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Institute of Classical Studies


Pindar’s fifteen victory odes for Sicilian victors include some of Pindar’s most impressive and widely admired poems, such as the first two Olympians and first three Pythians. The majority of the Sicilian odes date from between about 476 to 466 BC and were composed to celebrate the victories of the great tyrants of Sicily Hieron of Syracuse and Theron of Akragas or their families or courtiers at the crown games. The Sicilian tyrants made spectacular use of their wealth and power in competing in equestrian events at the games and in commissioning Pindar and Bacchylides to celebrate their victories in song. This book examines the Sicilian odes of Pindar as a group, investigating the ways in which they interact and exploit their overlapping and intersecting audiences. It studies the different performances of Pindar’s odes (including reperformances subsequent to the first performance) and the audiences of these performances, and argues that these have important consequences for our view of the role victory odes played in the self-display of the Sicilian tyrannies to one another and the wider Greek world, the intertexts between the odes, the ‘conventional’ material in Pindar and the ways in which Pindar fulfils his promise of lasting fame for his patrons.