Giving Wings to the Aeginetan Sculptures: The Panhellenic Aspirations of Pindar's Eighth Olympian
This chapter discusses Pindar's Olympian 8 in the context of escalating tensions between Aegina and Athens. It interprets the political significance of some major poetic choices in light of the historical background of the composition and performance, linking a number of issues that scholars have previously assessed independently: the importance of the two different performance settings that poem indicates; the political significance of Apollo's prophecy to Aiakos in the ode's myth; Pindar's allusion to the two pediments of the Temple of Aphaia temple; comparison of Apollo's prophecy with the Delphic oracle to the Athenians to mark out a precinct to Aiakos recorded at Herodotus 5.89. Pindar's mythical variant, building on the sculptural programme of the Temple of Aphaia, challenges the force of the Athenian tradition as a charter for the eventual destruction of Aegina. The opening description of a performance at Olympia underlines the Panhellenic aspirations of these Aeginetan counter-claims.
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