Stadium at Olympia
2004 Summer Olympics |
The Olympic stadium was a holy place for the ancient Greeks, as this is where sporting activities dedicated to Zeus were held. The stadium was originally located within the temenos, with spectators able to view races from the slopes of Mt. Kronos. It was gradually relocated east until it reached its present location in the early 5th century BC. The stadium is connected with the sanctuary by a vaulted stone passageway.
The track is 212.54 m (697.3 ft) long and 28.5 m (94 ft) wide and surrounded by grassy banks on all sides. All the seats were made of mud and on the southern slope there was a stone platform, the exedra, on which the Hellanodikai, the judges, would sit. Opposite this, on the north slope, was an altar to Demeter Chamyne. The stadium could hold 50,000 spectators.
The games were held between 776 BC and 393 AD. Greek legends suggest that the games were held even earlier, from the tenth to the eleventh century BC. According to records, the earliest that we know of the games being held here were during the revival of The Festival of Zeus in 776 BC. The games were held every four years at the beginning, and the middle of the "Great Year".
There were three stadia constructed. The first one, (Stadium I), was created during the archaic period. It was mainly used to hold games for the contestants of nearby city-states of Greece. (Stadium II) was built to the east of the first stadium. In addition, a racetrack was also built. It was built next to a large hillside that served as a natural sitting area. The third stadium, (Stadium III), was built mainly to hold larger audiences. Along the embankments surrounding the stadium are large wells that not only served as water offerings, but also served as votive offerings, mostly of bronze..
Women competed on the site in the Heraean Games held in honor of Hera, the wife of Zeus.
- "A Walking Tour of Olympia - Original Location of the Olympics at Olympia".
- at. "Olympia History".
- 2004 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 2. p. 242.
- Hope, Kerin (18 August 2004). "Olympia shot put aims to revive stadium of ancient games" – via Financial Times.
- "Ancient and modern Shot put revisits Olympia". 18 August 2004 – via The Guardian.
Media related to Olympia - Stadium at Wikimedia Commons