Pelops was the king of the city of Pisa in Peloponnesus, in Greek mythology. His father was Tantalus, the founder of the dynasty of the Atreides, while his mother may have been Dione, Euryanassa or Eurythemista.
Pelops' father, Tantalus, wanted to make an offering to the gods, and decided to kill his son; he cut Pelops into pieces, and served him as a stew to the gods. Most gods realised that there was something wrong and did not eat, but Demeter, who was grieving for her daughter Persephone's abduction by the god of the Underworld, Hades, ate the left shoulder. Afterwards, Pelops was reassembled by the gods and brought back to life, while Hephaestus, the blacksmith god, created an ivory shoulder to replace the missing part. Poseidon then made Pelops his apprentice in Olympus and taught him how to steer the divine chariot.
He left his homeland, Phrygia or Lydia, and went to Greece, where he participated in a chariot race against King Oenomaus of Pisa. Oenomaus was afraid of a prophecy that he would be killed by his son-in-law, so he killed all potential suitors of his daughter after defeating them in the race. However, Pelops asked for Poseidon's help, and together they made a plan; they convinced Oenomaus' charioteer, Myrtilus, to replace the bolts of the chariot wheels with fake ones. So, during the race, Oenomaus' chariot was destroyed and Oenomaus was dragged to death by his horses. Pelops was declared the winner, and he received the throne of the city as well as the king's daughter as a bride. Since then, Pelops organised annual games in memory of his father-in-law as well as in honour of the gods; these were the beginnings of the Olympic Games.
Pelops and Hippodamia had sixteen children, including Atreus, Thyestes, Pittheus, Troezen, Astydameia, Nicippe, Lysidice, and Eurydice. Pelops also fathered Chrysippus, after courting the nymph Axioche. Myrtilus tried to rape Hippodamia, and Pelops killed him; before dying though, Myrtilus cursed Pelops and his descendants; a curse that was the doom of the whole dynasty. Because of the curse, Atreus and Thyestes killed Chrysippus and were then banished; Hippodamia hanged herself; Pelops' grandchildren Agamemnon, Aegisthus, Menelaus, and his great-grandchild Orestes were also plagued by this curse, which was referred to as the curse of the Atreides.
See Also: Tantalus, Dione, Demeter, Hephaestus, Oenomaus, Poseidon, Myrtilus, Hippodamia, Atreus, Thyestes, Chrysippus, Orestes, Aegisthus, Menelaus, Agamemnon
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