Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (A) February 28, 2018

Achilles from Homer to the Masters of Late Archaic Poetry, or: From pathos to Splendour

  • Annamaria Peri EMAIL logo
From the journal Philologus


Late archaic lyric poetry tends to obscure all pathetic and tragic elements of Achilles’ destiny present in the Iliad. The offence against his honour, his grief for Patroclus, his yearning for native Phthia, and a painful awareness of being ὠκύμορος (“short-lived”) – none of these themes play a role in the passages of Pindar, Bacchylides or Simonides where Achilles is mentioned. Yet each of these three poets operates differently with regard to the epic source, and it is worth investigating how they do so.


I am very grateful to Professor Justina Gregory for allowing me to present this paper at the Twentieth Annual Conference of the ALSCW (Oct. 27–30, 2016) in Washington D.C., and for her kind hospitality there. I also wish to thank Professor Martin Hose and both reviewers of Philologus for their helpful comments, as well as Dr. Emrys Bell-Schlatter for his courtesy in correcting my English.


Bacchylides, The Poems and Fragments, edited with Introduction, Notes, and Prose Translation by R. C. Jebb, Cambridge 1905.Search in Google Scholar

Pindar, The Odes, Including the Principal Fragments, with an Introduction and an English Translation by J. Sandys, London/New York 21919.Search in Google Scholar

Pindar, The Odes, translated with an Introduction by C. M. Bowra, Harmondsworth [etc.] 1969.Search in Google Scholar

Pindar, Olympian Odes, Pythian Odes, Nemean Odes, Isthmian Odes, Fragments, 2 vols., edited and translated by W. H. Race, Cambridge, MA/London 1997.10.4159/DLCL.pindar-nemean_odes.1997Search in Google Scholar

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, LIX, edd. E. W. Handley/H. G. Ioannidou/P. J. Parsons/J. E. G. Whitehorne, London 1992.Search in Google Scholar

C. M. Bowra, Pindar, Oxford 1964.Search in Google Scholar

A. P. Burnett, The Art of Bacchylides, Cambridge, MA/London 1985.Search in Google Scholar

D. L. Cairns, Bacchylides: Five Epinician Odes (3, 5, 9, 11, 13), Text, Introductory Essays, and Interpretative Commentary: D. L. Cairns; Translations: D. L. Cairns and J. G. Howie, Cambridge 2010.Search in Google Scholar

W. M. Calder III, “A Reconstruction of Sophocles’ Polyxena”, GRBS 7, 1966, 31–56.Search in Google Scholar

G. Christ, Simonidesstudien, Freiburg 1941.Search in Google Scholar

M. Davies/P. J. Finglass, Stesichorus: The Poems, edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, Cambridge 2014.Search in Google Scholar

D. Fearn, Bacchylides: Politics, Performance, Poetic Tradition, Oxford 2007.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215508.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

E. Fitch, “Pindar and Homer”, CPh 19, 1924, 57–65.10.1086/360553Search in Google Scholar

K. C. King, Achilles: Paradigms of the War Hero from Homer to the Middle Ages, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London 1987.Search in Google Scholar

H. Maehler, Die Lieder des Bakchylides, I: Die Siegeslieder, 2 vols. (Mnemosyne Suppl. 62), Leiden 1982.10.1163/9789004327801Search in Google Scholar

P. Michelakis, Achilles in Greek Tragedy, Cambridge 2002.Search in Google Scholar

M. S. Mirto, “La scelta di Eracle”, in: ead. (ed.): Euripide: Eracle, Milano 22006, 7–61.Search in Google Scholar

G. W. Most, “Poet and Public. Communicative Strategies in Pindar and Bacchylides”, in: P. Agócs/C. Carey/R. Rawles (eds.), Reading the Victory Ode, Cambridge 2012, 249–276.10.1017/CBO9781139017626.018Search in Google Scholar

L. Muellner, The Anger of Achilles. Mênis in Greek Epic, Ithaca/London 1996.Search in Google Scholar

G. Nagy, Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past, Baltimore/London 1990.Search in Google Scholar

F. J. Nisetich, Pindar and Homer, Baltimore/London 1989.Search in Google Scholar

D. Page, Sappho and Alcaeus. An Introduction to the Study of Ancient Lesbian Poetry, Oxford 1955; repr. 1970.Search in Google Scholar

I. L. Pfeijffer, Three Aeginetan Odes of Pindar. A Commentary on Nemean V, Nemean III, & Pythian VIII, Leiden/Boston/Köln 1999.10.1163/9789004351240Search in Google Scholar

O. Poltera, Le langage de Simonide. Étude sur la tradition poétique et son renouvellement, Bern 1997.Search in Google Scholar

G. A. Privitera, Pindaro: Le Istmiche, Milano 1992.Search in Google Scholar

I. Rutherford, “The New Simonides: Towards a Commentary”, in: D. Boedeker/D. Sider (eds.), The New Simonides: Contexts of Praise and Desire, Oxford 2001, 33–54.10.1353/are.1996.0013Search in Google Scholar

C. Segal, “Bacchylides Reconsidered: Epithets and the Dynamics of Lyric Narrative”, QUCC 22, 1976, 99–130.10.2307/20537783Search in Google Scholar

M. S. Silk, Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy, Oxford 2000.Search in Google Scholar

M. L. West, “Simonides Redivivus”, ZPE 98, 1993, 1–14.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2018-02-28
Published in Print: 2019-05-29

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 31.3.2023 from
Scroll to top button