Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

Greek Heroes » Pelops

Pelops, the mythical founder of the Olympic Games


"Since all men are compelled to die, why should someone sit and wait for an inglorious old age in the darkness, and not share fine deeds? "
Pelops, founder of the ancient Greek Olympic Games

Oenomaus was a king of Pisa in Peloponnese/southern Greece and a son of Ares, the god of war. He had three children, among them the beautiful Hippodamia (the "horse-tamer").

One day Oenomaus received a prophecy, according to which the marriage of his daughter would cause his death. For this reason, Oenomaus tried to prevent Hippodamia from getting married. He therefore organized a chariot race which took place in Ancient Olympia and killed all the suitors who came to take part in the race.

But then the young Pelops came along and asked from Poseidon, the god of the seas, to restrain the bronze spear of Oenomaus. Poseidon, who was in favor of Pelops, gave him a golden chariot and winged horses and Pelops managed to defeat Oenomaos during the chariot race.

It is said that Pelops' victory inspired the establishment of the Olympic games.

Finally, Pelops took Hippodamia as his bride and the couple gave birth to plenty of glorious children.