Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2002.10.41

Ian Rutherford, Pindar's Paeans. A Reading of the Fragments with a Survey of the Genre.   Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2001.  Pp. xvi, 546.  ISBN 0-19-814381-8.  $98.00.  

Reviewed by Glenn T. Patten, University of Tübingen/University of Heidelberg (
Word count: 5335 words

[BMCR inadvertently assigned this book twice but happily received two excellent and complementary reviews and is grateful to the two reviewers for allowing this accidental revival of an old BMCR tradition.]

"These are exciting times in the study of Pindaric poetry," so Ian Rutherford in the preface to Pindar's Paeans, and the long-awaited publication of this extraordinary book has added to this excitement in no small measure. Rutherford (henceforth R.) has played a prominent role in the renewal of interest in the paean in recent years, and Pindar's Paeans can justly be described as his summa, recapitulating and in some cases extending the content of many of his previous publications on the topic and so providing us with his view of this multifarious genre and the works of one of its most important authors as a whole. Following recent work in other languages, notably Giacomo Bona's Pindaro, I peani (Cuneo, 1988) and Lutz Käppel's Paian. Studien zur Geschichte einer Gattung (Berlin, 1992), this is the first major monograph to appear on the paean in English since 1900. Whereas the Italian work was an edition with philological commentary, and the German a theory of the genre with selected interpretations, R. has here combined aspects of both approaches. If much in the more than 500 pages of this opus will provoke discussion and dissent, that is first and foremost a testimony to the vast range of questions R. addresses, and to the wealth of material he adduces in doing so.

The book is divided into two main parts. Part I, some 180 pages long, offers "A Survey of the Genre" and a general introduction to "Pindar's Paeans." It, in turn, is divided into twenty-one subsections (some of which contain as many as ten sub-subsections), none of which appears in the list of contents so that readers wishing to know what aspects of this vast subject R.'s survey treats, and how it goes about doing so, must compile their own list of headings.1 Part II, rather longer, comprises a new edition of Pindar's paeans with detailed critical apparatus and interpretative essays. R. concludes with an appendix on the metres found in the paeans, a repertory of paeans by poets other than Pindar, a concordance of his edition with those of Snell-Maehler and Turyn (R. has re-numbered the fragments), a comprehensive bibliography, and indices.

R.'s survey begins with the vexed and fundamental question of genre (Section 1) -- vexed, because it is not immediately clear what conditions a song has to fulfil in order, in the fifth century, to belong to the category "paean" -- or indeed to a particular genre at all -- nor is it obvious how these criteria relate to those found in the remains of the discussions of the Alexandrine philologists; fundamental, because until this has been clarified, we will not know whether the texts we are reading were thought of by their authors, first performers or first audiences as paeans at all. R. adopts the following two theses: "1. What songs have to have in common in order to be perceived as adhering to the same genre seems usually to be a shared function or performance scenario; formal features are much less important...; 2. In the fifth century BC genre seems to be largely a descriptive category, reflecting actual practice... Genres are not yet ideal norms; the latter idea surfaces first in the Laws..." (p. 4). R. explicitly follows Käppel in aligning these oppositions with differences in outlook between the fifth century and the Hellenistic period.2 Nevertheless, " soon as one sets up this antithesis... it begins to deconstruct itself... Many songs by Pindar and Bacchylides display a sensitivity to generic conventions..." (p. 5), by which R. presumably means formal characteristics.3 This is an important insight, but it is puzzling that it did not lead to a rethinking of the terms of at least the second dichotomy altogether: if a poet can be shown to be responding to (fulfilling, thwarting, manipulating) the expectations of his or her audience about the kind of song it is going to hear, then the "genre" is clearly functioning in a normative fashion by exerting recognisable influence on the process of composition or the execution of the performance.4 The "descriptive/normative" divide is the wrong place to try to grasp this phenomenon: what R. is rightly drawing our attention to here is instead the interface between productive and receptive aesthetics, an interface which is admittedly very much more difficult to locate precisely, but for which Plato's comments at Laws 700d, referred to by R., provide, it seems to me, no evidence.

