropped sense of “verbal echoes, parallel myths, similar passages, and recurring imagery/language” among Pindar’s Sicilian odes (2007:20).

[ back ] 2. Bakhtin 1986:61–62 distinguishes between primary or simple speech genres and secondary or complex speech genres. Hanks 1987:671 describes the relationship between simple and complex genres as “a matter of relative inclusiveness.” On primary and secondary genres see also Bauman 1992:132 and Briggs and Bauman 1992:145. While my method of description differs significantly from his, Fränkel identifies the following typical elements of epinikion: “Victory odes are concerned with the victor, his family and his country [corresponding to angelia]; the poet also speaks of his own skill and of the particular poem [corresponding to what I refer to as the lyric speech genre]; he makes general reflexions on life and the powers that determine the course of events [corresponding to what I refer to as gnomic statements]; finally, he turns his eyes on the divine in prayer and meditation [corresponding to what I refer to as the precatory speech genre]… There is another specific element in a fifth class of material…namely myths of the gods and legends of the heroes [corresponding to what I refer to as mythological narrative]” (1973:440–441).

[ back ] 3. See Bakhtin 1981:259–422 and 1986:63–67 and passim on the relationship between genre and style.

[ back ] 4. See Briggs and Bauman 1992:140–141 on the relationship between style and genre “in the conceptual repertoire of the ethnography of speaking.”

[ back ] 5. Again Hymes (1989:440) defines registers as “major speech styles associated with recurrent types of situations” within a community. Cf. Bakhtin’s observation that “language, or functional, styles are nothing other than generic styles for certain spheres of human activity and communication” (1986:64).

[ back ] 6. Cf. Hymes explanation of the rubric “ways of speaking”: “My second reason for favoring ways of speaking is that it has analogy with ‘ways of life,’ on the one hand, and Whorf’s term ‘fashions of speaking,’ on the other. The first analogy helps remind anthropologists that the ways of mankind do include ways of speaking, and helps remind linguists that speaking does come in ways, that is, shows cultural patterning” (1989:446, emphasis in original). See Hanks 1987:681 on the “organic link between style, genre, and action”—a link that is a central to Pindar’s Verbal Art.

[ back ] 7. E.g. Hamilton 1974 and Greengard 1980. Hanks offers a more inclusive descriptive domain: “In a purely formal approach, genres consist of regular groupings of thematic, stylistic, and compositional elements. Generic types differ by the features or configurations by which they are defined, irrespective of the historical conditions under which the types come to exist and of the social values attached to them in a given context. On the other hand, genres can be defined as the historically specific conventions and ideals according to which authors compose discourse and audiences receive it. In this view, genres consist of orienting frameworks, interpretive procedures, and sets of expectations that are not part of discourse structure, but of the ways actors relate to and use language” (1987:670). See also Hanks 1987:676–677 and Briggs and Bauman 1992:146–147.

[ back ] 8. Bakhtin stresses the relationship between addressivity and genre: “Each speech genre in each area of speech communication has its own typical conception of the addressee, and this defines it as a genre” (1986:95). See Hanks 1987:682 for an application of Bakhtin’s concept of addressivity.

[ back ] 9. I conceive of the speech object of epinician simple speech genres as analogous to the “semantic exhaustiveness of the theme,” a factor of the finalization of the utterance (Bakhtin 1986:76–77). See Hanks (1987:692) for a discussion of Bakthin’s concept of the finalization of the utterance in terms of “kinds of completeness” and “levels at which completion is achieved” (emphasis in original).

[ back ] 10. Cf. Bakhtin’s (1986:77–78) definition of “the speaker’s speech plan or speech will,” a factor in the finalization of an utterance.

[ back ] 11. Bakhtin elaborates as follows: “The terminological imprecision and confusion in this methodologically central point of linguistic thinking [the concept of “speech”] result from ignoring the real unit of speech communication: the utterance. For speech can exist in reality only in the form of concrete utterances of individual speaking people, speech subjects. Speech is always cast in the form of an utterance belonging to a particular speaking subject, and outside this form it cannot exist” (1986:71, emphasis in original).

