Πίνδαρος ὁ ποιητὴς θηβαῖος ἦν ἐκ Κυνοκεφάλων· κώμη δέ ἐστι θηβαϊκή· υἱὸς δὲ Δαϊφάντου, κατὰ δ’ἐνίους Παγώνδα. ἔνιοι δὲ Σκοπελίνου αὐτὸν γενεαλογοῦσι, τινὲς δὲ τὸν Σκοπελῖνον πατρωὸν αὐτοῦ γενέσθαι καὶ αὐλητὴν ὄντα τὴν τέχνην διδάξαι. μητρὸς δὲ Κλεοδίκης· οἱ δὲ Κληδίκης γράφουσι. παῖς δὲ ὢν ὁ Πίνδαρος, ὡς Χαμαιλέων καὶ Ἴστρος φασὶ, περὶ τὸν Ἑλικῶνα θηρῶντα αὐτὸν ὑπὸ πολλοῦ καμάτου εἰς ὕπνον κατενεχθῆναι, κοιμωμένου δὲ αὐτοῦ μέλισσαν τῶι στόματι προσκαθίσασαν κηρία ποιῆσαι. οἱ δέ φασιν ὅτι ὄναρ εἶδεν ὡς μέλιτος καὶ κηροῦ πλῆρες εἶναι αὐτοῦ τὸ στόμα, καὶ ἐπὶ ποιητικὴν ἐτράπη. διδάσκαλον δὲ αὐτοῦ Ἀθήνησιν οἱ μὲν Ἀγαθοκλέα, οἱ δὲ Ἀπολλόδωρον λέγουσιν, ὃν καὶ προϊστάμενον κυκλίων χορῶν ἀποδημοῦντα πιστεῦσαι τὴν διδασκαλίαν τῶι Πινδάρῶι παιδὶ ὄντι, τὸν δὲ εὖ διακοσμήσαντα διαβόητον γενέσθαι. ἔρεισμα δὲ τῆς Ἑλλάδος εἰπὼν Ἀθήνας Fr. 76 Snell-Maehler ἐζημιώθη ὑπὸ θηβαίων χιλίαις δραχμαῖς ἃς ἐξέτισαν ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ Ἀθηναῖοι. ἦν δὲ οὐ μόνον εὐφυὴς ποιητὴς, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἄνθρωπος θεοφιλής. ὁ γοῦν Πὰν ὁ θεὸς ὤφθη μεταξὺ τοῦ Κιθαιρῶνος καὶ τοῦ Ἑλικῶνος ἄιδων παιᾶνα Πινδάρου· διὸ καὶ ἆισμα ἐποίησεν εἰς τὸν θεὸν ἐν ὧι χάριν ὁμολογεῖ τῆς τιμῆς αὐτῶι, οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· ὦ Πὰν Πὰν Ἀρκαδίας μεδέων καὶ σεμνῶν ἀδύτων φύλαξ Fr. 95 Snell-Maehler. ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ Δημήτηρ ὄναρ ἐπιστᾶσα αὐτῶι ἐπέμψατο, ὅτι μόνην τῶν θεῶν οὐχ ὕμνησεν· ὁ δὲ εἰς αὐτὴν ἐποίησε ποίημα οὗ ἡ ἀρχή· Πότνια θεσμοφόρε χρυσάνιον Fr. 37 Snell-Maehler. ἀλλὰ καὶ βωμὸν ἀμφοτέρων τῶν θεῶν πρὸ τῆς οἰκίας τῆς ἰδίας ἱδρύσατο. Παυσανίου δὲ τοῦ Λακεδαιμονίων βασιλέως ἐμπιπρῶντος τὰς Θήβας ἐπέγραψέ τις τῆι οἰκίαι· Πινδάρου τοῦ μουσοποιοῦ τὴν στέγην μὴ καίετε· καὶ οὕτως μόνη ἀπόρθητος ἔμεινεν, καὶ ἔστι τὸ νῦν ἐν Θήβαις πρυτανεῖον. ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν Δελφοῖς ὁ προφήτης μέλλων κλείειν τὸν νεὼν κηρύσσει καθ’ ἡμέραν· Πίνδαρος ὁ μουσοποιὸς παρίτω πρὸς τὸ δεῖπνον τῶι θεῶι. καὶ γὰρ ἐν τῆι τῶν Πυθίων ἑορτῆι ἐγεννήθη, ὡς αὐτός φησι Fr. 193 Snell-Maehler· Πενταετηρὶς ἑορτὰ βουπομπὸς, ἐν ἇι πρῶτον εὐνάσθην ἀγαπατὸς ὑπὸ σπαργάνοις. λέγεται δὲ θεωροὺς ἀπιόντας εἰς Ἄμμωνος αἰτῆσαι Πινδάρωι τὸ ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἄριστον, καὶ ἀποθανεῖν ἐν ἐκείνωι τῶι ἐνιαυτῶι. ἐπέβαλλε δὲ τοῖς χρόνοις Σιμωνίδηι ἧι νεώτερος πρεσβυτέρωι· τῶν γοῦν αὐτῶν μέμνηται ἀμφότεροι πράξεων. καὶ γὰρ Σιμωνίδης τὴν ἐν Σαλαμῖνι ναυμαχίαν γέγραφε καὶ Πίνδαρος μέμνηται τῆς Κάδμου βασιλείας Fr. 272 Snell-Maehler. ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀμφότεροι παρὰ Ἱέρωνι τῶι Συρακοσίων τυράννωι γεγένηται. γήμας δὲ Μεγάκλειαν τὴν Λυσιθέου καὶ Καλλίνης ἔσχεν υἱὸν Δαΐφαντον, ὧι καὶ δαφνηφορικὸν ἆισμα ἔγραψεν· καὶ θυγατέρας δύο, Πρωτομάχην καὶ Εὔμητιν. γέγραφε δὲ βιβλία ἑπτακαίδεκα· ὕμνους, παια̂νας, διθυράμβων β’, προσοδίων β’· παρθενίων β’, φέρεται δὲ καὶ γ’ ὃ ἐπιγράφεται κεχωρισμένων παρθενίων· ὑπορχημάτων β’, ἐγκώμια, θρήνους, ἐπινίκων δ’. φέρεται δὲ ἐπίγραμμα ἐπὶ τῆι τελευτῆι αὐτοῦ τόδε·
Ἦ μάλα Πρωτομάχα σε καὶ Εὔμητις λιγύφωνοι
ἔκλαυσαν πινυταὶ, Πίνδαρε, θυγατέρες,
Ἀργόθεν ἦμος ἵκοντο κομίζουσ’ ἔνδοθι κρωσσοῦ
λείψαν’ ἀπὸ ξείνης ἀθρόα πυρκαϊῆς.
The life of Pindar.
