Pindar (ca. 522–443 BC), was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, Pindar is the one whose work is best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, and his rolling flood of eloquence".

However, not all the ancients shared Quintilian's enthusiasm. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis is said to have remarked that the poems of Pindar "are already reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning".

Pindar's 'elegant learning' has often discouraged modern interest as well, particularly up until the end of the nineteenth century. The discovery in 1896 of some poems by his rival Bacchylides then allowed for useful comparisons and it was found that some idiosyncrasies, evident in Pindar's Victory Odes, were typical of the genre rather than of the poet himself. From then on, the brilliance of Pindar's poetry began to be more widely appreciated by modern scholars and yet there are still peculiarities in his style that challenge the casual reader and he continues to be a largely unread, even if much admired poet.

Pindar is the first Greek poet whose works reflect extensively on the nature of poetry and on the poet's role.Like other poets of the Archaic Age, he reveals a deep sense of the vicissitudes of life and yet, unlike them, he also articulates a passionate faith in what men can achieve by the grace of the gods, most famously expressed in his conclusion to one of his Victory Odes:

Creatures of a day! What is a man?

What is he not? A dream of a shadow

Is our mortal being. But when there comes to men

A gleam of splendour given of heaven,

Then rests on them a light of glory

And blessed are their days. (Pythian 8

Poems by Pindar

Poet of the day

Born in 1714 in Halesowen (now Worcestershire) England living at the family home 'The Leasowes'. Halesowen, which, up to the early years of the 18th century was in part of Shropshire. He was educated at Solihull Grammar School, where he met and became firm friends with the future poet Richard...

Poem of the day

Jeg saae kun tilbage. Mig Livets Lyst bortklang;
Da toned mig i Sjælen saa trøstelig en Sang;
See frem, men ei tilbage! Hvad Hjertet attraaer,
Maaskee dog engang under Solen du naaer.

Lad Bølger bortrulle! lad Løvet flagre hen!
Rask bruser dog Strømmen, frisk Skoven staaer...