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Pindar's Three Words: The Role of Apollo in "The Seventh Nemean"

Author(s): Annette Teffeteller

Source: The Classical Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1 (May, 2005), pp. 77-95
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association
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Classical Quarterly55.1 77-95 (2005) Printedin GreatBritain






At the endof his accountin the SeventhNemeanof Neoptolemus'deathat Delphiand

subsequent honours there, Pindar remarks: EVboVV14OV8tKaV 7pLaErTEa 8LtapKEaEt.

While commentatorsdisagreeon whetherthe referenceof the 'threewords' is anaphoricor cataphoric,thereis generalagreementas to the lackof numericalspecificity
implied.The view is forcefullystatedby Lloyd-Jones:
WhenPindarsays, 'forjustice ... threewordswill be enough',thereis no use in tryingto work
out whatthe threewordsare;in Greek'three',like our expression'two or three',can simply
mean 'a few'.1

It is the purposeof this paperto suggestthatit is in factpossibleto workout whatthe

threewordsare,thatthereferenceis specificandnumericallyprecise,andthatthe 'three
words'epitomizeApollo'srolein legitimizingtheposthumousstatusof Neoptolemus,
whose storyin life andin deathformsthe centralparadeigmaof the ode.
The passage that contains the account of Neoptolemus' life and posthumous
honoursand providesthe contextfor the disputedphrasecompriseslines 30-53:

'Aia, ieaE 8'a'8'K?7Vroyv Kat 0oK.ov'ra
84 ytv'vEat





foa0oc0v rot7rapah
xOov6s.v OLvOowtS'
8 8arT'8otL



6 8'a7ro7rA&tov
KazVp~v rr6v'vqaav"




alapTE, 7rAayX0EvrEs8'~s'E0"'bpav


MoAoaaid 8'CLqPaaiAevEv


yeVor alEl


pS OE6V,
rofr6 ofytpas.
K7TE7 a ywv TpoifaEvdKpOtViWV



iAaaEv&wVTLvX6'Vv7 p ,IaxalpQL.

4aa& oot 6EvayEaL.

/a'pvvOv8E TErptW&
To6Patlov a&i8oWKEy Epiv


t TaAaLraTW

* It is a pleasureto recordmy deepindebtednessto AlexanderDale forhelpwithmanyof the

pointsdiscussedhere.My thanksgo also to the editorandreaderfor CQfor a numberof useful
commentsand suggestions.
1 H. Lloyd-Jones, 'Modem interpretationof Pindar:the Second Pythian and Seventh
Nemean Odes', JHS 93 (1973), 109-37,

at 133 = Greek Epic, Lyric, and Tragedy: The

Academic Papers 1 (Oxford, 1990), 110-53, at 146. Cf. C. Carey, 'Pindarica',in R.D.
Dawe, J. Diggle, and P.E. Easterling (edd.), Dionysiaca: Nine Studies in Greek Poetry
Presented to Sir Denys Page (Cambridge, 1978), 21-44, at 37; id., A Commentary on Five
Odes of Pindar: Pythian 2, Pythian 9, Nemean 1, Nemean 7, Isthmian 8 (New York, 1981),
154; G. W. Most, The Measures of Praise: Structure and Function in Pindar's Second

Pythianand SeventhNemeanOdes, Hypomnemata83 (G6ttingen,1985), 174; L. Woodbury,

'Neoptolemusat Delphi: Pindar,Nem. 7.30ff.', Phoenix 33 (1979), 95-133, at 113; L. R.
Famell (ed.), The Worksof Pindar(London,1930), 2.296.
Classical Quarterly55.1 ? The ClassicalAssociation2005; all rightsreserved

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3 trap'EVToELXEaCL
o8, csTO/.L7Tais
601OV, rpOolaLS
E9s t'Kav
Tpla HermansapKEtEtL


t 0alTUS



Opaac/ LOL
rEW-V g "T'
SOv KvpIav Aywv
(aEvvais gpEtrais
vhaayap avarravOLKOOEV"
atrEiv t tvKEia Epyq). KOpov3'EXEL
Ka' T'Tp7TV' aVOE'ApoS(ata.



Controversy centres on the lines at the beginning and end of the passage cited: 31-6
and 48-52. For lines 31-6 the text cited is that of the manuscripts with the following
(1) Line 33: for the manuscripts' floaO6wv,Famell's floaOowv,construed as present
participle masculine singular nominative ofroao&ow,2 and taken as referring to
Pindar3 (or, more precisely, to the 'I' of the ode's narrator,who is to be identified
with Pindar).4
(2) Line 33: for the manuscripts' yap, Hermann's rrapa(requiredby the metre, supported by the scholia, and all but unanimously accepted).5
(3) Line 34:

an ancient variant (E1oAov)ofz6AEv (mss. 4toAE[v]), recorded in

read by Hermann and others.7 Construed as first-person singular,
the scholia6 and
referring to Pindar as poet and ode-narrator.8

Farnell(n. 1), 291-5; this reading(and construal)is acceptedby C. M. Bowra (ed.),

Pindari carmina cum fragmentis (Oxford, 19472), ad loc.; B. Snell (ed.), Pindari Carmina
cum Fragmentis(Leipzig, 1953', 19552); ibid., vol. 1 (Leipzig, 1959', 19644), ad loc.;

E. Wiist, 'Pindarals geschichtsschreibender

Dichter', dissertation(Tilbingen,1967), 144-5,
154-5; C. Segal, 'Pindar'sSeventhNemean', TAPA98 (1967), 431-80, at 445; Lloyd-Jones
(n. 1), 132 (= 145); G. M. Kirkwood,'Nemean7 and the theme of vicissitudein Pindar',in

id. (ed.), Poetry and Poetics from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance: Studies in Honor of
James Hutton (Ithaca, NY, 1975), 56-90, at 81-2; A. K6hnken, Die Funktion des Mythos
bei Pindar: Interpretationen zu sechs Pindargedichten, Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur

und Geschichte 12 (Berlin, 1971), 67 and nn. 143, 144; B. Snell and H. Maehler(edd.),
PindarusParsI: Epinicia(Leipzig, 19715, 19806),ad. loc.; G.W.Most, 'Pindar,Nem. 7, 3136', Hermes 114 (1986), 262-71, at 268-70; cf. id., Measures(n. 1), 157; and W.H. Race

(ed. and trans.), Pindar: Nemean Odes, Isthmian Odes, Fragments, Loeb Classical Library
(Cambridge,MA, 1997), ad loc. (Cf. Schmidt'semendationfoacowv with the same interpret-

ation,noted but rejectedby Farnell[n. 1], acceptedby Carey,Commentary[n. 1].) (This list,
not exhaustive.)
as similarinstancesbelow, is intendedto be representative,
3 WithWiist(n. 2), Segal(n. 2), Lloyd-Jones(n. 1), Snell-Maehler(editions5 and6) (n. 2),
andRace (n. 2).
4 Cf. M. R. Lefkowitz, First Person Fictions: Pindar's Poetic 'I' (Oxford, 1991).

See D. E. Gerber,Emendations in Pindar 1513-1972 (Amsterdam,1976), 115.

6 ? Nem. 7.47 (Drachmann
III 123.1).

7 W. J. Slater('DoubtsaboutPindaricinterpretation',
CJ 72 [1977], 193-208, at 206) is too
severeon the provenanceof ot6Aov
('molonhas no ms. authority');see Carey,Commentary
1), 148-9, who judges, more reasonably,that 'We may conclude that '6hAovand 1L6AEV
ancientvariants.'(It will be clear from the discussionin the text, however,that I disagree
is convincingly
with Carey'sjudgement['Pindarica'(n. 1), 44, n. 96] that 'the readingIL6AEv
defendedby W. J. Slater'.)
8With G. Fraccaroli,Le Ode di Pindaro (Verona,1894), 588, n. 2; G. Hermannin C. G.
Heyne (ed.), Pindari carmina(G6ttingen,1798), ad loc.; U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff,
'PindarssiebentesnemeischesGedicht',SB Berl (1908), 328-52; Wiist (n. 2); Segal (n. 2),
445-9; Lloyd-Jones(n. 1), 132-3 (= 145-6); Snell-Maehler(editions5 and 6) (n. 2); Race
(n. 2). Forthose who takethe verbas third-personplural,see Most,Hermes(n. 2), 264, n. 6.

