Scroll V. Elis, Part 1

{5.1.1} The Greeks who say that the Peloponnesus has five, and only five, divisions must agree that Arcadia contains both Arcadians and Eleians, that the second division belongs to the Achaeans, and the remaining three to the Dorians. Of the people dwelling in Peloponnesus the Arcadians and Achaeans are aborigines. When the Achaeans were driven from their land by the Dorians, they did not retire from Peloponnesus, but they cast out the Ionians and occupied the land called of old Aigialos, but now called Achaea from these Achaeans. The Arcadians, on the other hand, have from the beginning to the present time continued in possession of their own country.
{5.1.2} The rest of Peloponnesus belongs to immigrants. The modern Corinthians are the latest inhabitants of Peloponnesus, and in the era from my time to the time when they received their land from the Roman Emperor is two hundred and seventeen years. The Dryopians reached the Peloponnesus from Parnassus, the Dorians from Oitē.
{5.1.3} The Eleians we know crossed over from Calydon and Aetolia generally. Their earlier history I found to be as follows. The first to rule in this land, they say, was Aethlios, who was the son of Zeus and of Protogeneia, the daughter of Deukalion, and the father of Endymion.
{5.1.4} The Moon, they say, fell in love with this Endymion and bore him fifty daughters. Others with greater probability say that Endymion took a wife Asterodia—others say she was Kromia, the daughter of Itonos, the son of Amphiktyon; others again, Hyperippe, the daughter of Arkas—but all agree that Endymion begot Paion, Epeios, Aitolos, and also a daughter Eurukuda. Endymion set his sons to run a race at Olympia for the throne; Epeios won, and obtained the kingdom, and his subjects were then named Epeians for the first time.
{5.1.5} Of his brothers they say that Aitolos remained at home, while Paion, vexed at his defeat, went into the farthest exile possible and that the region beyond the river Axios was named after him Paionia. As to the death of Endymion, the people of Herakleia near Miletus do not agree with the Eleians for while the Eleians show a tomb of Endymion, the folk of Herakleia say that he retired to Mount Latmos and give him honor, there being a shrine of Endymion on Latmos.
{5.1.6} Epeios married Anaxirhoe, the daughter of Koronos, and begot a daughter Hyrmina, but no male issue. In the reign of Epeios the following events also occurred. Oinomaos was the son of Alxion (though poets proclaimed his father to be Ares, and the common report agrees with them), but while lord of the land of Pisa, he was put down by Pelops the Lydian, who crossed over from Asia.
{5.1.7} On the death of Oinomaos, Pelops took possession of the land of Pisa and its bordering country Olympia, separating it from the land of Epeios. The Eleians said that Pelops was the first to found a temple of Hermes in Peloponnesus and to sacrifice to the god, his purpose being to avert the wrath of the god for the death of Myrtilos.
{5.1.8} Aitolos, who came to the throne after Epeios, was made to flee from Peloponnesus, because the children of Apis tried and convicted him of unintentional homicide. For Apis, the son of Jason, from Pallantion in Arcadia, was run over and killed by the chariot of Aitolos at the Games held in honor of Azan. Aitolos, son of Endymion, gave to the dwellers around the Akhelōos their name, when he fled to this part of the mainland. But the kingdom of the Epeians fell to Eleios, the son of Eurukuda, daughter of Endymion and, believe the tale who will, of Poseidon. It was Eleios who gave the inhabitants their present name of Eleians in place of Epeians.
{5.1.9} Eleios had a son Augeias. Those who exaggerate his glory give a turn to the name Eleios and make Hēlios to be the father of Augeias. This Augeias had so many cattle and flocks of goats that actually most of his land remained uncultivated because of the manure produced by the animals. Now he persuaded Hēraklēs to purify for him the land from dung, either in return for a part of Elis or possibly for some other reward.
{5.1.10} Hēraklēs accomplished this feat too, turning aside the stream of the Menios into the manure. But because Hēraklēs had accomplished his task by cunning, without toil, Augeias refused to give him his reward and banished Phyleus, the elder of his two sons, for objecting that he was wronging a man who had been his benefactor. He made preparations himself to resist Hēraklēs, should he attack Elis; more particularly, he made friends with the sons of Aktor and with Amarynkeus. Amarynkeus, besides being a good soldier,
{5.1.11} had a father, Pyttios, of Thessalian descent, who came from Thessaly to Elis. To Amarynkeus, therefore, Augeias also gave a share in the government of Elis; Aktor and his sons had a share in the kingdom and were natives of the country. For the father of Aktor was Phorbas, son of Lapithos, and his mother was Hyrmina, daughter of Epeios. Aktor named after her the city of Hyrmina, which he founded in Elis.
