Born on the island of Thasos in the early 5th century B.C., Theogenes was a boxer and pankrationist of legendary skill. A full-time athlete, he traveled widely to compete. He purportedly won between 1,200 and 1,400 bouts. These included 23 major contests, among them two Olympic crowns - one in boxing, one in pankration - and a "double victory" at Isthmus (winning boxing and pankration in the same day). Some sources claim that he killed or disabled most of those he defeated. True or not, his rivals feared him: he won at least one boxing competition because his opponents chose to withdraw rather than face him!
Theogenes was famously arrogant, aggressive, and concerned with personal honor. He named his son "Diolympos" - "twice at Olympia" - to commemorate his Olympic victories. He also had a reputation for competitiveness, and once challenged his guests at a feast to fight him at pankration. Trying to win at both boxing and pankration at the 75th Olympiad, Theogenes lost to his best opponent only after exhausting him and forcing him to default in the final match. The judges felt that Theogenes had deliberately undercut his opponent's chances for victory, fined him one talent (enough to pay at least 6,000 soldiers for a day!), and sternly rebuked him. He apparently took this in stride, as he continued to compete for many years.
upon his death, Theogenes was enshrined like a god, complete with a statue hollowed out to hold donations. This relic acquired a reputation for miraculous healing. Theogenes was one of the first professional martial artists - he built his career entirely around fighting in contests and lived off his prize money.
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