Parian Marble redirects here. The Parian Chronicle or Parian Marble is a Greek chronology, covering the years from 1582 BC to 299 BC, inscribed on a stele. Found on the island of Paros in two sections, sold in Smyrna in the early 17th century to an agent for Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, this inscription was deciphered by John Selden and published among the Arundel Marbles, Marmora Arundelliana nos. 1–14, 59–119. The first of the sections published by Selden has subsequently disappeared. A further third fragment of this inscription, comprising the base of the stele and containing the end of the text, was found on Paros in 1897, it has entries from 336/35 to 299/98 BC. The two known upper fragments, brought to London in 1627 and presented to Oxford University in 1667, include entries for the years 1582/81–355/54 BC; the surviving upper chronicle fragment resides in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. It combines dates for events which modern readers would consider mythic, such as the Flood of Deucalion with dates we would categorize as historic.
For the Greeks, the events of their distant past, such as the Trojan War and the Voyage of the Argonauts were historic: their myths were understood as legends to the Greeks. In fact the Parian inscriptions spend more detail on the Heroic Age than on certifiably historic events closer to the date the stele was inscribed and erected during 264/263 BC. "The Parian Marble uses chronological specificity as a guarantee of truth," Peter Green observed in the introduction to his annotated translation of the Argonautica of Apollonios Rhodios: "the mythic past was rooted in historical time, its legends treated as fact, its heroic protagonists seen as links between the'age of origins' and the mortal, everyday world that succeeded it."The shorter fragment base of the stele, found in 1897, is in the Archaeological museum of Paros. It contains chronicle entries for the years 336/35–299/98 BC; the major analysis of the Parian Chronicle is that of Felix Jacoby, written in the early 20th century. This appeared in two works: his book Das Marmor Parium published in 1904, as a part of the Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, first published in 1929.
There has been no major study devoted to the entire stele since that time, although a few authors have dealt with specific time periods covered in the tablet. Furthermore, there have been no critical studies of the original text on the stele itself since the work of Jacoby, as evidenced by the fact that the display of the Greek text on the Ashmolean Web site is a photocopy of the text that Jacoby published in his Fragmente. In attempting to discern the source or sources of the Chronicle, Jacoby followed the rather subjective method, popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, whereby a change in the subject matter or style of writing was taken to imply a different source; the style of the Chronicle, however, is quite uniform. Events are listed with little embellishment, the primary purpose seems to be to give for each event the name of the king or archon ruling in Athens at the time, along with the number of years prior to the base date of the tablet; the only exceptions are that in nine out of the 107 extant entries, the name of the archon or king is no longer readable, in 14 entries the number of elapsed years is effaced.
The lack of embellishment is shown, for example, in the entry for Cecrops, which attributes nothing remarkable to him or to his reign though in Greek mythology he was a semi-human creature. The Chronicle’s entries for Deucalion, who became the center of many flood-myths, are more consistent with the earliest Greek legends that state that he fled from a flooding river in his native Lycoreia near the Gulf of Corinth, arriving at Athens where his son became king. In contrast to Jacoby's ideas, a 2012 study maintains that the style of the Chronicle’s entries suggests that the ultimate source of the information in the Parian Chronicle was the archives of the city of Athens. Authors Rodger Young and Andrew Steinmann base their views on three key inferences from the available evidence. 1) The naming of the reigning king or archon in Athens for each entry is consistent with an Athenian provenance of the material. 2) The source behind each entry must have provided a year-number from which the author of the Parian Chronicle was able to calculate the years to his own time, thus suggesting that the archives from which the information was taken were keeping track of the years since the founding of the kingship in Athens under Cecrops.
Such framing chronicles are known to have been kept in Rome: the Anno Urbis Conditae, from which events were reckoned. 3) The annalistic style of the Chronicle is in keeping with the genre of annalistic records such as the Assyrian Eponym Canon, in which the purpose was not so much to describe events as to give an accurate record of when the events occurred, as related to the years since the founding of the kingship and tying the event to the king or archon, reigning. Young and Steinmann acknowledge several factors that make it less plausible the source behind the Parian Chronicle was the state archives of Athens; the first is that there are no known examples of writing from Athens that date as early as 1582/81 BC, the date of the Chronicle’s first entry. The earliest extant writing in Greek from any area is found in the syllabic Linear B script, for which the earliest instances date to about a century and a half after the reputed beginning of the kingship under Cecrops. Another argument against the Athenian provenance of the information in the Parian Chronicle is the reconstru
Athena or Athene given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom and warfare, syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across Greece the city of Athens, from which she most received her name, she is shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls, olive trees and the Gorgoneion. From her origin as an Aegean palace goddess, Athena was associated with the city, she was known as Polias and Poliouchos, her temples were located atop the fortified Acropolis in the central part of the city. The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis is dedicated to her, along with numerous other temples and monuments; as the patron of craft and weaving, Athena was known as Ergane. She was a warrior goddess, was believed to lead soldiers into battle as Athena Promachos, her main festival in Athens was the Panathenaia, celebrated during the month of Hekatombaion in midsummer and was the most important festival on the Athenian calendar.
