Participation of ancient Macedonians in Pan-Hellenic games

Quite characteristical for the greekness of ancient Macedonians is their participation on other pan-hellenic games except Olympics, namely Isthmia, Pythia, Amfiaraa and Lycaia. For example, its quite typical the case of Arhon (Άρχων), son of Kleinos. As it is proved from a inscription in Delphi, Arhon took part both in Isthmia and Pythia, where he won. Arhon was an officer of Alexander the Great, took part in all the battles during the campaign in Asia and according to another inscription he was one of the distinguished Macedonians on the battles. Furthermore he was appointed Satrap of Caria.

In a consular resolution originated again from Delphi, Arhon along with his brothers(one of them is called Isocrates) and his mother Sinesis, are honoured as colsulars of the city. Without doubt, both Arhon and his family considered it of great importance his victories in Pan-Hellenic games to be immortalized, something that explains their intense showing off in the most famous Pan-Hellenic place. His victories to Pan-Hellenic games appear to be also an honour for his city Pella, thats why it is said that Pella has “αείμναστον κλέος” because of the victories of Arhon.

Σόν κατά, άναξ| ιερόν τέμ[εν]ος κλυτότοξε σνωρίς | |έστεφεν
Άρχ|ωνος Δελφίδι κράτα δάφναι, |[ός Βαβυλώ]να ιεράν κραίνεν χθόνα, πολλά δε διωι | [σύμποτε] Αλεδάνδρωι στάσε τρόπαια δορός || [τούνε]κα οι μορφάς γονέων κτίσεν ηδέ συναίμων | [τα]σδε, κλέος δ’ αρετάς Πέλλα σύνοιδε πατρίς

[Ω] μάκαρ ευκλείας Άρχων στέ|φανον δις εδέξω | Ίσθμια νικήσας Πύθια τε ιππ[οσύναι ]| ζηλούται δε πατήρ Κλείνος κ[αι πότνια μήτηρ] Πέλλα τε αείμναστον πατρίς έ|χουσα κλέος]|

It is easy to conclude that:

- Eminent Macedonians, and more importantly those who were from the Macedonian capital Pella, considered as a great honour to be victors in Pan-Hellenic games. This pressuposes that they were considering themselves Greeks and they wanted to set it off like all the rest of Greeks did in similar cases.

- To say that Pella, the macedonian capital, has “αείμναστον κλέος” because of the one of her citizens victories in Pan-Hellenic games, at the same era where the Macedonian king had abolish the mightly Persian empire, shows the existence of a collective Hellenic national consciouness in Macedonian citizens.

What we must not forget is that in Pan-Hellenic games participated and in earlier years Macedonians. We know for example, that in races (stadion) who were in Amfiaraa of Oropos, the Macedonian Malakos was the victor, an event taken place before 366 and 338 BC.

This participation of Macedonian athletes in Pan-Hellenic games happen both based on the wish of Macedonians to take part and their simultaneous acceptance of the rest of Greeks, independently of political coincidences or of economical character purposeful acts.


The Lycean Victor List and Three Lists from Oropos

A rare inscription found in Lycaea in Asia Minor [Syll3.314] contains a record of 52 winners in equestrian and other contests at the quadrennial Lykaian festival, from 320 to 304 BCE. Thirteen winners of hippic contests were in chronological order (Table 1). On the other hand, clay tablets οf the 4th and 1st centuries BCE unearthed at Oropos bear inscriptions with the names of more than 64 victorious athletes in athletic contests including hippic events. Eleven victorious horsemen were included in three inscribed lists (Table 2).

Table 1: Victors on the Lycaean list Table 2: Victors on the lists of Oropos*

Year Name-Origin of Victor Contest Won
320 Dameas of Lycaea synoris
Thasyaner of Colophon horse race-boys
Eupolemos of Arcadia colt tethrippon
Mnesarchides of Athens horse race-men
Chionidas of Arcadia tethrippon
Nikokles of Sparta tethrippon
Philonikos of Argos keles flat race
316 Amphinetos of Arcadia synoris
Nikokles of Sparta horse race-boys
Pasikles of Sparta keles flat race
Asopechos of Thebae horse race-men

308 Dagos of Macedonia synoris
Praxias (not extant) colt tethrippon
Damolytos of Lycaea colt tethrippon
Distamenos (not extant) colt synoris
Onomantos of Argos keles flat race
Plutades (not extant) colt keles
Epinetos of Macedonia tethrippon
Apollonios (not extant) synoris
304 Nikagoras of Rhodos synoris
Habris of Cyme keles flat race
Thearidas of Arcadia colt tethrippon
Amyntas of Aeolia Zeugoi diavlon
Boubalos of Cassandria keles flat race

* David Matz, Greek and Roman Sport, McFarland, 1991. The Oropos inscriptions also contained flute and lyre players followed by the name of a sophistes [master musician]. They evoke interest, because they do not follow the Olympic program, contain a greater variety of equestrian events, as well as rules which apparently allowed boys to compete in the mens division

*Note Lykaian was a festival of Zeus held in Arkadia. It was held mainly from Arkadians and other Greeks. Thus we see Macedonian Athletes participating among other Greeks in games in honour of Zeus.

jameswillisisthebest says:

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