Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Greece 2023: Olympia II

The entrance to the Stadium of Olympia, the first real "Big Show": 

The stadium itself is unremarkable:  a flat dirt area surrounded by a grassy knoll.  Comparing it to the modern idea of a stadium, it is hard to believe the start of what has become a world-wide event and competition started here.  But standing here, looking in, one can still hear the time-distant cheering of the crowds as the athletes entered the stadium.

The starting line:

Looking back towards the entrance:

The judges' box:

Outside the entrance to the Stadium was a series of bronze statues of Zeus known as the Zanes.  These were paid for with fines by individuals caught cheating or violating the rules of the Games.  The name of the individual and of his home city were on the pedestal of the statue.  The idea was to demonstrate that victory in the Games was won by effort and accomplishment, not money.

The Temple of Zeus contained within it an ivory and gold statue of Zeus made by the sculptor Pheidias and was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  The statue is gone and the temple is in ruins; interesting enough, the workshop Pheidias was found including a clay cup which said (In Greek) "I belong to Pheidias".  

When the Greek traveler Pausanias visited in mid to late 2nd Century A.D., there were over 70 temples as well as treasuries, altars, and other statues.

Ruins of the Roman baths:


  1. Nylon123:27 AM

    "caught cheating or violating the rules of the Games".....huh....some things never change eh TB?

    1. They do not, Nylon12. One wishes we maintained this practice in modern times. Imagine a stadium lined with statues of those that had cheated. Pretty good object lesson there.

  2. I can only imagine that this was an incredibly busy place in its day.

    1. Leigh, it was probably seething with humanity, like any stadium in modern times. Undoubtedly it also served as an unofficial economic and political exchange.


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