Olympia (5th century BC)

Olympia (5th century BC)

The Olympic Games, held in the town every 4th year after 776 BC made it one of the centres of ancient Greece.

History

Keywords

Olympia, Olympics, Modern Olympics, Coubertin, stadion, gymnasium, sports, history of sport, sports event, Olympic flame, competition, 776 BC, Greece, ancient Greece, Peloponnese, antiquity, history, Hera, church, chief god, Wonders of the Ancient World, Athens, Zeus, Phidias, religion, victim

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Questions

  • Which peninsula was Olympia located on?
  • In whose honour were the ancient Olympic Games held?
  • When were the first ancient Olympic Games held?
  • When were the first modern Olympic Games held?
  • How often were the Olympic Games organised?
  • What was the most important political event during the Olympic Games?
  • Who were allowed to take part in the games?
  • Which of these was not in the program of the ancient Olympic Games?
  • Which of these was not in the program of the ancient Olympic Games?
  • Which of these was not in the program of the ancient Olympic Games?
  • What did the winner of the Olympic Games receive?
  • Who was the founder of the modern Olympic Games?
  • Where was the 2016 Summer Olympic Games held?
  • Where was one of the Wonders of the Ancient World, the Statue of Zeus located?
  • Who is Zeus’ father in Greek mythology?
  • Who is the goddess of beauty and love in Greek mythology?
  • Who is the king of the Underworld in Greek mythology?
  • Who is the god of war in Greek mythology?
  • Who is the god of the sea in Greek mythology?
  • Who is the goddess of arts, crafts, and sciences in Greek mythology?
  • Where do gods of Greek mythology live?
  • Were women allowed to take part in the Olympic Games?
  • What kind of clothes did athletes wear on the Olympic Games?

Scenes

Olympia

  • gymnasium - The 220 m long, 100 m wide building was located on the bank of the river. It was surrounded by colonnades, and served as a place for training for athletes.
  • Palaestra - A square-shaped building on the western side of Olympia. Athletes trained in its inner yard, while in the colonnades there were changing rooms and resting rooms.
  • Hestia stoa - The colonnade was built in honour of the goddess of the family hearth.
  • Pheidias’ workshop
  • Leonidaion - The largest building of Olympia was built for the official guests by Leonidas, King of Naxos .
  • southern colonnade - The colonnade was 80 m long, the outer row consisted of Doric, the inner one of Corinthian columns.
  • Bouleuterion - A building which housed the council of citizens. Athletes took their oaths in front of the altar and the statue of Zeus.
  • temple of Zeus - Temple built in honour of the chief god of Greek mythology. It was the largest temple on the Peloponnesus in ancient times. One of the Wonders of the Ancient World, the statue created by Pheidias was located in this temple.
  • Echo stoa - The 94-m long, Doric peristyle got its name for its excellent acoustics.
  • stadion - The moved ‘establishment’ was 211.5 m long and 28.5 m wide. 45 thousand spectators could watch the events from the hillside.
  • Treasuries - Small, temple-like buildings at the foot of Mount Kronos, the northern part of Olympia
  • Metroon - A small building built in honour of the mother goddess.
  • Nymphaeum - The building that supplied water was built by Herodes Atticus for his wife Regilla.
  • temple of Hera - A temple built in honour of Hera, wife of the Greek chief god.
  • Pelopion - A memorial built in honour of a local hero.
  • Philippeion - A memorial built in celebration of Philip II, the Macedonian king’s victory in the battle of Chaeronea.
  • Prytaneion - It was the seat of the board of priests responsible for managing the sanctuary and offering sacrifices. It also housed the Altar of Hestia where the original Olympic flame once burnt.

Temple of Zeus

  • Doric column - The least ornate type of columns with a plain capital. The shaft is fluted and widens towards the foot. It has no base.
  • tympanum - Triangular decorative wall surface below a pitched roof.
  • frieze - A long and wide strip under the tympanum. It can be decorated with inscriptions or reliefs.
  • roof

Temple of Hera

  • Doric column - The least ornate type of columns with a plain capital. The shaft is fluted and widens towards the foot. It has no base.
  • tympanum - Triangular decorative wall surface below a pitched roof.
  • roof

Leonidaion

  • Ionic column - Its capital has characteristic paired scrolling volutes. The shaft is fluted and widens towards the base, which is also ornamented.
  • Doric column - The least ornate type of columns with a plain capital. The shaft is fluted and widens towards the foot. It has no base.
  • colonnade - There were colonnades on each side of the building, with 138 Ionic columns.