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(4) Line 35: Triclinius'Hptupoofor the manuscripts'IHpaoto (requiredby the

metreand generallyaccepted).9
(5) The punctuationaccordswith the sense obtainedfromthese readings:full stop
and afterxo0v6',insteadof the manuscripts'rEOvaK7rwOv/f0oaOwv
.../... xOov&s.10
situatesthe claim of
andp6Aovto referto the poet as ode-narrator
these lines withinthe contextof the ode up to this point.Havingbegunwith a reference to deityby whose gracemortalsmayachieveexcellencewhichis thenimmortalof epinicianpoetry,herevoiced in
ized in song--the constantthemeandraisond'detre
the first stropheand repeatedthree times in the antistrophel"-Pindarmoves from
Sogenes, who has been openly acknowledgedfor excellence and is in the process
of being praisedin song for that excellence, to Sogenes' legendarykinsmanAjax,
who sufferedthe doublemisfortuneof being deniedacknowledgementof his excellence both by his peers and by his poet.12The sombrenote of humanmisfortune,
subjectto chanceandmutability,alreadysoundedin the firststrophe,'3is elaborated
in thisparadeigma,closed by the gnome thatall men die, whetheresteemedor not
(30-1). But at once the theme of immortalityin song is opened up again. Even
afterdeaththe tender,gracefulstoryleft behindby a mortalman may be nurtured
to full flowerby a god, therebybestowinglastinghonour(31-2).
The vehicle for such lastinghonouris, as always,immortalsong-the epic poets'
so Pindarcomes to Delphi as a helper,an ally (33-4)--both to
the god~-0o70v--and
andto the man--to recordandexaltthe honourshownto anotherof Sogenes'
legendarykinsmen,Neoptolemus,by Apollo, who killed him for his crimesbut honouredhimposthumouslywithburialwithinthe god's holy precinct(34-5). If his epya
were not wholly KaAa(cf. 14), he neverthelesswas grantedthe a&rolva
due to those who toil at deeds of valourand succeed.
was consideredby Farnellbut rejectedon the groundthat it
This interpretation
'gives a jerky, dislocated style to the whole passage', a charge that is true of
Farnell's English paraphrasebut not of Pindar's Greek.14On the contrary,a
smooth,logical progressionis assuredby the word orderand the articulatorydiscourse particles rot (33) and 68 (34), emphasizing respectively foaOowv and
HuOlotat.Pindar'sobservationthat honourcomes into being for those whose fame
increasesaftertheirdeathis followed immediatelyby /0oaOoov
'god'/'a god' (OEbs)



Aov xOov6s, 'As a helper then-as

a helper,

rapd know-I come at this

point in my story, in my song, to the greatnavel
of the previous
of broad-bosomedearth.' Now the audience reinterpretsthe


9 Cf.Gerber(n. 5).
10 The manuscript
following[oaOdwvis acceptedby, amongothers,Most,

Hermes(n. 2), 268; cf. id., Measures (n. 1), 157 (with 4v HUOtoLat84E6arnoTE



by dashes).

Uv riv/KaS
1 'EAEmuta .../...
1 ... 6-8; Sogeneslivesin a 'song-loving'
cityof warriors
hymns(6tkvwv)(11-13); therewardfor
(9-10); greatdeedsareknownonlythrough
labours is found in poetry's famoussongs (KAVTa~vff
otSalgs) (14-16).
12 20-30: If menhadseenthetruth,Ajaxwouldnothavebeendrivento suicidethrough

being deniedvictory in the contestfor the armsof Achilles; afterAchilles he was best. But
Odysseus'storyhas becomegreaterthaneventsdeserved,throughHomer'sfalse anddeceptive

onAjax'debtto Homer,see theaccountatIsthm.4.35-42.)

tales.(Fora different

Vr Epa, 5-6.
~iTrr'taa/'dIpyEL 6S
a7rrvEotEv 8'o6X
14 Farnell(n. 1), 294:a7ravTEsr
afterdeath:I went to Delphito help him:
'God increasesmen's fame
but Neoptolemoslies underthe soil.'

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claim:a specificinstanceof thegnomictruthis to be considered,

is meantbut the god, the god of Delphi,Apollo.15Andnow the goaOocov
is particularlyevocative:the poetcomesas a helperto theHelpergod;16thewordplay
in the clause-initial
participleis signalledby the encliticrot, ensuringthatthe
to Pindar(ratherthanApollo
pointedusageis not overlooked."
or Neoptolemus)'8
andpoeticsense in the contextof the
elsewhere,of his roleas praise-poet.19
is to be takenin a figurative
whoadducestheparsense,as seenby Segal,20
allelof a figurative
arrivalin Olympian
6 of thepoetwiththevictoriousmule-team
'going'to Pitanaon theEurotas(24) and'comingto', 'arriving
at'(28)thelineageof Hagesias'family.Theverbsof 'going'in theOl.6 passageare
usage,butif Pindarwishedto make
'I come',whetherto PitanaorDelphioranywhere
such a context.21

15 Cf. line 40. It was regularusage amongthe Atheniansto referto Apollo simply as 'the
god', as observed,for example,by T. Gould on OT 86 (Oedipusthe King: A Translation
with Commentary[EnglewoodCliffs, NJ, 1970], 26).
was a cult title of Apollo at Delphi (cf. Callim.Ap. 69) andBoa06oswas the
a monthin the Delphiccalendar(cf. Callim.Del. 27:goa06osas an epithetof Apollo at
17 See J. D. Denniston,The GreekParticles (Oxford,19502),537-55.
18 For example,Carey,Commentary
(n. 1) 150 (Neoptolemus);Most, Hermes (n. 2) 270

19 Forexample,Ol. 13.96-7, 1.110,9.83;Pae. 6.10-11. See Lloyd-Jones(n. 1), 132 (= 145)

and Segal (n. 2), 447. The interpretationof foa6wov as genitive plural, taken with re0vaRK6rwvas

referringto 'deadchampions'honouredat Delphi,wasperemptorilycondemnedby Wilamowitz

as 'heller Unsinn' and refutedin detail by Farnell(n. 1), 292--convincingly, in spite of
Woodbury's(n. 1) subsequentattemptat resuscitation(and Maehler'sacceptancein editions
7 and 8 of Snell-Maehler [Leipzig, 19847, 19878]).As Careyrightlyobserves(Commentary
[n. 1], 149), 'this readingis disastrousfor the progressof thoughtin the ode. It contradicts
11ff., narrowingthe possibilityof rT1td so as to offer Sogenesno hope.'
20 Segal (n. 2), 447. His (andothers')past tense rendering'I came', however,obscuresthe
[n. 1], 150)that'aoristssuchas 4toAov,Iflav alwaysrefer
to the arrivalof poet/chorusat the placeof performance'is not compelling;see below, text and
n. 21.
21 Goodwin,Syntaxof the Moodsand Tensesof the GreekVerb(rev. edn, London,1889),
?60, notesthat:'The aoristis sometimesused colloquiallyby the poets (especiallythe dramatists) when a suddenaction,which is just takingplace, is spokenof as if it had alreadyhappened.' This usage, however, is not, as Goodwin implies it is, a departurefrom standard
usage in the sense of an innovatingcolloquialdeviation;it is, rather,an archaizingusage, confunctionof the aorist.In verbsof telic Aktionsart,
tinuingthe originalaspectual(non-temporal)
such as ~oAE'v,the root aoristis the unmarkedform (bothmorphologicallyand semantically),
expressingthe basic actionof the verbirrespectiveof time. (InpoAtv,~toA-is generalizedas the
uniformroot in the aorist [andfuture]from *pSEA[*< melH3-]and its ablautforms[with the
phonologicaldevelopmentsundergoneby some] via metathesisandlevelling:see A. L. Sihler,
New ComparativeGrammarof Greekand Latin[New York and Oxford,1995], ?106.2.) This
usage occurs in the attestedliteratureeven with augmentedforms (cf. e.g. Il. 4.243 'ar-TrrE),
althoughthe originalusage was of coursewithoutthe augment,as here;moreover,it spreads
to sigmaticaoristsbuilt to verbs of atelic Aktionsart(as well as secondarysigmaticaorists
built to presentsformedfromroot aorists,eithercharacterizedby stem-formants[e.g. ske/o, ye/o] or back-formed[althoughthese often indicateingressive(vel sim.) action]);for the two
Aesch. Ag. 1192
types (non-ingressiveand ingressive),cf., for example, Od. 8.481
a7rrE7rvaav; II. 1.33 I36ELaUv. See J. D. Denniston (ed.), Euripides: Electra (Oxford, 1939),

ad verses 215 and 248; W. S. Barrett(ed.), Euripides:Hippolytos(Oxford,1964), on verse

614. Dennistonrefersto Kiihner-Gerth,AusfiihrlicheGrammatikder griechischenSprache

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The 8 of 34 marks a paratacticprogression,in effect explanatory:'Why do I

mentionDelphi?-Because Neoptolemusis buriedthere.'22Usages such as this are
best interpreted as remnants-found, not surprisingly, in archaizing poetic traditions-of the original function of particles such as SE not as connectives but as
enclitic emphasizing particles in a paratactic structure, as analysed by Meillet.23
Pindar says in effect: 'In order to illustrate the honour that a god can bestow upon a
mortal-and, moreover, through the medium of poetry-I turn now to Delphi, and I
do so because that is where Neoptolemus is buried. It is in Pytho's holy ground that he
lies, and he lies there because he sacked Priam's city.' The related themes of different
fates allotted to different men and a mixture of good and bad allotted to any given
individual (cf. 5-6 and 54-8) are illustrated in Neoptolemus' story, the former in
relation specifically to Ajax (20-30), the latter to be echoed in the transition to
praise of Thearion, whose gifts from Fate are predominantly positive (54-60) and
who is fortunate also in having as a guest-friend a praise-poet who brings him true
fame in song (60-3).
The transition from Ajax' story to Neoptolemus' is made via the gnomic observation that death comes to all men, whether esteemed or not. Other interpretations
of a86K77TOVKat 80KEOVTa in 31 (for example, 'the unexpecting and the expecting')24
obscure the point of the gnome and its structuralfunction in the ode.25 Not only is the
relevant, so also is the preceding story of Ajax and Odysseus; hence

