The Pyrrhichios dance (Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: πυρρίχιος or πυρρίχη, but often misspelled as πυρρίχειος or πυρήχειος) is described by Xenophon
Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

 in his work the Anabasis
Anabasis (Xenophon)
Anabasis is the most famous work, in seven books, of the Greek professional soldier and writer Xenophon. The journey it narrates is his best known accomplishment and "one of the great adventures in human history," as Will Durant expressed the common assessment.- The account :Xenophon accompanied...

. In that work he describes that at a festival was held in Trapezus to celebrate the arrival of his troops in the city. The following is a paraphrase of his account.

During that festival two Thracian
The ancient Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting areas including Thrace in Southeastern Europe. They spoke the Thracian language – a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family...

 women, dressed as men, fought with knives in circular dance to the sound of a lyra
Lyra is a small constellation. It is one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remains one of the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union. Its principal star, Vega — a corner of the Summer Triangle — is one of the brightest...

. He further describes the two dancers struggling with one another for victory and the opponent's death. At one point one of the dancers stabbed the other to the shock and amazement of the crowd. The blood that flowed and the subsequent collapse of the defeated dancer further shocked the observers who cried out in horror. The victor proceeded to dance around the defeated opponent. Suddenly, in a theatrical realization of his deed, he proceeded to kneel by the victim in anguish and stab himself. This further shocked the crowd some of whom rushed to abait this deed. When doing so, they realized that the entire proceeding was fake, as the blood was thickened dye. The two dancers then arose to the amusement of all present.

This dance is loosely maintained by all Greeks in one form or another throughout Greece. However, the Pontian people have maintained it to this day, as accurately as it was described by Xenophon. This dance should not be confused with Serra
Serra (dance)
Serra, was a Pontic Greek dance named after the region of Pontos. It is a war-like dance for men, intended to produce a fervent state prior to battle....

, as the two are distinct dances.
Also Homer refers to Pyrrihios and describes how Achilles danced it around the burning funeral of Patroclos.
The dance was loved in all of Greece and especially the Spartans considered it a kind of light war training and so they taught the dance to their kids while still young.

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