Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pindar and Simonides on Style

This comes by way of Bowra's Pindar (1964), pages 193-194. He gives us a fragment of Simonides (fr. 602/97 P.), which he explains as praise for a traditional style:
ἐξελέγχει νέος οἶνος οὔπω
τὸ πέρυσι δῶρον ἀμπέλου·
κούρων δ᾽ ὅδε μῦθος κενεόφρων.

[The fresh wine doesn't yet outdo the previous year's gift of the vine: this is the empty-minded claim of youths.]

Bowra compares Pindar's Olympian 9, lines 48-49:
αἴνει δὲ παλαιὸν μὲν οἶνον, ἄνθεα δ᾽ ὕμνων

[Praise an aged wine, but the blossoms of fresher songs.]

He suspects that Pindar is deliberately responding to his older contemporary, and boasting of his innovative style.


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