Pelops

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In Greek mythology, Pelops (Greek Πέλοψ, from pelios: dark; and ops: face, eye), was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. He was the founder of the House of Atreus through his son of that name.

He was venerated at Olympia, where his cult developed into the founding myth of the Olympic Games, the most important expression of unity, not only for the Peloponnesus, "island of Pelops", but for all Hellenes. At the sanctuary at Olympia, chthonic night-time libations were offered each time to "dark-faced" Pelops in his sacrificial pit (bothros) before they were offered in the following daylight to the sky-god Zeus (Burkert 1983:96).

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Genealogy

Pelops was a son of Tantalus and Dione or Euryanassa. Of Phrygian or Lydian birth, he departed his homeland for Greece, and won the crown of Pisa (or Olympia) from King Oenomaus. Pelops was credited with numerous children, begotten on his wife Hippodameia, daughter of Oenomaus. Pelops' sons include Pittheus, Alcathous, Dias, Pleisthenes, Atreus, Thyestes, Copreus, and Hippalcimus. Pelops and Hippodameia also had several daughters, some of whom married into the House of Perseus, such as Astydameia (who married Alcaeus), Nicippe (who married Sthenelus), and Eurydice (who married Electryon). By the nymph Axioche, Pelops was father of Chrysippus.

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