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Traces of the Hymn in the epinikion

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image of Mnemosyne

E.L. Bundy's (1962) approach to Pindar's victory odes might lead to the assumption that the poet's praise is always and exclusively addressed to the human laudandus and his polis. Readers of Currie's recent monograph (2005) might even be led one step further: does Pindar insinuate that the laudandus receives heroic status and becomes immortal? In this paper it is argued in the first place that in many, if not all, epinicians praise of the gods comes in first place, praise of the gods being the foundation and the echo-chamber of the praise directed at the victorious athlete. A second point is that in a significant number of passages the athlete is reminded by the epinician poet that he is just a mortal, and that his present and passing felicity, obtained by hard effort, is a far cry from the easy and everlasting happiness of the immortal gods.

Affiliations: 1: Paulingstraat 4, 1902 CX Castricum, The Netherlands;, Email:


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