1902 Encyclopedia > Olympia, Greece


OLYMPIA. The purpose of this article is to give a short but clear summary for English readers of the principal results obtained by the German exploration of Olympia in 1875-81, and recorded in the five volumes of the Ausgralmngen published at Berlin. While the sketch is necessarily confined to salient features and essential points, two aims have been kept in view:—first, to omit nothing that is important to the general study of antiquity; secondly, to make the outlines, however slight, sufficiently precise and consecutive to serve as an introduction to a more special archaeological study. Having enjoyed the advantage of seeing the excavations, under the courteous guidance of Dr. Treu (then at the head of the German archaeological mission), at the close of the third campaign in June 1878, the writer is able to speak of the ground not from a book-knowledge alone. A few words must be premised on the geography and history of Olympia, so far as an acquaintance with the broader aspects of these must be presupposed in an intelligent survey of the topography.
On the western side of the Peloponnesus, the Alpheus, the chief river of the peninsula, issues from the central highlands of Arcadia. Increased by the tributary streams of the Ladon and the Erymanthus, it then flows, in a broad bed, between hills which gradually subside, until it enters on the sandy levels of the coast, and reaches the sea be-tween two long lagoons. The district traversed by its lower course is that which was anciently called Pisatis, extending from the mouth of the Alpheus to the Eryman-thus, between Elis on the north and Triphylia on the south. The alpine character of Arcadia has here entirely disappeared. There are few steep cliffs or rocks; the banks of the river are generally covered with alluvial earth; and rich vegetation prevails, with abundance of evergreen trees and bushes. Cornfields, vines, and currants are plentiful; even the sandy tracts, coated with a rich mud, prove fertile. Cattle-breeding prospers on the higher ground of Mount Pholoe ; and the lagoons yield fish. The stay-at-home character of the inhabitants which the his-torian Polybius notices was a natural result of their en-vironment. While the region was ill-suited to the secure development of a strong state, it was eminently favourable to a life of quiet industry, and was open on every side to peaceful intercourse with the neighbouring country. The ancient landing-place was at the mouth of the Alpheus,— about 3000 metres above the present mouth. The site of the modern town of Pyrgos—then much nearer the sea—-may be that of the ancient Dyspontium. The only modern landing-place is at Catácolo, where a mole has been constructed by French engineers. It is visited by coasting steamers, being one of the export-stations of the currant-trade. In the valley of the Alpheus, a few miles east of the point at which it enters on the flat seaboard, there existed a primitive shrine of the Pelasgian Zeus. As in other places associated with his worship, the low range bounding the Alpheus on the north was called Olympus, while the name of Ossa was given to the hill-boundary of the valley on the south. When the worship of the Hel-lenic Zeus had been established on this spot, the place acquired the name of Olympia.

Olympia is on the right or north bank of the Alpheus (now the Buphia), about 16 kilometres east in a straight line from the modern Pyrgos. The course of the river is here from east to west, and the average breadth of the valley is about 1000 metres. At this point a small stream, the ancient Cladeus, flows from the north into the Alpheus. The area known as Olympia is bounded on the west by the Cladeus, on the south by the Alpheus, on the north by the low heights which shut in the Alpheus valley, and on the east by the ancient race-courses. One group of these heights terminates in a conical hill, about 122 metres high, which is cut off from the rest by a deep cleft, and descends abruptly on Olympia. ' This hill is the famous Cr onion (Kpóviov), sacred to Cronus, the father of Zeus.

The natural situation of Olympia is, in one sense, of great beauty. When Lysias, in his Olympiaeiis (spoken here), calls it " the fairest spot of Greece," he was doubtless thinking also—or perhaps chiefly—of the masterpieces which art, in all its forms, had contributed to the embellish-ment of this national sanctuary. But even now the praise seems hardly excessive to a visitor who, looking eastward up the valley of Olympia, sees the snow-crowned chains of Erymanthus and Cyllene rising in the distance. The valley, at once spacious and definite, is a natural témenos. Nowhere could the Greek Zeus be more fitly honoured by the display of human gifts, physical or mental; nowhere could the divided communities of Hellas find a more con-venient or attractive place of peaceful re-union.

