Ancient Olympia Greece – Pelops and Hippodamia

The first evidence relevant to the worship of Pelops and Hippodamia, in the area of Olympia, appeared during the Mycenaean period.

The mythological tradition of the area is connected to the ancient king of Pisa, Oenomaus, son of the god Ares. Oenomaus had received a prophecy that the end of his life would come with the marriage of his daughter Hippodamia, whom he begot with his wife Sterope. In an attempt to avoid the prophecy, the king announced that he would give his daughter to the one who would beat him in a chariot race. He, however, used unbeatable weapons and immortal horses, gifts from his father. During the races, many brave young men were killed. Oenomaus buried their bodies close to the Hippodrome of Olympia and nailed their heads over the gates of his palace. The last suitor was Pelops, son of Tantalus, who fell instantly in love with Hippodamia and she with him. The only person who could help them was Oenomaus’ charioteer, Myrtilus, son of Hermes and gifted with his father’s cunning. Pelops promised to give Myrtilus half of Oenomaus’ kingdom if he would help him win. Myrtilus accepted and, before the start of the race, he replaced the axle-pins of the king’s chariot with wax pegs which, once the race had started, melted and the wheels fell off. Oenomaus became tangled up in the reins and was killed. Pelops, therefore, won the race and took Hippodamia for his wife along with the whole kingdom of Oenomaus. When Myrtilus later tried to rape Hippodamia, Pelops killed him and then went to Oceanus where he was purified by Hephaestus and returned to become king of Pisa, wise and strong. He also renamed the land, which was formerly called Apia, to Peloponissos (the Island of Pelops), or the Peloponnese.

Without doubt, Pelops was the most important mythical person of the Peloponnese. In the sacred grove of Olympia, the inhabitants founded a sanctuary to honour him at which they would offer sacrifices every year. The belief that the Olympic games were established and took place in memory of Pelops was also very popular.

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Olympia Greece – A Tour in Antiquity

To really get the most from your trip to Olympia, you should join one of the many Olympia Greece tours. Your guide will be able to take you to the most interesting and significant sites, and will be a mine of information about each of the places you visit. As your Olympia Greece tour gets under way, you will find yourself cast back to the days of antiquity, where vengeful gods were idolised and revered.

Your guide will take you to the remains of the Hippodrome and to the ancient stadium where the Olympic Games once took place. Here you will be able to visualise the Olympiads competing, in all their glory, against the best athletes the known world had to offer. A trip further to the west will introduce you to the sanctuary of Altis. This grouping of buildings are amongst the most admired in Greece, and a trip to the inner, sacred enclosure will introduce you to the temples of Hera and Zeus. It is here also that you will discover the altar where sacrifices were made to the ancient gods.

No Olympia Greece tour would be complete without a visit to the Olympia museum. This houses some of the most incredible sculptures Greece has to offer, including a spectacular bronze collection. Also on show, are the two pediments from the Temple of Zeus, which date back to the fifth century BC and are one of the best surviving examples of Grecian works of art from this period.

After a full day of total immersion in the mysteries of the past, an introduction the multitude of gods and demons that were part of everyday life, it is time to rejoin the present. No better way than to sample the delights of one of the many restaurants available. Because Olympia is such a short distance from the coast, you will find delicious seafood on most menus. Although all of this food on the menu will be fresh and tasty, it is a good idea to take advice from your Olympia Greece tour guide or the waiter. These people will know which dish will offer the authentic and mouth-watering experience. Washed down with a choice Greek wine and perhaps chased with a glass of Ouzo, this will bring a perfect day to a close. Heading back to your hotel, you can revel in the fact that, by taking an Olympia Greece tour, you have maximised the treasures and sights that this town has to show. Long after the tan has faded the memories of this wonderful place will stay with you.

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Greece Olympia – Hellenistic And Roman Years

After the death of Alexander the Great, the radiance of the sanctuary began to decline and in 312 BC, it was destroyed by the Macedonian, Telesphorus. During the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, however, important leaders and rich individuals continued to send offerings and a special significance is assigned to the votive offerings from Arcadia, Achaea and Macedonia during this period, as well as those from Asia Minor and Egypt. At this time, the two buildings on the west of the Altis were built which served the needs of the athletes’ training: the Gymnasium and the Palaestra, or arena.

