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One of the four great national festivals of the Greeks, held on the Isthmus of Corinth, in a grove of pine trees sacred to Poseidon, near the shrines of the Isthmian Poseidon and of Melicertes. From B.C. 589, they were held in the first month of spring, in the second and fourth years of each Olympiad. According to legend, the Isthmian Games were originally funeral games in memory of Melicertes (q.v.); another tradition relates that they were established by Theseus either in honour of Poseidon, or in commemoration of his victory over Sciron and Sinis. In any case, the Athenians were specially interested in the festival from the earliest times. It was alleged that, from the days of Theseus downwards, they had what was called the proedria, the right of occupying the most prominent seats at the games, and, in accordance with a law attributed to Solon, they presented to those of their citizens who were victors in the contests a reward amounting to 100 drachmoe. [The only occasion when Socrates was absent from Athens, except with the army, was to attend this festival.] The inhabitants of Elis were completely excluded from the games, being debarred from either sending competitors or festal envoys. The Corinthians had the presidency, which was transferred to the Sicyonians after the destruction of Corinth (B.C. 146), but at the rebuilding of Corinth (B.C. 46) it was restored to that city. The contests included gymnastic exercises, horse-races, and competitions in music. The two former differed in no essential way from the Olympian Games (q.v.); in the third, besides musicians, poets of either sex contended for the prize. Besides the customary palm, the prize in Pindar's time consisted of a wreath of dry selinon [often translated "parsley," but more probably identical with the "wild celery," apium graveolens. The selinon was a symbol of funeral games], After the destruction of Corinth, a crown of pine leaves was substituted for it. The games long continued to be held, even under the Roman Empire. [Cp. Plutarch, Timoleon, 26, and Sympos. v 3, 1-3.]
GLAUCUS 62.29%
King of Corinth, son of Sisyphus and father of Bellerophontes. At the funeral games of Pelias in Iolcus, he was thrown and torn to pieces by his own horses, which Aphrodite in her wrath had driven mad. His ghost was said to appear to the horses racing at the Isthmian games and terrify them. He was accordingly worshipped on the Isthmus, under the name of Taraxippos, or Terrifier of Horses.

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In Greek legend the son of Athamas and Ino, and ch~nged, after his death by drowning, into the marine deity Palaemon, while his mother became Leucothea. (See INO). His name (=Melkart), however, shows him to have been originally a Plicenician god. Like Ino-Leucothea, he was worshipped on all the coast of the Mediterranean, especially on that of Megara and at the Isthmus of Corinth, where he was so closely connected with the cult of Poseidon, that the Isthmian games, originally instituted in honour of this god, came to be looked upon as the funeral games of Melicertes. The Romans regarded him as a beneficent god of the sea, and identified him with Portunus, the god of harbours.
PINDAR 22.19%
The greatest of the Greek lyric poets, born about 622 B.C. at Cynoscephalae, near Thebes; son of the fluteplayer Dalphantus of the ancient and noble family of the Aegidae. His instruction in music, begun by his father, was continued by the musician and dithyrambic poet Lasus of Hermione and the two Boetian poetesses Myrtis and Corinna. He subsequently enjoyed the instructions of the eminent musicians Agathocles and Apollodorus at Athens. He lived chiefly at Thebes, but was renowned and honoured far and wide, among free communities as well as by tyrants and monarchs, not only for his skill in his art, but also for his profound piety. As a special favourite. of Apollo, he was given a seat in the temple at Delphi, and was regularly invited to the divine banquet called the Theoxenia. When he was condemned to a fine by his fellow citizens for glorifying the hostile city of Athens, the Athenians recouped him and accorded him the honour of proxenia, and afterwards erected a bronze statue in his honour. He was on the most intimate terms with Amyntas of Macedon, the Aleuadae in Thessaly and Arcesilaus of Cyrene, but more especially with Theron of Agrigentum and with Hieron of Syracuse at whose court he lived 476-472. He died a peaceful death 422, aged eighty, in the theatre at Argos. It is well known that, in the destruction of Thebes, Alexander the Great spared Pindar's house and descendants alone (Dion Chrysostom, Or. ii, p. 25 M; cp. Milton's third English sonnet]. As a poet, Pindar was remarkably prolific. His works, divided by the Alexandrian scholars into seventeen books, included hymns, paens, prosodia, parthenia, encomia, solia, threni, and epinicia [cp. Horace, Odes iv 2]. Of most of his poetry we have only fragments, but the four books of epinicia are nearly complete. These were songs celebrating the victors in the great national games, and sung by a chorus, sometimes at the scene of the victory, sometimes at the feast on the victor's return home. They contain fourteen Olympian, twelve Pythian, eleven Nemean, and eight Isthmian odes. Pindar's poetry is characterized by magnificence and sublimity of thought, expression, and metrical form. It is permeated by deep and warm religious sentiments resting on the popular creed, still unimpugned by sophistic teaching, and only ennobled by the impress of the poet's personality. He does not celebrate the victors by particular description; he takes his main ideas from the circumstances of the victor's home or personal position, or from the nature of the contest, and works them into a plot always artistic, though often obscured by the interlacing of the strands of thought and by the myths which are interwoven in appropriate detail. Harmony in thought, expression, and metre make the shortest and longest of his poems equally complete in themselves as works of art. Pindar's poetic language is the Ionic Homeric dialect, intermingled with Aeolic and especially with Doric forms. By some mistake his name (Pindarus Thebanus) became attached to an abstract of Homer's Iliad written in Latin hexameters for the use of schools in the 1st century A.D., and much used in the Middle Ages.
GAMES 9.72%
Type: Standard
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