Pythian Games, one of the four great national festivals of Greece, held at Delphi, which was originally called Pytho from the serpent Python killed by Apollo near there. The legendary account attributed the origin of these games to. Apollo, although there were traditions referring them to Amphictyon, Diomedes, and other heroes. At first the Delphians themselves decided the disputes and adjudged the prizes, but after the Crissaean war the management came into the hands of the Amphictyons. Once, in 01. 122, the games were held in Athens by the advice of Demetrius Polior-cetes. They appear to have lasted as long as the Olympic games, or till about A. D. 394. They were held in the Crissaean plain, which had a theatre for the musical contests, a race course, a stadium 1,000 ft. long, and probably a gymnasium, prytaneum, and similar buildings. Some ancient writers tell us that they were first called Pythian games in 01. 48, when the Amphictyons assumed their management. Previously they had been held at the end of every eight years, but afterward at the end of every four. They were probably solemnized in the spring, and lasted several days.
There were other Pythian games of less importance held in various places in Greece, Asia Minor, and Italy, where the worship of Apollo was established.