Pindar, olympian 2.5-7, text and commentary-with excursions to 'perictione', empedocles and euripides' hippolytus

M. S. Silk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In 1998, I suggested a new text for a notably corrupt passage in Pindar's Isthmian 5.1 This article is in effect a sequel to that earlier discussion. In the 1998 article, I proposed, inter alia, that the modern vulgate text of I. 5.58, 'Greek Passage', is indefensible and the product of scribal corruption in antiquity, and that chief among the indefensible products of corruption there is the supposed secular use of 'Greek Passage', as if used to mean something like 'zeal'. This (as I hope to have demonstrated) is a sense for which there is no good evidence in classical Greek, where 'Greek Passage' always has a delimited religious denotation, meaning either (a) 'gods' response', 'divine retribution', or else (b) 'religious awe' or 'reverence' towards the gods, through fear of that response or that retribution. If we discount I. 5.58 itself (and likewise the focus of the present article, O. 2.6), all the pre-Hellenistic attestations can be straightforwardly listed under these headings: (a) Il. 16.388 'Greek Passage', Od. 14.88 'Greek Passage', Hes. Theog. 221-2 'Greek Passage', Pind. P. 8.71-2 'Greek Passage', sim. Od. 20.215, 21.28, Hes. Op. 187, 251, 706, along with, seemingly, a fragmentary fifth-century Thessalian verse inscription, CEG 1.120.1 Hansen; (b) Hdt. 9.76.2 'Greek Passage', 8.143.2. In addition, one other instance can be interpreted as either (a) or (b), or in effect both: Od. 14.82 (of the suitors) 'Greek Passage' In all cases, though, 'gods' are specified, usually as a dependent genitive with 'Greek Passage', or else separately but in the near context.3 Hellenistic and later occurrences of the word are few, and (as I argued in 1998) hints there of a secular reading can actually be taken to reflect misunderstandings based on, precisely, the early corruption in I. 5.4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-517
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


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