{5.2.1} Hēraklēs accomplished no brilliant feat in the war with Augeias. For the sons of Aktor were in the prime of courageous manhood and always put to flight the allies under Hēraklēs, until the Corinthians proclaimed the Isthmian truce, and the sons of Aktor came as envoys to the meeting. Hēraklēs set an ambush for them at Kleonai and murdered them. As the murderer was unknown, Moline, more than any of the other children, devoted herself to detecting him.
{5.2.2} When she discovered him, the Eleians demanded satisfaction for the crime from the Argives, for at the time Hēraklēs had his home at Tiryns. When the Argives refused them satisfaction, the Eleians as an alternative pressed the Corinthians entirely to exclude the Argive people from the Isthmian Games. When they failed in this also, Moline is said to have laid curses on her countrymen, should they refuse to boycott the Isthmian festival. The curses of Moline are respected right down to the present day, and it is a custom that no athlete competes in the Isthmian Games.
{5.2.3} There are two other accounts differing from the one that I have given. According to one of them, Kypselos, the tyrant of Corinth, dedicated to Zeus a golden image at Olympia. As Kypselos died before inscribing his own name on the offering, the Corinthians asked of the Eleians leave to inscribe the name of Corinth on it but were refused. Angry with the Eleians, they proclaimed that they must keep away from the Isthmian Games. But how could the Corinthians themselves take part in the Olympic Games if the Eleians against their will were shut out by the Corinthians from the Isthmian Games?
{5.2.4} The other account is this. Prolaos, a distinguished Eleian, had two sons, Philanthos and Lampos, by his wife Lysippe. These two came to the Isthmian Games [1] to compete in the boys’ pankration, and one of them intended to wrestle. Before they entered the ring, they were strangled or done to death in some other way by their fellow competitors. Hence, the curses of Lysippe on the Eleians, should they not voluntarily keep away from the Isthmian Games. But this story too proves on examination to be silly.
{5.2.5} For Timon, a man of Elis, won victories in the pentathlon at the Greek Games, and at Olympia, there is even a statue of him, with an elegiac inscription giving the garlands he won and also the reason why he secured no Isthmian victory. The inscription sets forth the reason thus:
But from going to the land of Sisyphus, he was hindered by a quarrel
About the baleful death of the Molionidai.
{5.3.1} Enough of my discussion of this question. Hēraklēs afterwards took Elis and sacked it, with an army he had raised of Argives, Thebans and Arcadians. The Eleians were aided by the men of Pisa and of Pylos in Elis. The men of Pylos were punished by Hēraklēs, but his expedition against Pisa was stopped by an oracle from Delphi that goes like this:
My father cares for Pisa, but to me in the hollows of Pythō. [2]
This oracle proved the salvation of Pisa. To Phyleus Hēraklēs gave up the land of Elis and all the rest, more out of respect for Phyleus than because he wanted to do so: he allowed him to keep the prisoners, and Augeias to escape punishment.
{5.3.2} The women of Elis, it is said, seeing that their land had been deprived of its vigorous manhood, prayed to Athena that they might conceive at their first union with their husbands. Their prayer was answered, and they set up a sanctuary of Athena surnamed Mother. Both wives and husbands were so delighted at their union that they named the place itself where they first met, Badu [sweet], and the river that runs thereby Badu Water, this being a word of their native dialect.
{5.3.3} When Phyleus had returned to Doulikhion after organizing the affairs of Elis, Augeias died at an advanced age, and the kingdom of Elis devolved on Agasthenes, the son of Augeias, and on Amphimakhos and Thalpios. For the sons of Aktor married twin sisters, the daughters of Dexamenos who was king at Olenos; Amphimakhos was born to one son and Theronikē, Thalpios to her sister TheraiTheraiphone and Eurytos.
{5.3.4} However, neither Amarynkeus himself nor his son Diores remained common people. Incidentally this is shown by Homer [3] in his list of the Eleians; he makes their whole fleet to consist of forty ships, half of them under the command of Amphimakhos and Thalpios, and of the remaining twenty he puts ten under Diores, the son of Amarynkeus, and ten under Polyxenos, the son of Agasthenes. Polyxenos came back safe from Troy and begot a son, Amphimakhos. This name I think Polyxenos gave his son because of his friendship with Amphimakhos, the son of Kteatos, who died at Troy.
{5.3.5} Amphimakhos begot Eleios, and it was while Eleios was king in Elis that the assembly of the Dorian army under the sons of Aristomakhos took place, with a view to returning to the Peloponnesus. To their kings was delivered this oracle, that they were to choose the “one with three eyes” to lead them on their return. When they were at a loss as to the meaning of the oracle, they were met by a man driving a mule, which was blind of one eye.
