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In Greek mythology, King Oenomaus
Oenomaus
(also Oenamaus; Greek: Οἱνόμαος) of Pisa,[1] the father of Hippodamia, was the son of Ares, either by the naiad Harpina (daughter of the river god Phliasian Asopus, the armed (harpe)[2] spirit of a spring near Pisa)[3] or by Sterope, one of the Pleiades,[4] whom some identify as his consort instead.[5] He married, if not Sterope, then Evarete of Argos, the daughter of Acrisius
Acrisius
and Eurydice. Yet others give Eurythoe, daughter of Danaus, either as his mother[6] or consort.[7] His children besides Hippodamia
Hippodamia
were Leucippus (who perished because of his love for Daphne) and Alcippe (mother of Marpessa by Evenus). Pausanias, who is generally skeptical about stories of humans descending from gods, makes Oenomaus
Oenomaus
son of a mortal father, Alxion.[8] John Tzetzes
Tzetzes
adduces a version which, in the same vein, calls Oenomaus
Oenomaus
son of a Hyperochus by Sterope.[9] The genealogy offered in the earliest literary reference, Euripides' Iphigenia in Tauris, would place him two generations before the Trojan War, making him the great-grandfather of the Atreides, Agamemnon
Agamemnon
and Menelaus. His name Oinomaos signifies him as a wine man. Courtship of Hippodamia[edit] King Oenomaus, fearful of a prophecy that claimed he would be killed by his son-in-law, had killed eighteen suitors of his daughter Hippodamia
Hippodamia
after defeating them in a chariot race. He affixed their heads to the wooden columns of his palace.[10] Pausanias was shown what was purportedly the last standing column in the late second century CE; he mentions that Pelops
Pelops
erected a monument in honor of all the suitors who preceded him, and lists their names:[11]

Marmax Alcathous, son of Porthaon Euryalus Eurymachus Crotalus Acrias of Lacedaemon, founder of Acriae Capetus Lycurgus Lasius Chalcodon Tricolonus (descendant of another Tricolonus, who was a son of Lycaon) Aristomachus Prias Pelagon Aeolius Cronius Erythras, son of Leucon Eioneus, son of Magnes

Pelops
Pelops
son of King Tantalus
Tantalus
of Lydia, came to ask for her hand and prepared to race Oenomaus. Worried about losing, Pelops
Pelops
went to the seaside and invoked Poseidon, his former lover.[12] Reminding Poseidon of their love ("Aphrodite's sweet gifts"), he asked Poseidon for help. Smiling, Poseidon caused a chariot drawn by winged horses to appear.[13] Pelops
Pelops
and Hippodamia, very much in love, devised a plan to replace the bronze linchpins attaching the wheels to the chariot axle with fake ones made of beeswax. The race began, and went on for a long time. But just as Oenomaus
Oenomaus
was catching up to Pelops
Pelops
and readying to kill him, the wheels flew off and the chariot broke apart. Oenomaus' charioteer, Myrtilus, survived, but Oenomaus
Oenomaus
was dragged to death by his horses. Pelops
Pelops
then killed Myrtilus
Myrtilus
(by throwing him off a cliff into the sea as he cursed him) after the latter attempted to claim Hippodamia. As Myrtilus
Myrtilus
died, he cursed Pelops. This was the source of the curse that haunted descendents of Pelops', including Atreus, Thyestes, Agamemnon, Aegisthus, Menelaus
Menelaus
and Orestes. Also, the burial place of Myrtilus was a taraxippus in Olympia, a "horse-frightening place" during races. In memory of Oenomaus, the Olympic Games were created (or alternatively the Olympic Games were in celebration of Pelops' victory). Oenomaus' chariot race was one legendary origin of the Olympic Games; one of its turning-posts was preserved, and round it grew an Elean legend of a burnt "house of Oenomaus", reported by Pausanias in the 2nd century CE.[14] Notes[edit]

^ In the ancient territory of Pisa lay Olympia. ^ Theoi Project: Harpina. ^ Pausanias, 5.22.6; Diodorus Siculus, 4.73.1. ^ Hyginus, Fabula 84 ("Oenomaus, son of Mars and Asterope, daughter of Atlas"), Fabula 250 ("Oenomaus, son of Mars by Asterie, daughter of Atlas"). ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 3. 110–111; Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 21; he was depicted on the pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia with Sterope, whom Pausanias also took for his wife: "On the right of Zeus Oinomaos with a helmet on his head, and by him Sterope his wife, who was one of the daughters of Atlas." ^ Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 752 ^ Tzetzes
Tzetzes
on Lycophron, 157 ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5. 1. 6 ^ Tzetzes
Tzetzes
on Lycophron, 149, 219 ^ The story of Pelops' chariot race is told by Nestor to Menelaus, in Quintus Smyrnaeus's continuation of the Iliad
Iliad
(IV.527-34). ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece, 6. 21. 9–11, with a reference to Megalai Ehoiai fr. 259(a). ^ Pindar, First Olympian Ode. 71. ^ Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes 2.27.67 (noted in Karl Kerenyi, The Heroes of the Greeks, 1959:64). ^ Eric L. Brulotte, "The "Pillar of Oinomaos" and the Location of Stadium I at Olympia", American Journal of Archaeology 98.1 (January 1994), pp. 53-64,

Bibliography[edit]

Pindar, Olympian Ode, I (476 BCE) Sophocles, Electra, 504 (430–415 BCE) and Oenomaus, Fr. 433 (408 BCE) Euripides, Orestes, 1024-1062 (408 BCE) Bibliotheca, Epitome 2, 1–9 (140 BCE) Diodorus Siculus, Histories, 4.73 (1st century BCE) Hyginus, Fables, 84: Oinomaus; Poetic Astronomy, ii (1st century CE) Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.1.3–7; 5.13.1; 6.21.9; 8.14.10–11 (c. 160 – 176 CE) Philostratus the Elder Imagines, I.30: Pelops
Pelops
(c. 190 – c. 230 CE) Philostratus the Younger, Imagines, 9: Pelops
Pelops
(3rd century CE) First Vatican Mythographer, 22: Myrtilus; Atreus
Atreus
et Thyestes Second Vatican Mythograp

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