The importance of Olympia in the history of Greece has, in fact, this twofold character : it is at once religious and political. The religious associations of the place date from the prehistoric age, when, before the states of Elis and Bisa had been founded, predecessors—perhaps ancestors— of the Hellenes worshipped the "heaven-father" in this valley. The political associations may be said to date from the time when the Achaeans founded Bisa, and combined the Pelasgian worship of the god Zeus with a local cult oi their own ancestor, the hero Pelops. It was then, and in honour of Pelops, that games were probably instituted for the first time at Olympia. The addition of Hera and of the mother of the gods to the specially honoured deities 1 must have come early in the Hellenic period. Elis and Pisa were at first associated, as equal states, in the control of the Olympian festival. Sixteen women, representing eight towns of Elis and eight of Pisatis, wove the festal peplus for the Olympian Hera. Olympia thus became the centre of an afxa^iKTvovia, or federal league under religious sanction, for the west coast of the Peloponnesus, as Delphi was for its neighbours in northern Greece. It suited the interests of Sparta to join this amphictyony; and, before the regular catalogue of Olympic victors begins in 776 B.C., Sparta had formed an alliance with Elis. Aristotle saw in the temple of Hera at Olympia a bronze disk, recording the traditional laws of the festival, on which the name of Lycurgus stood next to that of Iphitus, king of Elis. Whatever may have been the age of the disk itself, the relation which it indicates is well attested. Elis had from the first been stronger than Pisa. Elis and Sparta, making common cause, had no difficulty in excluding the Pisatans from their proper share in the management of the Olympian sanctuary. Pisa had, indeed, a brief moment of better fortune. The ascendency of Pheidon of Argos enabled him to reassert the old Achaean claim by celebrating the 28th Olympiad under the presidency of the Pisatans. This festival, from which the Eleans and Spartans were excluded, was afterwards struck out of the official register, as having no proper existence. At last, about 570 B.C., the destruc-tion of Pisa by the combined forces of Sparta and Elis put an end to the long rivalry. Not only Pisatis, but also the district of Triphylia to the south of it, now became depend-ent on Elis. So far as the religious side of the festival was concerned, the Eleans had now an unquestioned supre-macy. It was at Elis, in the gymnasium of the city, that candidates from all parts of Greece were tested, before they were admitted to the athletic competitions at Olympia. To have passed through the training (usually of ten months) at Elis was regarded as the most valuable preparation. Elean officials, who not only adjudged the prizes at Olympia, but decided who should be admitted to compete, marked the national aspect of their functions by assuming the title of Hellanodicse.

Long before the overthrow of Pisa the list of contests at Olympia had been so enlarged and diversified as to invest the celebration with a Panhellenic character. Exercises of a Spartan type—testing endurance and strength with an especial view to war—had almost exclusively formed the earlier programme. But as early as the 25th Olympiad —i.e., several years before the interference of Bheidon on behalf of Pisa—the four-horse chariot-race was added. This was an invitation to wealthy competitors from every part of the Hellenic world, and was also the recognition of a popular or spectacular element, as distinct from the _skill which had a merely athletic or military interest. Horse-races were added later. Eor such contests the hippodrome was set apart. Meanwhile the list of contests on the old racecourse, the stadion, had been enlarged. Besides the foot-race in which the course was traversed once only, there were now the diaidos or double course, and the "long" foot-race (dolichos). Wrestling and box-ing were combined in the pancration. Leaping, quoit-throwing, javelin-throwing, running, and wrestling were combined in the pentathlon.

After the conquest of Messenia Spartan ambition had turned towards Arcadia. The aim of the Spartans was nothing less than the subjugation of the entire Belo-ponnesus. But the decided check which the aggressors experienced in their new attempt produced a change of design. It became evident that a policy of forcible an-nexation could be pushed no further. Yet Sparta might at ieast aspire to the hegemony of the peninsula. The other states of the Beloponnesus, while remaining independent, might be virtually under Spartan control. And'for the establishment of such a hegemony what agency could be more suitable than that of Olympia 1 In the Olympian amphictyony, Sparta, closely allied with Elis, already held a commanding position. The rising popularity of the festival was constantly tending to make Olympia the religious and social centre of Peloponnesian life—indeed, in some sense, of the Hellenic world. As the Eleans, there-fore, were now the religious supervisors of Olympia, so the Spartans aimed at constituting themselves its political protectors. Their military strength—greatly superior at the time to that of any single Hellenic state—readily enabled them to clo this in the most effectual manner. Spartan arms could enforce the sanction which the Olympian Zeus gave to the oaths of the amphictyones, whose federal bond was symbolized by common worship at his shrine. Spartan arms could punish any violation of that " sacred truce " which was indispensable if Hellenes from all cities were to have peaceable access to the Olym-pian festival. And in the eyes of all Dorians the assured dignity thus added to Olympia would be enhanced by the fact that the protectors were the Spartan Heraclidse.

