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Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies

July 19, 2013 Posted by Arum Park under E-journal, Language/Literature, Research Symposium

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Park, Arum. Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies. CHS Research Bulletin 1, no. 2 (2013).

1 Pindars epinician odes take care to identify and emphasize the relationship between poet and patron, a relationship that is based on reciprocity,
truthfulness, and trust, and is marked by key terms and concepts such as xenia, philia, charis, and altheia.[1] These terms are what the poet uses to
define his genre of epinician poetry and appear both when he refers to the relationship to his patron (cf. the opening lines of Olympian 10) and in the
mythical digressions, during which reciprocity often figures as a theme linking myth and outer praise narrative. In such digressions female characters,
like their predecessors in poets such as Homer and Hesiod, are often depicted as deceptive and seductive, but in the epinician context this deception
is depicted to emphasize its impact on relationships of exchange and reciprocity, such as guest-friendship and marriage, that reflect the poets
relationship to his patron. Thus, the poet incorporates familiar depictions of women in his metaphorical representations of epinician poetry, coupling
gender with genre in such a way that the two become almost inseparably intertwined: gender cannot be defined without recourse to genre and vice
versa. The examples I will examine here are the Hera-cloud in Pythian 2, Koronis in Pythian 3, and Hippolyta in Nemean 5.

Pythian 2: Feminized Deception

2 The figure of the Hera-cloud in the Ixion myth of Pythian 2 raises the issue of gender and its relationship to genre by illuminating the link between
truth and reciprocity. Ixion, a mortal man who has enjoyed the rare privilege of living among the gods, subsequently loses this privilege through his
own error and suffers the torment of being permanently bound to a spinning wheel in the Underworld. Pindar tells us of two specific crimes that result
in Ixions eternal damnation: the murder of a family member and the attempted seduction of Hera (Pythian 2.3134), in retaliation for which Zeus
fashions a false Hera, a cloud bearing the appearance and sexual allure of the real one. Ixion couples with this Hera-cloud under the
misapprehension that she is real and begets Kentauros, who in turn becomes the eponymous forebear of the half-man, half-horse creatures familiar
from mythology.
3 Pindar depicts the crime primarily as a violation of a unique relationship between Ixion and Zeus. Having been granted the supreme blessing of
life among the Olympian gods (2526), Ixion squanders this life by overstepping the bounds of propriety and developing a lust for Hera. In doing so,
he disturbs the delicate balance of his relationship with Zeus, which is essentially a guest-host friendship, but an unusual one in that the two
participants are a god and a mortal. Ixions lust is a twofold offense as he has wronged both a host and a god. Thus does Pindar tell us of the
necessity to observe ones proper place ( , 34). In response to Ixions violation, Zeus deceives him with the
Hera-cloud, which formalizes the dissolution of xenia between himself and Ixion. This type of guile is not ordinarily permissible in a guest-friendship,
but because Ixion has behaved in a manner unsuitable for a xenos, he effectively severs his relationship with Zeus, who is now free to enact a
retributive deception.
4 The usual story of Ixion, as Glenn Most ably summarizes, is that having promised his father-in-law gifts in exchange for the bride, Ixion murders
him when he attempts to collect. Madness overcomes Ixion, whom Zeus eventually purges of blood-guilt and invites to Olympus,[2] only to expel him
for making advances on Hera. While Pindar refers specifically to both of Ixions crimes (Pythian 2.3034), his reference to the father-in-laws murder is
vague and, as Most points out, presupposes a precise familiarity with the rest of the myth.[3] Details of Ixions bloodguilt are omitted or downplayed in
Pindars version, which focuses instead on the seduction of Hera. Furthermore, it is Zeus more than Hera who is depicted as the victim of Ixions
crime. While the crime is clearly attempted rape, Pindar later includes Zeus as a victim along with Hera, who is relegated to a possession of her
husband: , | (He fell in love with Hera, who belonged to Zeus for joyous acts of love, 2728).
By doing so, Pindar underscores Ixions action as a violation of Zeus and reformulates the rape as a different type of offense. Even Ixion himself


Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies | CHS Research Bulletin


understands his crime primarily as a violation of his host, rather than of Hera: the admonition he is forced to utter from his wheel of torment reflects
regret foremost for violating reciprocal trust rather than for any other (more obviously objectionable) offense:
(Go and repay your benefactor with deeds of gentle recompense, 24).
5 In depicting Ixions crime as a violation of xenia, Pindar departs significantly from other versions of the myth: Ixions lust for Hera inverts Homers
presentation, where it is Zeus who couples with Ixions wife (Iliad XIV 317); in casting Zeus as the fashioner of the Hera-cloud, Pindar again varies
from an account in which Hera invents her own retaliatory imitation.[4] These differences are significant demonstrations of Pindars shift in focus to
the relationship between Zeus and Ixion and his incorporation of the Hera-cloud as a key component of that relationship. A punitive instrument of
Ixions downfall, the cloud also represents a symbolic act of communication by Zeus; Pindar terms the Hera-cloud a pseudos, which he usually
reserves for verbal falsehoods:[5]

, . (Pythian 2.3640)
Because he lay with a cloud, an ignorant man in pursuit of a sweet lie, for it resembled in looks the foremost heavenly goddess, Kronos
daughter. Zeus wiles set it as a snare for him, a beautiful affliction.
6 The pseudos refers to the imitation of Hera that Zeus has fabricated as a trap (, 39) and a bane (, 40) for Ixion. Through this Heracloud, Zeus conveys to Ixion a false message that seduction of Hera is permissible. Thus, Zeus effectively speaks to Ixion through the Hera-cloud.
7 In this respect, Pindars Hera-cloud bears striking resemblance to Pandora, whom Hesiod describes in similar language.[6] Both Pandora and the
Hera-cloud are oxymorons: as the scholiast to Pindar notes, the beautiful bane ( , Pythian 2.40) of the Hera-cloud echoes Hesiods
description of Pandora as a beautiful evil ( , Theogony 585) and great bane to mankind ( , Theogony 592). Furthermore, each
female figure has been constructed as a likeness or an image, comparable to its model but not equivalent to it. Hesiods Pandora is made in the
image of a devout maiden ( , Theogony 572) while the Hera-cloud, of course, is an imitation of Hera (
, Pythian 2.3839). Each female figure embodies falsehood and deception: the cloud is a sweet lie ( , Pythian 2.37)
and Pandora is a deception ( , Works and Days 83; , ,
Theogony 589). Perhaps most importantly, each female figure is created by the mandate and wiles of Zeus ( , Pythian 2.40; cf.
, Theogony 572 = Works and Days 71).
8 Thus these figures represent acts of communication and exchange by Zeus, who produces each of them to punish mortals, yet they are also
given the ability to act of their own accord. As entities that are paradoxically both passive and active, pseudo-Hera and Pandora embody a recurrent
female type in Greek thought, a type that Ann Bergren has identified in Herodotus:
Women are like words, they are metaphorical words, but they are also original sources of speech, speakers themselves. They are both
passive objects and active agents of linguistic exchangeIn this relation to the linguistic and the social system, the womanis paradoxically
both secondary and original, both passive and active, both a silent and a speaking sign. (Bergren 1983:76)
9 She draws on the work of Lvi-Strauss, who observes that in the practice of marriage exchange, women are traded between men as a
communicative sign, yet the female herself also generates her own signs.[7] These ideas resonate with both the Pandora-myth of Hesiod and the
Ixion-myth of Pythian 2. Pandora, as the price mankind must pay for fire, is the incarnation of Zeus deception, a message of retribution. As a divine
creation, she is a passive entity who embodies the various aspects of the gods who contributed to her making, but the very gifts that she represents
also enable her to act of her own accord. Not only is she a steep deception of Zeus, she is also given the capacity to speak falsehoods and
deceptions by Hermes (Works and Days 78). She subsequently, of her own will, opens the jar that unleashes all evil onto the world (Works and Days
9495). Thus Pandora originates as Zeus deception, but her ability to act represents a combination of her own agency as well as an embodiment of
the gods exchange with mankind.
10 Similarly, Zeus creates the Hera-cloud in retribution for Ixions offense; as a pseudos the cloud effectively serves as an act of communication to
Ixion. The Hera-cloud, like Pandora, is not entirely a passive entity or an illusion; her seductive effect on Ixion is powerful and real enough to result
in coupling and reproduction. While a creation of Zeus, she is also an independent being whose agency and ability to interact sexually with Ixion
increasingly overtakes Zeus as the focus of the mythical narrative. By describing the Hera-cloud as a lie and a bane, Pindar calls attention to her
ability to cause deception and misery. No mere illusion, the false-Hera, born as a cloud, nevertheless attains enough tangibility to engage in sexual
activity and produce a line of descendants, with which the mythical digression concludes:

