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Pindar's EyesVisual and Material Culture in Epinician Poetry$
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David Fearn

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746379

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746379.001.0001

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Ecphrasis and the Politics of Time in Pythian 1

Ecphrasis and the Politics of Time in Pythian 1

(p.168) 3 Ecphrasis and the Politics of Time in Pythian 1
Pindar's Eyes

David Fearn

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a new interpretation of the elaborate opening frame of Pindar’s Pythian 1 within the broader encomiastic strategies of this poem. In it the ecphrastic and hymnic qualities of this opening are discussed, and especially its use of the volcanic eruption of Mount Etna. The poem’s treatments of the following are revealed: the interrelation between myth and history; divine and mortal time; the nature and extent of the divide between divine and mortal realms; and the prospects for encomiastic memorialization within these parameters. The poem provides a self-reflexive commentary on itself and its prospects, as a ruptured array of heroic and divine myth and human historicity, sociopolitical agency, and totalitarian attempts to control time. It is aimed not only at Hieron and Sicily, but also at others across the Greek world. This complex reception is prefigured in visual, ecphrastic terms.

Keywords:   ecphrastic, Etna, Hieron, historicity, rupture, reception

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