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Pelops was king of Pisa in the Peloponnese, a region of Greece that was named after him in Greek mythology.


According to the myth, Pelops' own father, Tantalos, the king of Sypilos in Lydia, wished to test the Olympian gods, and had Pelops cut into pieces and cooked into a stew. The gods, save for the goddess Demeter who was in mourning over the loss of her daugher Persephone, weren't fooled. Zeus punished Tantalos by sending him to Tartaros, and then reassembled Pelops, with Hephaistos providing an ivory prosthetic to replace the shoulder Demeter, distracted, had eaten.[1]

Some time later, Pelops fell in love with Hippodameia, the daughter of king Oinomaos. However, as Oinomaos had been forewarned that he would die at the hands of his son-in-law, he didn't approve of Pelops' feelings, and challenged him to a chariot race, intending to kill him like he had all who had preceded him. With the chariot and winged horses provided by the god Poseidon, Pelops won.[1]


The story of the race between Pelops and Oinomaos eventually became the origin myth of the Olympic Games in the Sanctuary of Olympia, Elis. Due to this, a a shrine, which was allegedly also his tomb, was dedicated to Pelops within the sanctuary, and a black ram was sacrificed in his honor annually.[2]

Pelops was also honored after the events of the second day of the Olympic Games, with funeral rites performed for him.[3]

Pelops' story was remembered even in 18th century Paris, France. The French Assassin Arno Dorian once, while chasing François de la Serre's carriage, compared the driver to Pelops.[4]



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