Thus, under the permanent guarantee of the strongest military power, and at the same time under auspices which, for a large part of the Greek world, were the most illustrious possible, Olympia entered on a new phase of brilliant and secure existence as a recognized Panhellenic institution. This phase may be considered as beginning after the de-struction of Pisa, about 570 B.C. And so it continued to be to the last. While the details of the scene and of the festival were the subjects of endless modification or change, Olympia always remained a central expression of the Greek ideas that the body of man has a glory as well as his intellect and spirit, that body and mind should alike be disciplined, and that it is by the harmonious discipline of both that men best honour Zeus. The significance of Olympia was larger and higher than the political fortunes of the Greeks who met there, and it survived the overthrow of Greek independence. In the Macedonian and Boman ages the temples and contests of Olympia still interpreted the ideal at which free Greece had aimed. Bhilip of Macedon and Nero are, as we shall see, among those whose names have a record in the Altis. Such names are typical of long series of visitors who paid homage to Olympia. Even those who wrere least in sympathy with the old srririt of the festival could still feel that the place was represent-ative and unique. According to Cedrenus, a Greek writer of the 11th century (2tJi/o^is'Io-Top(.u)F,i. 326), the Olympian festival ceased to be held after 393 A.D., the first year of the 293d Olympiad. The list of Olympian victors, which begins in 776 B.C. with Coroebus of Elis, closes with the name of an Armenian, Varastad, who is said to have be-longed to the race of the Arsacidae. In the 5th century the desolation of Olympia had set in. The chryselephant-ine statue of the Olympian Zeus, by Bhidias, was carried to Constantinople, and perished in a great fire, 476 A.D. The Olympian temple of Zeus is said to have been destroyed, either by the Goths or by Christian zeal, in the reign of Theodosius II. (402-450 A.D.).

The German excavations at Olympia were begun in 1875. After six campaigns, of which the first five lasted from September to June, they were completed on the 20th of March 1881. The result of these six years' labours was, first, to strip off a thick covering of earth from the Altis, the consecrated precinct of the Olympian Zeus. This covering had been formed, during some twelve centuries, partly by clay swept down from the Cronion, partly by deposit from the overflowings of the Cladeus. The task presented to the German explorers may be judged by the fact that the coating of earth over the Altis had an average I depth of no less than five metres.

Their work could not, however, be restricted to the Altis. It was necessary to dig beyond it, especially on the west, the south, and the east, where several ancient buildings existed, not included within the sacred precinct itself. The complexity of the task was further increased by the fact that in many places early Greek work had later Greek on top of it, or late Greek work had been overlaid with Roman. In a concise survey of the results obtained, it will be best to begin with the remains external to the precinct of Zeus.1


A. West Side.—The materials and the technical character of the wall bounding the Altis on the west are the same as those which belong to the western portion of the south Altis wall. Both be-long to the earlier part of the Macedonian age, and to a time at which the Altis received its largest traceable extension to west, north-west, and south-west. In the west wall were two gates, one at its northern and the other at | I its southern extremity. Each in the form of a square, of which each side was about 64 metres long, enclosing an inner building surrounded by a Doric colon-nade. Facing this inner building on north, east, and west were rooms of different sizes, to which doors or colonnades gave access. The chief entrances to the palaestra were at south-west and south-east, separated by a long

Plan of Olympia.

gate was Trpoarvkos, having before it on the west a colonnade con-sisting of a double row of four columns. A third and smaller gate, at about the middle point of the west wall, and nearly opposite the Pelopion in the Altis, was probably of a later age.

West of the west Altis wall, on the strip of ground between the Altis and the river Cladeus (of which the course is roughly parallel to the west Altis wall), the following buildings were traced. The order in which they are placed here is that in which they succeed each other from north to south.