(Hanover,19043),II.i.163-5, for 'an excellent accountof the aoristapparentlyused for the

present';see Denniston'snote on El. 248, wherehe refersto 44wfta at Med. 791 as used 'for
olyt~uw'.This observationpointsup the errorof the perspectivewhich sees these types of aoristic usage as strategiesof stylistics. They are, rather,vestiges of an Indo-Europeanverbal
system,the morphosemanticsof which operatedvia the alignmentof formal (stem) classes
with functional (semantic) categories in the verb. (Even though the onomatopoeicverb
in -?o [< *yeo)], the inherent semantics of
4tuowa is a sigmatic aorist formed to present

the verb,expressingas it does the utteringof the exclamationotitot, a telic action,favoursaoristic usage.)
22 See Denniston(n. 17), 169 (8Efor y&p);cf. 182 ('resumptive'84; cf. 8j). Thus neither
Farnell's'but' nor Woodbury's'and' is an appropriaterenderingof 84in this passage;such
translationsare in fact little betterthan 'straw-man'arguments,set up merely and precisely
for the purposeof being knockeddown.
23 A. Meillet,Introduction
l'"tude comparativedes languesindo-europeennes
astuteinsightsinto the syntacticstructureof the earlyIndo19378), 372. Meillet's remarkably
Europeanlanguageshave been recentlyconfirmedby the identificationof (early) Greekas a
language;see A. M. Devine and L. D. Stephens,DiscontinuousSyntax:
Hyperbatonin Greek (New York and Oxford, 2000) (although,inexplicably,Devine and
Stephensdo not mentionMeillet;see my 'Greeksyntax:theoreticalapproachesfrom Meillet
to Devine and Stephens',Mouseion,series III, 1 [2001], 251-78).
The value of diachronicconsiderationsin synchronicanalysisis missedby (among,unfortunately,manyothers)Denniston(n. 17), 162,who dismissessuchconcernsas pertainingto 'only
the historyof language'.
24 Forexample,Farnell(n. 1), 291; D. E. Gerber,'Pindar,Nemean7, 31', AJP 84 (1963),
182-8, at 187; Carey,Commentary
(n. 1), 148; Most (n. 1), 154-5.
25 Thetranslation
'esteemed'andits negativeis betterin the contextthat'theobscureandthe
famous' since it is possible (in Englishusage at least) to be famous withoutbeing actually
esteemed,and esteem is the point at issue here. Asymmetricalreadingssuch as Fennell's
('Ingloriously even on a glorious hero', Pindar: The Nemean and Isthmian Odes
[Cambridge,1883; 18992], 87) and others'miss the polarityof the figure,which emphasizes
the mortality of all humankind. &86K-o70VKa to0KEov7a is a quantifier formula of a familiar

type, as discussedby C. Watkins,How to Kill a Dragon:Aspectsof Indo-EuropeanPoetics

(New Yorkand Oxford,1995), 41-9. In this case the designatorsboth shareandopposemorphological signs (the stem morphologyand the inflectionalmorphology,respectively),via

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the aAAaof line 30: 'Odysseus' fame was greater than he deserved; people are blind:
Ajax was best after Achilles; but, ah well, we all die, whether we're esteemed or not
(and, moreover, whether the esteem or lack of it is just or not). But, properly esteemed
in life or not, a god can increase our fame after death (and poets are the vehicle of that
fame). So, I come to the story of the honour Neoptolemus has received from
Apollo'---the subtext being the complexity of Neoptolemus' fame in both its positive
and negative aspects (the latter notoriously dwelt on in the Sixth Paean).26 Both
aspects are undeniable parts of Neoptolemus' story and thus both are valid subjects
for a poet (hence the final lines of this ode in which Pindar denies explicitlywhat is implicit in the passage at hand-that he has ever treated Neoptolemus with
disrespect, undoubtedly an allusion to the unfavourable reception assumed by commentators since antiquity on the part of (some) Aeginetans to Pindar's account of
the circumstances of Neoptolemus' death in the Sixth Paean)27 but here, among his

kin, the positive aspects (the a3pors,'tender', 'graceful' part of Neoptolemus'

A6yoc)are to be emphasized.28

of Neoptolemus'
fame,his fortuneseverwaxingandwaningby
turns,shapesthe ensuingnarrative
(36-47): Whenhe left Troy,he missedScyros,
his boyhoodhome(an unfortunate
but he reachedEpiruswherehe
ruledin Molossia(a fortunate
episode)--only a shorttime,however(unfortuHe wentto Delphi
natebut his offspringkeepthathonourfor ever(fortunate).
to propitiate
Apollowiththe finestspoilsfromTroy(a positiveaction),butwhen
therebecameinvolvedin a quarreloverthe sacrificialmeats(a negativeaction),
but his deathwas fatedfor he was destined
duringwhichhe was killed (unfortunate),

26 ObservingthatPae. 6
presents'the deathof Achilles' son Neoptolemusas a rials, or vengeance, of the god Apollo', Watkins(n. 25), 512-13, recordswith approvalIan Rutherford's
suggestion('Neoptolemusand the paean-cry:an echo of a sacredaetiology in Pindar',ZPE
88 [1991], 1-10; cf. id., Pindar'sPaeans [Oxford,2001], 318-20) thatthe Pythoctonia-aetiology of thepaean-cryin Pae. 6 servesto suggest'thatas an opponentof ApolloNeoptolemusis a
sort of second Delphic dragon',and goes furtherto see the Neoptolemus-serpentequation
encoded in the basic formulaof dragon-slayingin Pae. 6.112-20. Cf. W. Burkert,Homo
Necans: The Anthropologyof Ancient Greek SacrificialRitual and Myth, trans. P. Bing
(Berkeley,1983), 119-20.
27 Z Nem. 7.48, E Nem. 7.64, E Nem. 7.103 (Drachmann III 126.8ff., 129.4, 137.3ff.). For
discussion,see especially W. Schadewaldt,Der AuJbaudes PindarischenEpinikion(Halle,
in Pindars 7 Nemeischen
1928), 259-343; E. Tugendhat,'Zum Rechtfertigungsproblem
Gedicht', Hermes 88 (1960), 385-409; Lloyd-Jones (n. 1), 127-37 (= 138-53); Most,
Measures(n. 1), 133-4 and 203-13; M. Heath,'Ancientinterpretations
of Pindar'sNemean

7', Papers of the Leeds International Latin Seminar 7 (1993), 169-99. Prominent among dis-

sentersareE. L. Bundy,StudiaPindarica(Berkeley,1962 = CPCP 18, 1-92) 1.4.29,n. 70, and

elsewhere;A. K6hnken(n. 2), 38-42; W. Slater,'Futuresin Pindar',CQ 19 (1969), 86-94 (see
contra S. Fogelmark, Studies in Pindar with Particular Reference to Paean VI and Nemean VII

[Lund,1972], 93-116; G. Cerri,'A propositodel futuroe della litote in Pindaro:Nem. 7, 102

sgg.', QUCC 22 [1976], 83-90); see now also Slater, 'Pindar,Nemean 7.102--past and
present',CQ 51 (2001), 360-7, reprisinghis views in responseto H. Erbse, 'Uber Pindars
Umgangmit dem Mythos',Hermes127 (1999), 13-32. For recentdiscussionand supportof
the apologyhypothesis,see Rutherford,Paeans (n. 26), 321-3.
28 Cf. B. Gentili,'L'effigiebifrontedi Neottolemonel sestoPeana e nella settimaNemeadi
Pindaro',in Letteraturecomparate:Problemie metodo.Studiin onoredi E. Paratore(Bologna,
1981), esp. 108-9; cf. id, Poesia e pubblico nella Grecia antica (Rome, 1984), 185-91, esp.

190: 'La coesistenzadi episodi degni e indegni,di azionipie ed empie nel dossierbiografico
fu il datoproprioe qualificantedella concezionegrecadell'eroe.'
As discussedabove, the god here is Apollo, but the OE6r in the generalstatementof 31 is
unnamedand, while clearly the referenceis in the first instanceto Apollo, we recall, with
the scholiasts,that the Muse is also a
the ambivalenceemphasizesthe fact that both
of Neoptolemus'fame.
play a role in the establishmentandpromulgation

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to remainthere for ever as a




