The goal of this study is to examine three of Pindar’s Nemean odes dedicated to victors of the pankration. I examine how Pindar constructs the athletes of pankration and the role that the sport plays in each ode. Pindar connects the past with the present by placing his athletes within the mythological timeline. He follows the Homeric tradition of epic poetry but adapts it to fit the context of lyric poetry. He transfers the qualities of Homeric heroes onto his athletes, introducing them as divine heroes in his own time. Pindar presents the pankratiasts as natural-born fighters who possess both physical and mental traits that mirror the Homeric warriors. These virtues include courage, moderation, inherent strength, longevity, and honor. These virtues provide an outline for how the ideal pankratiast should act both in and outside of the sport. This study examines specific passages from Nemean 2, 3, and 5 that pertain to the sport of pankration. I explain how each of these passages defines the sport of pankration and identify the virtues he associates with the winners.


Florence, Monica


Classical Studies


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Classical Literature and Philology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



© Copyright 2020 Elijah Culley