2Olympia Name derived from Mount Olympos Highest mountain in Greece and mythological home of the gods.Located in a strategic area of the PeloponneseReligious sanctuary owned and operated by city-state ElisProvided priests and officials
3Olympia continued…One of the most significant historical sites in the world.Archaeological importStarting and reference point in global record of sportThe finest place in Greece.Lysias
4The Oracle of Olympia7th and 8th century B.C.E was a time of warfare between expanding city-statesA sacred truce was struck between secular political leaders in the PeloponneseWisely placed this truce under the security of the sanctuaryTo the ancient Greeks, this allowed for the inception of regularly scheduled athletic competitions
5The Olympic GamesAccording to Pausanias, first games were held as early as 776 B.C.E and continued as late as 293 C.E.Over 293 Olympiads were held during this 1,169 year periodArcheological evidence places the start date of the games closer to 700 B.C.EOriginal games had one event, a 192 meter footrace the length of the StadiumBy 200 B.C.E another 18 events had been added to the games, including a competition for heralds and trumpeters.
6Foundation of Olympic Games There are many different versions of the inception of the games.Some are secular and historical while others present a mythological explanation of the contests.SecularHeld to honor important dead kings or heroesMeans to distribute the belongings of the deaddecide the heir to the throne after a kings deathPrehistoric hunting ritualsRites of passage
7Olympic games continued… Religious & Mythological explanationsFirst games a celebration of Zeus’ overthrow of his father CronusApollo, Hermes, and Ares were the competitorsPoet Pindar offers several explanationsHeracles consecrates the Altis to his father Zeus and founds the games at the tomb of PelopsPelops victory in a chariot race over Oenomaus for his daughter HippodamiaZeus’ oversight“Island of Pelops,” the Peloponnesus
8The Classical PeriodVictory in the Persian Wars allowed for the flourishing of the Greek civilization and cultureEvident in dedications made at OlympusSpoils of war combined with dedications made as a result of the victory allowed for enormous growth in the cult worship of ZeusEarly dedications to Zeus had a militaristic quality.Later dedications were more diverse in their depiction of Zeus
9Zeus Olympios Father of gods and men Personification of authority and orderWon his position through hard struggles, namely with father CronusTypically depicted as either a warrior holding a spear and lightning bolt or as a king seated on a throneWielded Power, supported powerful kings, tyrants, and monarchs.Gave victory in both war and his own gamesThis aspect is what sets Zeus Olympios apart from other Zeus epithets“Zeus is air, Zeus is earth, Zeus is the sky, Zeus is everything, and whatever exists superior to it.” -Aeschlus
10Temple of ZeusUntil the Olympiad of 476 B.C.E., Zeus Olympios was likely worshiped at his open air altar.Temple construction financed by the Eleians and also from the income of the sanctuary itselfCompleted by 457 B.C.E.Eleian architect Libon
11West Pediment of Temple Depicted the battle between the Lapiths and the CentaursIn this myth, the Lapiths represent rule and order and are victorious over the Centaurs that symbolize chaos and evil.
12East Pediment of Temple Depiction of the the chariot race between Oinomaos and PelopsThe scene is the moment before the chariot race begins.Zeus is placed in the middle, set to judge the competition.Competitors are on either side of him, as well as the horses and the servants preparing them.Two prophets are seated on the ground, one with an especially grim gesture.
13The Chryselephantine Statue of Zeus Completed by Athenian sculptor PheidasMade of gold (chrysos) and ivory (elephas)Zeus’ hair, beard, and robes would have been coated in gold sheetThe exposed skin of the statue would have attached ivory platesTaken to Constantinople in early 4th century C.E. to decorate the new capital of the Roman empire.Destroyed in a fire in 475 C.E.
14Chryselephantine Statue of Zeus continued… The finest of all the statues that exist in the world [the Zeus of Olympia] and the most dear to the gods” – Dion Chrysostom