The Late Arrival of Rhodes

Pindar, Olympian 7.54-63

“Ancient human stories report that
When Zeus and the immortals were dividing up the land
Rhodes was not yet visible in the broad sea–
But the island was hidden in salty depths.
No one made a choice for absent Helios–
They really left him without a land,
A holy god!

When he said something, Zeus was about
To start the selection again but
Helios wouldn’t allow it.
He said that he saw something
Rising up from the bottom
Of the gray sea–a land that
Would feed many men and be welcoming to their flocks”

φαντὶ δ᾿ ἀνθρώπων παλαιαί
ῥήσιες, οὔπω, ὅτε χθό-
να δατέοντο Ζεύς τε καὶ ἀθάνατοι,
φανερὰν ἐν πελάγει Ῥόδον ἔμμεν ποντίῳ,
ἁλμυροῖς δ᾿ ἐν βένθεσιν νᾶσον κεκρύφθαι.
ἀπεόντος δ᾿ οὔτις ἔνδειξεν λάχος Ἀελίου·
καί ῥά νιν χώρας ἀκλάρωτον λίπον,
ἁγνὸν θεόν.
μνασθέντι δὲ Ζεὺς ἄμπαλον μέλ-
λεν θέμεν. ἀλλά νιν οὐκ εἴασεν· ἐπεὶ πολιᾶς
εἶπέ τιν᾿ αὐτὸς ὁρᾶν ἔν-
δον θαλάσσας αὐξομέναν πεδόθεν
πολύβοσκον γαῖαν ἀνθρώποισι καὶ εὔφρονα μήλοις.

Schol. Ad Pin. Ol. 7. 101

“The land was not yet…” [this really means] they because there weren’t yet historical summaries, the poets learned the local narratives from the stories popular in each city. Prior to Pindar, this account was unknown.”

οὔπω ὅτε χθόνα: διὰ τὸ μηδέπω εἴναι τοὺς ἱστορικοὺς συγγραφέας, ἀπὸ τῶν κατὰ τὴν πόλιν λογίων πυνθάνονται τὰ ἐπιχώρια οἱ ποιηταί. πρὸ Πινδάρου δὲ τοῦτο οὐχ ἱστόρητο.

Color photograph, focused on steps between seats in stone theater
Stairs of the Ancient Greek theatre in Lindos, Rhodes, Greece

Leave a Reply