[ back ] 12. The main influences for my approach to deixis include: Bühler 1934:34–39, Jakobson 1957, Benveniste 1971:195–204 and 217–230, Levinson 1983:54–96, Hanks 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996a passim, 1996b, and Urban 1989. Studies that involve applying deixis to Pindar’s songs include Felson 1984, 1999, and 2004c, D’Alessio 2004, Athanassaki 2004, Bonifazi 2004a, and Martin 2004. See also Danielewicz 1990, Calame 2004, Felson 2004b, and Peponi 2004 for studies of deixis in Greek poetry.

[ back ] 13. Cf. Levinson: “Essentially deixis concerns the ways in which languages encode or grammaticalize features of the context of utterance or speech event, and thus also concerns ways in which the interpretation of utterances depends on the analysis of that context of utterance” (1983:54).

[ back ] 14. Cf. the view of folklorist Lotte Tarkka: “Situatedness of meaning, or the emergence of meaning in performance…, implies an act of communication, and thus persons (or a person) in the concrete sense of the word” (1993:180). See also Hanks 1987 and 1996b.

[ back ] 15. Here I am drawing from Hanks 1992:51 on the origo of an indexical framework. Mine is a highly simplified statement of the situation. Yet my description stands as a basis for discovering more precisely how, as Hanks writes, “a single deictic word stands for minimally two objects: the referent is the thing, individual, event, spatial or temporal location denoted; and the indexical framework is the origo (‘pivot’ or zero-point) relative to which the referent is identified (the speech event in which the act of reference is performed, or some part of this event).”

[ back ] 16. These are broadly gauged rubrics for what Hanks 1992:48–50 describes as relational features of deictics. See Bonifazi 2004a:394–407 for a classification of epinician deixis.

[ back ] 17. Bakhtin explains: “We will give the name chronotope (literally, ‘time space’) to the intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature” (1981:84, emphasis in original).

[ back ] 18. Bakhtin writes: “The chronotope in literature has an instrinsic generic significance. It can even be said that it is precisely the chronotope that defines genre and generic distinctions, for in literature the primary category in the chronotope is time” (1981:84–85, emphasis in original).

[ back ] 19. Here too I adopt the rubrics for these categories from what Hanks 1992:48–50 identifies as relational features of deictics.

[ back ] 20. However, this is a valid observation only at the level of simple speech genre. At the level of the complex speech genre of epinikion, the act of doing mythological narrative is inclusive relative to the event of performance. On the temporal relationship between narrated events and the act of narration see Bauman 1986a:54–77 and Hansen 1990.

[ back ] 21. As Briggs and Bauman write: “a crucial part of the process of constructing intertextual relations may be undertaken by the audience” (1992:157).