In 146 BC, Greece came under the control of the Roman Empire and conceded them the right to take part in the Olympic games which were considered Greek in origin. The sanctuary suffered significant plundering during the Mithridatic Wars and in 85 BC, during the siege of Athens, Sulla plundered the sanctuary and removed a significant amount of treasures from Olympia. In apparent support of this catastrophe, there was the terrible earthquake of 40 BC which caused serious damage, mainly to the large Temple of Zeus. However, during the years of Augustus Octavian (30 BC – AD 14), the sanctuary enjoyed a renewed prosperity and during the reign of Nero, the Olympiad of AD 65 was held two years later in AD 67, so that the emperor himself could take part. He won a number of events, many of which were unknown until then, Nero himself introducing them into the Olympic programme. In the first half of the 2nd century AD, the emperor Hadrian especially favoured the development of the sanctuary and in the latter half of the same century, Herodes Atticus built the Nymphaeum.

From the 3rd century AD, the glory of the Olympic games began to decline steadily and the participation of athletes from the various Greek towns became less and less. At the same time, many athletes from the provinces of the Roman Empire expressed their interest in the games and began to take part in the events. The destruction of the temples and other buildings of the sanctuary began in the second half of the 3rd century AD. In AD 267, the Eleans built a wall to confront the invasion of the Herulians using many architectural parts from the temples and buildings which they demolished. Their goal was to protect the Temple of Zeus and its chryselephantine statue within. The invaders did not eventually attack but the life of the sanctuary had reached its end.

If you finally decide to visit GreeceOlympia is one of the first places that you should visit if you take a Tour.

Olympia Greece – The Games During The Archaic Years

During the Archaic period, the indication of the desire of the athletes from all over Greece to take part in the games came parallel with a large number of offerings from the towns and colonies of the Greek world: From southern Italy and Sicily, from eastern and western Greece and also from north Africa. Responsibility for the organization of the Olympic games belonged to the people of Elis despite the vigorous attempts of the Pisatans to take control from them.

More specifically, a short while after the 26th Olympiad (676 BC), the Pisatans occupied Olympia. Some years later, the Eleans, after defeating the Pisatans, gained back the running of the games. The state of Pisa, though somewhat limited, continued however and in the latter half of the 7th century BC it returned led by king Pantaleon, son of Omphalion. Under his leadership, and with the assistance of the neighbouring nations, the Pisatans occupied Olympia and organized the games of 644 BC. Later, the Eleans again took back Olympia but the Pisatans continued to be a threat. A period of repeated attacks from both sides followed, the last coming from the Pisatans under Pyrros, with the participation of many perioikoi, or free men. This attack failed and the victorious Eleans destroyed the Pisatans and their allies. In the middle of the 6th century BC, the Eleans entered into a treaty of 100 years of peace with the inhabitants of the Arcadian town of Eraea. The text of this treaty still survives, carved into a bronze plaque from the sanctuary of Olympia where it hung.

Despite these events, the Archaic period was a time of great prosperity for Olympia which saw countless offerings from the various winners of the events as well as other individuals. Offerings to Zeus Areus consisted mainly of helmets, greaves, shields, cuirasses, swords and spear heads. Economically, the Archaic period was represented by the temple of Hera, the bouleuterion (or council house), a part of the prytaneion (or magistrate’s residence) and the treasuries. At the end of the Archaic period, Greece was in some way a nation of athletes. It is E. N. Gardiner’s observation that, “the victory of the Greeks over the Persians… was the victory of a handful of trained athletes over the hordes of flabby barbarians”.

If you decide to visit Greece it would be a good idea to go on a tour to the most important archaeological sites such as the one visiting Delphi Greece, Epidaurus, Mycenae and Olympia. I hope you enjoy your Vacations in Greece.

Greece Ancient Olympia

In antiquity, when the fame of a sanctuary spread beyond its immediate borders, it was believed that not only the sanctuary, but also its athletic competitions, were founded by gods and heroes and that they were the first to have taken part in the competitions. The beginnings of the Olympic games are lost, deep in the mists of time, but the myths concerning their foundation are many and varied and reflect the religious beliefs of the different peoples who inhabited the area.

One myth names the founder of the games as Heracles Idaeus, who came from Crete with his brothers, the Curetes, and organized a race with a wild olive branch as the prize. Another dominant tradition was that the competitions were organized by Pelops, son of Tantalus, after having beaten Oenomaus in a chariot race. According to other myths, the competitions were established by Zeus after he had beaten Cronus at wrestling, or by Apollo after he had beaten Hermes in a race and Ares in a boxing match. There is also a legend which says that the founder of the competitions was Clymenus of Crete, a descendant of Heracles Idaeus, and another declaring that the competitions were established by Heracles, the famous son of Alcmene. Diodorus informs us that after the end of the Argonautic expedition, Heracles suggested to the leaders and heroes who were preparing to return home that they should vow that if any of them needed help in the future, the others would come to their assistance, and that they should choose a prominent place somewhere in Greece and establish there competitions in honour of Zeus Olympius. The leaders delegated Heracles who chose the site of Olympia which was devoted to Zeus. He established horse races and gymnastic competitions, defined the prizes and the rules of the competitions and sent Theoroi (official representatives of the competition committee) to announce them in the towns.

