previous next
8.

Later on there came (they say) from Crete Clymenus, the son of Cardys, about fifty years after the flood came upon the Greeks in the time of Deucalion. He was descended from Heracles of Ida; he held the games at Olympia and set up an altar in honor of Heracles, his ancestor, and the other Curetes, giving to Heracles the surname of Parastates (Assistant). And Endymion, the son of Aethlius, deposed Clymenus, and set his sons a race in Olympia with the kingdom as the prize.

[2] And about a generation later than Endymion, Pelops held the games in honor of Olympian Zeus in a more splendid manner than any of his predecessors. When the sons of Pelops were scattered from Elis over all the rest of Peloponnesus, Amythaon, the son of Cretheus, and cousin of Endymion on his father's side (for they say that Aethlius too was the son of Aeolus, though supposed to be a son of Zeus), held the Olympian games, and after him Pelias and Neleus in common.

[3] Augeas too held them, and likewise Heracles, the son of Amphitryon, after the conquest of Elis. The victors crowned by Heracles include Iolaus, who won with the mares of Heracles. So of old a competitor was permitted to compete with mares which were not his own. Homer,1 at any rate, in the games held in honor of Patroclus, has told how Menelaus drove a pair of which one was Aetha, a mare of Agamemnon, while the other was his own horse.

[4] Moreover, Iolaus used to be charioteer to Heracles. So Iolaus won the chariot-race, and Iasius, an Arcadian, the horse-race; while of the sons of Tyndareus one won the foot-race and Polydeuces the boxing-match. Of Heracles himself it is said that he won victories at wrestling and the pancratium.

[5]

After the reign of Oxylus, who also celebrated the games, the Olympic festival was discontinued until the reign of Iphitus. When Iphitus, as I have already related,2 renewed the games, men had by this time forgotten the ancient tradition, the memory of which revived bit by bit, and as it revived they made additions to the games.

[6] This I can prove; for when the unbroken tradition of the Olympiads began there was first the foot-race, and Coroebus an Elean was victor. There is no statue of Coroebus at Olympia, but his grave is on the borders of Elis. Afterwards, at the fourteenth Festival,3 the double foot-race was added: Hypenus of Pisa won the prize of wild olive in the double race, and at the next Festival Acanthus of Lacedaemon won in the long course.

[7] At the eighteenth Festival they remembered the pentathlum and wrestling. Lampis won the first and Eurybatus the second, these also being Lacedaemonians. At the twenty-third Festival they restored the prizes for boxing, and the victor was Onomastus of Smyrna, which already was a part of Ionia. At the twenty-fifth they recognized the race of full-grown horses, and Pagondas of Thebes was proclaimed “victor in the chariot-race.”

[8] At the eighth Festival after this they admitted the pancratium for men and the horse-race. The horse-race was won by Crauxidas of Crannon, and Lygdamis of Syracuse overcame all who entered for the pancratium. Lygdamis has his tomb near the quarries at Syracuse, and according to the Syracusans he was as big as Heracles of Thebes, though I cannot vouch for the statement.

[9] The contests for boys have no authority in old tradition, but were established by the Eleans themselves because they approved of them. The prizes for running and wrestling open to boys were instituted at the thirty-seventh Festival; Hipposthenes of Lacedaemon won the prize for wrestling, and that for running was won by Polyneices of Elis. At the forty-first Festival they introduced boxing for boys, and the winner out of those who entered for it was Philytas of Sybaris.

[10] The race for men in armour was approved at the sixty-fifth Festival, to provide, I suppose, military training; the first winner of the race with shields was Damaretus of Heraea. The race for two full-grown horses, called synoris (chariot and pair), was instituted at the ninety-third Festival, and the winner was Evagoras of Elis. At the ninety-ninth Festival they resolved to hold contests for chariots drawn by foals, and Sybariades of Lacedaemon won the garland with his chariot and foals.

[11] Afterwards they added races for chariots and pairs of foals, and for single foals with rider. It is said that the victors proclaimed were: for the chariot and pair, Belistiche, a woman from the seaboard of Macedonia; for the ridden race, Tlepolemus of Lycia. Tlepolemus, they say, won at the hundred and thirty-first Festival, and Belistiche at the third before this. At the hundred and forty-fifth Festival prizes were offered for boys in the pancratium, the victory falling to Phaedimus, an Aeolian from the city Troas.

1 Hom. Il. 23.295

2 Paus. 5.4.5

3 The Greek word ὀλψμπιάς can mean either a celebration of the Olympic games or the interval between two consecutive celebrations. I have translated it by “Festival” in the first case and by “Olympiad” in the second.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Elis (Greece) (5)
Olympia (Greece) (3)
Lacedaemon (Greece) (3)
Thebes (Greece) (2)
Syracuse (Italy) (2)
Troad (Turkey) (1)
Sybaris (1)
Smyrna (Turkey) (1)
Pisa (1)
Peloponnesus (Greece) (1)
Macedonia (Macedonia) (1)
Lycia (Turkey) (1)
Ionia (1)
Heraea (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), ATHLE´TAE
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), LYRA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PANCRA´TIUM
    • Smith's Bio, Philo'xenus
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.4.5
    • Homer, Iliad, 23.295
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: