The Charioteer of Delphi, is a creation inspired by the victorious chariot race that Polyzalos, brother of Gelon and Hieron, the tyrants of Syracure, succeed in 470 or 474 B.C. Polyzalos, in order to make his victory memorable, decided to offer a high sculpture complex (1.80m high) to the shrine, as a votive. In 1896, the Charioteer was discovered by French excavators in the Temple of Apollo. The name of its sculptor is still a mystery. Nevertheless, there are speculations related to the work of Pythagoras, Critias or Kalamis.
Chariot racing, in Antiquity was a popular form of contest which consisted of four to six chariots competing in a single, seven laps, race. Chariots were constructed to be light and fragile. So, there was a high risk of frequent collisions, in which case the driver often faced serious injuries or even death. Chariot races are known from pottery depictions even from the Mycenaean period. However, the first literary reference to them is described by Homer, at the funeral games of Patroclus. Such races were a prominent feature of the ancient Olympic Games and other games associated with Greek religious festivals.
A specific mention is needed for Charioteer’s clothing. He wears a long, rich “chiton”, tied under the breast. In his right hand, apart from the bridles, he was also holding a cylindrical - shaped whip. The hair is rendered with incisions rather than in relief and it is held by a broad ribbon with a meander made of pressed silver and copper.