of ceremoniesin Apollo's holy precinct

The complexity of Neoptolemus' story as told by Pindar supports the interpretation
given above of lines 34-5: Pindarturns to Delphi because it is in Pytho's holy ground
that Neoptolemus lies-and he lies there because he sacked Priam's city. Limiting
E7TE'to a temporal sense here impoverishes the moral dimension of Pindar's narrative.
Lloyd-Jones urges a causal sense which will introduce 'not simply the statement that
Neoptolemus took Troy, but the whole explanation of how he came to Delphi.'29 I
would go a step further: with multi-layered, systematic ambiguity, Pindar is making
the point that Neoptolemus not only went to Delphi but died in Delphi because he
sacked Priam's city. As Most observes, 'by the simple expedient of referring to
Troy as Hp~aiov vrr6A' Pindar 'unmistakably set before the reader's [and, more
pertinently, his listeners'] eyes the whole scene of carnage perpetrated by
Neoptolemus'30-and, most importantly, he reminded them of the critical point
that his atrocities constituted sacrilege. For that sacrilege Apollo had vowed to slay
him and did so, ironically, in his own sanctuary where Neoptolemus had come
hoping to propitiate him, and, moreover, through the agency of one of his priests,
in a quarrelover sacrificial offerings.31 It is not necessary to see, as many commentators do, a stark contrast between the account in Paean 6 and that of Nemean 7;32it is a
common theme in Greek thought that, while a god is the ultimate cause of a given
action, especially a slaying, a man may be the proximate cause.33
Having slain him for his crimes, Apollo then honours Neoptolemus for his virtues
by granting him burial within the holy precinct of Delphi. This is the final result in the
causal chain of events beginning with his sack of Troy. Neoptolemus may thus be
said--paradoxically--to lie in Delphi because he sacked Troy.34 Most sees clearly
that this is the only sense that can be extracted from the sentence beginning Cv
29 Lloyd-Jones(n. 1), 132-3 (= 145-6).
30 Most, Measures
(n. 1), 166 (my brackets).Most's interpretationof the Neoptolemus
passage,however,differssignificantlyfromthatproposedhere;see the discussionin the text
31 Forthe pMaXapa
as sacrificialknife andthereforethe slayeras priest,see Most,Measures
(n. 1), 164 and n. 146. Furthermore,his death by sacrificial knife recalls another of
Neoptolemus'questionableactions:his sacrificeof Polyxena, almost certainlyregardedas
sacrilegeby Pindar'saudience,as indicatedby the treatmentof the theme in archaicpoetry
andvase-painting;see the referencescollectedin Most, 161-2.
32 Forexample,Tugendhat(n. 27), 391, who sees the two accountsas significantlydifferent
stories;cf. Most,Measures(n. 1), 165:'whilebothpoemstell the samegeneralstory,theydiffer
markedlyin detailsof incident,emphasis,andmotivationin sucha way thatthe Paean'slargely
hostileaccountof NeoptolemuscontrastssharplywiththeNemean'suniformlyfavourableone'.
33 For instance,the deathof Patroclus,II. 16.788-822, 849-50, or, indeed, the death of
Achilles as treatedby Pindarin Pae. 6.78-80: shot by Apollo taking the mortal form of
Paris.Consequently,as Rutherfordobserves(Paeans [n. 26], 314), 'the discrepancy[of Nem.
7 with Pae. 6] is not so great,becausePindarhas alreadyestablishedthat Apollo can act in
the form of another'.Moreover,I do not take avrLrvX6vr'in 42 as exculpatingNeoptolemus,
as do most commentators,in attributinghis death to 'mere chance and bad luck' (Most,
Measures[n. 1], 170; cf. to the contraryRutherford,314, translatingNem. 7.42 as 'where a
man struckhim with a sword as he struckback ...'). On the contrary,the perpetrator/
victim-to-beis caused(enticed?invited?)by the deity to repeathis crime, mutatismutandis,
and is then, in the full flush of guilt, slain for it. The statementthatNeoptolemusis slain by
while quarrellingover sacrificialofferings
a priest (a man with a sacrificialknife, a ,tpXaLpa)
clearlypointsto yet anotheract of sacrilegeon Neoptolemus'part.
34 Theparadoxis missedby H. Pelliccia,'Pindar,Nemean7.31-36 andthe syntaxof aetiology', HarvardStudiesin ClassicalPhilology92 (1989), 100-1; while he is preparedto allow a
in the passage,he sees only 'vaguenessor confusion'in the construction.
causalsense forEbr7En

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Hnlo'ocr and ending davaol rr6vq-aav,but he rejects this interpretationon the excessively literal objection that Neoptolemus' sack of Troy is not the proximate cause of
his receiving funeral honours at Delphi, and he adjusts the text accordingly.35 But not
even Homer in his relatively straightforwardnarrative limits himself to proximate
causation (consider, for instance, Achilles' bitter lament that Artemis did not slay
Briseis at the sack of Lymessos, thereby forestalling the chain of events that led to
the death of Patroclus, or the complex unfolding of the causal chain that led to the
action of the Iliad) and Pindar, of all poets, ought not to be expected to do so.36
Having begun his story of Neoptolemus with the observation that Apollo honours
him, expressed in the general gnome that OEOs
brings a man honour by exalting his
fame after death, a generality made at once specific by mention of Neoptolemus,
Pindar ends his account with the observation that Apollo bears true witness to
Neoptolemus' deeds, thereby assuring that justice is done him in his posthumous
reputation. The controversy concerning lines 48-52 is focused on the punctuation
and resulting variations in sense, and the identity of the witness. The punctuation
of the manuscripts, followed by a number of earlier editors, is given above (p. 78).
Most modem editors accept Hermann's punctuation: ma7t7arnE,/AIYLva,... EKyOVWV.
defendedby Carey:38the
Opa ...,"37butthemanuscript

voicedin 49 andechoedandexpanded,alongwiththe wealthEvtLrXavwa-theme,

of-inspiration and boldness themes in 50ff., cut off by the Abbruch of 52, all

of thepraiseof Aegina's

and the sense conveyed

descendants in lines 50-2: the construal of Opau6{
... OL'KOOEv
by otKOOEv.Forthe former,the most satisfactorysolutionis thatproposedby Fennell
and followedby Kohnkenand Carey:assumptionof an elided Jtvat, with the phrase
takenin appositionto o66';39of the many and variedobjectionsto this
6'8v (EdvaL)
view none has demonstrated that it is unacceptable.40

It is perplexingthatthe sense of otKOOevhas been so disputed,41

particularlyin view
of Pindar'suse of the wordelsewhere(see esp. 01. 3.43, 6.99, 7.4; Nem. 9.19; Isthm.
4.12). Carey's interpretationof

OLKOOev as

'at home',42 however, perhaps overempha-

sizes a locativalsense;while the referenceis clearlyto storiesof Aeginetanheroes,

O~KOOEvappears to

carry more of an ablatival than a locatival sense. Even in Nem.

3.31, whereo'KOOEvILpTvEis takenby Careyandothersas 'searchat home', an ablatival sense is to be preferred: 'look for stories that originate from Aegina'.43 Pindar
35 Most,Hermes(n. 2), 268-71.
36 AnotherHomeric
parallelwarningus not to look to proximatecauses is II. 2.270: the
Achaeansare 'grieved'not becauseof Thersites'recenttreatmentand presentsufferingsbut
ratherbecauseof his ownprior actions.Perhapsthe grief of the Delphiansnoted at 43 arises
not in responseto Neoptolemus'death itself (as generallyassumedby commentators,for
example,Most, Measures[n. 1], 171) but to his sacrilegein the holy precinctand the fact
thata murderoccurredwithinthe sanctuary.
37 This punctuationand the resultingsense is acceptedalso by Lloyd-Jones(n. 1), 133
(= 146) and Most,Measures(n. 1), 174.
38 Carey,'Pindarica'(n. 1), 36; id., Commentary
(n. 1), 154-5.
39 Fennell(n. 25), 90; Kohnken(n. 2), 56-7; Carey,'Pindarica'(n. 1), 37.
40 See, for example,Farnell(n. 1), 297; Lloyd-Jones(n. 1), 133-4 (= 147);Most,Measures
(n. 1), 175.
41 Forexample, 'by birthright',
Most,Measures(n. 1), 174; cf. Carey,Commentary(n. 1),
42 Carey,'Pindarica'(n. 1), 37; id. Commentary
(n. 1), 157.
43 Interestingly,while CareytranslatesoLKOOEv
at Nem. 7.52 as locatival,he discussesit as
ablativalin sense.

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has recalledhimself from the Pillarsof Herculesonly to turnto Peleus and Iolcus,
Telamonand Troy,and Achilles' boyhoodwith Chironand laterexploits at Troyall Aeacid heroes at play in a far-flungworld. The point, then, must be not so
muchgeographicalas cultural;the propersubjectfor Pindar'svictorysong is the traditionaland familiarrepertoireof storiesof the Aeacid clan, not new and outlandish
tales fromthe edges of the world44-an interpretation
securedby Pindar'sinjunction
to his Ovpo6s
at 28: AltaK oE batk/LL
With the passage in Nem.
7.50-2 compare also Nem. 3.64: r-qAavybE
responds to
lipapE ,yyosAlaKL&ivavr68OEv
3.31 otKOOEV
LprEvE,closing the inner ring of tales 'from home', itself enclosed in the

outerringof the god-bornraceof Aeacus,openedwithPindar'saddressto his Ovpo6s

26ff. andclosed with the addressto Zeus in praiseof his blood in the Aeacidline, his
contestat Nemeawherethe victorywas won, andthejoy of the landof Aeginawhich
partakesof both.
In Nemean7, then,PindaraddressesAegina andsaysthathe is bold enoughto say
thatfor the splendidexcellencesof her offspringandZeus' thereis an ordainedroad
of words,of heroictales, runningfromher home, and he impliesthathe could take
that road and it would lead him far and wide, to tell many splendidtales of many
famous heroes (comparethe hyperbolicclaim of Isthm.6.22-3: 'Countlessroads
have been cut for the noble deeds of the Aeacidaebeyondthe springsof the Nile
andthroughthe Hyperboreans')45-buthe restrainshimselfwith a typicalobservation
thata sampleis best and not the full catalogue.46
Both CareyandMosthaveadvancedgood arguments(alongwith some thatarenot
so good) for understanding
the paprvsto be Apollo, andbothhavedrawnattentionto
some ring-compositionfeaturesof the largerpassageconcerningNeoptolemus.47
the full extent of the structureof the Neoptolemuspassage (31-49) and its implications for the interpretationof various disputedpoints has not been noted. The
passageis in fact an elaborateandperfectring.It beginswith the generalobservation,
soon madespecificto Neoptolemus,thatgod can conferposthumoushonour;it moves
inwardvia accountsof Neoptolemus'posthumoushonours,his definingcrime, and
his subsequentvicissitudes,to the centralmomentand pinnacleof his mortallife,
his kingship,then moves outwardin mirror-imageaccountsof furthervicissitudes,
a final crime, and returnsto his posthumous(and paradoxical)honours,with an
echo of the honour-bestowing OE6s, the

the true witness who presides over

and standssuretyfor Neoptolemus'enduring


OEoshonoursdead heroes [Apollo honoursNeoptolemus](31-2)

Neoptolemus'burialin Delphi (33-5)
his sack of Troy:his crime, condemninghim to death(35-6)
his journeyinward(from Troy,missing Scyros,to Epirus)(36-7)

[n.2] andothers)but'local'onlyin theancestral

44 Thusin a sense'localsaga'(K6hnken
lineageof theheroes.Cf.Nem.4.69-72.
45 Forsimilarroadsof deedandsong,cf. Isthm.19-29, 4.1-12; 0l. 8.13-145. R. Janko,
'Anotherpath of song', AJP 112 (1991), 301-2, proposesto emend KvpLav
in 51 to pvplav,

'manya road'.
46 ThusfollowingCorinna's
a literary
enceto earliertraditions
of catalogue
hand.Cf. Nem. 4.69-72, Isthm.6.56-9.
47 Carey,'Pindarica'
(n. 1), 38, Commentary(n. 1), 155; Most,Measures(n. 1), 159;cf.

Pelliccia(n. 34), 100,n. 45, whoseesa ring-structure

in lines34-50.

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e kingship: the pinnacle of his life48 (brief but kept by his line) (38-40)
d' his journey outward (from Molossia to Delphi) (40-1)
c' his quarrel at Delphi: an echo of his earlier sacrilege, accomplishing his
death (42-4)
b' his burial in Delphi (44-7)
a' 6 iiprvs [Apollo] bears witness to his just renown (48-9)
The witness, then, can only be Apollo.49 As Carey and others point out, Apollo for
Pindar defines the notion of being 'not-false' (Pyth. 3.29-30, 9.42). But of course
Pindar claims truth for his poetry as well and, on the general principle that Pindar
will never restrict his meaning to a unidimensional sense when multidimensional resonances can be evoked, we are surely justified in hearing at least an echo of the poet's
role in providing a faithful witness to glorious deeds (cf. the 7TWaTr
... ~.uprvS of fr.
94b [Parth.]). Just as Pindar is a helper to the divine Helper, so Pindar is a witness
to the divine Witness; it is his song that bears witness to the witness-bearing of
What, then, of the 'three words'? We now see that the reference is clearly cataphoric.50 The claim that 'for fair-named justice three words will suffice' introduces
the majestic proclamation that a true witness stands surety for Neoptolemus' fame,
closing the ring of Neoptolemus' story and at the same time emphatically closing
the question of Pindar's public pronouncements on this legendary Aeacid hero.
Nemean 7 is not an 'apology' for Paean 6; it is a magisterial lesson in epinician
appreciation, rebuking any who may have dared to quibble at the Neoptolemus
story in Paean 6, thereby questioning Pindar's command of his art and his subject.
The poet puts his faith in the ta0tyv, who will know if he sings 'out of tune'
Pindar began his ode with the name of Ilithyia, by whose grace Thearion's son is
blessed with success and honour. He returnsto the theme of children at the end of his
song, first with an appropriately encomiastic prayer that Thearion's and Sogenes'
children's children may always enjoy such honour as they themselves enjoy now.
Then, in a sudden and unexpected coda, he turns abruptly to the issue of his
treatment of Neoptolemus and now we see the negative aspect of children, clearly
a metaphor for his unlearned detractors, the v oTLno
who crave both simplicity and
48 For Pindar'sview of kingshipas a man's greatestachievement,see, for
example, 01.
49 As seen by Carey,'Pindarica' (n. 1), 38, Commentary (n. 1), 155, Most,Measures (n. 1),
177, andothersbeforethem;cf. Most 177, n. 193 (despiteM. Bernard'srecentreversionto the
older view of the poet as witness ['Der Dichterund sein Gegenstand--ZuPindarssiebentem

Nemeischen Lied', Wiirzburger Jahrbiicher fir die Altertumswissenschaft 21 (1996-97),

101-27, at 113]).
50 Most,Measures(n. 1), 174, n. 176, refersto Bundy(n. 27), 21, in supportof his view that

'a kind of epinician future' with anaphoric reference and adduces as a parallel for

'thewhole sequenceof thought'01. 13.98-100. But neitherin this passagenor in any citedby
Bundydoes the epinicianfuturehaveanaphoricreference.In 01. 13.98-100 the poet saysthat
he will revealthe sum total of the victoriesof the Oligaethidaeat the IsthmusandNemea; he
does so in the nextline. Cf. furtherOl. 6.21: Pindarsaysthathe will sweara greatoathandbear
witnessto the hereditarygifts of Hagesiasin prophecyfromhis father'sfamilyand in athletic
skill from his mother's;then follow sixty lines (22-81), attestingto the virtues of the two
families, which culminatein the honorand's.And so on. Cf. I. L. Pfeijffer,First Person
Futuresin Pindar,HermesEinzelschriften81 (Stuttgart,1999), who rejectsthe notion of an
51 Cf. Tugendhat(n. 27), 391-400; cf. also Carey, Commentary(n. 1), 136, and Most,
Measures (n. 1), 207.

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ThatPindarwill not give them.In anuncharacteristically

statementhe categoricallydenies that he has ever treatedNeoptolemuswith disrespect.53But, he emphaticallyimplies, the matterends there.Neitherfor his present
audiencenor for futuregenerationswill he repeathis protestationsof innocenceon
this charge.He has not 'worried'Neoptolemus'reputationand he will not 'worry'
the issue of whether he has. Sadly do we miss a secure dating sequence for
Pindar'swork. It would be of greatinterestto know when he was invited back to
Aegina,by whom, and what ode he offeredon thatoccasion.
So, why does Pindarsay threewordswill sufficeandthen give us, apparently,six?
If, as commentators seem to agree, '--pLa'Era' is a conventional phrase for 'a few
words',54 we wouldhopeto findsome supportforthis usagebothin Pindar'suse else-

whereof the number'three'and in his expressionsindicatingintendedbrevity.

Pindaruses the number'three'in a varietyof contexts;instancesfromthe epinicians arethe following:
(1) Threevictories:
house: 01. 10.1
(a) a thrice-Olympic-victoried
(b) threeprizes in Athens:01. 13.38
(c) with threevictoriesyou masteredHera'slocal contest:Pyth. 8.80
(d) threetimes at Aeginaandthe hill of Nisus you [or I: see app. crit.] glorified this city: Pyth. 9.91
(e) a thirdwreathcastuponthe hearthof his fathers[apparentlythe family's
thirdPythianvictory]:Pyth. 11.14
(f) a doublevictoryand a thirdpreviouslyamongboys: Isthm.4.71
(g) maytherebe a thirdbowl [i.e., maytherebe a third,Olympian,victoryto
(h) threevictoriesin the pancrationat the Isthmus:Isthm.6.61
(i) threecrownsat Nemea:Nem. 6.20
(j) threevictors:Hagesimachus'threesons:Nem. 6.23
(k) thrice winning crowns [at the Isthmus]and thrice [at Nemea]: Nem.
refrainsof a hymn:01. 9.2
(3) Three-citiedisland(Rhodes):01. 7.18
(4) Triennial[biennial]festival:Nem. 6.40
(5) The thirdwind:Nem. 7.17
(6) The thirdgeneration:Pyth. 4.143
(7) The thirdcontinent(Africa):Pyth. 9.8
(8) The thirdof the sisters(Gorgons):Pyth. 12.11
(9) Thirdamongelders someoneprovessuperior(following child among children,man amongmen):Nem. 3.72
(10) Tantalus'fourthtoil alongwith threeothers:01. 1.60
(11) Threeand ten suitors:01. 1.79
(12) Threesnakesat the buildingof the wall of Troy:01. 8.38
(13) Threedaughters(of Cadmus'four):Pyth. 3.98
52 Cf.Carey,Commentary
(n. 1), 180,whofurther

Pyth. 2.72.

of 102-4, despiteSlater's(n.27)efforts

at reworkingthe syntaxand H. Pelliccia'sproposedemendationto 7Tno''O'r'ELin 102 (Mind,

Body,and Speechin Homerand Pindar,Hypomnemata107 [G6ttingen,1995], 347).
54 Most,Measures(n. 1), 174.

