7. Isthmian 8: A Monster Avoided
The special problems Pindar had faced in making an ode for Lampon were intensified when, a few years later, another from Aigina, Telesarchos, commissioned an ode for his son, Kleandros. Isthmian 8 is a celebration of not only the youth, Kleandros, but also of his father's nephew, Nikokles, a victorious athlete who seems to be recently dead. Pindar utilises two key concepts, good hope and freedom, which direct that men should strive to fulfil their ambitions, stretch their courageous strength to its fullest, like the Aiakids, and then celebrate victory by giving free rein to healing song that imitates that of the Muses. Kleandros is ready to take on these responsibilities, for he moves into the adult state after a youth devoted to the harsh challenge of the pankration, the most warlike of contests.
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