1. Just outside the Altis at its north-west corner was a Gymna-sium. A large open space, not regularly rectangular, was enclosed on two sides—possibly on three—by Doric colonnades. On the south it was bordered by a portico with a single row of columns in front; on the east by a longer portico, with a similar colonnade in front, and a second row, parallel to the first, traversing the interior of the portico itself. At the south-east corner of the gymnasium, in the angle between the south and the east portico, was a Corinthian <loorway, which a double row of columns divided into three passages. Immediately to the east of this doorway was the gate giving access to the Altis at its north-west corner. The gymnasium was used for practice in the first four exercises of the pentathlon—leaping, <|Uoit-throwing, javelin-throwing, running. The great length of the east portico is thus explained.

2. Immediately adjoining the gymnasium on the south was a Jfalsestra, the place of exercise for wrestlers and boxers. It was

two separate Doric buildings of identical form, viz., oblong, having a single row of columns dividing the length into two naves, and terminating to the east in a semicircular apse. The orientation of each was from west-south-west to east-north-east, one being south-south-east of the other. In the space between stood a small square building. In front, on the east, was a portico extending along the front of all three buildings ; and east of this again a large trapeze-shaped vestibule or fore-hall, enclosed by a colonnade. This bouleuterion would have been available on all occasions when Olympia became the scene of conference or debate between the representatives of different states,—whether the subject was properly political, as concerning the amphictyonic treaties, or related more directly to the administration of the sanctuary and festival. Two smaller Hellenic buildings stood immediately west of the bouleu-terion. The more northerly of the two opened on the Altis.

Their purpose is uncertain.

2. Close to the bouleuterion on the south, and running parallel with it from south-west by west to north-east by east, was the South Portico, a late but handsome structure, closed on the north side, open on the south and at the east and west ends The external colonnade (on south, east, and west) was Doric; the interior row of columns Corinthian. It was used as a promenade, and' as a place from which to view the festal processions as they passed towards the Altis.

3. East of the bouleuterion was a gateway of Roman age, with triple entrance, the central being the widest opening on the Altis from the south. North of this gateway, but at a somewhat greater depth, traces of a pavement were found in the Altis. This was manifestly the gateway by which the sacred processions entered the Altis in Roman times. The older processional route, however, prob-ably struck the south boundary of the Altis at a point somewhat to the west of the Roman gate, proceeding past the front of the bouleuterion and the eastern end. of the south portico.

C. East Side.—The line of the east wall, running due north and south, can be traced from the north-east corner of the Altis down about three-fifths of the east side, when it breaks off at the remains known as "Nero's house." These are the first which claim atten-tion on the east side.

1. Pausanias mentions a building called the Zeonidaion, erected by the Elean Leonidas ' outside the Altis, and near the Processional Gate." This Leonidaion was the point from which he set out on many of his walks in the Altis. Its original form is traceable in Hellenic remains at the south-east angle of the Altis, which show that the Leonidaion—an oblong structure with colonnade on north, west, and south—stood within the Altis. But the Greek Leonidaion was afterwards absorbed into a Roman house which projected be- yond the Altis on the east, the south part of the east Altis wall being destroyed to admit of this. A piece of leaden water-pipe found in the house bears NER. AVG. Only a Roman master could have dealt thus with the Altis, and with a building which, like the Leonidaion, stood within its sacred precinct. It cannot be doubted that the Roman house—from which three doors gave access to the Altis—was that occupied by Nero when he visited Olympia. Later Roman hands again enlarged and altered the building, which may perhaps have been used for the reception of Roman governors. But Pausanias, who speaks only of a Leonidaion, shows that the old Greek name was retained, even when the building of Nero's time had placed the new Leonidaion beyond the limits of the Altis. 2, Following northwards the line of the east wall, we reach at the north-east corner of the Altis the entrance to the Stadion, which extends east of the Altis in a direction from w;est-south-west to east-north-east. The apparently strange and inconvenient posi- tion of the Stadion relatively to the Altis was due simply to the necessity of obeying the conditions of the ground, here determined by the curve of the lower slopes which bound the valley on the north. The German explorers excavated the Stadion so far as was necessary for the ascertainment of all essential points. Weak walls had originally been built on west, east, and south, the north boundary being formed by the natural slope of the hill. The walls were afterwards thickened and raised. The space thus defined was a large oblong, about 214 metres in length by 32 in breadth. There were no artificial seats. It is computed that from 40,000 to 45,000 spectators could have found sitting-room, though it is hardly probable that such a number was ever reached. The exact length of the Stadion itself—which was primarily the course for the foot-race—was 192-27 metres,—an important result, as it determines the Olympian foot to be 0'3204 metre. In the Heraion at Olympia, it may be remarked, the unit adopted was not this Olympian foot, but an older one of 0'297 metre. The starting- point and the goal in the Stadion were marked by limestone thresholds. Provision for drainage was made by a channel running round the enclosure. The Stadion was used not only for foot-races but for boxing, wrestling, leaping, quoit-throwing, and javelin- throwing.

