Polydamas of Skotoussa

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Polydamas of Skotoussa (Greek: Πολυδάμας (gen.: -ντος) ὁ Σκοτουσσαῖος), son of Nicias, was a Thessalian pankratiast, victor in the 93rd Olympiad (408 BC).

His size was said to be immense and the most marvellous stories are related of his strength (for example tales about how he killed without any weapons a huge lion on Mount Olympus, or how he stopped a chariot at full gallop). His reputation led Darius II of Persia, to invite him to his court, where he performed similar feats.

In the end, however, Polydamas' strength could not prevent his demise. One summer, Polydamas and his friends were relaxing in a cave when the roof began to crumble down upon them. Believing his immense strength could prevent the cave-in, Polydamas held his hands up to the roof, trying to support it as the rocks crashed down around him. His friends fled the cave and reached safety, but the pankratiast died there.