R.'s basic thesis, however -- which will form the programmatic basis of the following eight chapters -- is that the definition of the paean in the fifth century will emerge from its "shared function or performance scenario." Accordingly, after a concise and enlightening discussion of the origins of the name "paean" (Section 2) and a brief listing of what kinds of utterances, in the historical period, could in principle be understood by it (Section 3), R. proceeds to enumerate types of situations in which paeans were performed (Sections 4-5). Section 4, "The Apolline Paean," presents the evidence for the performance of paeans at festivals of Apollo in Delphi, Delos, Sparta, and a number of other centres, and concludes with some consideration of paeans performed in the course of pilgrimages. In Section 5, "Other Functions," the reader is offered a "repertoire of ten... non-Apolline performance scenarios" (p. 36): "apotropaic prayer" (Section 5a), "the cult of Asclepius" (Section 5b), "military contexts" (Section 5c [before battle] & d [the victory paean]), "other cultic scenarios" (Section 5e) "the symposion" (Section 5f), "celebration and wedding" (Section 5h), "commemorating the dead" (Section 5i), and "praising the living" (Section 5j). The taxonomy set out in these two chapters allows R. to capture a very wide range of phenomena indeed, and the detailed and extremely well-documented survey which results is just one of this book's important achievements. At the same time, however, the list of categories on which it is based is strangely fuzzy: it includes both terms describing immediate social or ritual contexts (symposia, weddings, battles, festivals at Apolline centres), and others describing the intent or intents of a given song (apotropaic prayer, celebration, thanks, worship, etc.). The reason for this lies in the double focus of R.'s understanding of genre: the situation and the function of the text or performance. The fact that these are (at least) two axes of classification, and not just one, does not emerge here with the desirable clarity and leads to apparent anomalies such as Pindar's Pa. 9 appearing both as an "Apolline paean" performed in Thebes, and (in a "non-Apolline performance scenario"!) as an example of "apotropaic prayer".5 The lack of a consistent distinction between situation and function, and R.'s failure to define what exactly he understands by "function" at all -- the word does very heavy duty in this first major section -- will have problematic consequences when he comes to discuss the "significance" of the paean in Section 8.

First, however, two further sections discuss performance (Section 6) and formal features (Section 7). We have plenty of evidence for the performance of paeans by choruses of young men, and R. is right to point to the special resemblance between such singers and the deity they typically invoke (p. 59). (The numerous occasions on which female choruses perform paeans in tragedy "would have been perceived as inversions of the normal convention," ibid.) Performances of paeans by such male groups might, so R., have had three social or political functions (p. 61f.): the articulation of a sense of community amongst the members of the chorus and its expression to the polis as a whole; training for hoplite warfare; and the transmission of the values of the citizen body, in particular that of "a habituation to orderliness," from one generation to the next. (R. concludes from this last hypothesis that there is a link between the paean and processes of male initiation, citing the partheneia as an analogy.)

Although the truth conditions of these suggestions do not, in the course of the discussion, become entirely obvious (what kind of evidence, for example, would count against them?),6 there is here nevertheless much food for thought. R. finds the idea of paeans with social functions similar to those he describes reflected in Plato's Laws 664c (p. 63), although the relationship of this passage to the nature of the text as a work of political theory is (mentioned but) not clarified, and it remains obscure whether R. thinks that the Athenian philosopher is here providing evidence of the way paeans worked or of the way he merely thought they ought to have done (and so, by implication, did not). One also wonders whether the functions posited so far are not such as could in principle (with the possible exception of the concern with "orderliness") be attributed to almost any male choral performance in public (drama, dithyramb, epinikion, etc.); the extent to which R. nevertheless intends us to view them as specific to the paean, and thus a part of its definition in opposition to other choral or public genres, is left unclear.

This issue of definition is addressed in Section 8, "The significance of the paean in its generic and social context," the climax of the discussion so far. We recall: R. intends to define the paean on the basis of its "shared function or performance scenario." But, as has become abundantly clear in the course of the book so far, these are many and varied. How will R. deal with the extraordinary diversity of this material? Käppel, who faced a similar problem, chose to grapple with it by looking more closely at the notion of "function." What does it mean to say that a given genre has a particular function, and how does this relate to the recognisable intent of a given text? On the methodological assumption that the function of the genre "paean" is the set of significant generalisations which can be made about the reasons why people appear to have sung it in all the different situations in which it was performed, Käppel concluded that paeans, essentially, were prayers, either of supplication or of thanksgiving: "all die angeführten Situationen [sc. in which paeans were performed, GP] [ähnelten] sich darin..., daß sie von denen, die den Paian sangen, subjektiv ähnlich gedeutet wurden..., offenbar so als drohende, gegenwärtige oder überstandene Gefahr..., daß eine Gottheit als die Instanz ihrer Überwindung... angerufen werden mußte -- sei es in angstvollem Bitten, sei es in erleichtertem Dank".7

R., however, chooses a different approach. Rejecting Käppel's model on the grounds that it is one-sidedly concerned with praying for help, and will not work for "paeans performed in contexts of jubilation" or for "cult paeans in praise of Apollo and an associated hero, which are largely taken up with narrative" (p. 84), he presents instead "a new solution: the social significance of the communal, Apolline paean." This is as follows: "Paeanic song-dance performance... represents the organization and exhibition of the collective strength of the adult males... presenting them in such as way as to emphasize their relationship with the deity Paian/Apollo... Such performances were perceived as promoting the safety and stability of the polis... Key ideas that contribute [to the cultural significance of the paean] include collective male strength, social cohesion, the assertion of the strength of the community over the forces that threaten it, the world of the living as opposed to the world of the dead, and finally celebration" (p. 86).

