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date: 27 November 2020

horse- and chariot-raceslocked

  • John Kinloch Anderson

Extract

In the funeral games for *Patroclus the chariot-race is the premier event (Hom.Il. 23. 262–538). The heroes drive two-horse chariots normally used in battle over an improvised cross-country course, round a distant mark and home again. Similar funeral games for other heroes are recorded; and heroes as well as gods were remembered at the Panhellenic festivals. Malicious ghosts (Taraxippoi, ‘horse-frighteners’) sometimes panicked the horses. But, despite the story of the race by which *Pelops won his bride and kingdom (see hippodamia), equestrian events were not the oldest in the historic Olympia festival (see olympian games). *Pausanias (5. 8. 7–8) records the introduction of four-horse chariots in the 25th Olympiad (680 bce); of ridden horses in the 33rd; and of other equestrian events at irregular intervals thereafter. Regular hippodromes were now used. No material remains survive; but literary evidence (e.g. Soph.

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