. (Pythian 2.4244)
Without the Graces blessing, that unique mother bore a unique son, who was overbearing and respected neither among men nor in the ways
of the gods. She who reared him called him Kentauros.
11 At this point Zeus hand has completely disappeared: just as Hera is occluded by Zeus, Zeus too, who has been mentioned only twice and each
time in oblique cases (, 34; , 40), recedes to the background. Attention to Ixion as well, after a few words reiterating his punishment, yields
to a focus on the Hera-cloud and her progeny. The repetition of / (43) stresses the singularity of the Hera-cloud and her child Kentauros,
and, as Bonnie MacLachlan observes, the absence of the Graces from the birth, along with the exclusion of Kentauros from both mortal and godly
realms further accentuates the isolation of these figures.[8]


Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies | CHS Research Bulletin


12 Thus the Hera-cloud, originally a passive creation, is now an independent, discrete entity. Ultimately, figures such as Pandora or the Hera-cloud
embody a paradox: by playing the dual roles of message and speaker, they enable communicative acts by Zeus, who in creating them as deceptions,
metaphorically speaks them while absolving himself of culpability for their trickery. By fashioning these female figures, Zeus ensures conveyance of
punishment or retribution, but because these figures can speak and act for themselves, he transfers agency of deception onto them. Thus do Pindar
and Hesiod feminize deception, for an initially male act of falsehood becomes a female act of seduction.[9] To borrow the ideas of Bergren and LviStrauss, Pandora and pseudo-Hera are signs both passive, embodying Zeus message to mortals, and active, as agents of their own communication.
13 Pindars innovation lies in the situation of this female type within a relationship of reciprocity. Unlike Pandora, who is simply a retributive figure,
the Hera-cloud terminates the relationship between xenoi, a relationship that serves as a metaphor for Pindars own relationship to his patron. In the
context of Pindars odes, the creation of a female, third-party pseudos between guest-friends Zeus and Ixion sheds light on both the poets
metaphorical relationship of xenia with his patron, and the role of gender in his characterizations of truth, falsehood, and deception. By externalizing
falsehood from Zeus and Ixions guest-friendship in the form of a seductive female figure, Pindar implies that falsehood and deception do not belong
in the xenia he shares with his patron and secondarily suggests that the feminine, as represented by deceptive seduction, is external to the bounds of
proper guest-friendship. Pindar thus employs a model of misogyny familiar from earlier poetry, but reformulates it to suit his specific genre of epinician

