The Pisa Post Editor in Chief: Ashlynne Hendry
Pelops, son of Tantalus, is set to face King Oenomaus of Pisa tomorrow in the long enduring battle for his daughter Hippodameia. Pelops will become the fourteenth suitor to try his luck at defeating Oenomaus and winning Hippodameia’s hand in marriage, and the people of Pisa are hopeful for a victory. Defeat of Oenomaus would turn around what one resident describes as an “immense fear that has overtaken the city.” The mother of Lasius says she does not want anyone else to go through what she had to after the death of her son two years ago in a similar race against Oenomaus. “I am fearful for the lives of the rest of our men”, she exclaims. Another concerned citizen says he is horrified at the extents to which Oenomaus will go to keep his daughter.
“If this race is anything like previous years, the poor fellow is going to need more than just luck on his side”, he warns. This just may be the case, with speculation that Pelops has won the favour of the gods. “It would be rather unusual, given what we know of his father’s up and down relationship with the gods, no less his current – or should I say eternal status”, comments historical expert Arrian. “But it’s not impossible. We do know that Pelops himself has shared close relationships with the gods at times.” He continues: “After all, the gods will do as the gods do.” The rumour has swept across the city of Pisa with great force, and it has injected an atmosphere of hope into the otherwise despondent city. “It’s like Pandora’s jar”, says another citizen. “There shouldn't be hope anywhere in Pisa,
but at the moment, there is!” It is not known whether Oenomaus is aware of any trick, divine or not, that may be up Pelops’ metallic sleeve. The King of Pisa did not make himself available for an interview, although Myrtilus, his charioteer, was spotted earlier this morning attending to his horses and shining the wheels of his chariot. If Oenomaus is aware, it looks like he is still going ahead with the race, and in no doubt that he will be victorious once again. On the other side of the track so to speak, Pelops appears focused. When asked about the rising speculation, he simply stated: “I have taken my stand.” However the race unfolds, the whole of Pisa is expected to turn up in support of Pelops tomorrow and find out for certain. The wisest witness of all is indeed the day to come.
Pelops’ opponent King Oenomaus of Pisa certainly has a formidable presence with his golden chariot and as yet undefeated horses.
Milo, the Pisa Minister of Sport, says the chariot race tomorrow between Pelops and King Oenomaus has the potential to become an important event in the calendar of Pisa. “These races have been a part of our lives for a decade now”, Milo explains, “but before Pelops, we’d never seen them as anything other than a horrible reality we had to face.” Whilst the race tomorrow still holds a potentially fateful ending for Pelops, people are more impressed with his character than they are concerned about the outcome of the race. He has shown incredible focus and strength of character, and the people have rallied behind him because of it. “He’s making the race his, instead of letting Oenomaus have all the power and control”, Milo continues. Residents of Pisa say this has lifted their spirits and brought their community together.
One mother recounts her young son’s excitement: “He’s absolutely obsessed with Pelops! Our backyard has been turned into a racing track and every afternoon my poor husband has to come home from work and pretend to be a horse so my son can be Pelops! It’s crazy when you think about it, given what this race is, but it’s bringing my family together, and my son has a good, strong man he can look up to, so I am very thankful for that.” Milo says there is an air of positivity surrounding this race as a result of Pelops’ involvement. “I don't know what it is exactly. I think he has worked really hard to take control. He’s doing this for himself, so he’s gone about it with great resolve. But he’s also doing it for the people, and they’ve picked up on that. He’s their hero.” He certainly has huge crowd support behind him. And there are also benefits that can be seen in various other areas of the community. Relations with Corinth and nearby towns have improved as a result of
their mutual investment in Pelops and this event. Milo says there has been a renewed interest in chariot racing as a sport, something he sees as an important cultural foundation of Greece. “I wouldn't be surprised if there was high demand for this sort of thing to continue”, gushes Milo. Obviously the stakes would not be nearly so high, but annual chariot races may just be the cultural revival Pisa needs. One resident said they would be thrilled if such a horrible part of the city’s history could be turned around in this way. “This is all dependent on whether or not Pelops survives tomorrow, but if he does, what a great way to honour him!” “I know many of my friends and I would love to be a part of creating a fun and competitive event in the life of our city. Civil chariot racing would be just the fit.” Pelops remains focused on his task tomorrow, seemingly unaware of this great potential and the bright fame that might be his as a result.
