Sofia Heim on the Hyperboreans in Pindar
At the next Classics Seminar, Sofia Heim (MA candidate, Classics) will present her ongoing MA study on the form and function of exotic thaumata (wonders) in the epinikia of Pindar. The study considers this imagery as a device specific to the genre of epinikion as well as places it in relation to the historical context of particular victory odes. The paper will test the hypothesis that exotic thaumata lend a special kind of freedom to the poet by postulating a geographical domain that, by being removed spatially and temporally, allows the poet a ‘protected’ form of praise. The focus of the discussion will be on the Hyperboreans, the mythical northern ethnos on the fringes of the world, whose presence in the victory odes seems to offer a haven for the (often problematic) praise of members of aristocratic elite. The Hyperboreans are especially notable for their apparent disruptive nature, as their presence in the epinikia seems to prompt alterations in the established mythical narrative. The presentation will include a short analysis and comparison of Pindar’s Pythian 10 and Olympian 3, as well as Bacchylides’ Ode 3.