Isthmian 7 (Pindar)—Part III

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τὺ δέ, Διοδότοιο παῖ, μαχατὰν
αἰνέων Μελέαγρον, αἰνέων δὲ καὶ Ἕκτορα
Ἀμφιάραόν τε,
εὐανθέ’ ἀπέπνευσας ἁλικίαν

31   τύ = σύ ‘thou’—Διοδότοιο Διόδοτος gen sg; the father of Strepsiades the uncle—μαχατάν = μαχητήν; in apposition to l. 32 Μελέαγρον

32   This line and the next liken the elder Strepsiades to legendary heroes who died famous deaths.—αἰνέων ‘bringing glory to’ = ‘imitating’—ΜελέαγρονMeleager,’ host of the hunt for the Calydonian Boar, killed by his mother thereafter—ἝκτοραHector,’ prince of Troy and paragon of virtue, slain by Achilles while defending his homeland towards the end of the Trojan War

33   ἈμφιάραονAmphiaraus‘ fought in the war of the Seven Against Thebes, and avoided death on the battlefield when Zeus opened up the earth to bury him along with his horses and chariot (a subject treated more extensively in Pindar’s Nemean Ode IX)

34   εὐανθέα acc sg ‘blooming’ lit. ‘well (εὐ)-flowered (ἄνθος)’—ἀπέπνευσας ἀπο-πνεύω 2 sg aor ind ‘breathed out’—ἁλικίαν lit. ‘lifetime’ = ‘life’

προμάχων ἀν’ ὅμιλον, ἔνθ’ ἄριστοι (στρ. γ’) 35
ἔσχον πολέμοιο νεῖκος ἐσχάταις ἐλπίσιν.
ἔτλαν δὲ πένθος οὐ φατόν· ἀλλὰ νῦν μοι
Γαιάοχος εὐδίαν ὄπασσεν
ἐκ χειμῶνος. ἀείσομαι χαίταν στεφάνοισιν ἁρ- 39a
μόζων. ὁ δ’ ἀθανάτων 39b
μὴ θρασσέτω φθόνος, 39c

35   προμάχων πρό|μαχος gen pl ‘one fighting (μαχέομαι) in the front (πρό)’—ἔνθα ‘where (relative)’

36   νεῖκος neut ‘strife, quarrel’

37   ἔτλαν τλάω 3 pl root aorist ‘endured, suffered’—φατόν adj neut ‘spoken, speakable’ from φημί ‘I speak’; take οὐ φατόν as ‘unspeakable’

38   Γαιάοχος ‘Earth (γαίη)-Shaker (*ϝεχ- ’cause to move’ < PIE *weģʰ-),’ an epithet of Poseidon, god of the ocean and of earthquakes—εὐδίαν ‘fair weather’ = ‘tranquility, peace’

39   χειμῶνος usually ‘winter, winter storm’ but here = ‘storm’—ἀεἴδω 1 sg fut mid/pass—ἁρμόζων ‘fitting, entwining’ looks ahead to l. 39c φθόνος—μὴ θρασσέτω θράσσω (Att. θράττω) 3 sg pres imp ‘may it not trouble’; the object is the following clause, beginning with l. 40 ὅ τι ‘that which’—φθόνος ‘ill-will, jealousy’

ὅ τι τερπνὸν ἐφάμερον διώκων (ἀντ. γ’) 40
ἕκαλος ἔπειμι γῆρας ἔς τε τὸν μόρσιμον
αἰῶνα. θνᾴσκομεν γὰρ ὁμῶς ἅπαντες·
δαίμων δ’ ἄϊσος· τὰ μακρὰ δ’ εἴ τις
παπταίνει, βραχὺς ἐξικέσθαι χαλκόπεδον θεῶν 44a
ἕδραν· ὅ τοι πτερόεις 44b
ἔρριψε Πάγασος 44c

40   τερπνόν adj neut acc ‘delightful, pleasant’—ἐφάμερον ἐπ-ήμερος ‘lasting but a day, short-lived’ (cf. ephemeral) from ἐπὶ + ἡμέρα

41   ἕκαλος = ἕκηλος ‘gladly’—ἔπειμι ‘I come (εἶμι) upon (ἐπί), approach’—μόρσιμον ‘allotted, appointed by fate’

