History of the Pythian Games
The Pythian Games (Delphic Games) were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, a forerunner of the modern Olympic Games, held every four years at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi.
They were held in honour of Apollo two years after (and two years before) each Olympic Games, and between each Nemean and Isthmian Games. They were founded sometime in the 6th century BC, and, unlike the Olympic Games, also featured competitions for music and poetry. The music and poetry competitions pre-dated the athletic portion of the games, and were said to have been started by Apollo after he killed Python and set up the oracle at Delphi. Otherwise, the athletic events were the same as the Olympic Games. A four-horse chariot race was held in a hippodrome in the plain, not far from the sea, in the place where the original stadium was sited. (ref: Pindar)
The winners received a wreath of bay laurels from the city of Tempe in Thessaly. Smaller Pythian were celebrated in many other cities of Asia Minor and Greece.