{5.3.6} Kresphontes inferred that this was the man indicated by the oracle, and so the Dorians made him one of themselves. He urged them to descend upon the Peloponnesus in ships, and not to attempt to go across the Isthmus with a land army. Such was his advice, and at the same time, he led them on the voyage from Naupaktos to Molykrion. In return, they agreed to give him at his request the land of Elis. The man was Oxylos, son of Haimon, the son of Thoas. This was the Thoas who helped the sons of Atreus to destroy the empire of Priam, and from Thoas to Aitolos the son of Endymion are six generations.
{5.3.7} There were ties of kindred between the Herakleidai and the kings of Aetolia; in particular the mothers of Thoas, the son of Andraemon, and of Hyllos, the son of Hēraklēs, were sisters. It fell to the lot of Oxylos to be an outlaw from Aetolia. The story goes that as he was throwing the discus, he missed the mark and committed unintentional homicide. The man killed by the discus, according to one account, was Thermios, the brother of Oxylos; according to another, it was Alkidokos, the son of Skopios.
{5.4.1} The following story is also told of Oxylos. He suspected that, when the sons of Aristomakhos saw that the land of Elis was good and cultivated throughout, they would be no longer willing to give it to him. He accordingly led the Dorians through Arcadia and not through Elis. Oxylos was anxious to get the kingdom of Elis without a battle, but Dios would not give way; he proposed that, instead of their fighting a pitched battle with all their forces, a single soldier should be chosen from each army to fight as its champion.
{5.4.2} This proposal chanced to find favor with both sides, and the champions chosen were the Eleian Degmenos, an archer, and Pyraikhmes, a slinger, to represent the Aetolians. Pyraikhmes won, and Oxylos got the kingdom. He allowed the old inhabitants, the Epeians, to keep their possessions, except that he introduced among them Aetolian colonists, giving them a share in the land. He assigned privileges to Dios and kept up after the ancient manner the honors paid to heroes, especially the worship of Augeias, to whom even at the present day hero-sacrifice is offered.
{5.4.3} He is also said to have induced to come into the city the dwellers in the villages near the wall, and by increasing the number of the inhabitants to have made Elis larger and generally more prosperous. There also came to him an oracle from Delphi that he should bring in as cofounder “the descendant of Pelops.” Oxylos made diligent search, and in his search, he discovered Agorios, son of Damasios, son of Penthilos, son of Orestes. He brought Agorios himself from Helike in Achaea and with him a small body of Achaeans.
{5.4.4} The wife of Oxylos, they say, was called Pieria, but beyond this nothing more about her is recorded. Oxylos is said to have had two sons, Aitolos and Laias. Aitolos died before his parents, who buried him in a tomb which they caused to be made right in the gate leading to Olympia and the sanctuary of Zeus. That they buried him thus was due to an oracle forbidding the corpse to be laid either without the city or within it. Right down to our own day, the gymnasiarch sacrifices to Aitolos as to a hero every year.
{5.4.5} After Oxylos, the kingdom devolved on Laias, son of Oxylos. His descendants, however, I find did not reign, and so I pass them by, though I know who they were; my narrative must not descend to men of common rank. Later on Iphitos, of the line of Oxylos and contemporary with Lycurgus [Lykourgos], who drew up the code of laws for the Lacedaemonians, arranged the Games at Olympia and reestablished afresh the Olympic festival and truce after an interruption of uncertain length. The reason for this interruption I will set forth when my narrative deals with Olympia.
{5.4.6} At this time, Greece was grievously worn by internal strife and plague, and it occurred to Iphitos to ask the god at Delphi for deliverance from these evils. The story goes that the Pythian priestess ordained that Iphitos himself and that the Eleians must renew the Olympic Games. Iphitos also induced the Eleians to sacrifice to Hēraklēs as to a god, whom hitherto they had looked upon as their enemy. The inscription at Olympia calls Iphitos the son of Haimon, but most of the Greeks say that his father was Praxonides and not Haimon, while the ancient records of Elis traced him to a father of the same name.
{5.4.7} The Eleians played their part in the Trojan War and also in the battles of the Persian invasion of Greece. I pass over their struggles with the Pisans and Arcadians for the management of the Olympian Games. Against their will, they joined the Lacedaemonians in their invasion of Athenian territory, and shortly afterwards, they rose up with the Mantineians and Argives against the Lacedaemonians, inducing Athens too to join the alliance. [4]
{5.4.8} When Agis invaded the land and Xenias turned traitor, the Eleians won a battle near Olympia, routed the Lacedaemonians, and drove them out of the sacred enclosure; but shortly afterwards, the war was concluded by the treaty I have already spoken of in my account of the Lacedaemonians.
{5.4.9} When Philip the son of Amyntas would not let Greece alone, the Eleians, weakened by civil strife, joined the Macedonian alliance, but they could not bring themselves to fight against the Greeks at Khaironeia. They joined Philip’s attack on the Lacedaemonians [5] because of their old hatred of that people, but on the death of Alexander, they fought on the side of the Greeks against Antipatros and the Macedonians.