[ back ] 22. Aristotle’s characterization of gnômai identifies both its indefinite quality and its situatedness (Rhetoric 2.21.2). Mackie captures this quality of gnomic statements, observing: “A gnome is…by nature a general statement, designed to apply to any number of different situations” (2003:18). Boeke 2007 is the current point of departure on Pindar’s gnômai; she approaches this speech genre from the point of view of the referential function of language, as described in my Introduction above. See earlier Bischoff 1938. Bowra 1964:224 identifies the gnomic statement as a “traditional part of choral song” and elsewhere writes: “The strength of Pindar’s maxims lies in his ability to take a common theme and make it uncommon by putting it into the most suggestive and provocative terms. In substance his maxims have often been uttered before, but his presentation of them is new and striking through the personal touch which he gives to them” (1964:226; cf. 229–230). Hamilton 1974:16 defines the gnomic statement as “an aphorism…a concise statement of a generalized truth.” See also Hamilton 1974:115–116 on “Gnomic Clusters,” Slater 1979:65–66 on “gnomic progression.” Bundy 1962:7–8 describes gnomic statements as a foil in a summary priamel; see Bundy 1962 passim for other formal functions of gnomic statements. Hubbard 1985:143–145 treats gnomic statements in the context of what he identifies as the subject/object relation. I agree with Race (1986:29–30) in linking Pindar’s use of gnomic statements with a “didactic tradition which includes Hesiod (especially the Works and Days), Theognis, Phokylides, and a lost work containing the ‘sayings of Cheiron.’” On the question of the influence of the Kheironos Hupothêkai ‘Sayings of Cheiron’ upon Pindar’s epinikia, see Chapter 4. My view of Pindar’s gnomic statements resonates with Steiner’s: “[a]long with praise, gnomic reflections play an important role within the epinician song, pointing out the relevance of the particular event to all men and satisfying the didactic role that poetry also fills” (1986:22–23). Currie 2005:78–81 explores the question of whether Pindar’s gnomic statements communicate the possibility of literal immortality through hero cult for the laudandus or the symbolic immortality of kleos.

[ back ] 23. Boeke 2007 abstracts Pindar’s gnômai from their local communicative contexts in order to to develop a cosmological map (29–101), which she then applies as an interpetive vantage point upon Olympian 12, Isthmian 4, Olympian 13 (103–159), and upon the role of the epinician poet (161–194). I am wary of such absolutizing approaches to messages in Pindar because they risk casting him more as a philosopher or hierophant than a performer of traditional art, a danger compellingly addressed by Nisetich 1989:27–35. Nisetich 1988 also nicely captures how intimations of religion in Olympian 2 can be best grasped by interpreting them in light of the occasionality of the song.

[ back ] 24. In this connection I agree with Hubbard’s caution concerning “the critical bias [that] has resulted from an overemphasis on individual gnomic statements” (1985:7) and “the danger of taking such gnomes out of context and privileging them as the poet’s doctrine” (108).

[ back ] 25. This description of gnomic statements resonates closely with Hubbard’s description of Pindar’s first-person indefinite: “a generalized, gnomic first person that includes poet, patron, audience, and all men who participate in the same community of values” (Hubbard 2002:257–258). Hubbard cites Pythian 11.50–54 as an example of the first-person indefinite, but my description of the ways of epinician speaking leads to the conclusion that the two-word utterance (phthoneroi d’ amunontai “jealous people are driven off”) at the end of line 54 is the only gnomic utterance in the passage (see Appendix). Young 1968:58–59 and Fränkel 1975:475n12 and 514 identify the first-person indefinite as a conventional feature of the victory song. See also Köhnken 1971:209–210 and Kyriakou 1996:24–25.

[ back ] 26. I would suggest, then, that lines 33–34 imply that subsequent reperformance would signal time’s affirmative evaluation of Olympian 1’s performance.

[ back ] 27. Bowra 1964:322 identifies “personal remarks, especially about the poet and his patrons” as a traditional element of the victory ode. I roughly separate these into the lyric speech genre—Bowra’s remarks about the poet—and angelia, remarks about patrons. However, I stress that the basis for my description is the ethnographic/deictic features of each type of utterance; I do not define the simple speech genres solely in terms of content. What I am referring to as the lyric style embraces passages labeled by Hamilton 1974:16–17 as “Poet’s Task,” defined “as the poet introducing himself into the poem to talk about his obligations,” and Hamilton identifies the Pindaric Abbruchsformel as a “subdivision of Poet’s Task.” Hornblower 2004:361 identifies egô-asyndeton as a Pindaric strategy for making self-reflexive comments about the poetic process.

[ back ] 28. To further support this claim, according to principles of linguistic pragmatics the very use of first-person pronouns and other forms of first-person reference implies (pragmatically) that there is an addressee who is a participant in the currently happening speech event. The use of ‘I’ implies an addressee that is ‘not-I’ and, so, ‘you’, and the use of ‘you’ implies a speaker, a ‘not-you’ and so ‘I’ who addresses ‘you’. Cf. Benveniste 1971:225.

