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The Student's Mythology A Compendium of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Hindoo, Chinese, Thibetian, Scandinavian, Celtic, Aztec, and Peruvian Mythologies

Page: 39

Alcibiades on one occasion entered seven four-horse chariots in the Olympic games, and carried off the first, second and third prizes. The poet Euripides celebrated this victory, and Alcibiades, after offering solemn sacrifices to Jupiter, feasted the entire multitude assembled to witness the games. Ladies were admitted to dispute the prizes at Olympia, and many are mentioned as successful competitors. Cynisca, the sister of Agesilaus, king of Sparta, first opened this path [194] of glory to her sex, and was proclaimed conqueror in the four-horse chariot race. This victory, till then unexampled, was celebrated with all possible splendor. A magnificent monument was erected in Sparta in honor of Cynisca, and the Lacedæmonians, who were generally indifferent to the charms of verse, engaged a poet to transmit this new triumph to posterity. The princess dedicated a brazen chariot in the temple of Apollo at Delphi; in this votive offering, the charioteer was also represented; which proves that she had not driven the chariot herself at the games. This is a feat which, it is believed, no woman ever attempted. The portrait of Cynisca, drawn by the great Apelles, was afterwards placed in the same temple.


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