Home » V. Greek Heroes » a. Oebotas of Dyme – 8th c.

a. Oebotas of Dyme – 8th c.

Pausanias 6.3.8

The statue of Oebotas was set up by the Achaeans by the command of the Delphic Apollo in the eightieth Olympiad, but Oebotas won his victory in the footrace at the sixth Festival. How, therefore, could Oebotas have taken part in the Greek victory at Plataea? For it was in the seventy-fifth Olympiad that the Persians under Mardonius suffered their disaster at Plataea. Now I am obliged to report the statements made by the Greeks, though I am not obliged to believe them all. The other incidents in the life of Oebotas I will add to my history of Achaia.

 

Pausanias 7.17.6-7; 7.17.13–14

[7.17.6] Dyme’s more ancient name was Paleia, but the Ionians changed this to its modern name while they still occupied the city; I am uncertain whether they named it after Dyme, a native woman, or after Dymas, the son of Aegimius. But nobody is likely to be led into a fallacy by the inscription on the statue of Oebotas at Olympia. Oebotas was a man of Dyme, who won the foot-race at the sixth Festivaland was honored, because of a Delphic oracle, with a statue erected in the eightieth Olympiad.On it is an inscription which says:–

[7.17.7]

This Oebotas, an Achaean, the son of Oenias, by winning the foot-race,
Added to the renown of his fatherland Paleia.

This inscription should mislead nobody, although it calls the city Paleia and not Dyme. For it is the custom of Greek poets to use ancient names instead of more modern ones, just as they surname Amphiaraus and Adrastus Phoronids, and Theseus an Erechthid.

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[7.17.13] In the territory of Dyme is also the grave of Oebotas the runner. Although this Oebotas was the first Achaean to win an Olympic victory, he yet received from them no special prize. Wherefore Oebotas pronounced a curse that no Achaean in future should win an Olympic victory. There must have been some god who was careful that the curse of Oebotas should be fulfilled, but the Achaeans by sending to Delphi at last learned why it was that they had been failing to win the Olympic crown.

[7.17.14] So they dedicated the statue of Oebotas at Olympia and honored him in other ways, and then Sostratus of Pellene won the footrace for boys. It is still to-day a custom for the Achaeans who are going to compete at Olympia to sacrifice to Oebotas as to a hero, and, if they are successful, to place a wreath on the statue of Oebotas at Olympia.

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