Milo of Croton

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Milo of Croton (Greek: Μίλων; gen.: Μίλωνος) was a 6th century BC wrestler from the Magna Graecian city of Croton in southern Italy who enjoyed a brilliant wrestling career and won many victories in the most important athletic festivals of ancient Greece.[1][2][3] In addition to his athletic victories, Milo is credited by the ancient commentator Diodorus Siculus with leading his fellow citizens to military triumph over neighboring Sybaris in 510 BC.

Milo was said to be an associate of Pythagoras. One story tells of the wrestler saving the philosopher's life when a roof was about to collapse upon him, and another that Milo may have married the philosopher's daughter Myia. Like other successful athletes of ancient Greece, Milo was the subject of fantastic tales of strength and power, some, perhaps, based upon misinterpretations of his statues. Among other tales, he was said to have carried a bull on his shoulders, and to have burst a band about his brow by simply inflating the veins of his temples.

The date of Milo's death is unknown, but he reportedly was attempting to rend a tree asunder when his hands became trapped in the cleft of its trunk, and a pack of wolves surprised and devoured him. Milo has been depicted in works of art by Pierre Puget, Étienne-Maurice Falconet, and others. In literature, he has been referenced by Rabelais in Gargantua and Pantagruel and by Shakespeare in Troilus and Cressida.

Contents

Achievements

Athletic career

Milo was a six time Olympic victor. He won the boys' wrestling (probably in 540 BC),[4] and thereafter five men's wrestling titles between 536 and 520 BC.[1][2][3] He also won seven crowns at the Pythian Games at Delphi (one as a boy), ten at the Isthmian Games, and nine at the Nemean Games.[2] Milo was a five time Periodonikēs, a "grand slam" sort of title bestowed on the winner of all four festivals in the same cycle.[3] Milo's career at the highest level of competition must have spanned 24 years.[2]

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