Religion Past and Present

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(312 words)

[German Version]

᾽Αγών (contest), (a) a gathering (etym. ἀγω), a gathering-place and arena (b) chiefly for contests held for a prize; (c) multi-faceted metaphorical usage. – 1. Originally local contests accompanying funerals, agons developed into pan-Hellenic feasts (Olympia, Nemea [Zeus]; Pythia [Apollo]; Isthmia [Poseidon]). Almost anything, physical exercise, beauty, crafts, art, theater, singing, poetry and speaking, can become an agon according to the aristocratic principle of αἀὲν ἀριστεύειν καὶ ὑπείροχον ἔμμεναι ἄλλων (“always be the best, superior to the ot…

Cite this page
Bader, Günter, “Agon”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 13 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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