Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Greece 2023: Olympia III

Like Delphi, as a temple complex Olympia was a repository of dedicated gifts, some of which have survive to the present day.

Shields and spears:

A bronze cuirass:



This pair of helmets was one of the high points of the trip for me.   They were dedicated sometime after 490 B.C. after the Battle of Marathon.  To the left is a Persian helmet, to the right a Greek helmet.

Just visible is the name "Militiades", the Greek General (Archon) that lead the Greeks to victory.  This was his helmet.

These are the remains of the Winged Nike (Nike of Paionios), one of the great statues of Olympia in her glory.  The statue itself is 6' tall; it stood on an 18' pedestal which still exists.  It was dedicated to commemorate victory over the Spartans at the Battle of Sphacteria in 425 B.C.

Carvings and statues:

This is a Roman statute - Hadrian, I believe:

A model of Olympia.


  1. The rooster caught my eye!

    The details and their variations are quite fascinating. It strikes me as odd that we moderns consider ourselves superior by virtue of our technology, yet all we can produce are masses of identical objects with little to no creative variation in the end result. I think some 2000 years hence, we won't have as interesting a museum of our relics.

    1. Leigh, the rooster was a bronze shield device attached to the shield (prior to the Peloponnesian War [more or less], individuals used their family or clan insignias. Standardization came later).

      Your observation is a good one. It has certainly manifested in my own lifetime in automobiles: I have lived in an era that went from classic cars to boxes that all look the same. There will likely be no "2000's Car Museum" as everything would look exactly alike.

    2. My guess is that the new truck by Tesla might make the museum. For me, the last consumer vehicles that tripped my interests visually were the Dodge Viper and Prowler.

    3. Ed, I would agree that those models at least had distinctive appearances (although the Cybertruck, to my eyes, is not attractive at all).

  2. Anonymous3:24 AM

    I agree with above - that statuary and the skill needed to build them with primitive tools is becoming a thing of the past. That ancient work is an item we in America cannot compete with the Orient and Europe. We measure in decades - they measure in centuries.

    1. I knew an acquaintance who was a traditional stone carver using traditional tools. To your point, he was one of the very few and it was not a profitable business - but he loved the work.

      Sadly given what we produce, we will never create anything as enduring.

  3. Nylon124:46 AM

    That's quite the sculpture skill and expertise as those photos show. Hmmm........Greeks seem to be more interested in providing more facial protection than the Persians TB. Off to do some research on that!

    1. It is, Nylon12 - and was pointed out above, done with technology we would consider primitive at best.

      I will be interested to hear the results of your research. I suspect the reason is the nature of warfare in the two regions: Persian warfare was definitely different that Greek warfare.


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