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Pelops

After the death of Tantalus, his son Pelops, so miraculously saved by the gods, began to rule in the city of Sipila. He did not rule long in his native Sipil. The king of Troy Il went to war against Pelops. This war was miserable for Pelops. The mighty king of Troy defeated him. Pelops had to leave his homeland. He loaded all his treasures on high-speed ships and set off with his faithful companions on a long journey by sea to the shores of Greece. He reached the Pelops peninsula in the very south of Greece and settled on it. Since then, this peninsula has been called by the name of Pelops Peloponnese.

One day Pelops saw in his new homeland the beautiful Hippodamia, the daughter of the king of the city Writings - Oenomaya. The hero was captivated by the daughter of Oenomaus with her beauty and he decided to get her for his wife.

Oenomaus and Sterope, mother of Hippodamia
Oenomaus and Sterope, mother of Hippodamia

It was difficult to get the hand of Hippodamia. Oenomaus was foretold by an oracle that he would die by the hand of his daughter's husband. To prevent such a fate, Oenomaus decided not to marry his daughter. But what about him? How to refuse all the grooms who asked for the hand of Hippodamia? Many heroes came to Oenomaus and wooed his daughter. He would insult them by rejecting them all for no reason. Finally, Oenomaus found a way out. He announced that he would give Hippodamia as a wife only to the hero who would defeat him in a chariot race, but if he turned out to be the winner himself, then the defeated one should pay with his life. Oenomaus decided to do this because there was no one equal to him in all of Greece in the art of driving a chariot, and his horses were faster than the stormy north wind Borea.

The King of Pisa could be sure that no hero would defeat him. However, the fear of losing his life, dying at the hands of the cruel Oenomaus, did not stop many heroes of Greece. One by one they came to his palace, ready to compete with him, just to get Hippodamia as a wife- she was so beautiful. An evil fate befell them all, Oenomaus killed them all, and nailed their heads to the doors of his palace, so that every hero who came again, seeing how many glorious heroes fell at the hands of Oenomaus, knew in advance what fate awaits him. This did not stop the hero Pelops either. He decided to get Hippodamia at any price and went to the hard-hearted King Oenomaus.

Oenomaus received Pelops sternly and said to him:

- Do you want to marry my daughter Hippodamia? Have you not seen how many glorious heroes laid down their heads for her in a dangerous competition? Look, you won't escape their fate either!

- I am not afraid of the fate of the fallen heroes, - Pelops answered the king. - I believe the gods of Olympus will help me! With their help, I will get Hippodamia as a wife.

A cruel smile appeared on the lips of Oenomaus; he had heard similar speeches many times.

Pelops with Hippodamia on a chariot
Pelops with Hippodamia on a chariot

- Listen, Pelops, - he said, - here are the conditions of the competition: the path lies from the city of Pisa through the whole Peloponnese to the Isthmus, it ends at the altar of the ruler of the seas Poseidon; this altar is located near Corinth. If you are the first to reach the altar, then you have won, but woe to you if I overtake you on the way! Then my spear will pierce you, as it has already pierced many heroes, and you will descend ingloriously into the gloomy kingdom of Hades. I will give you only one indulgence, I have given it to everyone else: you will start the journey before me, but I will first sacrifice to the great thunderer and only then will I ascend my chariot. Hurry up to drive as much as possible while I make a sacrifice.

Pelops left Oenomaus. He saw that only by cunning would he be able to defeat the cruel king. Pelops managed to find an assistant. He secretly went to the charioteer of Oenomaus Myrtil, the son of Hermes, and asked him, promising rich gifts, not to insert a check into the axes in order to the wheels jumped off the chariot of Oenomaus and this would have delayed the king on the way. Myrtilus hesitated for a long time, but finally Pelops seduced him with rich gifts, and Myrtilus promised him to do what he asked.

Morning has come. The ascending roseate Eos gilded the firmament. Now the radiant Helios appeared in the sky on his golden chariot. The competition is about to begin. Pelops prayed to the great oscillator of the earth Poseidon, asking him for help, and jumped on the chariot. King Oenomaus approached the altar of Zeus and gave a sign to Pelops that he could start on his way. Pelops drove the horses at full speed. The wheels of his chariot rattle on the stones. Horses are rushing like birds. Pelops quickly disappears in a cloud of dust. He is driven by his love for Hippodamia and fear for his life. Here, far behind him, the rumble of Oenomaus' chariot was heard. The rumble is getting clearer. The king of Pisas overtakes the son of Tantalus. Like a storm, the horses of the king are rushing, the dust from the wheels of the chariot is spinning like a whirlwind. Pelops struck the horses with his whip; they raced even faster. The air is whistling in Pelops' ears from the frenzied running of the horses, but can he escape from the horses of Oenomaus, because the king's horses are faster than the north wind! Oenomaus is getting closer and closer. Pelops already feels the hot breath of Oenomaus' horses behind his back, already sees, looking back a little, how with a triumphant laugh the king swung his spear. Pelops prayed to Poseidon, and the ruler of the boundless sea heard him. The wheels from the axles of the chariots of Oenomaus jumped off, the chariot overturned, and the hard-hearted king of Pisah crashed to the ground. Oenomaus fell to his death, the darkness of death covered his eyes.

Pelops returned triumphantly to Pisu, married Hippodamia and took possession of the entire kingdom of Oenomaus. When Myrtilus, the charioteer of Oenomaus, came to Pelops and began to demand half of the kingdom as a reward, Pelops felt sorry to part with half of the kingdom. The treacherous son of Tantalus tricked Myrtilus to the seashore and pushed him off a high cliff into stormy waves. Falling from a cliff, Myrtilus cursed Pelops and all his offspring. No matter how hard the son of Tantalus tried to soften the angry soul of Myrtila, no matter how hard he tried to soften the anger of his father, Hermes, everything was in vain. Myrtil's curse has been fulfilled. Since then, the descendants of Pelops have been persecuted by incalculable misfortunes, and by their misdeeds they have incurred the punishment of the gods.