The peaceful landscape of Olympia hosted the worship of many deities who followed, one after the other, embracing various mythological traditions which are now long forgotten in the depths of time. The data from excavations and mythological study show that the first inhabitants of this area made offerings to a female deity, Gaia, the wife of Uranus. Her sanctuary, the Gaion, was located at the southern foot of the Hill of Cronus which, as the name indicates, was devoted to Cronus, a god of Cretan origin. At the same time, besides Gaia, other gods were also prominently worshipped in the area: Cronus, Rhea, Themis and Heracles Idaeus, the sanctuaries of whom may have been gathered at the foot of the Hill of Cronus. One more important god or demon of the Eleans was Sosipolis, who had a temple in Olympia where he was honoured together with Eilithyia. He was a snake-like divinity who seems to have been very respected, as the Eleans were accustomed to invoking him as the guardian of oaths.

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Greece, The Land of Olympia

Greece is a country in southern Europe on the tip of the Balkan Peninsula. It is officially known as Hellenic Republic. Hellas is the historical name of Greece.

Greece borders Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, and Albania to the north and Turkey to the east.

Greece has a long and rich history. It’s regarded as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy.

Greece is also the land of Olympia. Athens, Greece was the venue of the first Olympic in 776 BC. Greece also hosted the Summer Olympic Games 2004.

The tourism is one of the corner stones of the economy of Greece. The tourism in Greece has grown 50 times in the past 40 years and is expected to surge further in the next 10 years. Approximately 14.180 Million visitors visited to enjoy greece vacation in 2004. The greece vacations and greece vacation packages including luxury greece vacation and greece sail vacations are highly coveted deals.

The famous places to visit in Greece include the coast of the Aegean Sea, the Peloponnesus with antique Olympia, Athens with its Parthenon on the Acropolis, or Thessaloniki in the north. The main destinations in Greece include Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Kos, Kefalonia, Cyclades, Dodecanese, Ionian Islands and Sporades islands.

Greek nature has some thing for everybody’s choice ranging from snow covered mountains and dense forest inhabited by brown bears, lynx and deer to thousands of sun drenched islands with sandy beaches.

Greece is also home to great number of museums and world famous archaeological sites.

The greece hotel industry fetches the big portion of the country’s revenue. The hotels in greece are available for every taste and pocket. The greece hotels are known for their quality, comfort and luxuries. They offer one of the most romantic aromas in the world.

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Why Visit Olympia in Greece?

Greece is situated on the tip of Balkan Peninsula. It is formally known as Hellenic Republic. This is the historical name of Greece. Greece has a very vast history. It is also considered as the cradle of Western civilization and the place of birth of democracy.

Tourism plays a very important role in the economy of Greece and that is the reason Greece is known as city of Olympia. In the last 50 years, the tourist industry of Greece has expanded more than 50 %. It expected to expand more in the coming years. There are many facilities for tourist in Greece. There are many places in Greece to visit like coast of Aegean Sea, Peloponnesus with antique Olympia, Athens with its Parthenon on the Acropolis, Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Kos, Kefalonia, Cyclades, Dodecanese, Ionian Islands and Sporades islands.

Olympia Greece is known for Olympic Games of the traditional times. In 294 AD, the Emperor Theodosius destroyed all the games. The first Olympic Games were held in Olympia in the honor of Zeus. When the modern Olympics were introduced in Athens, in 2004, the men’s and women’s gunshot competition was held at the restored Olympia Stadium. This town has a train station too. The area of Olympia Greece is mountainous and forested. Panagiotis Kondylis, the modern Greek philosophers, was also born and raised in Olympia. Olympia Greece is of historic importance. You can visit this place with your family and friends. If you want to make your vacations more memorable, then you should visit Olympia Greece. There are many places in Greece but Olympia has its own importance. It is the center of Olympic Games. The historic monuments and forest near by Olympia provide a beautiful and calm atmosphere. You can learn about the history of Greece from visiting this place. This place has its own importance in the history.

Many students and researchers come to this town for research purposes. If you are in Greece, then you must visit the Olympia. There are many resorts in Olympia Greece. All these resorts offers great atmosphere to the people. You should not worry about your stay in Greece because there are many Hotels and resorts where you can stay during your vacations. If you are planning to visit Greece, then you must visit Olympia too.

Olympia is the place where you can find both history and the beauty. There are many other places in Greece but Olympia has its own importance and value. Now you do not need to search different places in Greece you can just come straight to the Olympia. Plane your holidays in Greece Olympia this year and have a lot of fun with your family or loved one.

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