The indubitable strength of this view, already familiar from R.'s 1995 paper "Apollo in ivy" (see note 6), is its emphasis on the corporate, communal nature of paean-singing. By focusing on this aspect of the genre, R. places the paean in a context which it shares with other forms of public performance and in doing so suggests an interpretative framework which, in the space it grants to a number of issues becoming increasingly important in cultural studies, will deserve much attention in future work on the paeans. It is precisely here, however, that troubling questions arise. First: what is the hermeneutical status of this hypothesis? Is R.'s claim that paeans represented the organization of the strength of the adult males etc. to their original audiences? This is, after all, what his opening comments in Section 1 ("my principal interest is with elucidating what was understood by the word 'paean' in the classical period," p. 5) imply, but if this is really the way he intends his observations in Section 8 to be interpreted, it is surely odd that no explicit evidence that fifth-century Greeks saw it that way is forthcoming. Instead, R. draws our attention to what he believes to be "the tendency of the ancient sources to portray the Apolline paean as standing in an oppositional relationship on the one hand to the chthonic (which translates in generic terms into the dirge), and on the other hand to the wilder Dionysiac (the dithyramb, in the code of genre)" (ibid.). The latter of these portrayals of the genre is not controversial, but serves only as an argument that the ancients felt that the paean inspired order and self-control. The notion of a deep-seated antithesis between the paean and the chthonic is a hypothesis introduced by R. in Section 5e and made much of later in Section 11c ("paeanic ambiguity");8 despite its respectable lineage,9 it is not entirely clear to me that this idea is not based on texts which admit of a simpler, less 'metaphysical' explanation.10

Second, and more importantly: the relationship between R.'s functions and the individual texts which remain to us cries out for further elucidation. Is R.'s theory meant to engage with the question of what paeans actually said? If not, his rejection of Käppel's paean-theory is unnecessary, and even a little misleading: R. is obviously asking a very different question from that treated in the German scholar's work. If so, however, then R.'s thesis has to be evaluated on the same criteria as Käppel's -- that is: does it make more sense of the songs as coherent texts than alternative approaches? -- and the question will therefore need to be asked: where does R. find the significance(s) which he posits reflected in the surviving examples of the genre? Only the interpretation of actual texts will give any indication of whether the concerns R. believes to be basic to the paean were in fact a part of Pindar's understanding of it. The answer to these questions, therefore, will have to wait until we reach his essays on Pindar's paeans in the second part of the book.

The remaining sections of R.'s survey comprise Section 9, "the problem of distinctiveness," in which R. discusses a series of cases, amongst them Aristotle's song for Hermias (PMG 842) and P.Oxy. 2368, in which Hellenistic and Roman scholars appear to have been uncertain whether a particular song was a paean or not and argues that, in the fifth century, "a single song could simultaneously instantiate more than one type" (p. 91); and Section 10, "allusions to the paean in Attic tragedy," in which R. discusses several ways in which tragedy refers to or makes use of paeans or paeanic conventions. (It is in the course of this discussion that R. notes that "in tragedy the paean is quite often associated with women" (p. 111), although no attempt is made to interpret this strange incongruity with the paean's predominantly male associations in real life.) In Section 11, R. presents six categories of what he calls "paeanic ambiguity." Lacking a definition of what exactly R. means by "ambiguity," the discussion covers various, quite different cases in which paeans convey more than one message or give rise to expectations which are then disappointed. Here there are some insightful remarks, including R.'s comments on Callimachus' Hymn to Apollo (p. 122) and on Aeschylus' fr. 350 (p. 124f.), a text in which Apollo's paean at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus is seen in retrospect to have been a prelude to his killing of Achilles in battle. Section 12 discusses aspects of the development of the paean after the fifth century.

