Cleomedes of the island Astypalaea, an athlete, of whom Pausanias1 and Plutarch2 record the following legend: — In Ol. 72 (492 BCE) he killed Iccus, his opponent, in a boxing-umatch, at the Olympic games, and the judges (Ἑλλανοδίκαι) decided that he had been guilty of unfair play, and punished him with the loss of the prize. Stung to madness by the disgrace, he returned to Astypalaea, and there in his frenzy he shook down the pillar which supported the roof of a boys' school, crushing all who were in it beneath the ruins.

The Astypalaeans preparing to stone him, he fled for refuge to the temple of Athena, and got into a chest, which his pursuers, having vainly attempted to open it, at length broke to pieces; but no Cleomedes was there. They sent accordingly to consult the Delphic oracle, and received the following answer:

ὕπατος ἡρώων Κλεομήδης Ἀστυπαλαιεύς
ὅν θυσίαις τιμᾶθ᾽ ὡς μηκέτι θνητὸν ἐόντα.
"Last of heroes is Cleomedes of Astypalaea;
Honor him with sacrifices as being no longer a mortal."

From that moment on the Astypalaeans venerated him as a hero.



  1. Description of Greece vi, 9.6-8.
  2. Romulus, 28.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.