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V.


FOR ARKESILAS OF KYRENE,


WINNER IN THE CHARIOT-RACE.




This ode celebrates the same victory as the foregoing. It would seem that the chariot had been consecrated to Apollo and left in the temple at Delphi, but the horses were brought home to Kyrene and led in procession through the sacred street of Apollo, with their charioteer Karrhotos, brother of Arkesilas' wife.




Wide-reaching is the power of wealth, whensoever a mortal man hath received it at the hands of Fate with pure virtue mingled, and bringeth it to his home, a follower that winneth him many friends. Arkesilas, thou favourite of the gods, thou verily seekest after it with good report from the first steps of thy glorious life, with aid of Kastor of the golden car, who after the wintry storm hath shed bright calm about thy happy hearth[1].

Now the wise bear better the power that is given of God. And thou walkest in righteousness amid thy prosperity which is now great; first, for that thou art king of mighty cities, thy inborn virtue hath brought this majestic honour to thy soul, and again thou art now blessed in that from the famous Pythian games thou hast won glory by thy steeds, and hast received this triumphal song of men, Apollo's joy.

Therefore forget not, while at Kyrene round Aphrodite's pleasant garden thy praise is sung, to set God above every other as the cause thereof: also love thou Karrhotos[2] chiefest of thy friends; who hath not brought with him Excuse the daughter of late-considering Afterthought back to the house of the just-ruling sons of Battos; but beside the waters of Kastalia a welcomed guest he crowned thy hair with the crown of the conquering car, for the reins were safe[3] in his hands throughout the twelve swift turns along the sacred course.

Of the strong harness brake he no whit: but there is hung up[4] all that cunning work of the artificers that he brought with him when he passed over the Krisaian hill to the plain within the valley of the god: therefore now the chamber of cypress-wood possesseth it, hard by the statue which the bow-bearing Kretans dedicated in the Parnassian shrine, the natural image in one block[5]. Therefore with eager heart it behoveth thee to go forth to meet him who hath done thee this good service.

Thee also, son[6] of Alexibios, the Charites of lovely hair make glorious. Blessed art thou for that after much toil thou hast a monument of noble words. Among forty charioteers who fell[7] thou didst with soul undaunted bring thy car unhurt, and hast now come back from the glorious games unto the plain of Libya and the city of thy sires.

Without lot in trouble hath there been never any yet, neither shall be: yet still the ancient bliss of Battos followeth the race, albeit with various fortune; a bulwark is it to the city, and to strangers a most welcome light.

From Battos even deep-voiced lions[8] fled in fear when he uttered before them a voice from overseas: for the captain and founder Apollo gave the beasts over to dire terror, that he might not be false to his oracles which he had delivered to the ruler of Kyrene.

Apollo it is who imparteth unto men and women cures for sore maladies, and hath bestowed on them the lute, and giveth the Muse to whomsoever he will, bringing into their hearts fair order of peace; and inhabiteth the secret place of his oracles; whereby at Lakedaimon and at Argos and at sacred Pylos he made to dwell the valiant sons of Herakles and Aigimios[9].

From Sparta they say came my own dear famous race[10]: thence sprang the sons of Aigeus who came to Thera, my ancestors, not without help of God; but a certain destiny brought thither a feast of much sacrifice[11], and thence receiving, O Apollo, thy Karneia we honour at the banquet the fair-built city of Kyrene, which the spear-loving strangers haunt[12], the Trojan seed of Antenor. For with Helen they came thither after they had seen their native city smoking in the fires of war.

And now to that chivalrous race do the men whom Aristoteles[13] brought, opening with swift ships a track through the deep sea, give greeting piously, and draw nigh to them with sacrifice and gifts.

He also planted greater groves of gods, and made a paved road[14] cut straight over the plain, to be smitten with horsehoofs in processions that beseech Apollo's guardianship for men; and there at the end of the market-place he lieth apart in death. Blessed was he while he dwelt among men, and since his death the people worship him as their hero.

And apart from him before their palace lie other sacred kings that have their lot with Hades; and even now perchance they hear, with such heed as remaineth to the dead, of this great deed sprinkled with kindly dew of outpoured song triumphal, whence have they bliss in common with their son Arkesilas unto whom it falleth due.

Him it behoveth by the song of the young men to celebrate Phoibos of the golden sword, seeing that from Pytho he hath won a recompense of his cost in this glad strain of glorious victory.

Of him the wise speak well: I but repeat their words saying that he cherisheth understanding above his years, that in eloquent speech and boldness he is as the wide-winged eagle among birds, and his strength in combat like a tower. And he hath wings to soar with the Muses, as his mother before him, and now hath he proved him a cunning charioteer: and by all ways that lead to honour at home hath he adventured.

As now the favour of God perfecteth his might, so for the time to come, blest children of Kronos, grant him to keep it in counsel and in deed, that never at any time the wintry blast of the late autumn winds[15] sweep him away. Surely the mighty mind of Zeus guideth the destiny of the men he loveth. I pray that to the seed of Battos he may at Olympia grant a like renown.




  1. Kastor was not only a patron of charioteers, but also, with his twin-brother Polydeukes, a protector of mariners and giver of fair weather.
  2. The charioteer.
  3. I. e. well-handled and un-broken in the sharp turns round the goal.
  4. I. e. in Apollo's temple at Delphi.
  5. This would seem to have been a piece of wood growing naturally in the form of a man.
  6. Karrhotos.
  7. This seems great havoc among the starters. Probably besides the forty who fell there were others who were not actually upset but yet did not win. No doubt the race must have been run in heats, but these must still have been crowded enough to make the crush at the turns exceedingly dangerous.
  8. Pausanias says that Battos, the founder of Kyrene, was dumb when he went to Africa, but that on suddenly meeting a lion the fright gave him utterance. According to Pindar the lions seem to have been still more alarmed, being startled by Battos' foreign accent.
  9. The Dorians.
  10. There were Aigidai at Sparta and Spartan colonies, of which Kyrene was one, and also at Thebes: to the latter branch of the family Pindar belonged.
  11. The Karneia, a Dorian feast of which we hear often in history.
  12. These Trojan refugees were supposed to have anciently settled on the site where Kyrene was afterwards built. Battos (or Aristoteles) and his new settlers honoured the dead Trojans as tutelar heroes of the spot.
  13. Battos.
  14. The sacred street of Apollo, along which the procession moved, which sang this ode. The pavement, and the tombs cut in the rock on each side are still to be seen, or at least were in 1817, when the Italian traveller Delia Cella visited the place. Böckh quotes from his Viaggio da Tripoli di Barberia alle frontiere occedentali dell' Egitto, p. 139: 'Oggi ho passeggiato in una delle strade (di Cirene) che serba ancora l'apparenza di essere stata fra le più cospicue. Non solo è tutta intagliata nel vivo sasso, ma a due lati è fiancheggiata da lunga fila di tombe quadrate di dieci circa piedi di altezza, anch' esse tutte d'un pezzo scavate nella roccia.'
  15. I. e., probably, calamity in old age.