Politics, ideology, and economy in the Pindaric world
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This thesis examines the work of Pindar from a political, ideological, and economic perspective. It is based on the premise that the society in which Pindar lived and the society he presents in the odes are not examples of fully embedded economies, and that elements of a market economy have an impact on both the society and the odes' ideology. A thorough analysis of the economics of Isthmian 2 shows that gift economy coexists with market economy. My thesis focuses on the odes dedicated to the Sicilian tyrants, Hieron of Syracuse and Theron of Akragas. The odes dedicated to Hieron have a different ideology, propaganda and economy in comparison with those composed for Theron. Hieron is presented as an almighty king whose values do not derive from inherited excellence (phya), but from his wealth. By analysing the reciprocal relationships in the mythological exempla, I argue that the poet reveals Hieron to be prone to market behaviour and suggests the dangers involved in pursuing obscene profit and in applying market logic to politics. In the case of Theron, Pindar treats him according to traditional aristocratic values. Theron is the most prominent person of an aristocratic family and closely follows the laws of the gift economy. He is a man whose values are inherited and his exceptional phya justifies his tyranny. A brief comparison of the concept of phya in the Aeginetan odes illustrates the different way the concept is applied in the case of a tyrant. In conclusion, Pindar is a poet who knows the wishes of his patrons and how to promote their propaganda, but he also lives in a society which functions not only under the laws of a fully embedded economy, but also under those of a market economy, and the logic of the latter has influenced his poetry. An ideological examination of his work uncovers the traces of this influence.