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And Praxiteles said: This is uncertain; but perhaps some will demand of Theseus himself, upon what account, when he instituted the game, he broke off a branch of palm rather than of laurel or of olive. But consider whether this be not a prize proper to the Pythian games, as belonging to Amphictyon. For there they first, in honor of the God, crowned the victors with laurel and palm, as consecrating to the God, not the laurel or olive, but the palm. So Nicias did, who defrayed the charges of the solemnity in the name of the Athenians at Delos; the Athenians themselves at Delphi; and before these, Cypselus the Corinthian. For this God is a lover of games, and delights in contending for the prize at harping, singing, and throwing the bar, and, as some say, at cuffing; and assists men when contending, as Homer witnesseth, by making Achilles speak thus,
Let two come forth in cuffing stout, and try
To which Apollo gives the victory.

And amongst the archers, he that made his address to Apollo made the best shot, and he that forgot to pray to him missed the mark. And beside, it is not likely that the Athenians would rashly, and upon no grounds, dedicate their place of exercise to Apollo. But they thought that the God which bestows health gives likewise a vigorous constitution, and strength for the encounter. And since some of the encounters are light and easy, others laborious and difficult, the Delphians offered sacrifices to Apollo the cuffer; the Cretans and Spartans to Apollo the racer; and the dedication of spoils taken in the wars and trophies [p. 414] to Apollo Pythias show that he is of great power to give victory in war.

1 Il. XXIII. 659.

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