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(14) Threewarriorsons of Zeus:Pyth. 4.171

(15) To ploughthe sameruts(ormakethe sameclaims)threetimesand fourtimes
is futile, like idly babblingto childrenAdLsK6pwvOos:
Nem. 7.10455
In eachof these references(leavingasidefor the momentthe last)it is clearthatthe
numericalreferenceis precise;in each case three items are meant:three victories,
three cities, three snakes,and so on.56Only in the last passage (Nem. 7.104) is the
numericalreferenceused in a pointed sense in which the precise numericalvalue
is not crucial to the meaning of the phrase. Here 'three times and four times'
meansmany,indicatingredundancyin an activitythatneeds doing only once.
In supportof the standardview thatrpla rTEa
at Nem. 7.48 meansvaguely 'a few',
s ''
Woodbury adduces Ar. Nub. 1402: ov8'iv "7pl
.Et.V .
of whichDovercomments:'Threewas a proverbially
in many culturesthe numbers'one', 'two', and 'three'have a special statusand are
used both positively and negativelyto make rhetoricalpoints; but as Nem. 7.104
attests,the number'three' does not necessarilyindicatean 'insignificant'number;
muchdependson context.Clearlyin Ar. Nub. 1402the sense is generaland limiting:
'I could hardlyspeak at all withoutmakinga mistake.'And yet it is surely a fair
assumptionthatif Pheidippideshad followedhis claim of not being able to get out
without error three words (or phrases or sentences: Ap-ara) with an illustrative
examplein which he managedto speaksix words(or phrasesor sentences)without
trippingup, the discrepancywould have raiseda good laugh fromthe audience.
Similarly,in Nem. 7.48, the use of the verb&SapK'Et in itself showsthatthe rpla
TrEaareto be understoodin a limitingsense;the phraseclearlyindicatesthatonly a
briefstatementis neededandonly a briefstatementwill be made.The questionis not
whetherthe phraserpt'ab'ea is usedhereto indicatebrevity-it is clearthatit is-but
whetherthe actualmeaningof -rpla here is vague: 'a few', or whetherit meansprecisely 'three', as it does in its uses elsewherein the odes.
Thecorollaryis: how does Pindarelsewhereindicateintendedbrevity?Happily,we
haveotherinstancessincethis is an epiniciantopos,a sub-categoryof the oft-repeated
concernwith avoidingexcess and prolixityin celebratinghis laudandi(as in Nem.

cf. Pyth. 1.82, 8.29-32

and Ol. 2.95-100,




9.76-9 contains a succinct statementof the dangersof excess and the virtues of
carefulselection, while Isthm.6 providesan excellent exampleof the full topos of
rejectingprolixityin praise:
22-3: Countlessroadshavebeen cut forthe nobledeedsof the Aeacidaebeyond
the springsof the Nile and throughthe Hyperboreans;
[n. 1], 179),
55 As Careycomments(Commentary
the metaphorheredependson preciselywhattypeof dirwoAWvmeans
ploughingis in question.Sincetheploughing of fallowlandis Properlydonemultipletimes (cf. repeatedreferencesto a 'thrice-ploughed
fallow field' veto'sTpiroAos,
11. 18.541-2; Od. 5.127; Hes. Th.971; andesp. Theoc.25. 25-6,
... KaLTE7patr6AoLLtv;
see West's note on Hes. W&D462-3), and since
Pindarobviouslyintendsa metaphorwhich indicatespointless (&ropia, 105) activity,the reference heremustbe to theploughingof a furrow for sowing:once is enough.
56 Even ThomasCole, who considersPindar'sarithmeticin certainpassagesto be 'faulty',

concedesthatit is 'unlikelythatPindarwassimplyvaguewithfiguresand... ambiguous

AJP108(1987),553-68, at
citingthem':see his '1 + 1 = 3: studiesin Pindar'sarithmetic',
563 (ananalysiswhichI do not findcompellingandwhichshowsa startlingdisregard
Pindar'sown view of himself as a faithfulwitnessto deeds of glory).
57 Woodbury(n. 1), 113; K. J. Dover (ed.), Aristophanes:Clouds(Oxford,1968), ad loc.

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24-56: Here are some samples:mentionof Peleus, Ajax; exploits of Telamon

and Hercules;
56-9: But it would takeme too long to recountall theirexcellences. .... In the
Argive mannerit will be statedin the briefestterms(Ppaxta(ots):58
60-1: States in two lines thathis threehonorands(the addressee,his brother,
and his uncle) took threevictoriesat the Isthmusand more at Nemea.
At Nem. 10.19-20 Pindardeftly blends hyperbolicencomiasticpraise with the
brevitytheme in his disclaimerthat his mouth is too small (Ppax6) to tell all the
apportionedblessings of Argos' holy precinct-and in any case, he continues,
satietyis a grievousthing.
In 01. 13, for Xenophonof Corinth,Pindarturnsat the end to the countlessvictories of Xenophon'sfamily,the Oligaethidae,declaringfirstthathe will revealthe
sum of their victories at the Isthmusand Nemea in a 'brief word' (rra6bpWp
98). That 'brief word' follows in the next verse: E?7KOVrL7KL,'sixty times' was the
herald'sshoutheardat those venuesproclaimingtheirvictories.
We haveno actualevidencethen,eitherfromPindaror elsewherein Greekusage,
thatthe specificnumber'three',standingalone, is used in a positivecontextto mean
vaguely'a few', eitherof wordsor of anythingelse. Evidently,whena Greek-speaker
wantedto say 'two or three'to mean 'a few', he said preciselythat,as Demosthenes
does in De Falsa Legatione209. In an ironic commenton an adversary'sthreatof
impeachment,Demosthenessuggests that instead of the many lengthy speeches
involved in an impeachmentprocess,his enemy could damnhim with just two or
three phrases (86' i rpt'
'lawcs fjvara), which even a new-bought slave could
manage.59He then succinctlystatesthe suggestedcharges,most interestinglyin precisely 'two or three'phrases,thatis, in three'sentences'of whichthe lattertwo arecoordinatedwith Kaiinto one complex 'sentence'.60
In the absence of evidence,then, for the use of the number'three' (or any other
number)used alone with non-precisereference,we must considerthe possibility
that Pindar really meant to say that he would sum up the evidence for
Neoptolemus'posthumousreputationin precisely three 'words'. As we have seen,
the promised 'three words' are to follow in the immediatelysucceeding verse,
which makes a claim aboutApollo relativeto Neoptolemus.It follows, therefore,
thatthe three 'words'mustbe:



not-false the-witness over-[Neoptolemus']-deeds-presides.

The questionthus becomesnot whatPindarmeansby 'three'but whathe meansby
This is a difficultconcept even now, and it was even more fluid for the ancient
Greeks. In her study of 'Folk-linguisticsand the Greek word', Anna Morpurgo
Davies notesthatwhile we have in English(as in othermodernEuropeanlanguages)
a word for 'word', contemporarylinguists nevertheless continue to encounter

Cf. Aesch.PV 505:

v pd0'E,/r&aCaaL
fpaXEi S't6 0 W7Ivra avAA"Pf1
TrXVaLfporotawv EK


59Cf.D. M.MacDowell
passageis adduced
(n. 1), 154,asa parallel
butit illustrates
of thesentenceeludeslinguistsstill.

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'notorious difficulties ... in their attempt to produce a definition of this concept'.61

All the more problematic is defining what constitutes a 'word' for the speakers of
ancient Greek since 'During most of its history the ancient Greek lexicon offers no
exact equivalent for our "word".'62 Consider the use of Trosand &tvOog
in Homer;
as Morpurgo Davies points out, 'We have no evidence that Homer had the lexical
resources necessary to ask questions such as "is X one or two words?".' In
Herodotus also '7TOSis used to refer to a single word (2.2, 2.30), a proverb (7.51), a
verse (4.29), or a phrase or sentence (3.82). By the second century A.D. Apollonius
Dyscolus is still using four different words or phrases to designate a 'word'.63
Nonetheless, lexical precision notwithstanding, evidence from various quarters
indicates that a working concept of what constitutes a word was relatively stable
from the Mycenaean period onward. And while Pindar uses E'rog/rEa for phrases,
proverbs, and lengthy speeches and stories (for example, Pyth. 2.81, 3.2; Isthm.
6.67, fr. 35b; Pyth. 4.9, 4.57; OL. 6.16; Nem. 10.80; Isthm. 6.42; Nem. 3.53) and
such an extended sense would cover the use of Er'ea in Nem. 7.48, the reference
here is actually to what is more properly considered to be 'words', by the Greeks
as by us.
C6-piprvSand ob-StEj3 are prosodic units resulting from proclisis of the article and
the negative, respectively, with their host words. Although proclisis-as opposed to
not recognized by the ancient grammarians,64 evidence from a
variety of sources attests to the presence of the phenomenon in the natural language.
Cliticization of the article and of prepositions is indicated by various types of phonological reduction: reduction of long diphthongs, contraction, reduction of disyllabic
forms to monosyllabics, assimilation of final consonants, and elision, as well as by
metrical evidence such as the distribution of these forms (including the negative particle ob) relative to caesurae and bridges.65 Inscriptional evidence provides further
support for proclisis in the absence of interpuncts between proclitics and their host
words, for example, :ho 7rats : KaAos: vat :, ARV 1.26, :ov arTlaow, TD. a.23.66
Similar prosodic union of proclitics and hosts is indicated by the graphic conventions
of Mycenaean Greek, for example, o-u-di-do-si = ob-8lsoval, PY Ma 01, and of
Cauerinscriptions in the Cypriot syllabary, for example, o-vo-ka-re-ti =
and so on.68
Schwyzer 685.3,67 to-no-ro-ko-ne = rov 6pKov, su-tu-ka-i = avv rvXat,

A. MorpurgoDavies, 'Folk-linguisticsandthe Greekword',in G. CardonaandN. H. Zide

(edd.),FestschriftforHenryHoenigswald(Tilbingen,1987), 263-80, at 265; cf. 275, n. 4.
62 Ibid.275; cf. 271.
63 Ibid. 264-5; cf. 273-5. (Compare Soph. Ant. 53, l,7'rlp Ka' yvv75,8urAoi~v?rog; OC 161517, with Jebb's note: '&v...krog, "one word," viz. LcAiv'.)

