Isthmian 7 (Pindar)—Part II

Go to Part I

ἀλλὰ παλαιὰ γὰρ
εὕδει χάρις, ἀμνάμονες δὲ βροτοί,

16   παλαιά = παλαιή fem nom sg ‘ancient, of earlier days’

17   εὕδει ‘sleeps’—ἀμνάμονες adj ἀ|μνήμων ‘forgetful’; take as the predicate of βροτοί

ὅ τι μὴ σοφίας ἄωτον ἄκρον (στρ. β’)
κλυταῖς ἐπέων ῥοαῖσιν ἐξίκηται ζυγέν.
κώμαζ’ ἔπειτεν ἁδυμελεῖ σὺν ὕμνῳ 20
καὶ Στρεψιάδᾳ· φέρει γὰρ Ἰσθμοῖ
νίκαν παγκρατίου· σθένει τ’ ἔκπαγλος ἰδεῖν τε μορ- 22a
φάεις· ἄγει τ’ ἀρετὰν 22b
οὐκ αἴσχιον φυᾶς. 22c

18   ἄωτον τὸ ἄωτον ‘the choicest, the flower of its kind’

19   ζυγέν ζεύγνυμι neut sg aor pass participle ‘joined’

20   κώμαζε κωμάζω 2 sg pres imp ‘revel! make merry!’; the addressee is still l. 1 Θήβα ‘Thebes’—ἁδυμελεῖ ἡδυ|μελής ‘sweetly (ἡδύς) singing (cf. μελῳδέω)’

21   Ἴσθμοῖ a locative adverb = the eponymous Isthmus

22   σθένει dat sg ‘strength, might’—ἔκπαγλος ‘marvelous’—ἰδεῖν ‘to see’ is an infinitive that limits μορφάεις, i.e. ‘shapely to behold’ = ‘shapely, as one looking upon him can see’—μορφάεις = μορφή-εις lit. ‘having (-εις) a shape (μορφή)’ = ‘having a pleasing shape’; the suffix -εις (cf. νιφόεις ‘having snow’ = ‘snowy’; ἠνεμόεις ‘having wind’ = ‘windy’) is from *-went-s (cf. Skt -vant- with the same meaning; e.g. bhaga-vān ‘fortune-having’ = ‘blessed’)—αἴσχιον αἰσχρός comp; the neuter accusative is used adverbially, i.e. ‘more shamefully, more basely’; οὐκ αἴσχιον thus means ‘in no baser a way’ which basically = ‘no less’—ἀρετὰν … φυᾶς ‘excellence of stature’; φυή is from the verb φύω ‘grow’

φλέγεται δὲ ἰοπλόκοισι Μοίσαις, (ἀντ. β’)
μάτρωΐ θ’ ὁμηνύμῳ δέδωκε κοινὸν θάλος,
χάλκασπις ᾧ πότμον μὲν Ἄρης ἔμειξεν, 25
τιμὰ δ’ ἀγαθοῖσιν ἀντίκειται.
ἴστω γὰρ σαφές, ὅστις ἐν ταύτᾳ νεφέλᾳ χάλα- 27a
ζαν αἵματος πρὸ φίλας 27b
πάτρας ἀμύνεται, 27c

23   ἰοπλόκοισι ‘with violet (ἰο-) hair (πλόκος ‘lock of hair, plait’)’—Μοίσαις = Μούσαις; in Aeolic, *-nts clusters (as in *montsya ‘memory’ = ‘Muse’) are always resolved with loss of the nasal and the emergence of a diphthong ending in ι

24   μάτρωϊ = μήτρως ‘maternal uncle’; Strepsiades had uncle with the same name (ὁμηνύμῳ ‘homonymous’) who had previously fallen in battle, and who Pindar is now going to tell us a little bit about—θάλος ‘olive wreath,’ of victory

25   χάλκασπις ‘with shield (ἄσπις) of bronze (χαλκός),’ here an epithet of Ἄρηςἔμειξεν μίγνυμι 3 sg aor ind lit. ‘mixed’ but here fig. ‘concocted, devised’

26   This is a gnomic statement.

27   ἴστω οῖδα 3 sg perf imp ‘let him know’; the subject is ὅστις—νεφέλᾳ = νεφέλη ‘cloud’ = ‘cloud of battle’—χάλαζαν ‘hail, hailstorm,’ here fig.

λοιγὸν ἄντα φέρων ἐναντίῳ στρατῷ, (ἐπ. β’)
ἀστῶν γενεᾷ μέγιστον κλέος αὔξων
ζώων τ’ ἀπὸ καὶ θανών. 30

29   ἀστῶν ἀστός gen pl ‘townsmen, citizens’—κλέος ‘fame’ < PIE ḱlew- ‘hear’ cf. Rus слушать ‘listen,’ also Eng ‘loud,’ ‘listen’—αὔξων is the main verb in the indirect discourse started by l. 27 ἴστω (verbs of knowledge and perception, like οἶδα, use participles and not infinitives in oratio obliqua), i.e. ‘may he know that he increases…’

But ancient glory
sleeps, and mortals are forgetful

Strophe B
of whatever does not reach the highest peak of wisdom,
joined with renowned streams of words.
Therefore, with a sweet-singing chant, rejoice 20
also in Strepsiades; for at the Isthmian Games he has carried away
victory in the pankration; marvelous in his might and 22a
shapely to behold; and he brings excellence 22b
of physique no less. 22c

Antistrophe B
He shines bright by the violet-haired Muses,
and gave a common olive-wreath to his uncle of the same name,
for whom Ares of the bronze shield concocted death; 25
honor is offered as recompense to brave men.
Let that one know, whoever wards off the hailstorm of blood 27a
in this cloud of war for the sake 27b
of his dear homeland 27c

Epode B
by bringing destruction to the opposing army,
that he increases the utmost fame for the generation of townsmen,
both while living and dying. 30

Go to Part III

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