1. Of Crotona, son of Diotimus, an athlete, famous for his extraordinary bodily strength.
He was six times victor in wrestling at the Olympic games, and as often at the Pythian; but having entered the lists at Olympia a seventh time, he was worsted by the superior agility of his adversary.
By these successes he obtained great distinction among his countrymen, so that he was even appointed to command the army, with which they took the field against the Sybarites under Telys, and bore an important part in the great battle at the Crathis, B. C. 511. Diodorus even goes so far as to attribute the memorable victory of the Crotoniats on that occasion almost wholly to the personal strength and prowess of Milon, who is said to have taken the field accoutred like Hercules, and wearing the chaplet of his Olympic victory. (Diod. 12.9
This is the only instance in which he appears in any public capacity; but we learn from Herodotus that, so great was the reputation he enjoyed, that when the physician Democedes took refuge at Crotona, he hastened to obtain a daughter of Milon in marriage, trusting to the effect that his name would produce even upon the Persian king. (Hdt. 3.137
.) Many stories are related by ancient writers of his extraordinary feats of strength, which are for the most part well known; such as his carrying a heifer of four years old on his shoulders through the stadium at Olympia, and afterwards eating the whole of it in a single day. Some of the modes by which he displayed his gigantic powers before the assembled multitude appear to have been commemorated by the attitude of his statue at Olympia, at least if we may trust the account of it given by Philostratus; but Pausanias, while he relates the same anecdotes, does not give us to understand that the statue itself was so represented. (Paus. 6.14
. §§ 6, 7; Philostr. Vit. Apoll.
The mode of his death is thus related: as he was passing through a forest when enfeebled by age, he saw the trunk of a tree which had been partially split open by woodcutters, and attempted to rend it further, but the wood closed upon his hands, and thus held him fast, in which state he was attacked and devoured by wolves. (Diod. 12.9
; Paus. 6.14.5
; Athen. 10.412
; Aelian, Ael. VH 2.24
; Gel. 15.16
; V. Max. 9.12
, ext. 9; Suid. s. v. Μίλων
; Schol. ad Theocr.
4.6; Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran.
55; Tzetz. Chil.
2.460; Cic. de Sen.
The age of Milon is clearly fixed by the passages above cited from Diodorus and Herodotus: Aulus Gellius, who states that he was victor in the 50th Olympiad, is certainly in error.