Reference Entry

Olympia

Nicholas Yalouris and Ann Thomas Wilkins

in Oxford Art Online


Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T063529

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Site of one of the oldest and most famous ancient Greek sanctuaries. It lies in the western Peloponnese, 18 km inland from the Ionian Sea, at the confluence of the rivers Alpheios and Kladeos and just south of Mt Kronos. Olympia flourished from Late Mycenaean to Roman times; its fame stemmed largely from the quadrennial Olympic Games, the most important pan-Hellenic festival, held there regularly from 776 bc to ad 393. By the 6th century ad most of the site was in ruins, and alluvial silt eventually covered nearly the whole sanctuary to a depth of 7 m. The Kladeos changed its course, sweeping away much of the west side of the site. In 1829 the Temple of Zeus was partly excavated by the French Expédition du Morée, and systematic excavation by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut began in 1875, continuing since in several phases (for plan see fig.).

Reference Entry.  4923 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Archaeology ; Architecture ; Greek and Roman Art

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