Stadium

  • starting stone, finish stone - There were two limestone ‘lines’ at the eastern and western ends of the stadium. The groove on the starting stone helped athletes start off.
  • box - This sector was located on the southern side of the stadium; it was reserved for the aristocrats and the judges.
  • seating (hillside) - As many as 45 thousand spectators could sit on the hillside.
  • 192.27 m - According to Strabon it was 400 times the length of Heracles’ foot.
  • vaulted passage - The stones of the vault were kept together not by mortar, but by their own weight due to the precise shaping.

Walk

Animation

  • gymnasium - The 220 m long, 100 m wide building was located on the bank of the river. It was surrounded by colonnades, and served as a place for training for athletes.
  • Palaestra - A square-shaped building on the western side of Olympia. Athletes trained in its inner yard, while in the colonnades there were changing rooms and resting rooms.
  • Hestia stoa - The colonnade was built in honour of the goddess of the family hearth.
  • Pheidias’ workshop
  • Leonidaion - The largest building of Olympia was built for the official guests by Leonidas, King of Naxos .
  • southern colonnade - The colonnade was 80 m long, the outer row consisted of Doric, the inner one of Corinthian columns.
  • Bouleuterion - A building which housed the council of citizens. Athletes took their oaths in front of the altar and the statue of Zeus.
  • temple of Zeus - Temple built in honour of the chief god of Greek mythology. It was the largest temple on the Peloponnesus in ancient times. One of the Wonders of the Ancient World, the statue created by Pheidias was located in this temple.
  • Echo stoa - The 94-m long, Doric peristyle got its name for its excellent acoustics.
  • stadion - The moved ‘establishment’ was 211.5 m long and 28.5 m wide. 45 thousand spectators could watch the events from the hillside.
  • Treasuries - Small, temple-like buildings at the foot of Mount Kronos, the northern part of Olympia
  • Metroon - A small building built in honour of the mother goddess.
  • Nymphaeum - The building that supplied water was built by Herodes Atticus for his wife Regilla.
  • temple of Hera - A temple built in honour of Hera, wife of the Greek chief god.
  • Pelopion - A memorial built in honour of a local hero.
  • Philippeion - A memorial built in celebration of Philip II, the Macedonian king’s victory in the battle of Chaeronea.
  • Prytaneion - It was the seat of the board of priests responsible for managing the sanctuary and offering sacrifices. It also housed the Altar of Hestia where the original Olympic flame once burnt.
  • starting stone, finish stone - There were two limestone ‘lines’ at the eastern and western ends of the stadium. The groove on the starting stone helped athletes start off.
  • box - This sector was located on the southern side of the stadium; it was reserved for the aristocrats and the judges.
  • seating (hillside) - As many as 45 thousand spectators could sit on the hillside.
  • 192.27 m - According to Strabon it was 400 times the length of Heracles’ foot.
  • vaulted passage - The stones of the vault were kept together not by mortar, but by their own weight due to the precise shaping.

Statue of Zeus

  • statue of Nike - Zeus holds a statue of the goddess of victory on his right palm.
  • eagle
  • golden sandal
  • golden robe
  • inlaid throne - The throne of Zeus was decorated with ivory, ebony, gold and gem inlays.

Statues

Time travel

Narration

Located on the Peloponnese peninsula in present-day Greece, Olympia was the site of the Olympic games in classical times. The first Olympic festival was organised on the site in 776 BC. According to historical sources, the games were held every 4 years, as the main component of the Panhellenic games. The ancient Olympic games included sports events as well as religious events, which were held in honour of the god of gods, Zeus, and his wife Hera. Temples were built for this purpose.

In the temple built for Zeus in the centre of Olympia, there was a 13 m tall statue of the god, which was included in the Wonders of the Ancient World.

Next to this building, there was another temple, built in honour of Hera. Religious ceremonies were held during the Olympic games, like the hecatomb, a sacrifice of 100 oxen offered to the gods at the opening event.

Houses for guests and venues for the sports events were arranged around the religious buildings. The most important ones included the stadion, the site of athletic and fighting events; the hippodromos, the site of chariot races; and the gymnasium, a place to practice.

The first Olympic games included only one sports event, stadion running, but the number of events later increased. The participants, however, remained restricted to free men and boys of Greek descent; women were not allowed to take part, even as spectators.

Eventually, the Olympic Games were suppressed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in AD 394, because the event was said to be a pagan tradition – which was surely thought inappropriate in what was now supposed to be a Christian empire. The Olympic games were later revived by Baron Pierre De Coubertin with the first modern Olympic games held in Athens in 1896.

The Olympic flame of the modern-day Olympic Games was lit by 11 priestesses in front of the Temple of Hera.

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