Pythian Games

Let the Games begin

In 2011, we started what may be the first Pythian games since 394 AD, and we're still going strong. Like the Olympic Games, the Pythian Games—named after the myth of a serpent slain by the Greek god Apollo at Delphi—were held every four years.

Sacred to Apollo (the Greek god of music and the arts), the ancient Pythian Games featured competitions in declamation, reading aloud, poetry, and rhetoric. True to form, every year we invite students to perform poetry, song, theatre and music. Performers have recited everything from Al Purdy to Pushkin and Woody Allen to Catullus, and performances have been made in Latin, Greek, English, Middle English, German, Russian, Welsh and yes, even Elvish.


While prestige and a laurel were the prizes awarded to winners of the ancient Pythian Games, the Classics Department awards four monetary prizes in addition to departmental fame.

Pythian Games 2021 - A Virtual Triumph!

Our first ever virtual Pythian Games were a resounding success! Watch the full video of the performances here


Photos and stories from past games