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Past And Present In Pindar’s Religious Poetry

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Chapter Summary

The paper examines how Pindar speaks of shapes and configures the relation between past and present in his cult songs, especially his Paeans and Dithyrambs. What kind of temporality does his religious poetry serve to conjure up? Is this temporality always the same? Does he play any tricks with time? What role does he ascribe to himself, qua poet, in all this? What should to be stressed from the outset is that Pindar's cult songs are not merely descriptive of, but are also conducive to, a festival's sacred ambience. In the Epinicians, the qualitative distance between past and present is also collapsed. The distinction between these two poetic genres also helps us to explain the different roles that Pindar adopts in each case. In the cult songs he is the mediator between gods and men, and the one whose song unveils the timelessness of the divine.

Keywords: cult; Dithyrambs; Epinicians; festivals; Paeans; Pindar; religious poetry



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