In Greek mythology, Athena was believed to have been born from the head of her father Zeus. In the founding myth of Athens, Athena bested Poseidon in a competition over patronage of the city by creating the first olive tree, she was known as Athena Parthenos, but, in one archaic Attic myth, the god Hephaestus tried and failed to rape her, resulting in Gaia giving birth to Erichthonius, an important Athenian founding hero. Athena was the patron goddess of heroic endeavor. Along with Aphrodite and Hera, Athena was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War, she plays an active role in the Iliad, in which she assists the Achaeans and, in the Odyssey, she is the divine counselor to Odysseus. In the writings of the Roman poet Ovid, Athena was said to have competed against the mortal Arachne in a weaving competition, afterwards transforming Arachne into the first spider. Since the Renaissance, Athena has become an international symbol of wisdom, the arts, classical learning.
Western artists and allegorists have used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy. Athena is associated with the city of Athens; the name of the city in ancient Greek is Ἀθῆναι, a plural toponym, designating the place where—according to myth—she presided over the Athenai, a sisterhood devoted to her worship. In ancient times, scholars argued whether Athena was named after Athens after Athena. Now scholars agree that the goddess takes her name from the city. Testimonies from different cities in ancient Greece attest that similar city goddesses were worshipped in other cities and, like Athena, took their names from the cities where they were worshipped. For example, in Mycenae there was a goddess called Mykene, whose sisterhood was known as Mykenai, whereas at Thebes an analogous deity was called Thebe, the city was known under the plural form Thebai; the name Athenai is of Pre-Greek origin because it contains the Pre-Greek morpheme *-ān-. In his dialogue Cratylus, the Greek philosopher Plato gives some rather imaginative etymologies of Athena's name, based on the theories of the ancient Athenians and his own etymological speculations: That is a graver matter, there, my friend, the modern interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist in explaining the view of the ancients.
For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that he meant by Athena "mind" and "intelligence", the maker of names appears to have had a singular notion about her. However, the name Theonoe may mean "she who knows divine things" better than others. Nor shall we be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to identify this Goddess with moral intelligence, therefore gave her the name Etheonoe. Thus, Plato believed that Athena's name was derived from Greek Ἀθεονόα, Atheonóa—which the Greeks rationalised as from the deity's mind; the second-century AD orator Aelius Aristides attempted to derive natural symbols from the etymological roots of Athena's names to be aether, air and moon. Athena was the Aegean goddess of the palace, who presided over household crafts and protected the king. A single Mycenaean Greek inscription a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja /Athana potnia/ appears at Knossos in the Linear B tablets from the Late Minoan II-era "Room of the Chariot Tablets". Although Athana potnia is translated Mistress Athena, it could mean "the Potnia of Athana", or the Lady of Athens.
However, any connection to the city of Athens in the Knossos inscription is uncertain. A sign series a-ta-no-dju-wa-ja appears in the still undeciphered corpus of Linear A tablets, written in the unclassified Minoan language; this could be connected with the Linear B Mycenaean expressions a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja and di-u-ja or di-wi-ja (Diwia, "of Zeus" or, possibly
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to his sister, the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship; the Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares: although he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, "overwhelming, insatiable in battle and man-slaughtering." His sons Phobos and Deimos and his lover, or sister, Enyo accompanied him on his war chariot. In the Iliad, his father Zeus tells him. An association with Ares endows objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality, his value as a war god is placed in doubt: during the Trojan War, Ares was on the losing side, while Athena depicted in Greek art as holding Nike in her hand, favoured the triumphant Greeks. Ares plays a limited role in Greek mythology as represented in literary narratives, though his numerous love affairs and abundant offspring are alluded to.
When Ares does appear in myths, he faces humiliation. He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship; the most famous story related to Ares and Aphrodite shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband's device. The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars, who as a father of the Roman people was given a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion as a guardian deity. During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares, thus in the classical tradition of Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures became indistinguishable. The etymology of the name Ares is traditionally connected with the Greek word ἀρή, the Ionic form of the Doric ἀρά, "bane, curse, imprecation". There may be a connection with the Roman god of war, via hypothetical Proto-Indo-European *M̥rēs.