Pythian 3: Koronis and Female Perversion of Exchange

14 In several of his mythical narratives, Pindar similarly points to a female figure as a source of corruption to relationships of reciprocity like xenia
and marriage. Perhaps the way has already been paved for him by Hesiod, who puts the source of both falsehood and truth in the mouths of the
female Muses (Theogony 2629),[10] or by Homer, whose Hera incorporates seduction in her deception of Zeus in Iliad XIVXV. Pindar often
embellishes a tale of seduction or infidelity by partnering such crimes with a deceptive element, thus adding another layer to the complicated nexus of
altheia, pseudos, and xenia.
15 For example, Koronis in Pythian 3 shares many points of similarity with Ixion and, like the Hera-cloud, threatens a ritualized relationship of
reciprocity with seduction and deception. Having conceived the child of Apollo, Koronis falls in love with another man and couples with him,
unbeknownst to her father. Apollo, however, detects her infidelity and consequently sends his sister Artemis to fell Koronis with her arrows. The
similarities between Koronis and Ixion appear at the level of verbal resonance: Pindar refers to both Koronis and Ixions crimes as mental folly
( , Pythian 3.13; cf. , Pythian 2.30), involving love for something inappropriate. Koronis was in love with what
was distant ( , 3.20), while Ixions love for Hera is based on crazed irrationality ( | , 2.26
27). Moreover, Pindar emphasizes the profoundly delusional lust of each ( , 2.28; , 3.24).[11]
16 Beyond these verbal echoes, Koronis crime further resembles Ixions in that hers too occurs in the context of a guest-host relationship, although
a more subtle one. Pindar provides very few details about Ischys, the man who diverts Koronis affections from Apollo, but he does mention twice that
her affair occurs with a xenos (, Pythian 3.25; , 32), a significant repetition in light of the paucity of other details concerning Ischys.
In this context the term is generally translated stranger and reflects Pindars variation from the traditional myth in making Ischys a foreigner from
Arcadia (25) rather than a fellow Thessalian like Koronis.[12] As David Young and Reginald Burton each observe, this innovation fits into the general
message of the ode that one should love what is near, both geographically and figuratively.[13] A side effect of this innovation is that Ischys becomes
a guest-friend, presumably of Koronis father, whose expected participation in this diplomatic relationship of exchange is implied when Pindar faults
Koronis for acting without her fathers knowledge ( , 13). Furthermore, both Koronis and Ixions sexual activities offend the gods and
produce offspring, who are borne of an act of deception.
17 In the Koronis myth the guest-host relationship is not between Koronis and a godindeed, female participation in xenia would have been rare,
almost inconceivable[14]but between two mortals, Ischys and Koronis father, whose sole mention in line 13 serves to note his participation in a
relationship of alliance between host and guest. Koronis violates this relationship by interfering in it and forging a marriage alliance without her
fathers approval.[15] Ixions and Koronis interactions with the gods represent two different albeit closely related relationships: Ixion and Zeus are
engaged in a guest-host relationship while Koronis and Apollo are essentially married, as they are involved in a binding sexual relationship whose
trust Koronis violates by sleeping with Ischys.[16] Marriage and xenia resemble one another in that each comprises a set of expectations and
reciprocal obligations, but the different dynamics of xenia and marriage make for different modes of violation. The key difference between Ixion and
Koronis is, of course, gender, which is the primary explanation for the points of divergence between their otherwise similar stories. While both violate
xenia, only Koronis, as a female figure, does so through deception and seduction, thus embodying the gender paradigms of ancient myth.
18 The secrecy that characterizes Koronis relations with her father extends to her interactions with Apollo as well ( , 32) and further
marks her crime as not merely one of delusion but also of deception. This characteristic of deception enters into two crimes, one against her father
and the other against Apollo, and thus corrupts two sacred relationships. The first is the relationship of xenia between Koronis father and Ischys, who
is presumably a guest in her fathers house. Koronis, as a woman, does not have a part in guest-host relations, nor does she have the authority to
forge a marriage without the knowledge or consent of her father.[17] Moreover, Pindar downplays Ischys agency and culpability in the affair, even
delaying the sole mention of his name until line 31. Instead, Koronis is the constant focal point. She violates the unspoken agreement between Apollo
and herself that she will remain faithful to him while pregnant with his child.[18] Her actions recall the paradox of woman described by Bergren, for by
contravening the expectations of bridal passivity, Koronis deception of Apollo causes disorder in their marriage, which has obligations and
expectations of reciprocity similar to those of xenia.[19]
19 The emphasis on Koronis deception is clear, as is the role it plays in her detection. Apollos omniscience is another Pindaric departure from the
earlier version of the myth in which a raven informs Apollo of Koronis infidelity. The intended significance of this change is debatable,[20] but it is
clear that Apollos knowledge of Koronis deception is of key importance to the tale. Moreover, the way Pindar describes Apollos omniscience is

, ,
. (Pythian 3.27-30)


Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies | CHS Research Bulletin


She did not escape the watcher, but in sheep-receiving Pytho, the king of the temple, Loxias, happened to perceive her, entrusting his
opinion to his most straightforward confidant, his mind which knows all things. He does not embrace falsehoods, and neither god nor mortal
deceives him in deed or thought.
20 Pindar characterizes Apollos distance from falsehood not as a refusal to craft falsehoods, which an extra-contextual translation of
might suggest, but rather as an ability to recognize falsehood.[21] Falsehood is focalized through the perceiver, but the fault of Koronis
as the female crafter is equally emphasized.
21 Female seduction is central to deception in both Pythian 2 and 3. By contrast, no sexual deception occurs in the story of Tantalos and Pelops in
either of the versions Pindar presents in Olympian 1, even though Poseidons sexual attraction to Pelops is a key component of Pindars retelling.
Seduction by a male figure contains no deceptive element. Thus the pseudos of Zeus creation is a female figure intended to allure Ixion, yet because
this figure is capable of acting of her own will, seductive actions are ascribed to her rather than to Zeus. In Ixions story, although the agent of the
deception is a male figure, the deception itself takes the form of a woman. Similarly, Koronis, a woman, deceives Apollo by seducing another man.
Although the two cases are not exact parallelsKoronis, after all, does not deceive Apollo by seducing himin each case female seduction is closely
associated or even synonymous with deception. Moreover, Pindar downplays Ischys role while highlighting Koronis culpable deceptiveness (
, 13; , 27; , 31), thus departing significantly from earlier versions of the myth where Ischys is presented as a
rival to Apollo for Koronis affections.[22] Pindar recasts the myth to emphasize the central role of specifically female seduction and deception.

Nemean 5: Hippolyta as Foil

22 The alliance of female seduction and deception becomes ever clearer as we examine Hippolyta in Nemean 5, who further demonstrates the
tendency for mythical female figures to compound their wrongfully seductive activities with deception. Pindar introduces the story of Peleus and Thetis
with Peleus interactions with Hippolyta. Although married to Akastos, Hippolyta attempts to seduce Peleus, but he refuses her advances, fearing
retribution from Zeus Xenios (3334). Hippolytas reaction is to recruit her husband for an act of vengeance, claiming falsely that Peleus attempted to
seduce her. Unlike Ixion, who succumbs to the charms of a deceptive female figure and thereby disregards the importance of his xenia with Zeus,
Peleus resists such a woman out of respect for xenia. Pindars narrative of falsehood focalizes not through the agent of deception, but through the
one who experiences it: Peleus is rewarded for his virtue, but Hippolyta disappears from the narrative without a word as to her punishment or
subsequent fate.[23]
23 Hippolyta is a foil for the virtuous Peleus, whose marriage to Thetis serves as the mythical paragon of harmonious relations between man and
god, the forging of an alliance with Zeus Xenios as its overseer. Zeus decision to marry Peleus to a sea nymph specifically rests on the observations
he makes as the god who protects the guest-host relationship (3435). His approval alone is not sufficient, however, as he must obtain Poseidons
consent. The marriage of Peleus and Thetis thus represents the culmination of Peleus respect for the guest-host relationship, Zeus recognition of
this respect, and the cooperation of Zeus and Poseidon to reward it. Peleus and Thetis union reflects and results from collaborative relationships on
several levels: on the mortal level Peleus upstanding behavior towards his xenos earns him the reward of marriage; on the divine level the marriage
cannot occur until Zeus confers with his brother Poseidon, whose broad influence is encapsulated in line 37 with the summary of his travels from Aigai
to the Isthmos. The spirit of collaboration that pervades the myth of Peleus and Thetis explains its frequency in odes about Aigina, whose centrality in
commercial affairs often leads Pindar to note its reputation for xenia.[24]
24 In many ways Hippolyta parallels Ixion while Peleus runs counter to him, for she, like Ixion, engages in a lustful attraction that would harm a
guest-host relationship, this time between her husband and Peleus, rather than between herself and a guest.[25] As I have pointed out above,
however, Pindar does not characterize Ixion as deceptive, whereas Hippolyta is emphatically so: she is sneaky (, 26), deceitful even in seduction
( , 32),[26] and deftly persuasive, convincing her husband to take retaliatory action for false charges (
, | , 28).[27] Furthermore, these contrasting depictions of two similar wrongdoers, Ixion and
Hippolyta, cannot be fully attributed to differing circumstances, for Pindar does not inform us of any of the measures Ixion surely must have taken to
conceal his lust for Hera from Zeus. The characterization of Hippolyta as tricky in Nemean 5 is consistent with Nemean 4 ( | , 5758[28]), yet the Peleus myth serves an entirely different purpose in that ode, where his rejection of Hippolyta is not an emphasized prerequisite of his
marriage to Thetis. It is notable that Hippolyta is credited with techne, a term that suggests her talent, intelligence, and resourcefulness. The use of
this term, which elsewhere is used positively of artistry and skill,[29] explicates the generally instinctive aversion to deception and seduction: they
represent perversion or misuse of ordinarily positive, lauded qualities such as artfulness (cf. , Olympian 1.28), cunning, and intelligence.
Deception is driven not by madness of any sort, but by cool rationality, a trait that would normally be favorable.
25 Gender is the key factor in coupling deception with seduction. In all of the myths I have discussed above, female figures and the falsehood they
enact or even embody are central to the disruption of a guest-host relationship. While the ramifications for this disruption vary, in each story a female
figure is the instrument of corrupted relations between guest and host, even when it is a male figure like Ixion who violates xenia. As Jeffrey Carnes
has observed, Hippolyta in Nemean 4 and 5
threatens the whole system of exchange of women and the Name of the FatherThe consequences of this are represented in immediate,
concrete terms: in female hands, language is harmful, exchangeincluding marriage and xeniais queered, and men must suffer unjustly.
(Carnes 1996:4445)
26 Carnes study notes Hippolytas disruptive role in relationships of exchange and focuses on her masculine sexual aggression[30] when she
hijacks, to disastrous ends, the typically male role in the exchange of women: [Women] must be exchanged by others, not by themselves.[31] His
observations about the corruptive role of women in the Hippolyta myth can also be applied to the Koronis myth of Pythian 3 and the Ixion myth of
Pythian 2, for Koronis disrupts various relationships by arranging her own marriage while the Hera-cloud, a female embodiment of pseudos, cements
the end of Ixion and Zeus xenia.

