FOR TIMODEMOS OF ATHENS,
WINNER IN THE PANKRATION.
The date of this ode is unknown. It would seem to have been sung at Athens on the winner's return home. He belonged to the clan of the Timodemidai of Salamis, but to the deme of Acharnai.
As to the nature of the Pankration see Dict. Ant. It was a combination of wrestling and boxing, probably with wide license of rules. The best extant illustration of it in sculpture is the famous group of the Pankratiasts (commonly called the Luttatori) in the Tribune of the Uffizi at Florence.
From the self-same beginning whence the Homerid bards draw out the linkëd story of their song, even a prelude calling upon Zeus—so also Nemeaian Zeus it is in whose far-famous grove this man hath attained unto laying his first foundation of victory in the sacred games.
And yet again must the son of Timonoös, if in the way of his fathers' guiding him straight this age hath given him to be a glory of great Athens—yet again and often must he pluck the noble flower of Isthmian games, and in the Pythian conquer. Like is it that not far from the mountain-brood of Pleiads shall be the rising of Orion.
Well able verily is Salamis to rear a man of battles: so at Troy was Hektor aware of Aias; and so now, O Timodemos, art thou glorified by thy stubborn prowess in the pankration.
Acharnai of old was famous for its men, and as touching games the Timodemidai rank there pre-eminent. Beneath Parnassos' lordly height they won four victories in the games; moreover in the valleys of noble Pelops they have obtained eight crowns at the hands of the men of Corinth, and seven at Nemea; and at home more than may be numbered, at the games of Zeus:
To whose glory, O citizens, sing for Timodemos a song of triumph, and bring him in honour home, and chant our prelude tunefully.
- The Pleiads were daughters of Atlas. One victory betokens another to come, as the rising of a constellation betokens the rising of its neighbour.