Pelops was the son of the Lydian king Tantalus and Dione (or one of the Pleiades). The obvious interpretation of his name is the same as that of his grand-daughter (see Pelopia) - 'dark face'. Pelops is said to have emigrated from Lydia and to have given his name to the Péloponnèse ('Pelops' Island'), the large southern peninsula (not actually an island) of Greece.

Pelops had won a chariot race against Oenomaüs and as his prize was given Oenomaüs' daughter, Hippodamia, and this peninsula. There is no reason why Pelops, southerner or not, should not have been dark-faced, dark-eyed or dark-haired - or even all three.