[ back ] 29. Here I am making the assumption that Hieron would have been pragmatically present, whether physically or symbolically, at the original performance of Olympian 1. Intrepreting the function of keinon (line 101) in Olympian 1.100–103, Bonifazi explains that “different pragmatic positions of ‘I’ and of ‘κ.’ [for keinon] are made close, to underscore at the same time the physical—or symbolic—distance between the two, and the possibly common frame shared by them” (2004c:290, my emphasis). The common frame shared by the epinician composer and, in this case, the laudandus, is indicative of the self-reflexive quality of the lyric speech genre.

[ back ] 30. Cf. Gildersleeve 1890:138.

[ back ] 31. Olympian 3.28, 4.5, 8.82, 9.25, 14.21; Pythian 2.4, 2.41, 4.279, 8.50; Isthmian 8.41; Fragment 169.34.

[ back ] 32. Olympian 7.21; Pythian 1.32, 9.2. Cf. Paean 2.77.

[ back ] 33. Olympian 6.90; Pythian 4.278; Nemean 1.59, 6.57. Cf. Paean 6.101.

[ back ] 34. Bowra 1964:322 identifies “personal remarks…about…patrons” as a traditional element of the victory ode. Hamilton 1974:15 identifies two elements of what he refers to as the “Naming Complex” of the victory song: “the name of the victory and the name of the place of victory”; “name of the event, homeland, and father” often occur with the name of the victory and the name of the place of the victory, but only these two regularly occur in the “Naming Complex.” Citing Hamilton, Most 1985:62–63 observes that “there are three elements which are found in every Pindaric epinician without exception: the name of the victor, the name of his city, and the name of the games in which the victory was won.” He goes on to compare this epinician phenomenon to the formal victory announcement (where he gives at 63n18 Pindar’s Pythian 1.29–33, the Olympian victor list [Oxyrhynchus Paypyri 222], and fragments of Phlegon of Tralles [F. Jacoby, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, 257 F 1–34] as ancient sources for the victory announcement’s standard content): “the same elements…almost certainly comprised the herald’s announcement of victory at the games themselves—victor’s name, city and discipline—and add one further element which, because it is implied by the very situation of utterance of the herald, the herald himself did not need to mention but the poets evidently must: the location of the games” (Most 1985:63). The content of the speech genre angelia includes what Race 1986:26 identifies as the “essential information” of the victory song. Steiner 1986:21 observes: “The epinician genre demands that the poet mention the critical factors of the event he celebrates. He must refer to the name of the victor, his father and city, the Games where he competed and the particular contest in which he achieved triumph.” Miller 1993a:113 equates the conventional components of the victory announcement—in his terms, “facts of identity” and “facts of achievement”—with the raw material that provides the basis for the rhetorical organization of the victory song. Hubbard draws a nice connection between literary and material records, but for reasons that become clear below I disagree with his interpretation of that connection: “Indeed, the earliest inscribed bases of victory statues and other commemorative offerings, such as votive plaques and cauldrons, provide the formulaic elements naming the victor, father, city, contest, and divine patron, from which elements the genre of epinician epigram and ultimately epinician lyric developed” (2004:76). Kurke 1993:142–149 and Thomas 2007:158–159 also observe the similarities between inscriptions on victory monuments and Pindar’s victory songs.

[ back ] 35. Hubbard’s observation (2004:77) that “Pindar frequently presents his song as a re-enactment of the victor’s crowning and proclamation by the herald of the games” is another way of stating that angelia is a form of heteroglossia in Pindar’s epinikia. Hubbard goes on to make the observation that “an epinician poem is always already a reperformance and re-evocation of a ritualized moment that transpired in a pan-Hellenic space.” I disagree, however, with Hubbard’s view that such a correspondence between the victory announcement and epinikion suggests, in itself, that the performance venue for epinikion was the site of a victory.

