Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ancient Olympia

We are adherents of the Ancient Greeks not only for their democracy but also their love of play.  A major site of their play was Ancient Olympia.  From 776 BCE to 339 CE, games took place here every four years as religious rites honoring Zeus.  That's 1000 years longer than the Modern Olympics!  I cannot begin to contemplate what would happen to the Olympic games 1000 years from now. 

We were expecting rain again so we headed to the site first thing in the morning. To think that such a vast complex is only used every four years.  This extravagance is extraordinary by today's standard,  let alone two thousand years ago.  In fact, some Greeks think that their economy is in such dire situation because of the outlay for the 2004 Olympics.  Nevertheless, I thank Zeus for bringing about play, otherwise life would be much duller.

The Stadium from different angles.

Stadium - Ancient Olympia, Greece

Stadium - Ancient Olympia, Greece

Stadium - Ancient Olympia, Greece

Temple of Hera.
Ancient Olympia, Greece

Looking from the Leonidaion ruin towards the Temple of Zeus with Mount Kronos, the birthplace of Zeus, behind.
Ancient Olympia, Greece

Roman swimming pool.
Ancient Olympia, Greece

The single standing column at the Temple of Zeus was re-erected in honor of the 2004 Olympic Games. Access to the temple was floor is blocked thus not-so-good photo ops.
Lone Column - Temple of Zeus - Ancient Olympia, Greece

However, check out this sculpture from the Temple of Zeus in the site museum. It dates from 450 BCE and depicts centaurs disrupting a wedding.
Museum - Ancient Olympia, Greece

Museum - Ancient Olympia, Greece

Statue of Hermes by Praxiteles from 4th Cent BCE.
Museum - Ancient Olympia, Greece

Bonus video for making it this far. ;-)


Anonymous said...

I am so glad you do these blogs. I feel like I am (almost) traveling with you.

Kathy said...

Even cooler, there was a truce during the games. At least among the Greeks. And poetry.

Really enjoying the blog, too.

Crash Eddy said...

Olympic games 1000 years from now? Surely we'll have synchronized paddle boarding and bungee jumping.

john said...

@Susan and @Kathy - And we love our faithful readers!

@Ed, And "why not tandem bicycling?" pops into my head as I see your avatar/icon - Hi to Jeanne!