The entrance to the Stadion from the north-east coiner of the Altis was a privileged one, reserved for the judges of the games, the competitors, and the heralds. Its form was that of a vaulted tunnel, 100 Olympian feet in length. Dating from about 350-300 B.C., it is one of the oldest examples of vaulted work in cut stone. To the west was a vestibule, from which the Altis was entered by a handsome gateway,

3. The Hippodrome, in which the chariot-raovs and horse-races were held, can no longer be accurately traced. The overflowings of the Alpheus have washed away all certain indications of its limits. But it is clear that it extended south and south-east of the Stadion, and roughly parallel with it, though stretching far beyond it to the east, From the state of the ground the German explorers inferred that the length of the hippodrome was 770 metres or 4 Olympic stadia.

D, North Side.—If the northern limit of the Altis, like the west, south, and east, had been traced by a boundary wall, this would have had the effect of excluding from the precinct a spot so sacred as the Cronion, the hill inseparably associated with the oldest worship of Zeus at Olympia. It seems therefore unlikely that any such northern boundary wall ever existed. But the line which such a boundary would have followed is partly represented by the remains of a wall running from east to west immediately north of the treasure-houses (see below), which it was designed to protect against the descent of earth from the Cronion just above. This was the wall along which, about 157 A.D., the main water-channel constructed by Herodes Atticus was carried.

Having now surveyed the chief remains external to the sacred precinct on west, south, east, and north, we proceed to notice those which have been traced within it.


The form of the Altis, as indicated by the existing traces, is not regularly rectangular. The length of the west side, where the line of direction is from south-south-east to north-north-west, is about 195 metres. The south side, running nearly due east and west, is about equally long, if measured from the end of the west wall to the point which the east wall would touch when produced due south in a straight line from the place at which it was demolished to make way for "Nero's house." The east side, measured to a point just behind the treasure-houses, is the shortest, about 180 metres. The north side is the longest. A line drawn eastward behind the treasure-houses, from the Prytaneion at the north-west angle, would give about 250 metres.

The remains or site3 within the Altis may conveniently be classed in three main groups, viz.—(A) the chief centres of re-ligious worship; (B) .votivebuildings; (C) buildings, &c, connected with the administration of Olympia or the reception of visitors.

A. Chief Centres of Religious Worship.—1. The earliest Hellenic phase of the sanctuary, when a pre-Hellenic worship of Zeus was combined with a cult of the hero Pelops. is recalled by the Altar of Zeus. This, the central object of the older temenos, stood a little east of the Pelopion, and after the Altis had been enlarged was still nearly at its centre. The basis was of elliptic form, the length of the lozenge being directed from south-south-west to north-north-east, in such a manner that the axis would pass through the Cronion. The upper structure imposed on this basis was in two tiers, and also, probably, lozenge-shaped. This was the famous "ash-altar" at which the Iamidse. the hereditary gens of garrets, practised those rites of divination by fire {aavTiitr) SC ifiirvpuiy) in virtue of which more especially Olympia is saluted by Pindar as "mistress of truth" {de<rirou>' aXadeias). The steps by which the priests mounted the altar seem to have been at north and south.

2. The Pelopion, to the wast of the Altar of Zeus, was a small precinct in which, from the time when Pisa was founded by the Achaeans, sacrifices were offered to the Achaean ijp-s Pelops. The traces agree with the account of Pausanias. Walls, inclined to each other at obtuse angles, enclosed a plot of ground having in the middle a low tumulus of elliptic form, about 35 metres from east to west by 20 from north to south. A Doric propylaion with three doors gave access on the south-west side.

