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II.


FOR XENOKRATES OF AKRAGAS,


WINNER IN THE CHARIOT-RACE.




This is the same winner for whom the sixth Pythian ode was written. Its date would seem to be 476, while that of the sixth Pythian was 494. Yet the opening passage of this ode seems to imply that Xenokrates' son Thrasyboulos was still little more than a boy, whereas in 494 he had been old enough to be his father's charioteer, and this would be eighteen years later. But perhaps the passage is only an allusion to Thrasyboulos' boyhood as a time past. And certainly both Xenokrates and his brother Theron seem to be spoken of in this ode as already dead, and we know that Theron did not die till 473. Perhaps therefore Thrasyboulos was celebrating in 472 the anniversary of his deceased father's victory, four years after the victory itself.




The men of old, Thrasyboulos, who went up into the Muse's car to give welcome with the loud-voiced lyre, lightly for honour of boys shot forth their honey-sounding songs, whensoever in one fair of form was found that sweetest summer-bloom that turneth hearts to think on fair-throned Aphrodite.

For then the Muse was not yet covetous nor a hireling, neither were sweet lays tender-voiced sold with silvered faces by Terpsichore of honeyed speech. But now doth she bid heed the word of the Argive man[1] which keepeth nigh to the paths of truth: 'Money, money maketh man,' he said, when robbed of goods at once and friends.

Forasmuch as thou art wise it is nothing hidden to thee that I sing, while I do honour to the Isthmian victory won by speed of horses, which to Xenokrates did Poseidon give, and sent to him a wreath of Dorian parsley to bind about his hair, a man of goodly chariot, a light of the people of Akragas.

Also at Krisa did far-prevailing Apollo look upon him, and gave him there too glory: and again when he attained unto the crowns of the Erectheidai in shining Athens he found no fault in the chariot-saving hand of the man Nikomachos who drave his horses, the hand wherewith in the instant of need he bare on all the reins[2].

Moreover the heralds of the seasons[3], the Elean truce-bringers of Zeus the son of Kronos, recognized him, having met belike with hospitality from him, and in a voice of dulcet breath they gave him greeting for that he had fallen at the knees of golden Victory in their land which men call the holy place of Olympic Zeus, where the sons[4] of Ainesidamos attained unto honour everlasting.

For no stranger is your house, O Thrasyboulos, to pleasant shouts of triumph, neither to sweet-voiced songs. For not uphill neither steep-sloped is the path whereby one bringeth the glories of the Helikonian maidens to dwell with famous men.

By a far throw of the quoit may I hurl even so far as did Xenokrates surpass all men in the sweetness of his spirit. In converse with citizens was he august, and upheld horse-racing after the Hellenes' wont: also worshipped he at all festivals of the gods, nor ever did the breeze that breathed around his hospitable board give him cause to draw in his sail, but with the summer-gales he would fare unto Phasis, and in his winter voyage unto the shores of Nile[5].

Let not Thrasyboulos now, because that jealous hopes beset the mind of mortals, be silent concerning his father's prowess, nor from these hymns: for not to lie idle have I devised them. That message give him, Nikesippos, when thou comest unto my honoured friend.




  1. Aristodemos.
  2. I. e. either tightened the near or slackened the off reins to the utmost in turning the goal, or perhaps, gave full rein to his horses between each turn or after the final one.
  3. The heralds who proclaimed throughout Hellas the approach of the Olympic games, and an universal solemn truce during their celebration.
  4. Theron, the tyrant of Akragas, and Xenokrates.
  5. Metaphorically, in the extent of his hospitality.