The Metre of Pindar, Olympian II

Classical Quarterly 30 (2):94-99 (1936)

The metre of Olympian II is still a matter of some difficulty. It has commonly been recognized as differing from Pindar's other metres, but many opinions have been held of its character. An understanding of it is, however, not merely essential to any general theory of Pindar's metric but vital to the textual criticism of the poem. Without some coherent theory we cannot say where ‘Responsionsfreiheiten’ are allowed and some important cruces remain unsolved. In recent years three theories have been put forward. In his Res Metrica pp. 153–5 W. R. Hardie put forward the view that it is an example of a μτρον μονοεδές composed in Cretic verse. He holds that it is written in Cretics or their recognized metrical equivalent, Paeons. This kind of verse is known from the Delphic Paean to Apollo and the Paean of Limenius, and so far as the equivalence of Cretics and Paeons is concerned, there is no difficulty in it. But as Hardie himself admitted, his theory does not account for all the facts. It may be said to suffer from the following defects. n In Str. 1, 3, 5, 7 and Ep. 1, 4, 5 he has to assume the existence of an extra single syllable at the beginning of the line. Since all attempts to defend ‘Anacrusis’ are extremely doubtful, this can hardly be maintained here. 2. The clausula of the Strophe cannot be reduced to Cretics or Paeons. 3. He has to admit that in Ep. 2 and 3 there is ‘some Trochaic movement’ and presumably he would have to admit that in Str. 3 there is either an Iambic, or, as he would prefer, a Trochaic movement with Anacrusis in το πσα μεν. There is certainly some truth in Hardie's theory, but since it does not consider all the facts or co-ordinate them into a whole, it is not really satisfactory
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