Pindar – The ‘most vain race’ among humans

In this article we present and analyze an excerpt from Pindar, the lyrical poet.


Pythionikos ΙΙΙ, Verses 21-23

In ancient Greek: «έστι δε φύλον εν ανθρώποισι ματαιότατον, όστις αισχύνων επιχώρια παπταίνει τά πόρσω, μεταμώνια θηρεύων ακράντοις ελπίσιν»

In English: «there exists a race among humans which is the most vain of all, that puts its own people to shame by looking at things which are at distance, hunting silly and fruitless hopes»

NovoScriptorium: In this excerpt we notice with interest the use of the word ‘φύλο‘ (race). While in most ancient texts the word has a clear ‘racial’ notion, often being identified with blood and generation, here Pindar uses the word in another way. It is a  reference to a ‘spiritual race‘ of people. The characteristics of this ‘race’ are futility and the silly hope that remains unfulfilled; it is not satisfied with its ‘surroundings‘ but seeks the ‘distant‘ (with all that is meant with this in both material and spiritual level). And all of these combined bring ‘shame‘ to its own people.

We believe it is a very accurate description for the materialist, hedonistic, vain, proud, greedy, adventurous Man of all ages.

Looking at our times, we find that this ‘vain race’ among Men is constantly growing. Hence, the various, humiliating for the human nature, events which we observe on a daily basis in any modern society – more or less- cannot be considered ‘accidental‘.

Research-Analysis for NovoScriptorium: Isidoros Aggelos

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