Sections 13-21 now turn to "Pindar's Paeans" proper, beginning with Section 13, "Reconstructing the ancient edition." This and the following two chapters, on the history of the text (Section 14) and Hellenistic eidography (Section 15), are in my view the strongest part of this first half of the volume. The section provides much of the necessary papyrological groundwork for the edition which follows. R. can make a convincing case for his new numbering of the fragments being a better representation of the probable order of the texts and the relationships between them in the Alexandrian ekdosis than Grenfell and Hunt's; the assignment, in the standard editions, of fragments to the paean-book which would probably be better off amongst the prosodia (e.g. *Pa. 21), like the existence of texts which were apparently both (Pa. 6.123-183), is an argument for adopting a less genre-specific classification. I rather suspect that R.'s numeration will fail to supplant Grenfell and Hunt's in the major cases -- we will continue to speak of Pa. 6 and Pa. 9, not of D6 and A1 -- but the discussion of many of the other, smaller fragments will benefit from the greater precision. R. goes on, in a rather less well-founded chapter, to discuss the organisation of the ancient edition (Section 16), and dubious paeans (Section 17).

The following sections 18-21 provide a brief outline of Pindar's articulation of the genre of the paean. Here there is no room for more than a sketch, and R. does well to limit himself to broad outlines, especially inasmuch as detailed comments on the fragments are still to come. There are notes on performance scenarios, formal features (by which R. means such things as refrains, dialect 11 and style), religious issues. Despite the vast amount of work which has gone into the study of the structure of Pindar's epinikia in the last century, R. devotes no attention to the question of common structural features in the paeans.12

With Part II we enter R.'s new edition. Given the renumeration of the fragments to reflect what R., with some justification, believes to have been the layout of the Alexandrian ekdosis, and the fact that sigla and scholia are also included, it seems clear that this represents an attempt to recover, not the necessarily hypothetical original text of the fifth century, but the Hellenistic paean-book. This is, however, nowhere stated, and R. betrays no awareness of the edition-theoretical issues raised by his decision to edit the text constructed by the scholars in Alexandria rather than that of the songs as Pindar presumably composed them. In this he is not alone -- few classical editors appear to have noticed the extensive and increasingly subtle debate about text-critical versus tradition-critical editions raging in the medieval and newer philologies -- but such a lack of reflection in a work which takes a strong if implicit stand on the issue is regrettable.13

The fragments are arranged in groups according to the certainty with which they can be shown to be from the same piece of papyrus. The clear typographical presentation is typical of the best Oxford editions, although I would much have preferred a layout with apparatus at the bottom of each page, rather than all together at the end of the text. Scholia are printed with their own apparatus, all texts and scholia -- as indeed all Greek in this book -- are translated. Columns are clearly indicated, and, as noted above, R. has also transcribed the marginal sigla in the papyri.14 Significant differences between R.'s text and the Teubner, to which he notes his indebtedness, are comparatively few, although a couple of new readings, such as that at the end of Pa. 6 (on which see below), do represent a major improvement. R. includes a number of smaller fragments omitted by Snell-Maehler, as well as Servius' "Pindarus opus suum, quod et hominum et deorum continet laudes, paeanas vocavit" (Comm. Virg. Aen. 10.738), which Maehler appears not to have regarded as a fragment at all, probably correctly.

The texts of the fragments are followed by interpretative essays. In what follows I give some account of R.'s treatment of the four most substantial poems.

Paean 9 (= R.'s A1): R. views the two fragments, along with the majority of previous commentators, in almost total isolation from each other: "it almost seems as if an apotropaic paean has been welded onto a cult paean to Apollo and Tenerus" (p. 198: R.'s concession on p. 117 that "paeans can [serve] more than one function" appears to have receded into the background again), and the potential connection between the catastrophes of water in 16ff. and the roles of Okeanos and Poseidon in 43 and 47 respectively, as indeed the subtly constructed analogy between poet and prophet, a typically Pindaric gesture, is missed.15 R. observes the correspondence between the way of wisdom in 4, the path of the sun in 5, and the verb τράποιο in 9, but despite the emphasis in Part I on the relationship between the paean and the male strength of the polis, ἰσχύν τ' ἀνδράσι in 4 (his 3) and ἀνορέας ἐπέτρεψας ἕκατι σαόφρονος in 45f. are passed over without comment. R. notes that the gap between 21 and 34 could be longer than just one column, so that the "second" triad could in fact be later in the poem, and adopts Housman's rearrangement of the colometry in 3f.~13f.~44f. (which allows him to read καί in 44 with the ms. instead of Wilamowitz' ἄν).

