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AGON

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The Greek name for a musical (=artistic) or gymnastic contest. The umpires who conducted them, and gave away the prizes, were called Agonothetae. (On those who officiated at scenic games in Athens, see DRAMA.) At Rome such contests modelled on those of the Greeks, became frequent before the fall of the Republic; under the Empire they came round at periods of several years, like the great Grecian games. The most famous of all, which held its ground to the end of antiquity, was the Agon Capitolinus, founded by Domitian in 86 A.D., and recurring every four years. He had an Odieum (q.v.) built for the musical performances, and a Stadion for the athletic combats, both in the Campus Martius. Another great Agon was held in 248 A.D. in honour of the city having stood for a thousand years.
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