Ahead of Pelops’ race with King of Pisa, Oenomaus, our editor in chief was able to secure an interview with the man himself. Tomorrow, he faces a chilling chariot race – Hippodameia the prize of victory and death the price of defeat. A: PELOPS, THE QUESTION EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW IS, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN DO IT? CAN WE EXPECT VICTORY FROM YOU TOMORROW? P: As I’ve always said, great danger does not take hold of a coward. Is it going to be dangerous? Is it going to be difficult? Yes. But that calls for ingenuity and boldness. I’m ready for the challenge and the consequences. A: SPEAKING OF INGENUITY, YOU MUST BE AWARE OF THE SPECULATION THAT YOU MAY HAVE DIVINE HELP TOMORROW. HOW HAVE YOU RESPONDED TO THIS SPECULATION? P: I am focused on the task at hand. I certainly haven’t given people any reason to think that the gods would be involved. If they assist, it’s on their own terms, as always.
On the eve of the biggest event in several years, the people of Pisa can’t help but wonder at Pelops’ reason for entering the ominous chariot race against Oenomaus. “Don’t get me wrong, we all want someone other than Oenomaus to be the victor in these things, but it just seems like pure craziness!” one citizen exclaims.
A: WELL GODS OR NOT, PEOPLE ARE DEFINITELY ALREADY PLAYING YOU OUT TO BE A CHAMPION. THEY’VE EVEN LIKENED YOU TO HERAKLES. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS? P: To be compared to Herakles is a great honour, but one that I do not seek or deserve. Herakles will always be the greater hero. Any comparison with him simply shows how much we need liberation from the fear Oenomaus has this city locked in. I obviously don't want to let the people down. This is their battle too. But I’m really doing this for myself. I need to take control of my life and prove to myself that I am more than what has happened to me. My past, my father, my struggles – they don't define me. What I do with them defines me, and that’s what this race is all about. A: WOULD YOU MIND SHARING SOME OF YOUR STRUGGLES TO GET TO THIS POINT.
P: Where should I begin? One should always speak good of the gods, and I don't want to sound ungrateful for any help they have or might give me. But being very literally at their mercy, I lost control of my life. And then to be sent away as a result of not my own doings but my father’s, felt like rejection. I’ve born the consequence of my father’s actions ever since. Rumours about my arm, about my father’s fate, it’s all talk to make the false seem true, and it wore me down. It also cost me in love - Aphrodite has
Event coordinator Ligeia explains: “Over the last decade, we have seen as many different reasons as suitors for competing in this race. They are madly in love with Hippodameia or vowing to restore peace to Pisa or seeking personal glory and status, to name a few.” Unfortunately, none of the previous suitors have been successful
in any of these aims. Their sacrifice has left holes in families and in the community, and a space still to be taken up beside Hippodameia. When Pelops was asked about his motive, he replied: “I’m doing it for me, for Hippodameia and for Pisa. And I’m doing it because I’m not for Oenomaus. ” Many people have commended his noble
A: WOULD YOU MIND SHARING SOME OF YOUR STRUGGLES TO GET TO THIS POINT.
not been kind to me! My life hasn't been easy, but it has brought me to this point, and I plan for it to bring me through tomorrow also. A: YOU SPEAK OF YOUR FATHER TANTALUS. DO YOU THINK HE WOULD BE PROUD OF YOU IF HE COULD SEE YOU NOW? P: My father wasn't as cruel to me as people seem to think. He certainly didn't always please the gods! But neither did he feed me to them. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with the way my
father chose to live his life, but I believe that the rock that hangs over him now is no heavier than the regret and guilt he feels over leaving Niobe and myself. So yes, I’d like to think he would be proud. A: YOUR POTENTIAL FATHER-IN-LAW WOULD BE QUITE A DIFFERENT STORY RIGHT? P: Yes. He’s clearly in this to kill me. I don't take that personally. It’s plain he doesn't fancy the idea of having a son-in-law! A: DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHY? P: It’s all about the control. A son-inlaw might rise up against him and take his throne. But there also seems to be a bit of a reverse Oedipus thing at play, so the jury is out on that one. We just know that he will go to extreme lengths to postpone the marriage of his daughter Hippodameia.
Sacrifice, and are hopeful he will be successful. But he is not without criticism. Some have attacked Pelops for his far-fetched tales and claim that this is just another selfseeking venture. Catilos, Oenomaus’ nephew expresses this: “Who does he think he is anyway, claiming to have a relationship with the gods and flashing his arm around the place? He has no respect for authority, and no true strength. He’ll pull out when it comes to the crunch for sure.”