Walter Burkert notes that "Ares is an ancient abstract noun meaning throng of battle, war." R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin of the name; the earliest attested form of the name is the Mycenaean Greek, a-re, written in the Linear B syllabic script. The adjectival epithet, was appended to the names of other gods when they took on a warrior aspect or became involved in warfare: Zeus Areios, Athena Areia Aphrodite Areia. In the Iliad, the word ares is used as a common noun synonymous with "battle."Inscriptions as early as Mycenaean times, continuing into the Classical period, attest to Enyalios as another name for the god of war. Ares was one of the Twelve Olympians in the archaic tradition represented by the Odyssey. Zeus expresses a recurring Greek revulsion toward the god when Ares returns wounded and complaining from the battlefield at Troy: Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:"Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar. To me you are the most hateful of all gods.
Forever quarrelling is dear to your heart and battles.... And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, sinceyou are my child, it was to me that your mother bore you, but were you born of some other god and proved so ruinouslong since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky." This ambivalence is expressed in the Greeks' association of Ares with the Thracians, whom they regarded as a barbarous and warlike people. Thrace was Ares's birthplace, his true home, his refuge after the affair with Aphrodite was exposed to the general mockery of the other gods. A late-6th-century BC funerary inscription from Attica emphasizes the consequences of coming under Ares's sway:Stay and mourn at the tomb of dead KroisosWhom raging Ares destroyed one day, fighting in the foremost ranks. In Sparta, Ares was viewed as a model soldier: his resilience, physical strength, military intelligence were unrivaled. An ancient statue, representing the god in chains, suggests that the martial spirit and victory were to be kept in the city of Sparta.
That the Spartans admired him is indicative of the cultural divisions that existed between themselves and other Greeks the Athenians. Ares was worshipped by the inhabitants of Tylos, it is not known if he was worshipped in the form of an Arabian god or if he was worshipped in his Greek form. According to Herodotus' Histories, the Scythians worshipped a god. While ranking beneath Tabiti and Papaios in the divine hierarchy, this god was worshipped differently from other Scythian gods, with statues and complex altars devoted to him; this type of worship is noted to be present among the Alans. Noting how Greek mythological Amazons are devotees of Ares and most based on Scythian warriors, some researchers have considered the possibility that a Scythian warrior women cult of this deity existed. Others have posited that the "Sword of Mars" alludes to the Huns having adopted this deity; the birds of Ares were a flock of feather-dart-dropping birds that guarded the Amazons' shrine of the god on a coastal island in the Black Sea.
Although Ares received occasional sacrifice from armies going to war, the god had a formal temple and cult
The Areopagus is a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Its English name is the Late Latin composite form of the Greek name Areios Pagos, translated "Ares Rock". In classical times, it functioned as the court for trying deliberate homicide and religious matters, as well as cases involving arson or olive trees. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Halirrhothius; the origin of its name is not clear. In Ancient Greek, πάγος pagos means "big piece of rock". Areios could have come from Ares or from the Erinyes, as on its foot was erected a temple dedicated to the Erinyes where murderers used to find shelter so as not to face the consequences of their actions; the Romans referred to the rocky hill as "Mars Hill", after Mars, the Roman God of War. Near the Areopagus was constructed the basilica of Dionysius Areopagites. In pre-classical times, the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, similar to the Roman Senate.
Like the Senate, its membership was restricted to those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 594 BC, the Areopagus agreed to hand over its functions to Solon for reform, he instituted democratic reforms, reconstituted its membership, returned control to the organization. In 462 BC, Ephialtes put through reforms which deprived the Areopagus of all its functions except that of a murder tribunal in favour of Heliaia. In The Eumenides of Aeschylus, the Areopagus is the site of the trial of Orestes for killing his mother and her lover. Phryne, the hetaera from 4th century BC Greece and famed for her beauty, appeared before the Areopagus accused of profaning the Eleusinian mysteries. One story has her letting her cloak drop, so impressing the judges with her divine form that she was summarily acquitted. In an unusual development, the Areopagus acquired a new function in the 4th century BC, investigating corruption, although conviction powers remained with the Ecclesia; the Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, it was from this location, drawing from the potential significance of the Athenian altar to the Unknown God, that the Apostle Paul is said to have delivered the famous speech, "Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." The term "Areopagus" refers to the judicial body of aristocratic origin that subsequently formed the higher court of modern Greece. The English poet John Milton titled his defence of freedom of the press "Areopagitica," arguing that the censors of ancient Athens, based at the Areopagus, had not practiced the kind of prior restraint of publication being called for in the English Parliament of Milton's time; the Aeropagus Society, formed in 1893, is one of the oldest clubs at the preparatory school Hotchkiss and meets to debate on certain topics. Areopagus sermon Areopagus of Eastern Continental Greece, a regional Greek administration during the Greek Revolution of 1821, named after the Ancient Athenian institution; the Constitutional Antiquities of Sparta and Athens by Gustav Gilbert Pantologia by John Mason Good, Olinthus Gregory, Newton Bosworth. P. 565 The London Encyclopaedia, Volume 2.
