Theagenes of Thasos
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.
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.
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.
Theagenes in fiction
- The Olympian: A Tale of Ancient Hellas by E.S. Kraay, ISBN 1439201676
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.