Theagenes of Thasos

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Theagenes of Thasos (Greek: Θεαγένης ὁ Θάσιος) was an ancient Greek Olympian, typically spelled Theogenes before the first century AD.[1]

Background

Son of Timosthenes, Theagenes was renowned for his extraordinary strength and swiftness. At the age of nine, he was said to have carried home a brazen statue of a god from the agora.

As he grew up he became distinguished in every kind of athletic contest, and gained numerous victories at the Olympian, Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian games. Altogether he was said to have won 1300 crowns. He gained a victory at Olympia in the 75th Olympiad, 480 BC. (Paus. vi. 6. § 5.) The popular story among the Thasians was that Heracles was his father. The story of Theagenes is recounted in the historical novel The Olympian: A Tale of Ancient Hellas.[2]

Statue and death

A curious story is told by Pausanias about a statue of Theagenes made by Glaucias of Aegina. There was a man on Thasos who had a grudge against Theagenes, and scourged the statue by way of revenge. One night, the statue fell upon this man, killing him.

The statue was put on trial for murder and exiled by being thrown into the sea, but was later recovered, because the Delphic oracle had declared that the country would remain in a period of barrenness until they restored the statue of Theagenes. Pausanias mentions having seen many statues of Theagenes among both the Greeks and the Barbarians, (vi. 11. § 9.). The statue in Thasos became the focus of a hero cult and was said to have healing properties.[3]

Modern recognition

The football club of the island, founded in 1969, bears his name (A.O. Theagenes Thasou, Α.Ο. Θεαγένης Θάσου) and its emblem represents the head of Theagenes.

In fiction

  • The Olympian: A Tale of Ancient Hellas by E.S. Kraay, ISBN 1439201676

Notes

  1. ^ KU Leuven, 2012 at http://ancientolympics.arts.kuleuven.be/eng/tp007en.html
  2. ^ ISBN 978-1-4392-0167-1
  3. ^ Sport and spectacle in the ancient world By Donald G. Kyle, p. 201 ISBN 0-631-22971-X

References

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