Pythian Games  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Image:Delphi stadium starting line DSC06301.jpg
This starting line at the Delphi stadium used for the Pythian Games at Delphi, Greece has a design representative of that of many ancient Greek stadiums: stones with two lines in which the athletes nudged their toes, and round holes in which posts could be erected to support the start signalling mechanism.

The Pythian Games (Delphic Games) were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, a forerunner of the modern Olympic Games, held every four years at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi.

They were held in honour of Apollo two years after (and two years before) each Olympic Games, and between each Nemean and Isthmian Games. They were founded sometime in the 6th century BCE, and, unlike the Olympic Games, also featured competitions for music and poetry. The music and poetry competitions pre-dated the athletic portion of the games, and were said to have been started by Apollo after he killed Python and set up the oracle at Delphi. Otherwise, the athletic events were the same as the Olympic Games. A four-horse chariot race was held in a hippodrome in the plain, not far from the sea, in the place where the original stadium was sited. (ref: Pindar)

According to Ovid, in the formative years of growth after the deluge, mother earth accidentally produced a gigantic Python that terrorized the humans. Apollo successfully killed it, though it required almost every arrow from his quiver. To ensure that no one forgot about this heroic deed, he created the Pythian games to commemorate his victory.

The winners received a wreath of bay laurel, sacred to Apollo, from the city of Tempe, in Thessaly. Smaller versions of the Pythian Games were celebrated in many other cities of the Levant and Greece.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pythian Games" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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