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On this page: Olympic Games (continued)

429

OLYMPIAN GAMES.

sacred Truce of God (see ekecheiria), which insured a safe conduct at the time of the festival for all strangers resorting thither, even through hostile territory. In course of time the membership extended itself further, over all the Hellenic states in and out of Greece; and the festival was not only visited by private individuals, but also received sacred envoys from the several states. Through all the assaults of time it lasted on, even during the Roman rule, and was not abolished until 394 a.d., under the reign of Theodosius.

From the time of the above-mentioned restoration by Iphitus and Lycurgus it was a quinquennial celebration ; that is, it was held once in every four years, in midsum­mer (July to August), about the beginning or end of the Greek year. A regular and continuous list of the victors was kept from 776, when COroebus won the race in the

the temples of Zeus, Hera (Heraidn), the Mother of the Gods (Metroon), and the holy inclosure of Pelops (Pelopwn), besides a multitude of altars consecrated some to gods and some to heroes, and a countless host of dedicatory offerings and statues of every kind, among them, south-east of the temple of Zeus, the Nice of Paeoniua (q.v.).

The temple of Zeus, which was begun about 572 b.c. by the Elean Libo, was not completed in its main outline until about 450. It was a Doric Irypsethral building (i.e. it had no roof over the cella, or temple proper); it was also peripteral (i.e. it was surrounded by a single row of columns). It was built of the local conchyliferous lime­stone [called pords by Pausanias, v 10 § 2]. In its more finished parts it was overlaid with fine stucco, giving the appearance of marble, and was also richly decorated with colour. It was 210 feet in length, 91 in

(1) EASTERN PEDIMENT OF THE TEMPLE OF ZEUS AT OLYMPIA ; DESIGNED Br P^ONIUS.

(Contest between Pelops and CEnomaiia.)

(2) WESTERN PEDIMENT OP THE TEMPLK OF ZFt'S AT OLYMPIA ; DESIGNED BY ALCAMFNES.

(Battle between the Centaurs and Lapithse.)

stddium, and with this year begins the Olympiad reckoning prevalent among the historians from the time of Timaeus. The duration of the festival was in course of time extended to at least five days7

The place where the festival was cele­brated was the Altis (see Plan), a sacred precinct at the foot of the hill of Cronus (KronSs), 403 feet high. The precinct, which was about 150 feet long by f>10 feet broad, | was surrounded by a wall ascribed to Hera­cles, having entrances at the N.W. and S.W. ( The centre, both by position and by reli- | gious association, was formed by the great sacrificial altar of Zeus, which rose on an j elliptical base 128 feet in circumference to a height of 32 feet, and was composed of the ashes of the victims mingled with the water of the Alpheus. Round it were grouped the four most important sanctuaries,

breadth, and 65 in height. The outer hall had 6 columns along its breadth and 13 along its length (each 34 feet high), while the inner hall had a double row of 7 columns. The eastern pediment wras occupied by a re­presentation of the contest between Pelops and (Enomaus, with Zeus as the centre (fig. 1); the western, by one of the battle between the Centaurs and Lapithse, with Apollo as centre (fig. 2). The former was designed by the already-mentioned Paeonius; the latter, by Alcamenes of Athens.

The accompanying cuts indicate the figures belonging to the two pediments, so far as their fragmentary portions were recovered in the excavations begun by the Germans in 1875. [While the outer metopes beneath these pediments had no ornament except a large plain boss on each, twelve other metopes sculptured

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