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Who's Who Ancient Greece: The Arts

Pindar (528-438 BC)

pindarConsidered by some the greatest lyric poet of antiquity, Pindar was born in Kynokephalae near Thebes, and died in the theater of Argos.

He learned music from his father, who played the avlos (the double reed flute), and from two Athenian teachers as well. With the female poet, Myrtis, he studied poetry.

He excelled in many types of lyric poetry, though the only compositions that survived intact were the Epincian Odes or Epincian Hymns, separated into four books, each dedicated to one of the four pan-Hellenic Games.

Other than that, only fragments from dithyrambs, parthenia, paeans, hymns, dancing songs, encomia ( sung eulogies), and dirges have survived.

In his writings he praised virtue, wisdom and beauty, in language with beautiful imagery and expressiveness. His poetry was often inspired by myths, from which he stripped all but the essence. There is also a philosophical aspect to his work, with a love of discipline, order, justice, and virtue.