Friday, January 27, 2023

Dangerous Beauty: The Abduction of Pelops, Pindar, Olympian 1.23-27;36-45

 It is important to note that the common denominator in abduction myths is not the victim's gender, but their beauty

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ἐν εὐάνορι Λυδοῦ Πέλοπος ἀποικίᾳ:

τοῦ μεγασθενὴς ἐράσσατο γαιάοχος

Ποσειδᾶν, ἐπεί νιν καθαροῦ λέβητος ἔξελε Κλωθὼ

ἐλέφαντι φαίδιμον ὦμον κεκαδμένον.


υἱὲ Ταντάλου, σὲ δ᾽, ἀντία προτέρων, φθέγξομαι,

ὁπότ᾽ ἐκάλεσε πατὴρ τὸν εὐνομώτατον

ἐς ἔρανον φίλαν τε Σίπυλον,

ἀμοιβαῖα θεοῖσι δεῖπνα παρέχων,

τότ᾽ Ἀγλαοτρίαιναν ἁρπάσαι

δαμέντα φρένας ἱμέρῳ χρυσέαισί τ᾽ ἀν᾽ ἵπποις

ὕπατον εὐρυτίμου ποτὶ δῶμα Διὸς μεταβᾶσαι,

ἔνθα δευτέρῳ χρόνῳ

 ἦλθε καὶ Γανυμήδης

Ζηνὶ τωὔτ᾽ ἐπὶ χρέος.


 Cui gloria splendet apud praestantem viris Lydi Pelopis coloniam, quem praepotens amavit terram cingens Neptunus, postquam eum splendido lebete exemerat Clotho, ebore in nitido humero ornatum.


Fili Tantali, te vero contra quam superiores dicam, quando pater ad probissimas epulas et dilectam Sipylum vocavit, vicissim diis coenas praebens, tunc tridente inclutum deum rapuisse Domitum praecordia amore, ut aureo in curro ad supremam late venerandi Iovis domum te transferret, quo insequenti tempore venit etiam Ganymedes Iovi eundem ad usum.   

--Pindar, Olympian 1.23-27; 36-45; Translated into Latin by Augustus Boeckhius, 1821

...Your fame stands out

Among your peers in the famous colony of Lydian Pelops

The way that Pelops’ ivory shoulder did 

as Klotho rescued him from the glimmering stewpot*

When the mighty, all-encompassing Poseidon 

fell in love with him.


O Pelops, son of Tantalus, 

I’ll tell you a tale different 

than what earlier accounts tell of you.

When your father invited the gods to a feast at his dear Sipylus, 

the trident-bearing god [Poseidon],

 burning with love, 

seized you

And with a chariot drawn by golden horses

Led you to the highest house of Zeus himself,

Where at a later time

Zeus would do the same

With Ganymede.

* According to myth, Sisyphus dismembered and fed his son Pelops' body to the gods in order to test them. Pelops was brought back to life and the missing flesh was replaced with a prosthetic ivory shoulder. The gods punished Sisyphus for this action by making him suffer eternal punishment in Tartarus.





Name: Pindar

Date:   518 – 438 BCE

Works:   Odes








  Pindar is a famous Greek poet from Boeotia (modern Greece) known for his victory odes. These odes, for victors of Pythian, Nemean, and Olympic games, are rich in mythological imagery, and help us understand the relationships of the ancient Greeks to their cultural heritage and their understanding of the past. 




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