Edited by Thomas Curtis. P. 647 Acts 17:16-34 – A Biblical account of St. Paul discussing with the Areopagus the nature of the Christian God. Referred to is the story concerning the altar to "The Unknown God." Athens Photo Guide
Poseidon was one of the Twelve Olympians in ancient Greek religion and myth. He was god of other waters. In pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece, he was venerated as a chief deity at Thebes, his Roman equivalent is Neptune. Poseidon was protector of seafarers, of many Hellenic cities and colonies. In Homer's Iliad, Poseidon supports the Greeks against the Trojans during the Trojan War. In the Odyssey, during the sea-voyage from Troy back home to Ithaca, the Greek hero Odysseus provokes Poseidon's fury by blinding his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, resulting in Poseidon punishing him with storms, the complete loss of his ship and companions, a ten-year delay. Poseidon is the subject of a Homeric hymn. In Plato's Timaeus and Critias, the island of Atlantis was Poseidon's domain; the earliest attested occurrence of the name, written in Linear B, is Po-se-da-o or Po-se-da-wo-ne, which correspond to Ποσειδάων and Ποσειδάϝονος in Mycenean Greek. The form Ποτειδάϝων appears in Corinth. A common epithet of Poseidon is Ἐνοσίχθων Enosichthon, "Earth-shaker", an epithet, identified in Linear B, as, E-ne-si-da-o-ne, This recalls his epithets Ennosidas and Ennosigaios indicating the chthonic nature of Poseidon.
The origins of the name "Poseidon" are unclear. One theory breaks it down into an element meaning "husband" or "lord" and another element meaning "earth", producing something like lord or spouse of Da, i.e. of the earth. Walter Burkert finds that "the second element da- remains hopelessly ambiguous" and finds a "husband of Earth" reading "quite impossible to prove."Another theory interprets the second element as related to the word *δᾶϝον dâwon, "water". There is the possibility that the word has Pre-Greek origin. Plato in his dialogue Cratylus gives two alternative etymologies: either the sea restrained Poseidon when walking as a "foot-bond", or he "knew many things". At least a few sources deem Poseidon as a "prehellenic" word, considering an Indo-European etymology "quite pointless". If surviving Linear B clay tablets can be trusted, the name po-se-da-wo-ne occurs with greater frequency than does di-u-ja. A feminine variant, po-se-de-ia, is found, indicating a lost consort goddess, in effect the precursor of Amphitrite.
Poseidon carries the title wa-na-ka in Linear B inscriptions, as king of the underworld. The chthonic nature of Poseidon-Wanax is indicated by his title E-ne-si-da-o-ne in Mycenean Knossos and Pylos, a powerful attribute. In the cave of Amnisos Enesidaon is related with the cult of the goddess of childbirth, she was related with the annual birth of the divine child. During the Bronze Age, a goddess of nature, dominated both in Minoan and Mycenean cult, Wanax was her male companion in Mycenean cult, it is possible that Demeter appears as Da-ma-te in a Linear B inscription, however the interpretetion is still under dispute. In Linear B inscriptions found at Pylos, E-ne-si-da-o-ne is related with Poseidon, Si-to Po-tini-ja is related with Demeter. Tablets from Pylos record sacrificial goods destined for "the Two Queens and Poseidon"; the "Two Queens" may be related with Demeter and Persephone, or their precursors, goddesses who were not associated with Poseidon in periods. The illuminating exception is the archaic and localised myth of the stallion Poseidon and mare Demeter at Phigalia in isolated and conservative Arcadia, noted by Pausanias as having fallen into desuetude.