{5.5.1} Later on, Aristotīmos, the son of Damaretos, the son of Etymon, became despot of Elis, being aided in his attempt by Antigonos, the son of Demetrios, who was king in Macedonia. After a despotism of six months Aristotīmos was deposed, a rising against him having been organized by Khilon, Hellanikos, Lampis and Kylon; Kylon it was who with his own hand killed the despot when he had sought sanctuary at the altar of Zeus the Savior. Such were the wars of the Eleians, of which my present enumeration must serve as a summary.
{5.5.2} The land of Elis contains two marvels. Here, and here only in Greece, does fine flax grow; and secondly, only over the border, and not within it, can the mares be impregnated by asses. The cause of this is said to have been a curse. The fine flax of Elis is as fine as that of the Hebrews, but it is not so yellow.
{5.5.3} As you go from Elis, there is a district stretching down to the sea. It is called SaMikon, and above it on the right is what is called Triphylia, in which is the city Lepreus. The citizens of this city wish to belong to the Arcadians, but it is plain that from the beginning, they have been subject to the Eleians. Those that have won Olympic victories have been announced by the herald as Eleians from Lepreus, and Aristophanes in a comedy calls Lepreus a town of the Eleians. Leaving the river Anigros, on the left there is a road leading to Lepreus; from SaMikon, another leads to it from Olympia and a third from Elis. The longest of them is a day’s journey.
{5.5.4} The city got its name, they say, from its founder Lepreus, the son of Pyrgeus. There was also a story that Lepreus contended with Hēraklēs: that he was as good a trencherman. Each killed an ox at the same time and prepared it for the table. It turned out, even as Lepreus maintained, that he was as powerful a trencherman as Hēraklēs. Afterwards, he made bold to challenge him to a duel. Lepreus, they say, lost, was killed and was buried in the land of Phigaleia. The Phigalians, however, could not show a tomb of Lepreus.
{5.5.5} I have heard some who maintained that Lepreus was founded by Leprea, the daughter of Pyrgeus. Others say that the first dwellers in the land were afflicted with the disease leprosy and that the city received its name from the misfortune of the inhabitants. The Lepreans told me that in their city once was a temple of Zeus Leukaios (of the White Poplar), the tomb of Lycurgus [Lykourgos], son of Aleus, and the tomb of Kaukon, over which was the figure of a man holding a lyre.
{5.5.6} But as far as I could see they had no tomb of distinction and no sanctuary of any deity, save one of Demeter. Even this was built of unburned brick and contained no image. Not far from the city of the Lepreans is a spring called Arene, and they say that it derives its name from the wife of Aphareus.
{5.5.7} Returning again to SaMikon, and passing through the district, we reach the mouth of the Anigros. The current of this river is often held back by violent gales, which carry the sand from the open sea against it and stop the onward flow of the water. So whenever the sand has become soaked on both sides, by the sea without and by the river within, beasts and still more travelers on foot are in danger of sinking into it.
{5.5.8} The Anigros descends from the mountain Lapithos in Arcadia, and right from its source, its water does not smell sweet but actually stinks horribly. Before it receives the tributary Akidas, it plainly cannot support fish life at all. After the rivers unite, the fish that come down into the Anigros with the water are uneatable, though before, if they are caught in the Akidas, they are eatable.
{5.5.9} I heard from an Ephesian that the Akidas was called Iardanos in ancient times. I repeat his statement, though I have nowhere found evidence in support of it. I am convinced that the peculiar odor of the Anigros is due to the earth through which the water springs up, just as those rivers beyond Ionia, the exhalation from which is deadly to man, owe their peculiarity to the same cause. Some Greeks say that Kheiron,
{5.5.10} others that Pylenor, another Centaur, when shot by Hēraklēs fled wounded to this river and washed his injury in it and that it was the hydra’s poison which gave the Anigros its nasty smell. Others again attribute the quality of the river to Melampos, the son of Amythaon, who threw into it the means he used to purify the daughters of Proitos.
{5.5.11} There is in SaMikon a cave not far from the river and called the Cave of the Nymphs of Anigros. Whoever enters it suffering from alphos or leuke first has to pray to the nymphs and to promise some sacrifice or other, after which he wipes the unhealthy parts of his body. Then, swimming through the river, he leaves his old uncleanness in its water, coming up sound and of one color.
{5.6.1} Crossing the Anigros and going to Olympia by the straight road, not far away on the right of the road, you reach a high district with a city called Samia on it. This they say Polysperkhon the Aetolian used as a fortified post against the Arcadians.
{5.6.2} As to the ruins of Arene, no Messenian and no Eleian could point them out to me with certainty. Those who care to do so may make all sorts of different guesses about it, but the most plausible account seemed to me that of those who held that in the heroic age and even earlier, SaMikon was called Arene. These quoted too the words of the Iliad:
There is a river Minyeios flowing into the sea near Arene.