Pindar the Theban poet was from Cynocephalae – Cynocephalae is a Theban village. He was the son of Daïphantus, according to some of Pagondas. Some make him a descendant of Scopelinus, others say that Scopelinus was his uncle and was a flute-player, who taught Pindar his craft. His mother was Cleodice, but some spell it Cledice.
When Pindar was a child, as Chamaeleon and Ister say, he was hunting around Helicon and fell asleep from sheer tiredness; as he slept, a bee landed on his mouth and made a honeycomb. Others say that in a dream he saw that his mouth was full of honey and wax, and he turned to poetry.
Some say that Agathocles was his teacher at Athens. Others say that it was Apollodorus, and they also say that Apollodorus, who headed circular choruses, once when he was away from town entrusted their training to Pindar, although he was still a child; Pindar directed the choir well and became famous abroad.
When he said that Athens was the pillar of Greece, he was fined a thousand drachmas by the Thebans, which the Athenians paid for him.
He was not only a naturally talented poet, but also a man dear to the gods. The god Pan was seen between Cithaeron and Helicon singing a paean of Pindar. Because of this, Pindar composed a song to the god, in which he returns gratitude for the honour paid to him; the beginning of the song is “O Pan, Pan ruler of Arcadia and guardian of the holy sanctuaries.” And also Demeter stood next to Pindar in a dream and complained because he had not made a hymn to her only out of the gods. So he made her a poem, which begins: “Law-giving queen with golden reins.” And he also built an altar to both gods in front of his own house.
When Pausanias the Spartan king razed Thebes with fire, someone wrote on Pindar’s house: “Don’t burn the house of Pindar the poet.” Therefore only Pindar’s house stood unburnt, and it is the prytaneion in Thebes still today.
And also when the priest at Delphi is about to shut the door of the temple, he proclaims each day: “May Pindar the poet come to the meal for the god.” For in fact Pindar was born during the Pythian festival, as he himself says: “Quadriennial festival celebrated with a procession of oxen, in which for the first time I slept, well loved, under the protection of swaddling bands.”
It is said that envoys went to Ammon and asked on behalf of Pindar what was the best thing for men, and he died before the year was over.
He lived at the same time of Simonides (Simonides was older, Pindar younger); in fact, they both mention the same events. For Simonides wrote about the naval battle at Salamis, and Pindar mentioned the kingship of Cadmus. And also, both of them stayed with Hiero tyrant of Syracuse.
He married Megacleia, the daughter of Lysitheus and Calline, and had a son, Daïphantus, for whom he also wrote a song for the Daphnephoria; he also had two daughters, Protomache and Eymetis.
He wrote seventeen books: hymns, paeans, two books of dithyrambs, two of prosodia, two of partheneia, and, it is said, also another three books which he entitled “Separated partheneia;” two books of hyporchemes, encomia, laments, four of epinician odes.
This epigram about his death is passed down:
“Clear-voiced Protomache and Eymetis mourned very much for you, Pindar, your wise daughters, when from Argos they came, bringing home in the cinerary urn the remnants of your body, all assembled, from a foreign funeral pyre.”