The three temples of the Altis were those of Zeus, Hera, and the Mother of the gods. All were Doric. All, too, were completely surrounded by a colonnade, i.e., were "peripteral."

3. The Temple of Zeus, south of the Pelopion, stood on a high substructure with three steps. The colonnades at the east and west side were of six columns each ; those at the north and south sides (counting the corner columns again) of thirteen each. The cella had a prodomos on the east and an opisthodomos on the west. The cella itself was divided longitudinally (i. e., from east to west) into three partitions by a double row of columns. The central partition, which was the widest, consisted of three sections. The west section was shut off; it contained the throne and image of the Olympian Zeus. The middle section, next to the east, contained a table and stelae. Here, probably, the wreaths were presented to the victors- The third or easternmost section, which had side porticos, was open to the public. This temple was most richly adorned with statues and reliefs. On the east front Pasonius had represented in twenty-one colossal figures the moment before the contest between CEnomaus and Pelops. The west front exhibited the fight of the Lapithte and Centaurs, and was connected with the name of Alca-menes. The Twelve Labours of Heracles were depicted on the metopes of the prodomos and opisthodomos ; and of these reliefs much the greater part was found,—enough to determine with certainty all the essential features of the composition. It was near this temple, at a point about 35 metres east-south-east from the south-east angle, that the explorers found the fragment of a flying goddess of victory—the Nice of Paeonius.

4. The Temple of Sera, (Heraion), north of the Pelopion, was raised on two steps. It was originally built as a temple in antis, and afterwards converted into a peripteros, having colonnades of six columns each at east and west, and of sixteen each (counting the corner columns again) at north and south. It was smaller than the temple of Zeus, and, while resembling it in general plan, differed from it by its singular length relatively to its breadth. When Pausanias saw it, one of the two columns of the opisthodomos (at the west end of the cella) was of wood ; and for a long period all the columns of this temple had probably been of the same material. A good deal of patch - work in the restoration of particular parts seems to have been done at various periods. The cella—divided, like that of Zeus, into three partitions by a double row of columns —had four " tongue-walls," or small screens, projecting at right angles from its north wall, and as many from the south wall. Five niches were thus formed on the north side and five on the south. In the third niche from the east, on the north side of the cella, was found one of the greatest of all the treasures which rewarded the German explorers,—the Hermes of Praxiteles (1878).

5. The Temple of the Mother of the Gods (Metroon) was again considerably smaller than the Heraion. It stood to the east of the latter, and had a different orientation, viz., not west to east, but west-north-west to east-south-east. It was raised on three steps, and had a peripteros of six columns (east and west) by eleven (north and south), having thus a slightly smaller length relatively to its breadth than either of the other two temples. Here also the cella had prodomos and opisthodomos. The adornment and painting of this temple had once been very rich and varied. There are indica-tions that in Roman times it underwent a restoration, conducted, apparently, with little taste or skill.

B. Votive Edifices.—Under this head are placed buildings erected, either by states or by individuals, as offerings to the Olympian god.

1. The twelve Treasure-houses on the north side of the Altis, immediately under the Cronion, belong to this class. We have seen that on the north side the limit of the Altis does not seem to have been defined by a wall, as on the other three sides. Here, then, we cannot distinguish with the same precision between objects within or without the precinct. The row of treasure-houses is, however, so situated that they are most naturally regarded as standing within, the Altis, with a single exception. This is the easternmost of the twelve, the treasure-house dedicated by the state of Gela, which projected on the east beyond the line of the east Altis wall. It was evidently the oldest of the series. Originally planned as a small Doric temple in antis, of which the longer sides were the north and south, it was afterwards adorned on the south side with a colonnade, having six columns in front. Doric cut stone-work, overlaid with coloured terra-cotta plates, occurred here, as in monuments found at Gela itself, at Selinus, and elsewhere in Sicily.

The same general character—that of a Doric temple in antis, facing south—is traceable in all its younger neighbours on the west. In the cases of six of these the fragments are sufficient to aid a reconstruction. Two—viz., the 2d and 3d counting from the west—had been dismantled at an early date, and their site was tra-versed by a roadway winding upward towards the Cronion. This roadway seems to have been older at least than 157 A.D., since it caused a deflexion in the watercourse along the base of the Cronion constructed by Herodes Atticus. Pausanias, therefore, would not have seen treasure-houses Nos. 2 and 3. This explains the fact that, though we can trace twelve, he names only ten.

