Isthmian 7 (Pindar)—Part I

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Τίνι τῶν πάρος, ὦ μάκαιρα Θήβα, (στρ. α’)
καλῶν ἐπιχωρίων μάλιστα θυμὸν τεὸν
εὔφρανας; ἦρα χαλκοκρότου πάρεδρον
Δαμάτερος ἁνίκ’ εὐρυχαίταν
ἄντειλας Διόνυσον, ἢ χρυσῷ μεσονύκτιον 5a
νείφοντα δεξαμένα 5b
τὸν φέρτατον θεῶν, 5c

1   Τίνι ‘at which?’ with l. 3 εὔφρανας

2   ἐπιχωρίων adj ‘of the country, local’ = ἐπί + χώρα

3   εὔφρανας = εὔφρηνας; εὐφραίνω 2 sg aor ‘cheered, gladdened’—ἦρα = ἦ + ῥα; introduces a question—χαλκοκρότου χαλκό-κροτος ‘resounding (κρότος) with bronze (χαλκός)’ (epith. of Demeter, alluding to instruments used in her worship)—πάρεδρον ‘one sitting beside’ + gen.

4   ἁνίκ’ = ἡνίκα ‘at the time when’—εὐρυχαίταν ‘with wide-streaming hair’

5   ἄντειλας ἀνα-τέλλω ‘made to rise up’—χρυσῷ μεσονύκτιον νείφοντα; on this occasion, Zeus is supposed to have caused it to snow with gold in the middle of the night—τὸν φέρτατον θεῶν i.e. Zeus

ὁπότ’ Ἀμφιτρύωνος ἐν θυρέτροις (ἀντ. α’)
σταθεὶς ἄλοχον μετῆλθεν ἡρακλείοις γοναῖς;
ἤτ’ ἀμφὶ πυκναῖς Τειρεσίαο βουλαῖς;
ἤτ’ ἀμφ’ Ἰόλαον ἱππόμητιν;
ἢ Σπαρτῶν ἀκαμαντολογχᾶν; ἢ ὅτε καρτερᾶς 10a
Ἄδραστον ἐξ ἀλαλᾶς 10b
ἄμπεμψας ὀρφανὸν 10c

6   Ἀμφιτρύωνος ‘of Amphitryon‘ can depend on either θυρέτροις ‘doorway’ or l. 7 ἄλοχον ‘wife’

7   ἄλοχον = Alcmene, the mother of Heracles— ἡρακλείοις γοναῖς lit. ‘for Heraclean begettings’ = ‘for the birth of Heracles

8   πυκναῖς ‘close-packed’ = ‘numerous, frequent’

9   ἸόλαονIolaus,’ a hero of Theban origin—ἱππόμητιν ‘skilled with (μῆτις) horses (ἵππος)’

10   Σπαρτῶν = the legendary Sown Men (cf. σπείρω ‘sow, scatter’), ancestors of Theban nobility, who sprang from the ground where Cadmus, the city’s mythical founder, had sown the teeth of a slain dragon—ἀκαμαντολογχᾶν ἀ-καμαντο-λόγχης gen pl ‘unwearied (ἀκάμας) by the spear (λόγχη)’—The expulsion of Adrastus back to Argos is a reference to the Seven Against Thebes incident.—ἀλαλᾶς ‘war-cry’ = ‘battle’—ὀρφανόν ‘as an orphan’ = ‘bereft of’ + gen.

μυρίων ἑτάρων ἐς Ἄργος ἵππιον; (ἐπ. α’)
ἢ Δωρίδ’ ἀποικίαν οὕνεκεν ὀρθῷ
ἔστασας ἐπὶ σφυρῷ
Λακεδαιμονίων, ἕλον δ’ Ἀμύκλας
Αἰγεῖδαι σέθεν ἔκγονοι, μαντεύμασι Πυθίοις; 15

11   ἵππιον ‘equestrian,’ epithet of Ἄργος

12   Δωρίδα fem adj Δωρίς ‘Dorian’—ἀποικίαν ‘settlement far from (ἀπό) home (οἰκία)’ = ‘colony’—ὀρθῷ … σφυρῷ ‘on an upright ankle,’ fig. = ‘solidly’

14   ἕλον ‘took (with military force)’—Ἀμύκλας = Amyclae, a town in Lacedaemon

15   Αἰγεῖδαι ‘the Aegeidae’ (lit. ‘sons of Aegeus’), a clan of Theban nobility—σέθεν ‘from you’—ἔκγονοι ‘born (cf. γίγνομαι) from (ἐκ)’—μαντεύμασι Πυθίοις read the dative as ‘in accordance with’; Πυθίοις refers to the Oracle of Delphi


Strophe Α
O blessed Thebes, at which of the past
glories of the country did you gladden your heart
the most? (1) Was it when you raised up him who sits
next to Demeter of the resounding bronze,
Dionysus with wide-streaming hair? 5
(2) Or when you received that greatest of gods
in the middle of the night when he made it snow with gold, 5b

Antistrophe A
when he stood in Amphitryon’s doorway
and wooed his wife for the purpose of the birth of Heracles?
(3) Or was it for the numerous counsels of Teiresias?
(4) Or was it for Iolaus, skilled with horses?
(5) Or for the Sown Men, unwearied by the spear? 10
(6) Or when you repelled Adrastus
from the mighty battle, bereft 10b

Epode Α
of his countless companions, back into equestrian Argos?
(7) Or because you set the Dorian colony
of the Lacedaemonians on solid footing,
and the Aegeidae, sprung from you, took
Amyclae, in accordance with the Pythian prophecies? 15

Go to Part II


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