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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 Olympia.docx

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2300
Charles Stocking

Lecture 7 – Olympia Olympia - Somewhere where all of Greece and the Greek-speaking world converged upon Excavating At Olympia: The Beginning of the Modern Olympics the Modern Olympics - 1875-188: first large-scale continuous excavation of Olympia by the German Archeological Institute - Excavated large amounts of the site: Temple of Zeus, Heraion, Metroon, etc. - 1908-1929: excavations carried out by W.Dorpfield. Smaller-scale, focused on the history of the sanctuary - 1936: new systematic excavations undertaken on the occasion of the Olympic games in Berlin. Under the direction of Kunze, focused on the stadium, bath, and gymnasium. Olympia in the Bronze Age (3000-1100 BCE) - Early settlement inhabited continuously from the Early Helladic to Late Helladic period (2800-1100 BCE) - Large prehistoric Tumulus in the center of the sanctuary, dated to EH II (2500-2200 BCE). Early religious site, with evidence of sacrifice, clay vessel – thymiato (censer), and an altar build in EH III (2200-2100) - High percentage of drinking thssels, such as kylikes, found in the black stratum of earth near tumulus dated to 11 century. This indicated sacrifice and ritual- libations/feasting - Although Olympic seems to have been a Bronze Age settlement, there does seem to be some evidence for continuity of cult Origins of Panhellenism (All of Greece) – Iron Age Olympia (1100-700 BCE) - During this early period, Olympia may be considered a religious sanctuary characterized as a meeting place for the petty chiefs of western Greece - Occasion for meetings, feasting and competitive displays of wealth through dedication and exchange of Prestige Goods o Things like metal objects – i.e. jewelry Dedication of Prestige Goods - Large scale dedication of metal (especially bronze) was rare before 700 BCE in Greek world - Metals pre700-750 BCE tended to be limited to graves and elite residences - As an item of dedication among elites, metal becomes an ideal status symbol and commodity for conspicuous consumption - Deliberate destruction of wealth as a symbol of power and wealth when burying metals with the deceased - Eventually metals were found more in sanctuaries – shift from focus on man-man reciprocity to man-god reciprocity Votive Figurines - Do ut Des: “I give in order than you give” - Agalmata – statues that delight the gods - Discovered itha layer of black ash, in the Altis (sacred precinct) - Dated to 8 century BCE - Votives of bulls, tripods, horses and chariots o Image of horses and cattle – things related to sacrifice - All demonstrations of wealth - Votives found in a black layer of ask because there was a ritualistic destruction of one temple to build another temple – votives were destroyed with old temple Iron Age Olympia – Competitive Dedication - Tripods were the other major object dedicated at Olympia - Not produced at Olympia, but transported by elites for dedication - Tripods increase in size, elaboration and cost over time - The more elaborate the dedication, the more prestige the dedicator receives - Evidence in the Illiad for tripods as trophies in athletic contests – Funeral games of Patroclus - Tripods were the symbol of competition in Olympia througho
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