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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter deals with selected aspects of Pindaric scholarship in order to establish the usefulness of an investigation into the cosmological foundation of Pindar's poetry. While many scholars note that Pindar's poetry is underpinned by a distinctive outlook their attitude towards his 'thought' is often dismissive, if not openly disapproving, usually because it is seen as evidence of the poet's inability or unwillingness to embrace the new and, it is implied, superior ideas of the democratic era developing in Athens. The examples from Pindar's odes show that glorifying a victor is not a matter of straightforward eulogising, the enumeration of a man's achievements and admirable character traits. Success in general and victory at the games in particular are not presented as desirable goals in themselves, they acquire value in relation to the broader outlook of the community regarding both the divine and the social sphere.

Keywords: Athens; Pindar's odes; Pindaric scholarship; Pindars poetry



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