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Page:Odes of Pindar (Paley).djvu/16

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PREFACE.

tion which Homer and Pindar hold in Grecian literature.

Of the many compositions attributed to Pindar,—hymns, dithyrambs, paeans, dancing-songs, and not a few others,[1]—it may seem remarkable that the Epinicia alone have descended to our times, and that these seem to be complete, with the exception, probably, of a few which have been lost from the end of the Isthmia.[2] This may be partly due to the interest which, in later times, when these poems first began to be collected, the representatives of the old Doric clans felt in perpetuating the honours of their houses. There is not the slightest proof that the Odes of Pindar were originally written. On the contrary, there are several strong arguments to prove they were orally taught, and conveyed to their destination by ἄγγελοι, i.e., by persons instructed by Pindar himself both in the words and the music, and commissioned to teach them to the local choruses by whom they were to be publicly performed. Not only is there no mention in Pindar of reading and writing (except the single allusion to a written name[3] under the words ἀναγνῶναι and γράφειν), but the oral conveyance by ἄγγελοι is often alluded to,[4] and the words in Ol. vi. 91 seem abso-

  1. Enumerated in p. 327 of Dr, Donaldson's edition.
  2. Donaldson, p. 329.
  3. Ol. xi. 1–3. Compare Ol. iii. 30.
  4. Ol. vi. 90; Pyth. iv. 279; Ol. ix. 25, etc.