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Generic Ethics And The Problem Of Badness In Pindar

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the rubric of ?badness? in terms of some familiar features of the genre of Pindaric epinician. It examines the constraints this genre puts on the construction of badness. Praise poetry is obviously meant to praise, as the victor emerges from a dark background to stand in Pindar?s famous god-given gleam. The chapter explores the extent to which Pindar can be assimilated to aristocratic ethics as expressed in the poetry of Theognis. It also examines the causes and characterization of bad situations, situations that often turn on errors of judgment. The chapter addresses the category of bad speech and its poetic and civic implications. A major concentration of kakos vocabulary in Pindar connects badness with certain types of speech. The struggle between good and evil in Pindar plays itself out most insistently not in the realm of deeds but in the realm of words.

Keywords: badness; civic implications; kakos vocabulary; Pindaric epinician; praise poetry; Theognis



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