The violated Demeter was Demeter Erinys. In Arcadia, Demeter's mare-form was worshiped into historical times, her xoanon of Phigaleia shows. A Medusa type with a horse's head with snaky hair, holding a dove and a dolphin representing her power over air and water, it seems that the Arcadian myth is related with the first Greek speaking people who entered the region during the Bronze Age.. Their religious beliefs were mixed with the beliefs of the indigenous population, it is possible that the Greeks did not bring with them other gods except Zeus and the Dioskouroi. The horse was related with the liquid element, with the underworld. Poseidon appears as a beast, the river spirit of the underworld, as it happens in northern-European folklore, not unusually in Greece. Poseidon “Wanax”, is the male companion of the goddess of nature. In the relative Minoan myth, Pasiphaë is mating with the white bull, she bears the hybrid creature Minotaur; the Bull was the old pre-Olympian Poseidon. The goddess of nature and her paredros survived in the Eleusinian cult, where the following words were uttered: " Mighty Potnia bore a strong son"In the sea-dependent Mycenaean culture, there is not sufficient evidence that Poseidon was connected with the sea.
We do not know. H
Pindar was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar is by far the greatest, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, his rolling flood of eloquence, characteristics which, as Horace rightly held, make him inimitable." His poems can however, seem difficult and peculiar. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis once remarked that they "are reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning"; some scholars in the modern age found his poetry perplexing, at least until the 1896 discovery of some poems by his rival Bacchylides. His poetry, while admired by critics, still challenges the casual reader and his work is unread among the general public. Pindar was the first Greek poet to reflect on the poet's role. Like other poets of the Archaic Age, he has a profound sense of the vicissitudes of life, but he articulates a passionate faith in what men can achieve by the grace of the gods, most famously expressed in the conclusion to one of his Victory Odes: His poetry illustrates the beliefs and values of Archaic Greece at the dawn of the classical period.
Five ancient sources contain all the recorded details of Pindar's life. One of them is a short biography discovered in 1961 on an Egyptian papyrus dating from at least 200 AD; the other four are collections that weren't finalized until some 1600 years after his death: Commentaries on Pindar by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Although these sources are based on a much older literary tradition, going as far back as Chamaeleon of Heraclea in the 4th century BC, they are viewed with scepticism today: much of the material is fanciful. Scholars both ancient and modern have turned to Pindar's own work – his victory odes in particular – as a source of biographical information: some of the poems touch on historic events and can be dated; the 1962 publication of Elroy Bundy's ground-breaking work Studia Pindarica led to a change in scholarly opinion—the Odes were no longer seen as expressions of Pindar's personal thoughts and feelings, but rather as public statements "dedicated to the single purpose of eulogizing men and communities."
It has been claimed that biographical interpretations of the poems are due to a "fatal conjunction" of historicism and Romanticism. In other words, we know nothing about Pindar's life based on either traditional sources or his own poems. However, the pendulum of intellectual fashion has begun to change direction again, cautious use of the poems for some biographical purposes is considered acceptable once more. Pindar was born in 522 BC or 518 BC in Cynoscephalae, a village in Boeotia, not far from Thebes, his father's name is variously given as Daiphantus, Pagondas or Scopelinus, his mother's name was Cleodice. It is told that he was stung on the mouth by a bee in his youth and this was the reason he became a poet of honey-like verses. Pindar was about twenty years old in 498 BC when he was commissioned by the ruling family in Thessaly to compose his first victory ode, he studied the art of lyric poetry in Athens, where his tutor was Lasos of Hermione, he is said to have received some helpful criticism from Corinna.
The early-to-middle years of Pindar's career coincided with the Persian invasions of Greece in the reigns of Darius and Xerxes. During the invasion in 480/79 BC, when Pindar was forty years old, Thebes was occupied by Xerxes' general, who with many Theban aristocrats subsequently perished at the Battle of Plataea, it is possible. His choice of residence during the earlier invasion in 490 BC is not known, but he was able to attend the Pythian Games for that year, where he first met the Sicilian prince, nephew of Theron of Acragas. Thrasybulus had driven the winning chariot and he and Pindar were to form a lasting friendship, paving the way for his subsequent visit to Sicily. Pindar seems to have used his odes to advance his, his friends', personal interests. In 462 BC he composed two odes in honour of Arcesilas, king of Cyrene, pleading for the return from exile of a friend, Demophilus. In the latter ode Pindar proudly mentions his own ancestry, which he shared with the king, as an Aegeid or descendent of Aegeus, the legendary king of Athens.
The clan was influential in many parts of the Greek world, having intermarried with ruling families in Thebes, in Lacedaemonia, in cities that claimed Lacedaemonian descent, such as Cyrene and Thera. The historian Herodotus considered the clan important enough to deserve mention. Membership of this clan contributed to Pindar's success as a poet, it informed his political views, which are marked by a conservative preference for oligarchic governments of the Doric kind. "Pindar might not claim to be an Aegeid since his'I' statements do not refer to himself. The Aegeid clan did however have a branch in Thebes, his reference to'my ancestors' in Pythian 5 could have been spoken on behalf of both Arcesilas and himself – he may have used this ambivalence to e