The Children of Tyro: Pelias (page 191, with art)

Chapter 5: The Line of Deukalion

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Chest of Kypselos from temple of Hera at Olympia (known through Pausanias’ description and modern reconstructions)

Pausanias Description of Greece 5.17.9-11:

After the house of Amphiaraus come the games at the funeral of Pelias, with the spectators looking at the competitors. Heracles is seated on a throne, and behind him is a woman. There is no inscription saying who the woman is, but she is playing on a Phrygian, not a Greek, flute. Driving chariots drawn by pairs of horses are Pisus, son of Perieres, and Asterion, son of Cometas (Asterion is said to have been one of the Argonauts), Polydeuces, Admetus and Euphemus. The poets declare that the last was a son of Poseidon and a companion of Jason on his voyage to Colchis. He it is who is winning the chariot-race. Those who have boldly ventured to box are Admetus and Mopsus, the son of Ampyx. Between them stands a man playing the flute, as in our day they are accustomed to play the flute when the competitors in the pentathlum are jumping. The wrestling-bout between Jason and Peleus is an even one. Eurybotas is shown throwing the quoit; he must be some famous quoit-thrower. Those engaged in a running-race are Melanion, Neotheus and Phalareus; the fourth runner is Argeius, and the fifth is Iphiclus. Iphiclus is the winner, and Acastus is holding out the crown to him. He is probably the father of the Protesilaus who joined in the war against Troy. Tripods too are set here, prizes of course for the winners; and there are the daughters of Pelias, though the only one with her name inscribed is Alcestis. Iolaus, who voluntarily helped Heracles in his labours, is shown as a victor in the chariot-race. At this point the funeral games of Pelias come to an end, and Heracles, with Athena standing beside him, is shooting at the hydra, the beast in the river Amymone (original Greek).

Details of chariot race, boxing match, wrestling, discus throw and foot race from reconstruction of Chest of Kypselos (lost monument once in temple of Hera, Olympia) by W. von Massow, “Die Kypseloslade,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Athenische Abteilung vol. 41 (1916), pl. 1.

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Edited by Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, January 2020.

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