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Last Updated on July 17, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 534

Water is best, and gold, like a blazing fire in the night, stands out supreme of all lordly wealth. But if, my heart, you wish to sing of contests, look no further for any star warmer than the sun, shining by day through the lonely sky, and let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia.
These lines begin the ode. They compose a priamel, which is a literary device that often occurs in ancient Greek poetry. In this device, the poet cites correlations or metaphors from other parts of life. These serve as foils or comparisons for the subject of the poem, which is the Olympics. Pindar begins speaking about how water and gold are the best elements in their respective realms, but they are nothing in comparison to the Olympics.
But when you disappeared, and people did not bring you back to your mother, for all their searching, right away some envious neighbor whispered that they cut you limb from limb with a knife into the water's rolling boil over the fire, and among the tables at the last course they divided and ate your flesh.
In the middle of the ode, Pindar speaks about the myth of Pelops, who was taken by the god Poseidon into the heavens. According to some accounts, Tantalus, Pelops's father, cut his son up and served him to the gods at a banquet. The gods all refrained from eating Pelops—save Demeter, who ate his shoulder. He therefore needed a new shoulder, which Demeter made out of ivory. Pindar, however, says that this myth is mere rumor. Earlier in the poem, Pindar speaks about "stories adorned with embroidered lies," comparing falsehoods to a cloth onto which lies are sewn. Pindar says that a jealous neighbor made up this lie when Pelops could not be found. Pindar states that a god could never be a glutton, or someone who would eat a mortal. Pindar believes that the gods could not carry out this type of savagery.
The fame of Pelops shines from afar in the races of the Olympic...

(The entire section contains 534 words.)

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