As a young adult he lived in
Pindar is thought of as a poet but really he was a songwriter. His poems were all meant to be sung by choruses and accompanied by instruments and dance. He himself wrote not only the lyrics but acted as composer and choreographer as well. He would have been right at home making music videos today.
Pindar was a devout Olympian. In his poems he celebrates political rulers (including tyrants), military victors (especially Hellenians against Persians), and athletic champions (as at the Olympics). By doing so he also beautifully expresses his devotion, and Hellenia’s, to Jupiter, Mars, and Vulcan respectively.
He composed his first victory song in 498. We have 45 complete songs written by him from then all the way to 444. His songs were written to praise wealthy patrons, used to educate their sons, and performed at largely upper and upper-middle class Panhellenic festivals such as the Olympics.
Pindar combined words beautifully but, unlike Shakespeare, he was not particularly insightful. He wrote, “To speak evil of the gods is a hateful skill, and untimely boasting is in harmony with madness” (Olympian 9:38-40). Good points but not particularly profound.
During his life, Pindar wrote a song celebrating an ancestor of Alexander 3rd (“the Great”) of Macedon. In 335 Pindar’s hometown of
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