27 I have endeavored with these examinations to contextualize Pindars deceptive female figures within the epinician poems in which they appear,
and to point out the significance of their situation in these epinician contexts. As a genre that is predicated on reciprocity as its fundamental principle,


Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies | CHS Research Bulletin


and to point out the significance of their situation in these epinician contexts. As a genre that is predicated on reciprocity as its fundamental principle,
epinician depicts truth and falsehood in their relationship to this reciprocity; thus, the deceptiveness of female figures is depicted as detrimental
specifically to the types of relationships that define epinician poetry. Pindars use and adaptation of Hesiods Pandora in seductive female figures
such as the Hera-cloud, Koronis, and Hippolyta demonstrate how he carves out a niche for himself in Greek literature by borrowing earlier gender
paradigms but assimilating them to his epinician models of truth, falsehood, and guest-friendship.

Select Bibliography
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Language and the Female in Greek Thought, 1340. Cambridge, MA.)
Burton, R.W.B. 1962. Pindars Pythian Odes. Essays in Interpretation. Oxford.
Buxton, R.G.A. 1982. Persuasion in Greek Tragedy: A Study of Peitho. Cambridge.
Carnes, Jeffrey S. 1996. The Ends of the Earth: Fathers, Ephebes, and Wild Women in Nemean 4 and 5. Arethusa 29:1555.
Fennell, C.A.M., ed. 1883. Pindar: the Nemean and Isthmian Odes. Cambridge.
Finkelberg, Margalit. 2005. Greeks and Pre-Greeks. Aegean Prehistory and Greek Heroic Tradition. Cambridge and New York.
Finley, M.I. 1981. Economy and Society in Ancient Greece. New York.
Gantz, Timothy Nolan. 1978. Pindars Second Pythian: The Myth of Ixion. Hermes 106:1426.
Garland, Robert. 1990. The Greek Way of Life: From Conception to Old Age. Ithaca.
. 1993. Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources. Baltimore and London.
Gildersleeve, Basil L., ed. 1885. Pindar. The Olympian and Pythian Odes. New York.
Herman, Gabriel. 1987. Ritualised Friendship and the Greek City. Cambridge and New York.
Hubbard, T.K. 1985. The Pindaric Mind: a Study of Logical Structure in early Greek Poetry. Leiden.
Komornicka, Anna M. 1972. Quelques remarques sur la notion d et de chez Pindare. Eos 60:235253.
Kurke, Leslie. 1991. The Traffic in Praise. Ithaca.
Kyriakou, Poulheria. 1994. Images of Women in Pindar. MD 32:3154.
Lyons, Deborah. 2003. Dangerous Gifts: Ideologies of Marriage and Exchange in Ancient Greece. CA 22.1:93134.
MacLachlan, Bonnie. 1993. The Age of Grace: Charis in Early Greek Poetry. Princeton.
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Roth, Paul. 1993. The Theme of Corrupted Xenia in Aeschylus Oresteia. Mnemosyne 46.1:117.
Slater, W.J., ed. 1969. Lexicon to Pindar. Berlin.
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[1] See Park 2013 for further discussion of altheia and its role in Pindars epinician poetry.
[2] Most 1985:77.
[3] Most 1985:8182.
[4] See Carey 1976:39, who cites RE X 1376; see also Gildersleeve 1885:260, citing the scholiast to Euripides Phoenissae 1185.
[5] See Komornicka 1972.
[6] Cf. Most 1985:8284, who discusses the correlation between the Hesiods Pandora myth and Pindars Ixion myth, positing a parallel between
Prometheus and Ixion.
[7] Bergren 1983:75.
[8] Cf. MacLachlan 1993:121: Further, [Ixion] and his offspring are isolated from human society, from the Charites.
[9] Cf. Buxton 1982:6366, who suggests that seductive persuasion is the female version of dolos.


Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies | CHS Research Bulletin


[10] Yet, Hesiod also names Zeus as the Muses father in line 29, just as Zeus mandates the creation of Pandora in Hesiod and the pseudo-Hera in
Pythian 2. Zeus has a significant connection with several female propagators of deception.
[11] Race 1986:65 also notices this echo.
[12] Burton 1962:83; Young 1968:35.
[13] Burton 1962:83; Young 1968:36.
[14] Herman 1987:34 discusses the role of social status in the guest-host relationship and notes that ritualised friendship appears as an
overwhelmingly upper-class institutionPeople of humbler standing are significantly rare. Non-free men are absent altogether. And women are
extremely rare. There are remarkably few references to male-female alliances.
[15] See Herman 1987:2425 for a discussion of how a xenos might foster and encourage a marriage.
[16] Of course Apollo, as a god, never formally marries Koronis, but the possessive authority he exercises over her represents the closest
approximation to marriage that can occur between a god and a mortal. Cf. Kyriakou 1994:35, who points out that Pindar suggests a marital
arrangement between Koronis and Apollo when he refers to her union with Ischys as (Pythian 3.13). Cf. Iliad IX 336, where Achilles
laments the loss of Briseis, his , a word that evokes marriage, even though Achilles and Briseis have no formal relationship. As a union
between a mortal woman and an immortal god, Koronis and Apollos relationship operates on a double standard of fidelity. Apollo expects monogamy
from Koronis, even though he would expect no such devotion from another immortal (cf. Lyons 2003:97n21 on marriage in Hesiod: The gods already
practice marriage of a sort, but it is not for the most part the enduring institution known to mortals, e.g., , , Theog. 507508.).
[17] Cf. the comments on wild women by Carnes 1996:31. Carnes argues that Peleus marriage to Thetis in Nemean 4 imposes a custom of
civilization on the untamed fringes of the earth. Marriage, as an act of civilization, suppresses women who must be exchanged by others, not by
themselves. Koronis, in taking this act of exchange into her own hands, would qualify as an inappropriate, even untamed woman. Cf. also the
plethora of scholarly work on marriage in ancient Greek society, including Finley 1981:233245; Garland 1990:210241; and Finkelberg 2005: 90
[18] Cf. Burton 1962:83: Coronis sin was that she lay with a mortal while pregnant by a god.
[19] Cf. Roth 1993:3 on the relationship between Klytaimestra and Agamemnon in the Oresteia: Aside from the fact that like Helen and the lion of the
parable she [Klytaimestra] is an outsider brought into the house who with time encompasses her hosts destruction, her status as a wife is analogous
to that of a guest, for marriage and xenia were parallel social institutions. The basic function of each was to bring an outsider into the kin-group, and
both forms of relationship entailed the exchanging of gifts and the formation of a hereditary bond imposing mutual obligations between families.
[20] See Young 1968:3738 for a discussion of this divergence. Citing Burton 1962:84, Fennell ad loc., and Wilamowitz 1922:281, Young argues that
Pindar alludes to the Hesiodic tale of the raven with the word (27), but chooses not to go into further detail, as the aetiological nature of the
raven-myth does not fit into Pindars overall scheme in Pythian 3. I am skeptical as to the allusive nature of , which I take to be a direct
reference to Apollos omniscience. Cf. Burton 1962:84, who observes that the absence of the raven emphasizes Apollos reliance on his own