64 Cf. MorpurgoDavies(n. 61), 278, n. 32; A. M. DevineandL. D. Stephens,TheProsodyof

GreekSpeech(Oxford,1994),356ff.;J. Vendryes,Traited'accentuationgrecque(Paris,1945),
65 See Devine and StephensProsody (n. 64), 305 and 308. The atonicityof procliticsis,
however,disputedby Devine and Stephens;see their careful discussion at 356-64 where
they arguethat 'proclisisdoes not involve completeatonicitybut is merelyone manifestation
of a quitegeneraltendencyto reduceandcompressaccentualexcursionsin nonlexicalwords'.
66 Devine and Stephens,Prosody(n. 64), 327; cf. A. C. Moorhouse,Studiesin the Greek
Negatives(Cardiff,1959), 22-3; MorpurgoDavies (n. 61), 271.
67 If indeedthe Cypriotreadingis correct:see Moorhouse
(n. 66), 23.
68 MorpurgoDavies(n. 61), 269-70. Moreover,even
thoughproclisiswas notrecognizedby
the ancientgrammarians,the specific type of article-nouncombinationfound in Nem. 7.49
would still have been takenby them as forminga unit in pickingout the superlativeinstance
of the type designatedby the noun. This is Apollonius Dyscolus' 'par excellence' (Ka7'
'the poet' of Homeras indicating'rec6
ifox4v) type of 'anaphora',as in his exampleoroutyjrq
ognitionof rankaboveall other[poets], andrecognitionof priorknowledgeon the partof all

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ou-iEbEvS is an adjectivalcompoundof a type familiarin Greek,in whichthe nexal

negative ob (=Proto-Indo-European [PIE] *ne) spreads into the area of the 'special'
negative a(v) (< * n-) as a prosodically fuller morpheme reinforcing the semantics
of negation.69 In the manuscript tradition ob is accented only when postpositive.

The ancient grammarians,however,not recognizingthe phenomenonof proclisis,

uniformly marked ob with an acute accent. The issue is further complicated by the
fact that nexal ob often indeed does not stand in proclisis and could thus receive

the accent, at least in principle.70 As a consequence, as Moorhouse judiciously concludes, 'o6 was sometimes proclitic [as in the case of the 'special' negative], and at
other times not, according to the degree of independence that it enjoyed in the sentence', a situation that would explain, as Moorhouse further observes, 'the division
of opinion between the ancient grammarians and the tradition of the copyists'.71
Such combinations of negative and adjective may form litotic expressions, as obK
'Alyos = rroAs. This is the sort of expression Pindar uses here: 'not-false' to
express as forcefully as possible the notion of Truth as inseparable from the god,
of Truth as finding its fullest and most profound instantiation in Apollo.
The existence of the Witness and his essential quality of truthfulness having been
thus established, the verse then builds to a climax in the final phrase EpytaaLveffectively a compound72expressing the activity in which Truth is
enacted by the quintessential Witness: he is ever-present, ever-watchful, and allseeing; he stands as Witness to, and surety for, the deeds of men.73
For an example of a phrase treated as a compound but with inflection of both
elements we may turn to Mycenaean, which, happily, shows word division;
[i.e.,everyoneknowswho Homeris]': F. W. Householder,TheSyntaxofApolloniusDyscolus,
Translated,and with Commentary
(Amsterdam,1981), 33 (1.43); see further:'In this way the
poet [ = Homer]got the articleas a permanentlyprefixedsyllable...' (33); and:'Wemustconsider ... which [nominals]not only acceptthe articlebut keep it permanently,like an inseparable prefixsyllable' (1.45 [Householder35; translator'sbrackets]).(Cf. R. Jankoon Zrp60'ELS
['Crates of Mallos, Dionysius Thrax and the traditionof Stoic grammaticaltheory', in
L. Ayres [ed.], ThePassionateIntellect(Fs. I.G. Kidd) [New Brunswickand London,1995],
is 'the poet', so, for Pindar, Apollo, as 6
213-33, esp. 226.) Just as Homer, as 6 7Totq-LrqS,
aiprvS,is The Witness.

69 Moorhouse(n. 66), 4 andn. 3; but cf. 43; for negativephrasestreatedas single wordsby

Plato (p 6v) and Aristotle (for example, obKGivOpcowros),

see Morpurgo Davies (n. 61), 273; cf.

275. For the disputed etymology of Greek o6 (which cannot continue PIE * ne), see
W. Cowgill, 'Greekou and Armeniano&', Language36 (1960), 347-50; but cf. Sihler (n.
21), ?117.1.
70 Moorhouse(n. 66), 20-2. Thiswouldinvolvenotpitchalonebuta stress(focus) accentas
well: see Moorhouse148, n. 2; see also Devine and Stephens(n. 64), 482: in English,words
'most consistentlyassignedfocus accentincludethose which indicatethe speaker'scommitmentto thetruthvalueof the sentence,like negatives...'. Onthe questionof prosodicphrasing
andthe sentenceaccent,see Moorhouse150 andJ. Moore-Blunt,'Problemsof accentuationin
Greekpapyri',QUCC29 (1978), 137-63.
71 Moorhouse(n. 66), 23; on unaccentedo6, see MorpurgoDavies (n. 61), 278, n. 31.
72 The constructionis reminiscentof Behaghel'slaw of increasingmembers,which states
that the last memberof a conjoinedsequence is the heaviest: 0. Behaghel, 'Beziehungen
zwischenUmfangund Reihenfolgevon Satzgliedern',IF 25 (1909), 110-42. Nem. 7.49 illustratesBehaghel'slaw in the strictsense if construedas an asyndeticsequenceof appositional
predicationsof the underlyingsubject Apollo; on any reading it illustratesan extended
73 The multiplelevels of ironyin Cassandra'sresponseto the Chorus'anxiousplea for propitiouswordsat Ag. 1248:
over this speech
No HealerGod presides
of ipya.
gain their effect against a background of expectation of Apollo as IErTtraT7S-rr

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pa-si-te-o-i = pansi-theoihi'to all gods' is consistentlywrittenas a unitwithoutword

division in threeseries of the Cnossostablets(Fp-, Ga-, Gg- passim).74The apparently dynamicstatusof this compound(which, in theory at least, could appearas
well in othercase formswith both elementsinflected)75puts the Mycenaeanphrase
in a differentcategoryfrom the so-called flexionalcompoundsof the later period,
which show a case form in the firstelementbut appearin fixed form, for example,

8opiAYrg70os.Mycenaean may also provide flexional compounds with a

finiteverbas the secondelement;the Thebestabletsshow two apparentcompounds,

tu-wo-te-to(Fq 126.1)ando-je-ke-te-to(Fq 130.1),eachprecededby o-te, the phrases
interpreted respectively as rE 06osrOo70'when the burnt offering was made' and -rTE
* ELy77 O-ro'when the opening(of the rite) or the revelation[cf. the Eleusinianrites]
was done'.76Justas one may 'sacrifice' (06ELv)77or 'makea sacrifice'(OKaOaOvatav,

for example, Pindar,01.7.42, 13.53; passive in TH Fq126.1, tu-wo-te-to),'open'

otyw,ooityvv) or 'make an opening of' proceedings (passive in TH Fq

130, o-je-ke-te-to), so one may 'deed-preside' (pyerLrar7~ww)78or 'preside over
The close coherence of the two elements of the
deeds' (cpypaaLv-rnt
resultsfromthe semanticsof the verb



native from the agent noun

one must be

the meaningof the verb is Ermridr~):

completedonly by

of its
the addition


'object'. Similarly,

one may 'invoke

a 8pKOr'or '5pKOg-invoke'
Aesch. Sept. 46);
one may 'guide (a&yw)
an old man (yipwv)' or 'old-man-guide'
II. 7.480) or 'wineOC 348); one may 'pour wine' (for example, o0vov ... XEov,
pour wine' (olvov olvoxoEViVrE, Od. 3.472) or indeed 'wine-pour' some other liquid
yAvK v~-KTap,II. 1.598). In all such cases we have an alternationof gram-

maticallyheavierphrasewith grammaticallylighter;the use of the two in concert
stylisticfigureseen in epitomein Cato's suouitaurilia
comprisesan Indo-European

prayer in De Agricultura 141.3: lustrandi lustrique faciendi, and discussed by

Watkinsas a salientaspectof Indo-European

Priorto the detaileddiscussionsof the Greekgrammarians,
the notionof whatconstitutesa 'word' appears,as we have seen, to have been based largelyon accentual
criteria,as indicatedby variousaspectsof treatmentin both the syllabic and alphabetic scripts, and reflected in Pindar's treatment of

and ob-0bEa8Ldiscussed

above.Althoughthe discussionswe have fromPlato
and Aristotleare by no means
conclusive,the examplesthey cite indicatethat accentualconsiderationsare fundauL0Aog with htAos,
mental to their categories,for example,Plato's contrastof Ad
If this criterionis thoughtto
Aristotle'scontrastof KaA'ig 'Tros with KIAAMwro.o80
rule out the combinationof inflectednoun and finiteverb as a candidatefor (quasi-)
compoundstatusin Pindar'spoetic diction,the following considerationsshouldbe
kept in mind:(i) the questionat hand is what, for Pindar,could constitutean 6"oV,
which need not be a 'compound'in our strict sense of the term (for example,

Davies(n. 61), 267-8.
75Althoughsee Morpurgo
(n. 61),267-8.
L. Godart,
andA. Sacconi,Thebes.Fouillesde la Cadmde.I. Les table76 V. L.Aravantinos,

ttes en lindaireB de la OdosPelopidou.Editionet commentaire(PisaandRoma,2001), 185-8,

77 Usedoriginally
of a burntsacrifice.
technicalterm,glossedby LSJas 'to be superintendent
of works':OGI
78 A specialized

510.12, IG Rom.4.1352, 818, Sch. Ar. Pax 605; cf. EpyE7Ta-wrTrrS,

Epich. 212, Artem.4.31,
IG 3.486, 12(5).253.
79 Watkins (n. 25), 165-9.