As the temples of ancient Greece partly served the purposes of banks, in which precious objects could be securely deposited, so the form of a small Doric chapel was a natural one for the '' treasure-house " to assume. Each of these treasure-houses was erected by a Greek state, either as a thank-offering for Olympian victories gained by its citizens, or as a general mark of homage to the Olympian Zeus. The treasure-bouses were designed to contain the various dvaffijuara or dedicated gifts (sueh as gold and silver plate, &c), in which the wealth of the sanctuary partly consisted. The temple inventories recently discovered at Delos illustrate the great quantity of such possessions which were apt to accumulate at a shrine of Panhellenic celebrity. Taken in order from the west, the treasure-houses were founded by the following states:—1, Sicyon ; 2, 3, unknown;' 4, Syracuse (referred by Pausanias to Carthage); 5, Epidamnus ; 6, Byzantium ; 7, Sybaris; 8, Cyrene ; 9, Selinus ; 10, Metapontum ; 11, Megara ; 12, Gela. It is interesting to remark how this list represents the Greek colonies, from Libya to Sicily, from the Euxine to the Adriatic. Greece proper, on the other hand, is represented only by Megara and Sicyon. The dates of the founda-tions cannot be fixed.

2. The Thilippeion stood near the north-west corner of the Altis, a short space west-south-west of the Heraion. It was dedicated by Philip of Macedon, after his victory at Chseronea (338 B.C.). As a thank-offering for the overthrow of Greek freedom, it might seem strangely placed in the Olympian Altis. But it is, in fact, only another illustration of the manner in which Philip's position and power enabled him to place a decent disguise on the real nature of the change. Without risking any revolt of Hellenic feeling, the new "captain-general" of Greece could erect a monument of his triumph in the very heart of the Panhellenic sanctuary. The building consisted of a circular Ionic colonnade (of eighteen columns), about 15 metres in diameter, raised on three steps, and enclosing a small circular cella, probably adorned with fourteen Corinthian half-columns.

3. The Exedra of Herodes Atticus stood at the north limit of the Altis, close to the north-east angle of the Heraion, and immediately west of the westernmost treasure-house (that of Sicyon). It con-sisted of a half-dome of brick, 16'6 metres in diameter, with south-south-west aspect. Under the half-dome were placed twenty-one marble statues, representing the family of Antoninus Pius, of Marcus Aurelius, and of the founder, Herodes Atticus. In front of the half - dome on the south, and extending slightly beyond it, was a basin of water for drinking, 22 metres long. The ends of the basin at north-north-west and south-south-east were adorned by very small open temples, each with a circular colonnade of eight pillars. A marble bull, in front of the basin, bore an inscription saying that Herodes dedicates the whole to Zeus, in the name of his wife, Annia Regilla. The exedra must have been seen by Pausanias, but he does not mention it.

C. It remains to notice those features of the Altis which were connected with the management of the sanctuary or with the accommodation of its guests.

1. Olympia, besides its religious character, originally possessed also a political character, as the centre of an amphictyony. It was, in fact, a sacred iroXis. We have seen that it had a bouleu-terion for purposes of public debate or conference. So also it was needful that, like a Greek city, it should have a public hearth or prytaneion, where fire should always burn on the altar of the Olympian Hestia, and where the controllers of Olympia should exercise public hospitality. The Prytaneion was at the north-west corner of the Altis, in such a position that its south-east angle was close to the north-west angle of the Heraion. It was apparently a square building, of which each side measured 100 Olympian feet, with.a south-west aspect. It contained a chapel of Hestia at the front or south-west side, before which a portico was afterwards built. The dining-hall was at the back (north-east), the kitchen on the north-west side. On the same side with the kitchen, and also on the opposite side (south-east), there were some smaller rooms.

2. The Porch of Echo, also called the "Painted Porch" (CTOO. TOIKI\V), extended to a length of 96 metres along the east Altis wall. Raised on three steps, and formed by a single Doric colonnade, open towards the Altis, it afforded a place from which spectators could conveniently view the passage of processions and the sacrifices at the great altar of Zeus.