omniscience for the truth of Koronis infidelity.
[21] Pace Gildersleeve 1885:272, who interprets more ambiguity in the phrase: Neither deceiving nor deceived.
[22] Homeric Hymn to Apollo 210. Gantz 1993:91 even calls this allusion to Ischys a clash between Apollo and Ischys, thus investing Ischys with a
great deal more agency in the Homeric Hymn than he has in Pythian 3.
[23] Carnes 1996:46 also notes this omission.
[24] For xenia in Aigina, cf. Olympian 8.2023, Nemean 3.2, Nemean 4.12, Nemean 5.8. I should also note that Aigina is the mythical homeland of the
Aiakidai, which further accounts for Peleus presence in odes to Aiginetan victors (e.g., Nemean 4, Nemean 5, Isthmian 8).
[25] Hippolyta is not cast as directly betraying her own xenos because, as I have noted, participation by women in xenia is very rare. See Herman
[26] Cf. Miller 1982:117, who observes that the participle here has the force of erotic persuasion, but notes that the other Pindaric uses
of connote misspeaking or insincere utterance. Cf. Slater 1969 s.v. . Cf. McClure 1999:63.
[27] Again, cf. Miller 1982:117, whose analysis of in Nemean 8.32 concludes that both senses of the verb , persuasion and
misrepresentation, are present. I believe a similar combination of meanings occurs in the participle in Nemean 5.32, although Carnes 1996:44 argues
that refers to Hippolytas impropriety rather than insincerity.
[28] This similarity appears to be one of the few between the two treatments of the Peleus and Thetis myth in Nemean 4 and 5. See Carnes 1996 for
an examination of how the two odes and their differing emphases work together. Carnes 1996:32 argues that Peleus employs the trickery that
characterizes Hippolyta and bases this argument partly on a translation of in Nemean 4.58 as making use of. I do not find this part of
his argument convincing, as there is no reference in Nemean 4 to any sort of trickery used by Peleus. I prefer instead to follow Slaters suggested
translation of experience for the participle .
[29] E.g., Olympian 7.35, Olympian 7.50, Pythian 12.6. For other examples, see Slater 1969 s.v. .
[30] Carnes 1996:26: Hippolyte displays masculine traits in her combination of sexual desire and aggression (the inverted, or projected, version of
the Amazons dual status as libidinally- and aggressively-invested objects).
[31] Carnes 1996:31. Carnes ties this disruption to a female misuse of language. I am hesitant to espouse Carnes argument in its entirety, largely
because his resolutely structural and psychoanalytical approaches, I have found, can result in distorted interpretations of literary works.
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Gender, Genre, and Truth in Pindar: Three Case Studies | CHS Research Bulletin


About Arum Park

Arum Park (Ph.D. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) worked at Amherst College, the University of Oklahoma, and
Washington and Lee University before coming to Brigham Young University as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics. Her
primary areas of research are Archaic and Classical Greek poetry, but she has presented papers on authors ranging from Hesiod
to Longus, has published an article on Ovid, has contributed several entries to the encyclopedia portion of the Pausanias Digital
Heritage Project, and has a continuing interest in Augustan literature, particularly Vergils Georgics and Eclogues. While at the
CHS she will work on a book examining the concepts of gender, genre, and truth in Pindar and Aeschylus.
View all posts by Arum Park

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