{5.6.3} These ruins are very near to the Anigros; and although it might be questioned whether SaMikon was called Arene, yet the Arcadians are agreed that of old the Anigros was called the Minyeios. One might well hold that the Neda near the sea was made the boundary between Elis and Messenia at the time of the return of the Herakleidai to the Peloponnesus.
{5.6.4} After the Anigros, if you travel for a considerable distance through a district that is generally sandy and grows wild pines, you will see behind you on the left the ruins of Skillos. It was one of the cities of Triphylia, but in the war between Pisa and Elis, the citizens of Skillos openly helped Pisa against her enemy, and for this reason, the Eleians utterly destroyed it.
{5.6.5} The Lacedaemonians afterwards separated Skillos from Elis and gave it to Xenophon, the son of Grylos, when he had been exiled from Athens. The reason for his banishment was that he had taken part in an expedition which Cyrus, the greatest enemy of the Athenian people, had organized against their friend, the Persian king. [6] Cyrus, in fact, with his seat at Sardis, had been providing Lysander, the son of Aristokritos, and the Lacedaemonians with money for their fleet. Xenophon, accordingly, was banished, and having made Skillos his home, he built in honor of Ephesian Artemis a temple with a sanctuary and a sacred enclosure.
{5.6.6} Skillos is also a hunting-ground for wild boars and deer, and the land is crossed by a river called the Selinous. The guides of Elis said that the Eleians recovered Skillos again, and that Xenophon was tried by the Olympic Council for accepting the land from the Lacedaemonians and, obtaining pardon from the Eleians, dwelled securely in Skillos. Moreover, at a little distance from the sanctuary was shown a tomb, and upon the tomb is a statue of marble from the Pentelic quarry. The neighbors say that it is the tomb of Xenophon.
{5.6.7} As you go from Skillos along the road to Olympia, before you cross the Alpheios, there is a mountain with high, precipitous cliffs. It is called Mount Typaion. It is a law of Elis to cast down it any women who are caught present at the Olympic Games or even on the other side of the Alpheios on the days prohibited to women. However, they say that no woman has been caught, except Kallipateira only; some, however, give the lady the name of Pherenikē and not Kallipateira.
{5.6.8} She, being a widow, disguised herself exactly like a gymnastic trainer, and brought her son to compete at Olympia. Peisirodos, so her son was called, was victorious, and Kallipateira, as she was jumping over the enclosure in which they keep the trainers shut up, bared her person. So her sex was discovered, but they let her go unpunished out of respect for her father, her brothers, and her son, all of whom had been victorious at Olympia. But a law was passed that in the future, trainers should strip before entering the arena.
{5.7.1} By the time you reach Olympia, the Alpheios is a large and very pleasant river to see, being fed by several tributaries, including seven very important ones. The Helisson joins the Alpheios passing through Megalopolis; the Brentheates comes out of the territory of that city; past Gortyna, where is a sanctuary of Asklepios, flows the Gortynios; from Melainai, between the territories of Megalopolis and Heraia, comes the Bouphagos; from the land of the Clitorians [people of Kleitor], the Ladon; from Mount Erymanthos, a stream with the same name as the mountain. These come down into the Alpheios from Arcadia; the Kladeos comes from Elis to join it. The source of the Alpheios itself is in Arcadia, and not in Elis.
{5.7.2} There is another thing told about the Alpheios. They say that there was a hunter called Alpheios, who fell in love with Arethousa, who was herself a huntress. Arethousa, unwilling to marry, crossed, they say, to the island opposite Syracuse called Ortygia,and there turned from a woman to a spring. Alpheios too was changed by his love into the river.
{5.7.3} This account of Alpheios to Ortygia. But that the Alpheios passes through the sea and mingles his waters with the spring at this place, I cannot disbelieve as I know that the god at Delphi confirms the story. For when he dispatched Arkhias the Corinthian to found Syracuse, he uttered this oracle:
An island, Ortygia, lies on the misty sea [pontos]
Over against Trinakria, where the mouth of Alpheios bubbles
Mingling with the springs of broad Arethousa.
For this reason, therefore, because the water of the Alpheios mingles with the Arethousa, I am convinced that the story arose of the river’s love-affair.
{5.7.4} Those Greeks or Egyptians who have gone up into Ethiopia beyond Syene as far as the Ethiopian city of Meroe all say that the Nile enters a lake, and passes through it as though it were dry land, and that after this, it flows through lower Ethiopia into Egypt before coming down into the sea at Pharos. And in the land of the Hebrews, as I can myself bear witness, the river Jordan passes through a lake called Tiberias, and then, entering another lake called the Dead Sea, it disappears in it.
