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VI.


FOR XENOKRATES OF AKRAGAS,


WINNER IN THE CHARIOT-RACE.




This victory was won B.C. 494, when Pindar was twenty-eight years old, and the ode was probably written to be sung at Delphi immediately on the event. Thus, next to the tenth Pythian, written eight years before, this is the earliest of Pindar's poems that remains to us.

Xenokrates was a son of Ainesidamos and brother of Theron, The second Isthmian is also in his honour.




Hearken! for once more we plough the field[1] of Aphrodite of the glancing eyes, or of the Graces call it if you will, in this our pilgrimage to the everlasting centre-stone of deep-murmuring[2] earth.

For there for the blissful Emmenidai, and for Akragas by the riverside, and chiefliest for Xenokrates, is builded a ready treasure of song within the valley of Apollo rich in golden gifts.

That treasure of his shall neither wind nor wintry rain-storm coming from strange lands, as a fierce host born of the thunderous cloud, carry into the hiding places of the sea, to be beaten by the all-sweeping drift:

But in clear light its front shall give tidings of a victory won in Krisa's dells, glorious in the speech of men to thy father Thrasyboulos, and to all his kin with him.

Thou verily in that thou settest him ever at thy right hand cherishest the charge which once upon the mountains they say the son[3] of Philyra gave to him of exceeding might, even to the son of Peleus, when he had lost his sire: first that of all gods he most reverence Kronos' son, the deep-voiced lord of lightnings and of thunders, and then that he never rob of like honour a parent's spell of life.

Also of old time had mighty Antilochos this mind within him, who died for his father's sake, when he abode the murderous onset of Memnon, the leader of the Ethiop hosts.

For Nestor's chariot was stayed by a horse that was stricken of the arrows of Paris, and Memnon made at him with his mighty spear. Then the heart of the old man of Messene was troubled, and he cried unto his son; nor wasted he his words in vain; in his place stood up the godlike man and bought his father's flight by his own death. So by the young men of that ancient time he was deemed to have wrought a mighty deed, and in succouring of parents to be supreme.

These things are of the past; but of men that now are Thrasyboulos hath come nearest to our fathers' gauge. And following his uncle also he hath made glory to appear for him; and with wisdom doth he handle wealth, neither gathereth the fruit of an unrighteous or overweening youth, but rather of knowledge amid the secret places of the Pierides. And to thee, Earth-shaker, who didst devise ventures of steeds, with right glad heart he draweth nigh. Sweet is his spirit toward the company of his guests, yea sweeter than the honeycomb, the toil of bees.




  1. The field of poesy.
  2. An epithet appropriate to volcanic soils.
  3. Cheiron.