The 6th/5th century bce Greek melic (or songwriting) poet Pindar was the most celebrated lyricist of antiquity. His famous victory odes offer a paean to the heroic athlete, and are an attempt to encapsulate, through choral songs of acclamation, the glory of the sportsman's moment of triumph at a variety of Panhellenic festivals including the Olympic Games. His other poems, collected in thirteen books, are largely lost or fragmentary - except for the Paeans - but were devoted to the praise of gods and heroes. Yet Pindar, though still respected, is now considered a difficult poet, and is sometimes dismissed as a reactionary. In this wideranging introduction, Richard Stoneman shows that Pindar's works, even where they seem obscure, follow a logic of their own and reward further study. An unmatched craftsman with words, and witness to a profoundly religious sensibility, he is a poet who takes modern readers to the heart of Greek ideas about the gods, fleeting human achievement and mortality. Theauthor examines questions of performance and genre; patronage; imagery; and reception, from Horace to the twentieth century.