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Seminar MA Greek: Heroes and Cities: Pindar’s Odes in Context


Admission requirements

This course is open to MA and ResMA students in Classics.


The exuberant poetry of Pindar’s victory odes links the heroic occasion of the performance with a stream of associations, mythological narrative, and reflections on heroism in a way that dazzles the modern reader.
In this seminar we will read some Odes together and discuss different aspects of language, form and function — which involves taking into account (different views about) their social, religious and literary context.
Students will specialize in subjects like the semantics of fame, the use of imagery, the use of particles, metre and textual criticism, the narrative form of the mythological passages, the rhetoric of praise , morality and wisdom, the poetic ‘I’. Written papers may also involve the interpretation of a particular poem, or concentrate on issues like music and performance, hero cult, Pindar and Homer, or Pindar’s Nachleben (Hölderlin, Lucebert, Pfeijffer).

Course objectives

The competence to analyse complicated poetical texts within their social, religious and literary context; critical assessment of secondary literature.
Students are expected to select a special subject for their oral presentation and make productive their insights and critical questions for the interpretation of the poems in the plenary sessions.
The written paper involves either a commentary on a poem or an essay on a particular aspect of Pindar’s poetry.



Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Oral presentation (25%), active participartion in class 25 , written paper (50). When this class is taken for 5 ECTS, no final paper is required.


No use of Blackboard.

Reading list

Pindar, ed. & transl. William H. Race, Vol. I: Olympian Odes, Pythian Odes; Vol. II: Nemean Odes, Isthmian Odes, Fragments. Cambrigde, Mass. & London 1997


Register in uSis.

Contact information

Mw. dr. M. van Raalte