Paean 2 (= D2): Interpretation is hampered by the loss of the central sections of two of the three triads. R. observes the overwhelming concern of what we have left with warfare, noting that each occurrence of the refrain ἰὴ ἰὲ παιάν etc. comes at the climax of a description of military action, but, although this makes this song interesting (if not entirely unproblematic) evidence for R.'s beliefs about the genre, almost nothing is said about the relationship between Apollo and the chorus of (presumably) young males who celebrate their own achievements and those of their fathers here, a relationship which, on R.'s theory, ought to be central to understanding the song as a paean. Instead, there is a possibility that Apollo was deemed to have played a special role in bringing the victory commemorated here about (p. 267). Verses 1-5 are to be interpreted "prima facie" as the announcement of a processional song, starting at the heroon of Abderos, wherever that may have been.16 The enigmatic and ideologically loaded description of the re-foundation of the mother-city Teos by Abderites in 28ff. is noted but not exploited for the interpretation of the text as a whole; R. concentrates instead on the historical background, to the extent that this can be recovered. In 73, R. prints Fraccaroli's emendation φύρσεν for φύρσει on the grounds that the obscurity of the passage is otherwise so great as to defy comprehension. In a work whose goal, to all appearances, is the reconstruction of the Alexandrian edition (rather than that of the fifth century), and, given that a scholion in P.Oxy. 841 confirms that the reading in the second century AD was φύρσει (and provides what was obviously felt by at least one contemporary reader to be a coherent interpretation), this is highly questionable reasoning. I presume that R. takes the subject of the aorist to be παιάν. The reference to the worship of Apollo at Delos and Delphi in the final fragment "seems to add dignity to what would otherwise be a merely epichoric exercise" (p. 274). The two most recent attempts of which I am aware to make sense of the song as a whole, those of Dougherty (see note 16) and Stehle,17 deserve more than the passing mention they receive here, especially in view of R.'s interest in social and anthropological issues in Part I.

Paean 4 (= D4): R. identifies Pa. 4 with the song referred to at Isthm. 1.6ff. and on this basis, and because he believes that its praise of remaining in one's homeland is more appropriate to a chorus singing at home than elsewhere, argues for a performance on Keos at Karthaia.18 Rejecting Käppel's reading of the controversial Melampos-passage in verses 28-30 -- Melampos, having left Pylos, did not wish to rule alone in Argos, and so shared the throne with his brother -- for reasons which do not, in the course of the discussion, become entirely clear, R. suggests instead that Pindar knew a (now lost) version in which Melampos was reluctant to leave Pylos in order to rule alone in Argos but did nevertheless.19 On this view, his translation of these lines, "But Melampus was unwilling, having left his native country, to become sole king of Argos, laying down the gift of divination," presumably entails that Melampos did in fact cease to be a seer, also an interesting innovation. R. recognises that 14-27 is an encomium (and not a complaint of poverty), but thinks that Euxantios, in speaking of a τεθμὸς ἐρῆμος in verse 47, meant that Keos was desolate (p. 290). An acute observation is R.'s noting of the parallel intimated between Melampos and Euxantios who "told [the Cretans] his omen" (39).

Paean 6 (= D6): R. appears to accept the hypothesis that the third triad of this paean was composed significantly later than the first two "for Aiginetan consumption".20 Evidence for this is not only the unexpected interest in Aigina in this triad, but also the recently discovered title αἰγινήταις εἰς αἰακὸν προσόδιον at 123 in P.Oxy. 841, and a scholion to the effect that the third triad was also to be found amongst the prosodia as a song in its own right.21 R. links this idea explicitly to Farnell's version of the "apology hypothesis": "perhaps an earlier version of the song had offended the Aiginetans, and Pindar composed an independent song in honour of Aiakos as a peace-offering" (p. 337). Further support for this theory is to be found in N. 7.102-4, which R. reads as Pindar's apology for the second triad of Pa. 6, although "the point at issue was the antagonism of Apollo [towards Neoptolemos] represented" there.22 R. follows Wilamowitz in proposing that the original performers of the paean were an Aiginetan chorus; the first title in P.Oxy. 841, Δελφοῖς εἰς Πυθῶ, denotes the recipients of the song, not its performers, and is derived from 10f.23 R. accordingly argues that the "privileges" at 11 were those belonging to a regular Aiginetan delegation to Delphi (p. 335).24 A valuable suggestion is R.'s conjecture ἀθάν[ατος πόνος in 50, comparing Pa. 7b.22, which makes much more sense of the movement of the text towards what looks like an aitiology of the Theoxenia at the start of the second triad than previous readings. R.'s contention, however, that "considered as a whole, the song... invites the reader to compare and contrast the singer with Neoptolemus" will raise more than one eyebrow, as will his interpretation of 121ff. as an allusion to the Pythoctonia 25 on the basis that the context narrates "Neoptolemus' unsuccessful challenge to Apollo's possession of the shrine at Delphi." The point of this is allegedly to propose an analogy between the killing of the hero and the slaughter of the dragon. R. proceeds to find a moral sense in the μέτρα of 121: these are not merely measures of song but also "remind one of Apolline moral authority and in particular the Pythoctonia," the latter of which apparently exemplifies the former. In 181ff., R. prints D'Alessio and Ferrari's μοισᾶν ἐπαβολέοντ[α] πολλάκι, Παιάν, δέξ' ἐννόμων ἐ[νοπ]ᾶν, which represents a significant improvement of the reading given by the Teubner.

Few of the reconstructions and interpretations offered in these chapters appear to have very much to do with the central claims of Part I. This is a problem: it is precisely here that the contribution made by those claims to a better understanding of Pindar's texts, and thus the extent to which they can be grounded in this one poet's actual practice, could and, I would argue, should have been demonstrated. As it is, this remains a desideratum. Many readings, furthermore, are quite speculative, and R. contributes to the resulting sense of intangibility, here as throughout the book, by the exaggerated diffidence with which they are presented. Only seldom, in Pindar's Paeans, are theses actually asserted; more often than not, they are "suggested," couched in the language of an emphatic uncertainty. This would, in principle, be no more than a stylistic feature, were it not that the frequency with which distancing-formulas ("perhaps," "it could be argued," "it might seem likely," and so forth) are employed makes it at times very difficult to discern where R. actually stands, or how he assesses the strengths or weaknesses of the various interpretative options he offers. Many of these options are, strictly speaking, unprovable given our current state of knowledge, and R. may feel that this fact and the fragmentary nature of the texts with which he is working forbid more rigorous language. There is nevertheless something to be said for making a consistent distinction in scholarly discourse between argumentation on the basis of evidence which actually exists, and speculation about evidence which does not. In my opinion, R. could have made this distinction more clearly.

The appendix on the metre of the paeans will be important for anyone working on the rhythmic character of the fragments. In the case of texts as incomplete as these, the Hellenistic colometry takes on a greater heuristic importance than, e.g., in that of the epinikia, and R. is right to take much account of it in his reconstructions. Thomas Cole's notion of epiploke, the overlapping of metrical units, is put to interesting use in the analysis of Pa. 2.

The volume concludes with a repertory of paeans by poets other than Pindar, forty pages of bibliography covering works up to about 1998, and three indices, of Greek words, passages cited, and subjects. It is disappointing to see that these last, in a book of this length and complexity, are inadequate. In the index of passages cited, for example, P.Oxy. 2368 is listed as appearing only on p. 237 in the course of R.'s comments on Pa. 8a; neither R.'s discussion of this important and controversial fragment in Section 9, complete with text and translation, nor his several references to it in his treatment of Hellenistic eidography (Section 15), have been noted. The index of subjects fails to include the Hyakinthia, important for R.'s discussion in Section 5e, and such figures as Glaukos of Rhegion (p. 78), Polykrates (pp. 30, 49), and Philokhoros, whose fr. 172 is referred to on p. 82 as evidence for the contrast between paeans and dithyrambs, appear in neither index.

As the most comprehensive study of Pindar's paeans -- indeed, of the paean in general -- to date, however, this well-documented and learned book is a major contribution to an important field. R.'s breadth of interest and the range of skills he brings to bear on discussing and editing these beautiful and enigmatic texts will make this a standard work for years to come. At the same time, both its strengths and its weaknesses remind us of how much remains to be done, not only in the area of rethinking our understanding of ancient genre and the relationship between song and culture, but also in the work of interpretation and hermeneutics. If R.'s suggestions and those of other scholars 26 about the reassignments of some "paean"-fragments to other books are correct, we will need to think about a new edition of all of the fragments of Pindar in the coming years, and this, it is to be hoped, will give rise to further, comparably rich studies of the other fragmentary genres. Exciting times indeed.


