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the ancient Panhellenic celebration at Delphi held every four years in the third year of the Olympiad in honor of Apollo
The Pythian 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 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 art and dance. The art and dance 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. 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 Nuttall Encyclopedia
celebrated from very early times till the 4th century A.D. every four years, near Delphi, in honour of Apollo, who was said to have instituted them to commemorate his victory over the Python; originally were contests in singing only, but after the middle of the 6th century B.C. they included instrumental music, contests in poetry and art, athletic exercises, and horse-racing.
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"pythian games." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/pythian games>.