Pindar's victory odes are grouped into four books named after the Olympian, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean Games–the four Panhellenic festivals held respectively at Olympia, Delphi, Corinth and Nemea. Most of the odes were composed in honour of men or youths who achieved a victory at those festivals. In the original manuscripts, the four books of odes were arranged in the order of importance assigned to the festivals, with the Nemean festival, considered least important, coming last. Victory odes that lacked a Panhellenic subject were then bundled together at the end of the book of Nemean odes.
The palaestra of Olympia, a place devoted to the training of wrestlers and other athletes.
The Olympic Games (Greek: Ὀλύμπια) were held in honour of Zeus every four years at Olympia, the site of the sanctuary that housed the Statue of Zeus. The Olympiad held such importance that it was used as a unit of time in historical chronologies.
Ol. 1 : B. C. 476, Victor: Hieron of Syracuse (horse race)
The Pythian Games (Greek: Πύθια) were held in honour of Apollo every four years at his sanctuary at Delphi. They were held two years after each Olympic Games, and between each Nemean and Isthmian Games. Unlike the Olympic Games, the Pythian Games also featured competitions for art and dance.
Pyth. 1 : B. C. 470, Victor: Hieron of Aetna (chariot race)
The Isthmian games included wrestling, boxing, and the pankration.
The Isthmian Games (Greek: Ἴσθμια) were named after the Isthmus of Corinth, where they were held. As with the Nemean Games, the Isthmian Games were held both the year before and the year after the Olympic Games (the second and fourth years of an Olympiad), while the Pythian Games were held in the third year of the Olympiad cycle.
Isth. 1 : B. C. 458 (?), Victor: Herodotus of Thebes (chariot race)
The Nemean Games (Greek: Νέμεα or Νέμεια) were held at Nemea in honor of Zeus, and were said to have been instituted by Heracles. As with the Isthmian Games, the Nemean Games were held every two years.
Nem. 1 : B. C. 476 (?) , Victor: Chromius of Aetna (chariot race)
↑ 1.01.11.21.31.41.5The numbering of the Isthmian odes varies among authors, depending upon the joining or separation of Isth. 3 and 4. For a discussion of this topic and the evidence supporting each view, see Appendix D in J. B. Bury (1892) The Isthmian Odes of Pindar. London: Macmillan and Co.