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Pindar's Songs for Young Athletes of Aigina$
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Anne Pippin Burnett

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277940

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277940.001.0001

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9. Nemean 3: The Education of Achilles

9. Nemean 3: The Education of Achilles

(p.136) 9. Nemean 3: THE EDUCATION OF ACHILLES
Pindar's Songs for Young Athletes of Aigina

Anne Pippin Burnett

Oxford University Press

Nemean 3 is a song made by Pindar for Aristokleidas, a young man who competed in pankration. Its peculiarities are both internal and external, for the chorus, now singing and dancing, begins by pretending that it has not yet begun. This is therefore another artful representation of a pre-performance moment, like that found at the opening of Isthmian 8. As it passes from potential into actuality, the ode is pervaded with images which suggest a parallel passage from youth to maturity. In spite of sung indications of happy advancement, Nemean 3 is routinely described as a gloomy warning sent by a presumptuous poet to a man who is too old, too sick, or too untalented to continue as an athlete. And yet it is not this ultimate contest, but rather a short but perfect education of Achilles that Pindar has placed in the central triad of his ode.

Keywords:   ode, Pindar, Achilles, pankration, Aristokleidas, Nemean 3, images, youth, maturity

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