Oebotas of Dyme

Oebotas of Dyme, the son of Oenias, winner of the footrace in 756 BC, his statue since 460/57 BC in Olympia.

Pausanias Book 7

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 Festival and was honored, because of a Delphic oracle, with a statue erected in the eightieth Olympiad . On it is an inscription which says:--

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.

...

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.

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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