3. Before the Porch of Echo, and east of the Altar of Zeus, was the Proedria, a structure 20 metres long, containing places of honour for officials and visitors of distinction. A flight of steps, curved inwards in a semicircle, gave access from the west. At either end of the Proedria (north and south) stood a colossal Ionic column. These columns, as the inscriptions show, once supported statues of Ptolemy and Berenice.

4. The Agora was the name given to that part of the Altis which had the Porch of Echo and Proedria on the east, the Altar of Zeus on the west, the Metroon on the north, and the precinct of the Temple of Zeus on the south-west. In this part stood the altars of Zeus Agoraios and Artemis Agoraia.

5. The Zanes [Zaves) were brazen images of Zeus, the cost of making which was defrayed by the fines exacted from competitors who had infringed the rules of the contests at Olympia. These images stood at the northern side of the Agora, in a row, which extended from the north-east angle of the Metroon to the gate of the private entrance from the Altis into the stadion. Sixteen pedestals were here discovered in situ. A lesson of loyalty was thus impressed on aspirants to renown by the last objects which met their eyes as they passed from the sacred enclosure to the scene of their trial.

6. Arrangements for Water-supply.—A copious supply of water was required for the service of the altars and temples, for the pri-vate dwellings of priests and officials, for the use of the gymna-sium, palaestra, &e., and for the thermae which arose in Roman times. In the Hellenic age the water was derived wholly from the Cladeus and from the smaB lateral tributaries of its valley. A basin, to serve as a chief reservoir, was built at the north-west corner of the Altis ; and a supplementary reservoir was afterwards constructed a little to the north-east of this, on the slope of the Cronion. A new source of supply was for the first time made available by Herodes Atticus, c 157 A.D. At a short distance east of Olympia, near the village of Miraka, small streams flow from comparatively high ground through the side - valleys which descend towards the right or northern bank of the Alpheus; From these side-valleys water was now conducted to Olympia, entering the Altis at its north-east corner by an arched canal which passed behind the treasure-houses to the reservoir at the back of the exedra. The large basin of drinking-water in front of the exedra was fed thence, and served to associate the name of Herodes with a benefit of the highest practical value. Olympia further possessed' several fountains, enclosed by round or square walls, chiefly in connexion with the buildings outside the Altis. The drainage of the Altis followed two main lines. One, for the west part, passed from the south-west angle of the Heraion to the south portico outside the south Altis wall. The other, which served for the trea-sure-houses, passed in front of the Porch of Echo parallel with the line of the east Altis wall. The whole subject of the water-works of Olympia was exhaustively investigated by Herr Graber, and has been explained by him in vol. v. of the Excavations pp. 26 sq.

Such, in brief outline, are the more important results of the German exploration of Olympia, an enterprise alike honourable to the Government which undertook it and to the eminent men by whom it was conducted. The work of excavation was from the outset guided by scientific knowledge, and the results were at no point confused or obscured by rash and unsound theories. The general out- come of the undertaking is certainly greater than could have reasonably been anticipated at its commencement. In the Olympia seen by Pausanias there was, of course, very much of which not the slightest trace has been found,—such, for instance, as the temples of Eileithyia, of Aphrodite Urania, and of Demeter Chameune. In regard to particular works of art, many hopes of discovery have been disappointed, nor can "the survival of the fittest" be always acknowledged in the salvage from so many cen- turies of ruin. On the other hand, the German campaigns had their welcome surprises and their strokes of good fortune, such as the finding of the Hermes and the Nice. Above all, they have their reward in this, that the topo- graphy of Olympia is now thoroughly ascertained. We now know with certainty the exact position of the prin- cipal buildings, the plan of the Altis and its relation to its whole environment, and all the main local conditions of the festival. In reading an Olympian ode of Pindar, the modern student can now call up the scene with ade- quate fulness of detail. Precious as are the particular works of ancient art which have been discovered, and valu- able as are the results of the study of art and architecture, the largest gain of all consists in the vivid and suggestive light thus shed on a great centre of Hellenic history and life. (R. C. J.)


1 Permission to use the accompanying plan of Olympia has kindly been given by the publisher, Herr Weidniaim of Berlin.

The above article was written by: Prof. R. C. Jebb, LL.D.

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