Olympic Games started with Pelops. Pelops' father was Tantalus, king at Mount Sipylus in Anatolia. Wanting to make an offering to the Olympians, Tantalus cut Pelops into pieces and made his flesh into a stew, then served it to the gods. Demeter, deep in grief after the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, absentmindedly accepted the offering and ate the left shoulder. The other gods sensed the plot, and held off from eating of the boy's body. While Tantalus was banished to Tartarus, Pelops was ritually reassembled and brought back to life, his shoulder replaced with one of ivory made for him by Hephaestus. Then Poseidon took him to Olympus, and made him the youth apprentice, teaching him also to drive the divine chariot. Later, Zeus found out about the gods' stolen food and their now revealed secrets, and threw Pelops out of Olympus, angry at his father, Tantalus. The young Pelops became a lover of the god Poseidon who provided him with a chariot drawn by swift--some say winged--horses. He later travelled across the sea to Greece to compete for the hand of Hippodameia, daughter of King Oinomaos (Oenomaus) of Pisa. The king would slay his daughter's suitors as he overtook them in a chariot race, so Pelops bribed the charioteer Myrtilos to tamper with the axle. Oinomaos was killed as a result and Pelops seized control of the kingdom. When Myrtilos demanded his reward, he treacherously cast him off a cliff into the sea. The dying man called down a curse upon his house which would plague Pelops and his descendants for many generations to come. After his victory, Pelops organized chariot races as thanksgiving to the gods and as funeral games in honor of King Oinomaos. It was from this funeral race held at Olympia that the beginnings of the Games were inspired. Pelops quickly grew his empire and came to control most of the western Peloponnesos. His descendants included Herakles, Eurystheus, Theseus, Atreus, Agamemnon and Menelaus. But the curse of Myrtilos kept destroying his family.


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