In Search of the Origin of Epinician


Location: O'Shaughnessy 117

Simon Oswald

"In Search of the Origin of Epinician"

Did the victory ode exist before its three great exponents Simonides, Pindar, and Bacchylides? I will argue, contrary to recent scholarship, that it did not - at least in the form that we have come to know it - and that it is instead representative of an important innovation motivated by the socio-political climate of the time. This is in no way, however, to deny any prehistory of the form, and I will survey an array of poetic, material, and historical evidence in order to trace its evolution, arguing that blind reliance upon genre or complete lack thereof have stymied previous approaches to the question.