I was sent for that purpose, and will tell you all. Having gone to the shrine which is Greece's common glory in order to compete for Delphi's prizes and having heard the herald's loud summons to the foot-race, the first contest,
he entered the lists, a brilliant form, a wonder in the eyes of all there. When he had finished the race at the point where it began, he went out with the glorious honor of victory. To say the most with the least words, I do not know the man whose deeds and triumphs have matched his.
But this one thing you must know: in all the contests that the judges announced, he carried away the prize, and men deemed him happy as often as the herald proclaimed him an Argive, by name Orestes, son of
Agamemnon, who once marshalled Greece's famous expedition.
So far Orestes fared as I described. But when a god sends harm, not even the strong man can escape. For on another day, when with the rising sun there was held the race of the swift-footed horses,
he entered it along with many charioteers. One was an Achaean, one from Sparta; two masters of yoked cars were Libyans; Orestes, driving Thessalian mares, came fifth among them; the sixth was from Aetolia,
with chestnut colts; a Magnesian was the seventh; the eighth, with white horses, was of Aenian stock; the ninth hailed from Athens, built of gods; there was a Boeotian too, making the tenth chariot. They took their stations where the appointed umpires
placed them by lot and ranged the cars. Then at the sound of the bronze trumpet, they started. All shouted to their horses, and shook the reins in their hands; the whole course was filled with the clatter of rattling chariots; and the dust flew upward.
All of them in a confused throng kept plying their goads unsparingly, so that one of them might pass the wheel-hubs and the snorting steeds of his rivals; for both at their backs and at their rolling wheels the breath of the horses foamed and smattered.
Orestes, driving close to the near edge of the turning-post, almost grazed it with his wheel each time and, giving rein to the trace-horse on the right, he checked the horse on the inner side. To this point, all the chariots still stood upright. But then the Aenian's
hard-mouthed colts carried him out of control as they passed out of the turn from the sixth into the seventh lap and dashed their foreheads against the rig of the Barcaean. Next, as a result of this one mishap, the cars kept smashing and colliding with each other, and the whole
race-ground of Crisa swelled with shipwrecked chariots.
This text is part of:
Search the Perseus Catalog for:
Table of Contents:
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.