1.   I have for this reason been fairly comprehensive in noting what the various chapters contain, in an attempt to offer the kind of orientation that the table of contents does not provide.
2.   Käppel, p. 36ff. This thesis was much criticised in the reactions to Käppel's book. See in particular G.B. D'Alessio's review in CR 44 (1994), pp. 62-65, and Stefan Schröder, Geschichte und Theorie der Gattung Paian (Stuttgart/Leipzig, 1999), passim.
3.   As Schröder has convincingly argued, this "deconstruction" works in the other direction as well: it is by no means the case that the Alexandrians had no interest in or sensitivity to issues of performance scenario. See Schröder, op. cit., p. 110ff.
4.   Cf. Leslie Kurke, The Traffic in Praise (Ithaca/London, 1991), who defines genre as "the set of audience expectations which shapes and constrains each individual composition" (p. 1).
5.   R. notes later (p. 117 in Section 11 on "paeanic ambiguity") that "many paeans can be interpreted as having more than one function" and presents this uncontroversial fact as an example of "ambiguity between different types of paean." The claim appears to be that an ancient audience would have felt that Pa. 9 was ambiguous because it was apotropaic and (nevertheless?) performed at a cultic event. Against this it is sufficient to cite R. himself in an earlier publication: "Now, the fact that these poems present a combination of functions does not make them ambiguous; one can speak of ambiguity only when there is scope for alternative interpretations or a risk of misunderstanding, but 'what is the function of this poem?' is a question that Pindar's original audience would probably not have been inclined to ask" ("Paeanic Ambiguity," QUCC 73 (1993), pp. 77-92, here p. 92). It is regrettable that this sentence does not, in contrast to much of the rest of the article in which it stands, reappear in Pindar's Paeans.
6.   Since the paean is "an image of social cohesion," R. will go on, in Section 10, to argue that Ion's solo paean in Euripides' play of that name (82-183) represents a "perversion" of its normal role: it "seem[s] to symbolize alienation of a male figure from communal obligations" (p. 112). See Rutherford's "Apollo in ivy: the tragic paean," Arion 3/1 (1995), pp. 112-135, esp. 129ff., for a more detailed presentation of this view. Neither from Pindar's Paeans nor from the earlier paper, however, does it become clear to me that this interpretation makes more sense of Ion's opening song in the context of the drama as a whole than, for example, a reading which understands this passage as a presentation of Ion's highly communal obligations in Delphi as temple servant and the communion with Apollo concomittant with them.
7.   Käppel, op. cit., p. 62f. He proceeds to illustrate this view with an interpretation of Pindar's Pa. 4, a song for a chorus of Keans in honour of Apollo which makes much reference to the heroes Melampos and Euxantios and is characterised by the Keans' gratitude for the gods' gift of political stability and peace. See D'Alessio's review (note 2 above) for a succinct critique of Käppel's general position.
8.   The opposition has played a role in a number of R.'s previous publications; see "Paeanic ambiguity," (above, note 5) and "Apollo in ivy" (above, note 6).
9.   See, previously, L. Ziehen, Leges Graecorum Sacrae e Titulis Collectae (Leipzig, 1906), no. 109, p. 290ff., L. Deubner, "Paian," NJKA 22 (1919), pp. 385-426, here p. 406, A. von Blumenthal, "Paian," RE xvi (1942), coll. 2340-2362, here 2352.
10.   R. argues for "an antithesis between paean and chthonic" (p. 86), the latter including heroes, chthonic deities, and death, on the grounds that (a) "Apollo had no part in the chthonic sphere," and (b) "the paean can have joyful connotations, and these were felt to be incompatible with the world of death" (p. 49). As evidence of the former, R. cites Stesikhoros, PMG 232 (apud Plutarch, Mor. 394b): "Apollo loves dancing most of all and merriment and songs, but mourning and wailing are the portion of Hades" (tr. Campbell). This brief fragment neatly collapses R.'s first argument into his second: the difference between Apollo and Hades which Stesikhoros (and Euripides, whom Plutarch also cites: Suppl. 975ff.) refers to is the former's lack of interest in grief and mourning; "the chthonic" is relevant here inasmuch as mourning is a common characteristic of chthonic religious experience, but as a category with its own logically prior explanatory power it plays no role in this text whatsoever, and it will not do to imply that "dancing... and merriment and songs" are meant as a kind of pars pro toto for "the Olympian" as such. (R. notes that heroes and chthonic deities can have paeans addressed to them (p. 49), and this alone ought to have alerted him to the fact that the terms of the polarity, such as it is, are not as sweeping as he makes them out to be.) The observation that Apollo's characteristic song is inappropriate as an expression of grief but very appropriate indeed as an expression of celebration can be explained by virtue of its very real joyful (or hopeful) connotations without any need for recourse to deeper lying chthonic/Olympian antitheses, although of course it is not "the world of death" which is at issue in most of the texts R. cites but rather the more concrete fact that someone, be it realiter or in a myth, has died. Thus, Polykrates (FGH 588, F. 1 apud Athenaios 139c) reports that during the first part of the Amyklaian Hyakinthia, when the dead Hyakinthos is being mourned, no wreaths are worn and no paean is sung "on account of the mourning" (διὰ τὸ πένθος), and Plutarch (Arat. 