{5.7.5} The Dead Sea has the opposite qualities to those of any other water. Living creatures float in it naturally without swimming; dying creatures sink to the bottom. Hence, the lake is barren of fish; their danger stares them in the face, and they flee back to the water which is their native element. The peculiarity of the Alpheios is shared by a river of Ionia. The source of it is on Mount Mykale, and having gone through the intervening sea, the river rises again opposite Brankhidai at the harbor called Panormos.
{5.7.6} These things then are as I have described them. As for the Olympic Games, the most learned antiquaries of Elis say that Kronos was the first king in the sky [ouranos] and that in his honor, a temple was built in Olympia by the men of that age, who were named the Golden Generation. When Zeus was born, Rhea entrusted the guardianship of her son to the Dactyls of Ida, who are the same as those called Kouretes. They came from Cretan Ida—Hēraklēs, Paionaios, Epimedes, Iasios and Idas.
{5.7.7} Hēraklēs, being the eldest, matched his brothers, as a game, in a running race, and garlanded the winner with a branch of wild olive, of which they had such a copious supply that they slept on heaps of its leaves while still green. It is said to have been introduced into Greece by Hēraklēs from the land of the Hyperboreans, men living beyond the home of the North Wind.
{5.7.8} Olen the Lycian, in his hymn to Akhaïia, was the first to say that from these Hyperboreans, Akhaïia came to Delos. When Melanopos of Cyme composed an ode to Opis and Hekaerge declaring that these, even before Akhaïia, came to Delos from the Hyperboreans.
{5.7.9} And Aristeas of Prokonnesos—for he too made mention of the Hyperboreans—may perhaps have learned even more about them from the Issedones, to whom he says in his poem that he came. Hēraklēs of Ida, therefore, has the reputation of being the first to have held, on the occasion I mentioned, the Games, and to have called them Olympic. So he established the custom of holding them every fifth [7] year, because he and his brothers were five in number.
{5.7.10} Now, some say that Zeus wrestled here with Kronos himself for the throne while others say that he held the Games in honor of his victory over Kronos. The record of victors includes Apollo, who outran Hermes and beat Ares at boxing. It is for this reason, they say, that the Pythian aulos song is played while the competitors in the pentathlon are jumping; for the aulos song is sacred to Apollo, and Apollo won Olympic victories.
{5.8.1} Later on there came (they say) from Crete Klymenos, the son of Kardys, about fifty years after the flood came upon the Greeks in the time of Deukalion. He was descended from Hēraklēs of Ida; he held the Games at Olympia and set up an altar in honor of Hēraklēs, his ancestor, and the other Kouretes, giving to Hēraklēs the surname of Parastates [ ‘the one who stands by’]. And Endymion, the son of Aethlios, deposed Klymenos and set his sons a race in Olympia with the kingdom as the prize.
{5.8.2} And about a generation later than Endymion, Pelops held the Games in honor of Olympian Zeus in a more splendid manner than any of his predecessors. When the sons of Pelops were scattered from Elis over all the rest of Peloponnesus, Amythaon, the son of Kretheus and cousin of Endymion on his father’s side (for they say that Aethlios too was the son of Aeolus, though he was supposed to be a son of Zeus), held the Olympian Games, and after him, Pelias and Neleus in common.
{5.8.3} Augeias too held them, and likewise Hēraklēs, the son of Amphitryon, after the conquest of Elis. The victors garlanded by Hēraklēs include Iolaos, who won with the mares of Hēraklēs. So of old a competitor was permitted to compete with mares which were not his own. Homer, [8] at any rate, in the Games held in honor of Patroklos, has told how Menelaos drove a pair, of which one was Aithra, a mare of Agamemnon, while the other was his own horse.
{5.8.4} Moreover, Iolaos used to be charioteer to Hēraklēs. So Iolaos won the chariot-race, and Iasios, an Arcadian, the horse race; while one of the sons of Tyndareus won the foot race and Polydeukes the boxing match. Of Hēraklēs himself, it is said that he won victories at wrestling and the pankration.
{5.8.5} After the reign of Oxylos, who also celebrated the Games, the Olympic festival was discontinued until the reign of Iphitos. When Iphitos, as I have already related, renewed the Games, men had by this time forgotten the ancient tradition, the memory of which revived bit by bit, and as it revived, they made additions to the Games.
{5.8.6} This I can prove; for when the unbroken tradition of the Olympiads began there was first the foot-race, and Koroibos, an Eleian, was victor. There is no statue of Koroibos at Olympia, but his tomb is on the borders of Elis. Afterwards, at the fourteenth Festival, [9] the double foot-race was added: Hypenus of Pisa won the prize of wild olive in the double race, and at the next Festival, Acanthus of Lacedaemon won in the long course.
