The Pythian games were held at the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, and celebrated the god's victory over Python the dragon. Originally, these were music competitions and included a lyre and a flute contest. In the 8th Pythian Games a guitar contest was added in the programme while during the Hellenistic period the encomium and the pantomime were included. The so-called "circular" (or dithyrambic) and the dramat_c contests of comedy and drama art_sts probably appeared in the 4th century BC. In around 582 BC, after the First Sacred War, Delphi was liberated from the control of the city-state of Kirra by the Amphyctiony (twelve cities that were in the neighborhood of Demeter's sanctuary in Thermopylae), which then reorganized the festival and added athletic contests to the programme of the festival.
At that time, "naked" events (stade, diaulos, dolichos, wrestling, boxing, pankration, pentathlon and messengers-trumpeters race) and equestrian events (tethrippon, which was a four-horse chariot, synoris, which was a chariot pulled by a pair of horses and a synoris for foals) were added to the programme of the games. The Pythian games took place every four years and a wreath of laurel was given to the winners.