42   θνᾴσκομεν = θνῄσκομενὁμῶς ‘in the same way’

43   δαίμων = ‘fate, destiny’—ἄϊσος ‘unequal,’ from ἀ- + ἴσος—τὰ μακρά ‘far-off things’—εἴ is the first word of this clause in sensible English

44   παπταίνει ‘look about at’—βραχύς here has the sense of ‘too short to’ + inf.; take the adjective as predicative, i.e. ‘he is too short’—ἐξικέσθαι ‘reach’; the infinitive limits the domain of βραχύς—χαλκόπεδον ‘with floor (πέδον) of bronze (χαλκός)’ἕδραν ‘sitting-place,’ from ἕζομαι ‘sit’— looks ahead to Πάγασος—πτερόεις ‘winged’ lit. ‘feather-having,’ with the same suffix as in l. 22 μορφάες; cf. πτερόν ‘feather’—ἔρριψε ῥίπτω 3 sg aor ‘threw,’ as horses do; the object is in ll. 45 and 46—Πάγασος = Πήγασος ‘Pegasus

δεσπόταν ἐθέλοντ’ ἐς οὐρανοῦ σταθμοὺς (ἐπ. γ’) 45
ἐλθεῖν μεθ’ ὁμάγυριν Βελλεροφόνταν
Ζηνός. τὸ δὲ πὰρ δίκαν
γλυκὺ πικροτάτα μένει τελευτά.
ἄμμι δ’, ὦ χρυσέᾳ κόμᾳ θάλλων, πόρε, Λοξία,
τεαῖσιν ἁμίλλαισιν 50
εὐανθέα καὶ Πυθόϊ στέφανον.

45   δεσπόταν = δεσπότην ‘master,’ as of an animal; from PIE *dems (gen. of *doms ‘house’) + potis ‘master’; cf. despotἐθέλοντα ‘wishing’ agrees with δεσπόταν and l. 46 Βελλεροφόνταν—σταθμούς here = ‘dwelling-places’

46   ἐλθεῖν is dependent on l. 45 ἐθέλοντα—ὁμάγυριν = ὁμήγυριν ‘assembly’ (ὁμός + ἀγείρω)—Βελλεροφόνταν = Βελλεροφόντην acc ‘Bellerophon,’ who tamed Pegasus

47   Ζηνός gen ‘of Zeus’—τὸ … πὰρ δίκαν γλυκύ ‘that which is sweet beyond measure, sweetness beyond measure’ is the beginning of a gnomic line

48   πικροτάτα πικρός fem nom sg superlative ‘most bitter,’ here figurative—μένει ‘awaits’ = ‘is the consequence of’ takes l. 47 τὸ … γλυκύ as its object

49   ἄμμι is Aeolic for ἡμῖν—θάλλων ‘blooming’—πόρε 2 sg aor imp act ‘give!’—Λοξία Λοξίης voc a nickname of Apollo, in whose honor the Pythian Games were held

50   τεαῖσιν τεός fem dat pl ‘thy’—ἁμίλλαισιν ‘contests’

51   Πυθόϊ loc adv ‘at Pytho’ i.e. ‘at the Pythian Games

And you, son of Diodotus, emulating
the warrior Meleager, and also emulating Hector
and Amphiaraus,
breathed out your blooming life

Strophe Γ
in the crowd of those at the front, where the very best 35
kept up the strife of war with their final hopes.
They endured unspeakable grief; but now
the Earth-Shaker has provided me with tranquility
out of the storm. I shall sing, fitting my hair with 39a
wreaths. May the 39b
jealousy of the immortals not disturb 39c

Antistrophe Γ
whatever day-to-day delight I pursue as 40
I gladly approach old age and my fate-appointed
time. For we all die in the same way,
but our destinies are unequal; if someone is looking at
far-off things, he is too short to reach the gods’ bronze-floored 44a
seat; for that winged one, 44b
Pegasus, threw 44c

Epode Γ
his master Bellerophon when he wished to go 45
to the dwelling-places of heaven among the assembly
of Zeus. A most bitter end awaits that which is
sweet beyond measure.
Give to us, O Loxias blooming with golden hair,
from your contests, 50
a flowery wreath at Pytho as well.

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