{5.8.7} At the eighteenth Festival, they remembered the pentathlon and wrestling. Lampis won the first and Eurybatos the second, these also being Lacedaemonians. At the twenty-third Festival, they restored the prizes for boxing, and the victor was Onomastos of Smyrna, which already was a part of Ionia. At the twenty-fifth, they recognized the race of full grown horses, and Pagondas of Thebes was proclaimed “victor in the chariot race.”
{5.8.8} At the eighth Festival after this, they admitted the pankration for men and the horse race. The horse race was won by Krauxidas of Crannon, and Lygdamis of Syracuse overcame all who entered for the pankration. Lygdamis has his tomb near the quarries at Syracuse, and according to the Syracusans, he was as big as Hēraklēs of Thebes, though I cannot vouch for the statement.
{5.8.9} The contests for boys have no authority in old tradition but were established by the Eleians themselves because they approved of them. The prizes for running and wrestling open to boys were instituted at the thirty-seventh Festival; Hipposthenes of Lacedaemon won the prize for wrestling, and that for running was won by Polyneikes of Elis. At the forty-first Festival they introduced boxing for boys, and the winner out of those who entered was Philytas of Sybaris.
{5.8.10} The race for men in armor was approved at the sixty-fifth Festival, to provide, I suppose, military training; the first winner of the race with shields was Damaretos of Heraia. The race for two full grown horses, called synoris (chariot and pair), was instituted at the ninety-third Festival, and the winner was Euagoras of Elis. At the ninety-ninth Festival, they resolved to hold contests for chariots drawn by foals, and Sybariades of Lacedaemon won the garland with his chariot and foals.
{5.8.11} Afterwards, they added races for chariots and pairs of foals and for single foals with rider. It is said that the victors proclaimed were: for the chariot and pair, Belistikhe, a woman from the seaboard of Macedonia; for the ridden race, Tlepolemos of Lycia. Tlepolemos, they say, won at the hundred and thirty-first Festival, and Belistiche at the third before this. At the hundred and forty-fifth Festival, prizes were offered for boys in the pankration, the victory falling to Phaedimus, an Aeolian from the city Troas.
{5.9.1} Certain contests, too, have been dropped at Olympia, the Eleians resolving to discontinue them. The pentathlon for boys was instituted at the thirty-eighth Festival; but after Eutelidas of Lacedaemon had received the wild olive for it, the Eleians disapproved of boys entering for this competition. The races for mule carts and the trotting race, were instituted respectively at the seventieth Festival and the seventy-first but were both abolished by proclamation at the eighty-fourth. When they were first instituted, Thersios of Thessaly won the race for mule carts, while Pataikos, an Achaean from Dyme, won the trotting race.
{5.9.2} The trotting race was for mares, and in the last part of the course, the riders jumped off and ran beside the mares, holding on to the bridle, just as at the present day, those do who are called “mounters.” The mounters, however, differ from the riders in the trotting race by having different badges and by riding horses instead of mares. The cart race was neither of venerable antiquity nor yet a graceful performance. Moreover, each cart was drawn by a pair of mules, not horses, and there is an ancient curse on the Eleians if this animal is even born in Elis.
{5.9.3} The order of the Games in our own day, which places the sacrifices to the god for the pentathlon and chariot races second and those for the other competitions first, was fixed at the seventy-seventh Festival. Previously, the contests for men and for horses were held on the same day. But at the Festival, I mentioned the contestants in the pankration prolonged their contests till nightfall, because they were not summoned to the arena soon enough. The cause of the delay was partly the chariot race but still more the pentathlon. Kallias of Athens was champion of the pankration on this occasion, but never afterwards was the pankration to be interfered with by the pentathlon or the chariots.
{5.9.4} The rules for the presidents of the Games are not the same now as they were at the first institution of the festival. Iphitos acted as sole president, as likewise did the descendants of Oxylos after Iphitos. But at the fiftieth Festival, two men, appointed by lot from all the Eleians, were entrusted with the management of the Olympic Games, and for a long time after this, the number of the presidents continued to be two.
{5.9.5} But at the ninety-fifth Festival, nine umpires were appointed. To three of them were entrusted the chariot races; another three were to supervise the pentathlon; the rest superintended the remaining contests. At the second Festival after this, the tenth umpire was added. At the hundred and third Festival, the Eleians having twelve tribes [phulai], one umpire was chosen from each.
{5.9.6} But they were hard pressed in a war with the Arcadians and lost a portion of their territory, along with all the demes [dēmoi] included in the surrendered district, and so the number of tribes [phulai] was reduced to eight in the hundred and fourth Olympiad. Thereupon were chosen umpires equal in number to the tribes [phulai]. At the hundred and eighth Festival, they returned again to the number of ten umpires, which has continued unchanged down to the present day.
{5.10.1}There are many things to be seen and to be heard in the Greek-world [Hellas] that are worthy of wonder [thauma]; but there is nothing in the thinking of the god [theos] that matters more than the rituals [drōmena] at Eleusis and the competition [agōn] at Olympia. The sacred grove of Zeus has been called from of old Altis, a corruption of the word “alsos,” which means a grove. Pindar too calls the place Altis in an ode composed for an Olympic victor.
