PINDAR. ΠΙΝΔΑΡΟΥ ΟΛΥΜΠΙΑ ΝΕΜΕΑ ΠΥΘΙΑ ΙΣΘΜΙΑ = Pindari Olympia, Nemea, Pythia, Isthmia. Una cum Latina omnium Versione Carmine Lyrico per Nicolaum Sudorium.

Oxford, E Theatro Sheldoniano, 1697.


FIRST ENGLISH EDITION of the Greek text. Folio, pp. (xxxiv) 56, 59-497 (xciii) 77 (iii). Greek, Roman and Italic letter. Double-column text, single-column commentary; exceptionally well margined. Engraved frontispiece by M. Burghers with Pindar’s portrait within an oval coat of arms placed on a wide plinth inscribed with encomiastic Greek verses; to the sides, Apollo and Hermes laying a laurel crown on the head of the poet; above, an angel plays a trumpet while holding a palm branch in his other hand. Large title-page vignette, again by Burghers, of the goddess Athena as patron of the arts with her aegis (shield with the head of Medusa) and other artistic attributes; in the background, a view of Oxford and some of its iconic buildings, among them the Sheldonian. Endpapers and a few first and final leaves very slightly browned, negligible, and not affecting the beautiful and unstained initial illustrations; a few light thumb marks and some spotting or toning. In a sumptuous nearly contemporaneous gilt-ruled red morocco over thick boards, inner dentelles, lettered spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers with two C19th bookplates to the front (the earliest one is of the chief commander of the Greek freemasonry linked to the Supreme Council, 33°; the other one is probably linked to the Greek island of Chios). Joints and cover edges a little worn and rubbed, corners with signs of skilled restoration. A fresh, crisp, exquisitely clean and large paper copy in an elegant binding, a.e.g.

Large paper copy of this ‘excellent edition’ regarded as dated by Brunet but patriotically supported by Lowndes. This is the first English edition of the Greek text of Pindar, edited by Richard West and Robert Welsted, both then young fellows at Magdalen College (and both of whom left Oxford shortly afterward, West for the priesthood and Welsted for medicine). Pindar’s Epinician Odes, or odes on victory, were written in honour of the victors at the four great panhellenic Games, and are accordingly grouped as Olympian, Pythian, Nemeana and Isthmian. Pindar was held in great regard in Oxford in the second half of the seventeenth century, as this edition evidences. English Pindarics were also in vogue as one can see from the popularity of Cowley’s versions (Abraham Cowley, “Pindarique Odes” in “Poems” (London, 1656)). The continental influence of Pindar can be detected in such diverse work as Galileo Galilei’s introduction to Siderus Nuncius”. The present book includes the Latin verse translation by Nicolas Le Sueur (1545-1594) along with the Greek text, plus a Latin prose paraphrase, the Greek scholia, Latin notes, a chronology of the Olympiads, multiple ‘Lives’ of Pindar, and, in a section at the end, a collection of Pindaric fragments. Dibdin calls it ‘a beautiful and celebrated edition’.

ESTC R20960; Moss II 410; Dibdin II 289; Brunet IV, 659; Lowndes V, 1868; Wing P-2245.