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Title: Myth and truth in some odes of Pindar
Author: Mann, Christopher John Rupert
ISNI:       0000 0001 3618 1825
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1993
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The main part of this thesis is a survey of Pindar's treatment, in his epinicians, of myths involving the mythological family of the Aiakids. I establish what may be known of Pindar's sources for these stories, and then compare his own accounts. I consider (together with some minor incidents) Aiakos' assist- ance in building the walls of Troy; Phokos' murder; Peleus' experience with Hippolyta and Akastos, and his marriage to Thetis; Telamon's participation in Herakles' expedition against Troy; Achilles' infancy, his combats against Telephos, Kyknos, Hektor and Memnon, and his own fate; Aias' birth and suicide; and finally the story of Neoptolemos' visit to Delphi (chapters 1-7). My major conclusion is that his versions of these myths are more firmly grounded in the mythological tradition than is widely believed: they are constantly allusive, and contain little innovation. What changes there are may be ascribed to a broad rationalizing tendency, rather than to sophisticated poetic purposes. Pindar seems to prefer lesser known, often locally preserved, strands of tradition, but is concerned to produce authoritative accounts of them. The defensive tone of N. 7 may be satisfactorily explained by his care to produce such an account from confused and undignified material; the poem does not contain an apology for a hostile treatment of Neo- ptolemos in Pae.6. In chapter 8, I confirm my conclusions by examining three difficult cases: the myths of P. 3, O.I, and the break-off from the first myth of 0. 9. These examples confirm that traditional material has intrinsic value in epinician, and suggest the conclusion that the explication of a paradeigmatic relation between myth and victory is not the only valid explan- ation of the function of myth in Pindar. Myth may also serve to provide a publicly acceptable warrant for the praise of the victor.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Criticism and interpretation ; Mythology, Greek, in literature ; Odes ; History and criticism