PYTHIAN GAMES                                   1568                                                          PYXIS

Pyth'ian Games, one of the four great national festivals of the Greeks, are said to have been instituted by Apollo after vanquishing Python, the snaky monster. They at first were under the management of the Delphians; but about 590 B. C. the Am-phictyons were entrusted with the conduct of them, after which they were held every four years at Delphi in honor of Apollo. Some writers claim that they were not called Pythian till after this date. Originally the contests were restricted to singing and cithern-playing ; but the Amphictyons added

the flute, athletic contests and horse-racing. By and by contests in tragedy and other kinds of poetry, in historical recitations and in works of art were introduced and long continued a distinguishing feature of these games, which are believed to have lasted four centuries after Christ. The prize was a laurel-wreath and the symbolic palm-branch.

Python (pi'thon). See Boa.

Pyxis (pīks'īs), a peculiar pod which opens at its apex by a circular lid, as the common twinleaf (Jeffersonia).