A: YES, THE GIRL! THERE’S ALWAYS A GIRL ISN’T THERE? BUT IS HIPPODAMEIA REALLY WORTH RISKING YOUR LIFE? P: I’ve hardly spent any time with her. She’s obviously a beautiful woman, but what has impressed me the most even in my brief time with her is her resilience and strength. She’s been tightly controlled by her father for her entire life and has seen some horrific sights, but she hasn't let bitterness win. I think we share that common experience. A: I CAN’T HELP BUT WONDER HOW YOU’RE FEELING RIGHT NOW. YOU SEEM INCREDIBLY CALM FOR SOMEONE WHO MAY BE FACING THEIR LAST DAY ALIVE. P: Less than favourable things happen, and it’s all about how you handle those things. I face a confronting reality yes, but it is reality. Only the gods can change that.
Whether Pelops will go through with it or not, residents of Pisa are just glad someone is putting up their hand to challenge Oenomaus. He is already in a sense their local hero.
Pelops Oenomaus Pelops looks like the clear favourite to win tomorrow’s race.
Hippodameia anxiously watching Pelops training ahead of tomorrow’s chariot race against her father.
Many who have seen Pelops in the week leading up to the chariot race have noted his focus and his confidence. Considering the nature of the race, this is quite a marvel. “He seems sure of himself”, one resident says. “It’s like he knows the outcome of tomorrow and whatever it is, he’s accepted it.” Professor of Psychology, Epicles says Pelops’ behaviour exhibits resolve. “It's not that he’s fearless; I think anyone would have to feel a certain amount of fear in this situation. It’s that he has immense tenacity in the face of that fear.” But people can’t help but think there is more to this than Pelops’ strength of character. Senior member of the assembly, Phaenippus says he
saw Pelops consulting the oracle of Delphi last month. “He came out, and he had a calmness about him that wasn't there before.” Pelops was then spotted making additional animal sacrifices at the site of the oracle. Phaenippus is taking this as confirmation that Pelops received good news from the oracle. But what exactly the oracle said, and how Pelops has interpreted it, is unknown. “It must be about the gods”, says one citizen. “Even Pelops can’t do this without their help.” If it is a deal with the gods, people are unsure exactly what form this will take and why they have decided to favour Pelops. Pelops is known to have spent some time on Olympus, yet the nature of his stay there is shrouded in mystery. Some say
he was the erômenos of Poseidon, others that he was restored to life by the gods after a cruel trick. “Either way, he could be expected to have good relations with the gods” confirms Arrian. “And we know it’s foolish to think that what anyone does escapes the notice of the gods.” “I think all of us here recognise something in Pelops that most of us don't have”, says one resident on behalf of the people of Pisa. Whether this is extreme courage or favour in the eyes of the gods remains to be seen. The speculation is mounting, and all anyone can do is wait until the sun rises upon tomorrow.
Event commentator Glennus says nothing out of the ordinary is in place for tomorrow, but chariot maker Rumus says he is not quite sure what to expect from Pelops. The event is expected to begin at eight tomorrow morning. “In terms of the run down of the day”, Glennus explains, “we can expect it to go down in much the same way as previous years.” We therefore anticipate Pelops and Oenomaus will be racing from Olympia to the altar of Poseidon at Corinth. Pelops, as the challenger, will be given a head start, while Oenomaus offers his sacrifice to Zeus. He will then begin
his catch-up, eager to slaughter Pelops in the overtaking. “Obviously we’re hoping for a different outcome this time!” he adds. In terms of the chariots, Rumus says we can expect to see the infamous golden chariot Oenomaus received from his father Ares. He confirms that the royal charioteer Myrtilus has been taking care to prepare everything for the King. “He was at my workshop just the other day restoring a linchpin, so it seems the royal chariot will be in good working order.”
As to what Pelops will be racing in, Rumus is at a loss. “He hasn't come to us, and as far as I know he hasn't gone to any other man here.” “We’re at a loss as to who his chariot has come from and where he’s hiding it. It’s a complete mystery.” People are curious to see what Pelops has chosen for the big race and how it will fare, well aware that the as yet undefeated chariot and horse team of Oenomaus poses a formidable obstacle in his way. Rumus’ advice – “He better have something that flies!”
The route from Olympia to Poseidon’s altar at Corinth that Pelops and Oenomaus will travel tomorrow
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