Pindaric Metre: The ‘Other Half’

Pindaric Metre: The ‘Other Half’

Kiichiro Itsumi

Print publication date: 2009

ISBN: 9780199229611

Publisher: Oxford University Press


This book describes the metrical features of the twenty-two Pindaric epinikia which are not composed in dactylo-epitrite (‘the other half’). These odes are puzzling, and scholars currently assume, without detailed examination, that they are all composed in a single type of metre which is often called ‘aeolic’. The book argues that there are in fact two types of metre (Pindaric epinikia are not as polymetric as the odes of tragedy), and divides the metrical styles of the stanza-forms of the ‘other half’ into three groups, according to the way in which these two metres are knitted together. This is the main theme of Part I. Part II consists of metrical commentaries. The structure of each stanza-form is analysed and compared with others, and abundant metrical parallels are provided, both for the individual verses and for the stanza-form as a whole. In a few passages textual problems are also discussed, for metrical study is in part an auxiliary discipline of textual criticism. In particular, metrical understanding is essential when one has to judge whether or not exact responsion may be broken in a particular metrical position. In an Appendix to this Part, the metrical features of the major fragments (most of which are Paeans) and their characteristics are also described. With its clear identification of a series of precise entities from which Pindar's verses are made, the book's study as a whole imposes a new clarity and discipline on what had previously seemed a much vaguer process.