Pythian Games, a national festival held every four years at Delphi in ancient Greece. There, according to legend, the god Apollo killed a dragon named Python that guarded a sacred cave from which oracles (divine revelations) were given. The victory was celebrated with a musical contest featuring hymns to Apollo. In the 580's B.C. the Delphic Amphictyonic Council (an association of neighboring communities) added to the Pythian festival athletic contests such as those in the Olympic Games. After about 470 B.C. painting contests were included also. The awards were wreaths of bay leaves and palm branches.
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