Pelops and Hippodameia in a Chariot Race

Pelops and Hippodameia in a Chariot Race Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Archeological Wonders Biographies Sports Visual Arts Legends and Legendary People

This red-figure vase, from the 4th century B.C., depicts Pelops and Hippodameia racing in a chariot.  During the time this object was created, Greek artists told stories on vases (as well as on other artifacts).

It illustrates the ancient-Greek story in which Hippodameia’s father, King Oinomaos, promised that his daughter could marry whichever suitor was capable of defeating the King in a chariot race.

Pelops - whom Hippodameia wanted to marry - was no exception.  He, too, would be put to the test.

The King declared that if Pelops were able to defeat him, in the race, the King would approve a marriage between Pelops and his daughter.  But ... if Pelops lost the race to Oinomaos, Pelops would be put to death.

For the first time, the King - an expert charioteer - was defeated in a race, but the legend tells us his defeat happened because of subterfuge.  Someone loosened a linchpin, on the King’s chariot, causing the wheel to break free from the axle.

Different versions of the story put the blame on different people, including on Pelops.  Whoever was responsible for rigging the King’s chariot was also responsible for his death.

Because of his victory over the King, however, Pelops was able to marry Hippodameia.   

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image online via Wikimedia Commons.



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"Pelops and Hippodameia in a Chariot Race" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jun 02, 2020.
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