53.3) narrates that when, following Aratos' death in 213 BC, it became apparent that he was to be buried in Sikyon, the Sikyonians "changed their mourning (πένθος) into public joy and immediately brought the body up from Aigion into the city, wearing wreaths and white garments and to the accompaniment of paeans and dancing"). The polarity between grief and joy is supplemented by another, between hope of rescue and the hopelessness which sets in when rescue has not been forthcoming, and these two antitheses suffice to interpret the overwhelming majority of references in tragedy to the paean in connection with death (already interpreted along these lines by Käppel; see id., op. cit., p. 47). What remains is a short inscription (IG xii/8.358 (a)) from Thasos stipulating that in the course of a sacrifice to Apollo and the Nymphs in the context of their local cult no paean is sung. Given that almost all we know about this cult is drawn from this two-line text, the inference that the prohibition is a direct consequence of an opposition between Olympian cult, in which paeans were allowed, and chthonic cult, where they were not, seems (pace Ziehen et al.) very daring. The passages R. discusses in the course of Pindar's Paeans are "overwhelming" evidence (p. 86) for the antithesis he and the scholars before him posit only if they can be explained more simply in no other way. I do not believe that this is the case.
11.   No reference to B.K. Braswell's incisive "Color epicus in Pindar: a falsely assumed type," in D.E. Gerber (ed.), Greek Poetry and Philosophy. Studies in Honour of Leonard Woodbury (Chico, 1984), pp. 33-36.
12.   Cf. e.g. Käppel, op. cit., 93ff., on recurring elements in the openings of the Pindaric paeans.
13.   One counter-example to this general indifference is Glenn W. Most (ed.), Editing Texts (Göttingen, 1998; Aporemata 2).
14.   In fact, R. goes further and restores the coronis and asterisk where P.Oxy. 841 would presumably have placed them, even in other papyri and in fragments for which no papyrus-evidence exists (p. 185). Given that both sigla fulfil functions taken over in modern editions by other conventions -- of which R. also makes use -- I can discern no reason for this practice: quite apart from the status it accords to P.Oxy. 841, it seems to run counter to R.'s (otherwise evident) interest in the precise documentation of the basis of his text.
15.   The former was pointed out by Glenn W. Most, "A total eclipse of the heart," in H. Köhler, H. Görgemanns & M. Baumbach (edd.), "Stürmend auf finsterem Pfad...:" ein Symposion zum Sonnenfinsternis in der Antike (Heidelberg, 2000), pp. 150-161. R. refers instead to the growing identification of Apollo with the sun in the fifth century as a factor which might serve to link the two sections.
16.   R. speaks of "the place called Derainos, where there was a shrine of Apollo," citing Wilamowitz, "Pindars Paean für Abdera," in id., Sappho und Simonides (Berlin, 1913), pp. 246-256; in fact, Wilamowitz argues that the real name of the place was almost certainly Deros or Dera, and says nothing about where the heroon of Abderos might have been. Carol Dougherty ("Pindar's Second Paean," CP 89, 1994, pp. 205-218) argues that the tomb of this eponymous, if mythological, founder of the colony will have been in the agora.
17.   Eva Stehle, Performance and Gender in Ancient Greece (Princeton, 1997), pp. 127-132.
18.   But cf. p. 391f. on fr. 215(b): "Paianes were generally performed by χοροί of singers visiting religious centres, and they will naturally have talked about their home countries... One might compare D4 [= Pa. 4].13ff...."
19.   R. (p. 287, n. 21) sees a contradiction between μοναρχεῖν in verse 29 and the versions of Herodotos (9.34) and Apollodoros (Bibl. 2.2.2), in which Melampos ruled Argos together with his brother. This, of course, is only a contradiction if, as R. apparently thinks, Pindar is asserting that Melampos really did rule alone.
20.   This, at least, is the way I read the final sentence of this section: "The advantage of economy (it explains not only the double transmission [of the third triad, GP] but also the apology hypothesis [in the scholia to N. 7, GP]) may in the end give the 'compensatory supplement' hypothesis the edge" (p. 338).
21.   See R.'s original publication of this in "For the Aeginetans to Aiakos a Prosodion: an unnoticed title at Pindar, Paean 6, 123 and its significance for the poem," ZPE 118 (1997), pp. 1-21.
22.   P. 321, n. 64: "My own position...". This thesis is mentioned two pages later in the main text merely as a position which "could be argued."
23.   Given that the Aiginetan chorus is introduced to explain a part of the same data for which the separate composition of the third triad is also invoked (the predominance of Aiginetan themes in the third triad and its alternative title, "for the Aiginetans"), it is not entirely clear to me why R. believes the former hypothesis to be necessary if he intends to accept the latter.
24.   This, however, only after asserting 27 pages earlier -- with no indication that this is not what he really thinks -- that they were personal honours accorded to Pindar as an individual (p. 308f.: "The speaking subject seems to be the poet... This interpretation makes good sense... the poet heard that Delphi needed a χορός, and has therefore come to help... and to protect his own honours [τιμαί]").
25.   Accepting Wilamowitz' interpretation of ἰῆτε as an abnormal form of ἵημι.
26.   See also G.B. D'Alessio, "Pindar's Prosodia and the classification of Pindaric papyrus fragments," ZPE 118 (1997), pp. 23-60.

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