P1.Cra.399a;Arist.Int.16a;see Morpurgo
(n. 61),272-3.

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of theMycenaean
as opposedto 'blAck
bird')81;(ii) theapparent
phrase0bos0o70 single
forsingleverbto expressthesameconcept(ausageparticunoun+ verbsubstituting
as a compound;
(iii) the
by Pindar)couldwell havebeenunderstood
Greekverbin mainclauseswas apparently
originallyenclitic,as is the finiteverb
a situationpreserved
in mainclauses(exceptin firstposition)in VedicSanskrit,
Greekin the encliticstatusof EltLiand
(andwhichled to the phenomenon
and vestigesof this practicemightwell
recessiveaccentin the Greekverb),82
we shouldsee
persist archaizing
nrrLrartE as an 1rroS.
in lines48-9--the
notionsofjustice,of truth,
of witnessingandpresiding,
observing-forma complexof attributes
withsun-godsin a varietyof Indo-European
in hisnoteontheHomericHymntoDemeter62, succinctlysummarizes
overallthings... ledto hisinvocathecausallinks:thenotionof 'theSunaswatcher
of right'.84
tionas a witness,andto hisethicalpositionas guardian
withjustice,ssas is madeexplicitby Hesiod,Works
is pre-eminently

Days 267-9 (cf. further270-85):86

Ka' rnTvra vojaag

Ato 3ObaApu8r
f f1 7EL9,
KaLvv ri8',K.EOE1U
O0?V 8S' Ka' -rqV8E SLK'KV7TOr E'VrogEE'PYEL.
81 Even in modem
Englisha compoundmay be writtenas two words,for example,'White
House' as opposedto 'whitehoise'.
82 See Sihler(n. 21), ?245; 0. J. L. Szemer6nyi,Introductionto Indo-European
(Oxford,1996), 81-2.
83 We are remindedof how limitedand uncertainis our knowledgeof accentuationin the
ancientlanguage,at the level of the word (especiallyfor dialectsotherthanAttic-Ionic),the
syntagm,and the sentence:Sihler (n. 21), ?243, 'The habit of generationsof Hellenistsof
inventingaccentsfor dialectforms... cannotbe defendedin principle,and seems particularly
incautiousin view of the factthatin Lesbic,the only dialectforwhichwe do havereliableinformation,the accentualsystemdiffersin importantways fromthe Attic'; Szemerenyi(n. 82), 82,
'Nothingis knownaboutthe accentuationof syntagmsandsentencesin the old Indo-European
languages.'See furtherM. L. West,AncientGreekMusic (Oxford,1992) (with referencesto
earlierwork by the same author);Moore-Blunt(n. 70); G. Nagy, 'ReadingGreek poetry
aloud:evidencefromthe Bacchylidespapyri',QUCC64 (2000), 7-28.
84 N. J. Richardson(ed.), The HomericHymn to Demeter (Oxford, 1974), on verse 62

?78e KatvS8pov).
CH'ALov8'KOVro, ECOv

concernwithjusticethroughoutGreekthought,see H. Lloyd85 ForZeus' all-encompassing

Jones,TheJusticeofZeus (Berkeley,1971, 19832).Zeus' originalsun-godroleis attestedby his
name,designatingthe bright,sunlitsky and cognatewith the name of the HittiteSungodSius
(Attal Siu",cf. ZE adr'Ep),the Romanluppiter/Diespiter,Vedic Dyuuspitar, Luwian Tatil
Tiwaz,Palaic Tiyaz;see Watkins(n. 25), 8 and id., '"god"',in M. Mayrhoferet al. (edd.),
AntiquitatesIndogermanicae:GedenkschriftfHermannGiintert(Innsbruck,1974), 101-10.
His original role is recognizedby M. L. West, The East Face of Helicon: WestAsiatic
Elementsin GreekPoetryand Myth(Oxford,1997), 114: '...his Indo-European
as the god of the brightsky, not the god of weatherand storms.... In Greekhe has taken
over the functionsof a storm-god.'

86 Compare Sophocles' 'golden eye of Justice', fr. 12: ObXpvaEov8K ras ziKag/SE8oppKEv
olppaL,bV8~'LKOV aEPEErat, and Archilochus' allegorical fox, for whom Zeus' concern
with justice encompasses all creatures: C ZEOD,7TaEp ZED, a8vpiv oibpavo3Kpa'ro,/t 8' Epy
' 8E
fr. 177,
TE Kat 81Kr?/LAEfL,
M. L.&vOpWorrwv
ao, 19892);
West,Iambiet elegi Graeci 1 (Oxford,
cf. A. P. Burnett,ThreeArchaicPoets:

Archilochus,Alcaeus, Sappho(London, 1983), 63-4, on the identificationof the poet with

the prayerof the 'Archilochus-fox'.

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who supervises
and especially Mitra-Varurna,
Parallels may be seen in the Indic
the Babylonian
justice, oaths,
Sun-god of
Heaven stands at the head of the god-lists of the Hittite treaties, and the great Sungoddess of Arinna, the pre-eminent goddess of the Hittites, is hymned as the guardian
of justice:
The inspiredlord of justice artthou,
and in the place of justice thou artuntiring.89
Zeus and Helios are linked in Agamemnon's prayer in Iliad 3 (276-91) as witnesses
(ixprvpot) to the treaty of Greeks and Trojans, and guardians of the oaths: 'Father
Zeus and Helios, who sees all things and hears all things.'90 Similarly, Hector, proposing a duel to decide the war, calls on Zeus to stand as Witness: ZES38' 4Ip' bri
orw (I. 7.76).91
Apollo also has recognized sun-god aspects: not only does he share the beneficent
qualities characterizing this group of deities, he was explicitly identified with Helios
in the fifth century, apparently by Parmenides and Empedocles, certainly by
Euripides, all but certainly by Aeschylus, and perhaps by Pindar in the Ninth Paean. 92
Neoptolemus' lasting fame is thus confirmed at the close of his story in the Seventh
Nemean, guaranteed by the testimony of the ever-present, all-seeing, quintessentially
truthful immortal Witness, and committed to the memory of men by the poet's
immortal song. Apollo enacts justice by testifying to Neoptolemus' glorious deeds.
And Pindar records that justice in his words. Laden with moral and judicial

87 M. L. West (ed.), Hesiod: Worksand Days, Editedwith Prolegomenaand Commentary

(Oxford, 1978), on verse 267; cf. id., Helicon (n. 85), 542, of Samagas 'judge of those
above,correctorof those below'.
88 Cf. West (n. 85), 20 and 358.
89 KBo 2034; 0. R. Gurney,'Hittiteprayersof Mursili II', Annals of Archaeologyand
zu den
Anthropology27 (1940), 9-11. On Hittitesun-gods,see D. Yoshida,Untersuchungen
Sonnengottheitenbei den Hethitern(Heidelberg,1996). See also my 'GreekAthenaand the
Hittite Sungoddessof Arinna', in S. Deacy and A. Villing (edd.), Athena in the Classical
World(Leiden,2001), 349-65.
90 9HiA6E 8 9r
KaLt rTavT E'TraKOVELs, 277; comparethe HomericHymn's Helios
rc'v- Eop
as the Watcherover gods andmen (see n. 84 above).
91 See A. B. Cook, Zeus: A Studyin AncientReligion (Cambridge,1914-40), 1.196ff.;
R. Pettazzoni,TheAll-knowingGod (London, 1956); and furtherreferencesin West (n. 8),
on verse 267, and Rutherford,Paeans (n. 26), 198 and n. 32.
92 Rutherford(Paeans [n. 26], 198) suggeststhata certainlackof coherencein the structure
of Pae. 9 may be attributedto the framingof 'an apotropaicirautivto the Sun' (in responseto a
solareclipse) as 'a culthymnto Apollo', a combinationthatwouldhavebeen madepossibleby
a view of Apollo and Helios as 'differentaspects of the same divinity'. The earliestcertain
identificationof Apollo and Helios in Greek literatureis Eur. Phaeth. 225: see J. Diggle
(ed.), Euripides: Phaethon (Cambridge, 1970), ad loc. See also A. S. Hollis (ed.),
Callimachus:Hecale (Oxford, 1990), on fr. 103 (302 Pf.), and M. L. West, Studies in
Aeschylus(Stuttgart,1990), 26-50, on 'The Lycurgustrilogy', esp. 38-44. Aesch. Supp.
212-14 is disputed;see H. F. Johansenand E. W. Whittle(edd.),Aeschylus:TheSuppliants
(Copenhagen,1980), 2.172. For furtherreferences,see Rutherford,198, n. 32. For sun-god
aspectsof Apollo, see P."Boyance,'L'ApollonSolaire',in Milanges d'archdologie,d'dpigraphie et d 'histoireofferts JdrdmeCarcopino(Paris,1966), 149-70, andfor sun-godsgenerally,
R. Pettazzoni(n. 91); note esp. 156: 'Apollo Panoptes,despitehis Greekname, is simply the
orientalsungodin the hymn foundat Susa.'

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meaning,93 and evoking a timeless tradition of theological certainty, Pindar's three

words do indeed suffice.
Concordia University, Montreal


93 Most's insistence,however,thatthe passage is to be understoodas containingconcrete

as a 'trial' [n. 1], 174; cf. 178-80) must be rejected
juridicalreferences(for example, &1Ka
as too limiting.

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