[ back ] 36. For the sake of consistency, in this definition I have couched Bakhtin’s formulation in terms that I have been using in the course of Pindar’s Verbal Art. In Bakhtin’s words: “The novel can be defined as a diversity of social speech types (sometimes even diversity of languages) and a diversity of individual voices, artistically organized. The internal stratification of any single national language into social dialects, characteristic group behavior, professional jargons, generic languages, languages of generations and age groups, tendentious languages, languages of authorities, of various circles and of passing fashions, languages that serve the special sociopolitical purposes of the day, even of the hour (each day has its own slogan, its own vocabulary, its own emphasis)—this internal stratification present in every language at any given moment of its historical existence is the indispensable prerequisite for the novel as a genre. The novel orchestrates all its themes, the totality of the world of objects and ideas depicted and expressed in it, by means of the social diversity of speech types and by the differing individual voices that flourish under such conditions. Authorial speech, the speech of narrators, inserted genres, the speech of characters are merely those fundamental compositional unities with whose help heteroglossia can enter the novel; each of them permits a multiplicity of social voices and a wide variety of their links and interrelationships (always more or less dialogized). These distinctive links and interrelationships between utterances and languages, this movement of the theme through different languages and speech types, its dispersion into the rivulets and droplets of social heteroglossia, its dialogization—this is the basic distinguishing feature of the stylistics of the novel” (1981:262–263). See also Bakhtin 1981:301–331 on heteroglossia in the novel.

[ back ] 37. This is not intended as a philosophical statement that valorizes art, but as a more pedestrian observation that, from the point of view of practice, if things, including art, happen in social life, then they are real and available for description as such.

[ back ] 38. Bowra identifies “a myth or myths from the heroic past” as a traditional element of the victory ode (1964:322). Young writes that myth “usually occupies a central position in the ode; many of the myths appear in ring form; most are introduced by a mere relative word” (1971:35). Hamilton 1974:14–15 distinguishes between “two types of mythic material…the long type…Myth…and the short type…Mythic Example.” See also Köhnken 1971.

[ back ] 39. Young writes that “myths may serve a programmatic purpose extolling some subject connected with the victor, such as his genealogy or city. Most scholars have argued that many myths, whether they arise from the program or not, function as paradigms or exempla to illustrate some contemporary subject, usually, but not necessarily pertaining to the victor” (1971:35). See also Hubbard 1985:133–140 on Pindar’s myths as paradigms for laudator and laudandus.

[ back ] 40. Cf. Segal on Pindar’s Pythian 4: “He may sketch a myth in four words, as he does the story of the Titans ([Pythian 4] 291), or tell it in two hundred lines, as he does the story of Jason” (1986:135–136). Young 1971:44–46 advocates for a broader application of the designation “myth” in the analysis of Pindar’s songs—an appeal that I hope my analysis answers.

[ back ] 41. Thus the demarcation between the “story worlds” of myth and encomium (Athanassaki 2004:319, following Felson 1984) can be identified on the basis of the ethnographic approach to style that I propose.

[ back ] 42. See Berge 2007 for a recent study of chronological arrangement of mythological narratives Pythian 10 and Olympian 3.

[ back ] 43. If the original performance frame’s origo was at Olympia, then the space of narrated events is contiguous with the space of narration (Pelops prays to Poseidon to bear him to Elis [line 78] the region in the western Peloponnesus where Olympia is located; the narrative refers to the Alpheos River [line 92] near the cult site of Olympia; to Pelops’ tomb and cult site, located at Olympia [about 50 meters from the temple of Zeus Olympios; line 93]; and to the Festival of Zeus Olympios and the “races of Pelops” [lines 93–96]). If the original performance frame’s origo was at Hieron’s home of Syracuse, then the narrated events are spatially non-immediate relative to performance. At a still more abstract level it is possible in any case simply to describe narrated events as “there” relative to the “here” of performance.