Where once the great king of the gods showered the city with snows of gold

From Pindar’s Olympian 7 (24-52), for Diagoras of Rhodes, winner of boxing in 464. Often Pindar is just pretty and no other point is needed.

But about the minds of humans hang
numberless errors, and it is impossible to discover
what now and also in the end is best to happen to a man.
Thus it is that the founder of this land once struck
Alcmene’s bastard brother Licymnius
with a staff of hard olive in Tiryns
when he came from Midea’s chambers and killed him
in a fit of anger. Disturbances of the mind
lead astray even a wise man. He went to the god for an oracle,
and from the fragrant inner sanctum of his temple
the golden-haired god
told him to sail from the shore of Lerna
straight to the seagirt pasture,
where once the great king of the gods showered
the city with snows of gold,
when, by the skills of Hephaestus
with the stroke of a bronze-forged axe,
Athena sprang forth on the top of her father’s head
and shouted a prodigious battle cry,
and Heaven shuddered at her, and mother Earth.
At that time Hyperion’s son, divine bringer of light
to mortals, charged his dear children
to observe the obligation that was to come,
that they might be the first to build for the goddess
an altar in full view, and by making
a sacred sacrifice might cheer the hearts of the father
and his daughter of the thundering spear. Reverence
for one who has foresight plants excellence and its joys in humans,
but without warning some cloud of forgetfulness comes upon them
and wrests the straight path of affairs
from their minds.
Thus it was that they made their ascent without taking
the seed of blazing flame, and with fireless sacrifices
they made a sanctuary on the acropolis.
He [Zeus] brought a yellow cloud and upon them
rained gold in abundance; but the Gray-eyed Goddess
herself gave them every kind of skill to surpass mortals
with their superlative handiwork.
Their streets bore works of art in the likeness of beings
that lived and moved, and great was their fame.


ἀμφὶ δ᾽ ἀνθρώπων φρασὶν ἀμπλακίαι
ἀναρίθμητοι κρέμανται: τοῦτο δ᾽ ἀμάχανον εὑρεῖν,
ὅ τι νῦν ἐν καὶ τελευτᾷ φέρτατον ἀνδρὶ τυχεῖν.
καὶ γὰρ Ἀλκμήνας κασίγνητον νόθον
σκάπτῳ θένων
σκληρᾶς ἐλαίας ἔκταν᾽ ἐν Τίρυνθι Λικύμνιον ἐλθόντ᾽ ἐκ θαλάμων Μιδέας
τᾶσδέ ποτε χθονὸς οἰκιστὴρ χολωθείς. αἱ δὲ φρενῶν ταραχαὶ
παρέπλαγξαν καὶ σοφόν. μαντεύσατο δ᾽ ἐς θεὸν ἐλθών.
τῷ μὲν ὁ Χρυσοκόμας εὐώδεος ἐξ ἀδύτου ναῶν πλόον
εἶπε Λερναίας ἀπ᾽ ἀκτᾶς εὐθὺν ἐς ἀμφιθάλασσον νομόν,
ἔνθα ποτὲ βρέχε θεῶν βασιλεὺς ὁ μέγας χρυσέαις νιφάδεσσι πόλιν,
ἁνίχ᾽ Ἁφαίστου τέχναισιν
χαλκελάτῳ πελέκει πατέρος Αθαναία κορυφὰν κατ᾽ ἄκραν
ἀνορούσαισ᾽ ἀλάλαξεν ὑπερμάκει βοᾷ:
Οὐρανὸς δ᾽ ἔφριξέ νιν καὶ Γαῖα μάτηρ.
τότε καὶ φαυσίμβροτος δαίμων Ὑπεριονίδας
μέλλον ἔντειλεν φυλάξασθαι χρέος
παισὶν φίλοις,
ὡς ἂν θεᾷ πρῶτοι κτίσαιεν βωμὸν ἐναργέα, καὶ σεμνὰν θυσίαν θέμενοι
πατρί τε θυμὸν ἰάναιεν κόρᾳ τ᾽ ἐγχειβρόμῳ. ἐν δ᾽ ἀρετὰν
ἔβαλεν καὶ χάρματ᾽ ἀνθρώποισι Προμαθέος Αἰδώς:
ἐπὶ μὰν βαίνει τε καὶ λάθας ἀτέκμαρτα νέφος,
καὶ παρέλκει πραγμάτων ὀρθὰν ὁδὸν
ἔξω φρενῶν.
καὶ τοὶ γὰρ αἰθοίσας ἔχοντες σπέρμ᾽ ἀνέβαν φλογὸς οὔ: τεῦξαν δ᾽ ἀπύροις ἱεροῖς
ἄλσος ἐν ἀκροπόλει: κείνοις ὁ μὲν ξανθὰν ἀγαγὼν νεφέλαν
πολὺν ὗσε χρυσόν: αὐτὰ δέ σφισιν ὤπασε τέχναν
πᾶσαν ἐπιχθονίων Γλαυκῶπις ἀριστοπόνοις χερσὶ κρατεῖν.
ἔργα δὲ ζωοῖσιν ἑρπόντεσσί θ᾽ ὁμοῖα κέλευθοι φέρον:
ἦν δὲ κλέος βαθύ.

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