{5.10.2} The temple and the statue [agalma] were made for Zeus from spoils, when Pisa was crushed in war by the Eleians [10] , and along with Pisa, those of the subject population who were fellow conspirators. The statue [agalma] itself was made by Pheidias, as is testified by an inscription written under the feet of Zeus: Pheidias, son of Kharmides, an Athenian, made me. The temple is in the Doric style, and the outside has columns all around it. It is built of native stone.
{5.10.3} Its height up to the pediment is sixty-eight feet, its width is ninety-five, its length two hundred and thirty. The architect was Libon, a native. The tiles are not of baked earth, but of Pentelic marble cut into the shape of tiles. The invention is said to be that of Byzes of Naxos, who they say made the images in Naxos, on which is the inscription: To the offspring of Leto was I dedicated by Euergos, a Naxian, son of Byzes, who first made tiles of stone. This Byzes lived about the time of Alyattes the Lydian [11] , when Astyages, the son of Kyaxares, reigned over the Medes.
{5.10.4} At Olympia, a gilded caldron stands on each end of the roof, and a Nike, also gilded, is set in about the middle of the pediment. Under the image of Nike has been dedicated a golden shield with Medusa the Gorgon in relief. The inscription on the shield declares who dedicated it and the reason why they did so. It runs thus:
The temple has a golden shield; from Tanagra
The Lacedaemonians and their allies dedicated it,
A gift taken from the Argives, Athenians, and Ionians,
The tithe offered for victory in war.
This battle I also mentioned in my write-up [sun-graphē] of Attica. Then I described the tombs that are in Athens.
{5.10.5} On the outside of the frieze that runs round the temple at Olympia, above the columns, are gilded shields twenty-one in number, an offering made by the Roman general Mummius when he had conquered the Achaeans in war, captured Corinth, and driven out its Dorian inhabitants.
{5.10.6} To come to the pediments: in the front pediment there is, not yet begun, the chariot race between Pelops and Oinomaos, and preparation for the actual race is being made by both. A sculpture [agalma] of Zeus has been carved in about the middle of the pediment; on the right of Zeus is Oinomaos with a helmet on his head, and by him, Sterope his wife, who was one of the daughters of Atlas. Myrtilos too, the charioteer of Oinomaos, sits in front of the horses, which are four in number. After him are two men. They have no names, but they too must be under orders from Oinomaos to attend to the horses.
{5.10.7} At the very edge lies Kladeos, the river which, in other ways also, the Eleians honor most after the Alpheios. On the left from Zeus are Pelops, Hippodameia, the charioteer of Pelops, horses, and two men, who are apparently grooms of Pelops. Then the pediment narrows again, and in this part of it is represented the Alpheios. The name of the charioteer of Pelops is, according to the account of the Troizenians, Sphairos, but the guide [ex-hēgētēs] at Olympia called him Killas.
{5.10.8} The sculptures in the front pediment are by Paionios, who came from Mende in Thrace; those in the back pediment are by Alkamenes, a contemporary of Pheidias, ranking next after him for skill as a sculptor. What he carved on the pediment is the fight between the Lapithai and the centaurs at the marriage of Peirithoos. In the center of the pediment is Peirithoos. On one side of him is Eurytion, who has seized the wife of Peirithoos, with Kaineus bringing help to Peirithoos, and on the other side is Theseus defending himself against the centaurs with an axe. One centaur has seized a girl, another a boy in the prime of youth. Alkamenes, I think, carved this scene, because he had learned from Homer’s [12] poem that Peirithoos was a son of Zeus, and because he knew that Theseus was a great grandson of Pelops.
{5.10.9} Most of the labors [erga] of Hēraklēs are represented at Olympia. Above the doors of the temple is carved the hunting of the Arcadian boar, his exploit against Diomedes the Thracian and that against Geryones at Erytheia; he is also about to receive the burden of Atlas, and he cleanses the land from dung for the Eleians. Above the doors of the rear chamber, he is taking the waistband from the Amazon; and there are the stories of the deer, of the bull at Knossos, of the Stymphalian birds, of the hydra, and of the Argive lion.
{5.10.10} As you enter the bronze doors you see on the right, before the pillar, Iphitos being garlanded by a woman, Ekhekheiria (Truce), as the elegiac couplet on the statue says. Within the temple stand pillars, and inside also are porticoes above, with an approach through them to the statue [agalma]. There has also been constructed a winding ascent to the roof.
{5.11.1} The god sits on a throne, and he is made of gold and ivory. On his head lies a garland which is an imitation of olive shoots. In his right hand, he holds a Nike, which, like the statue, is of ivory and gold; she wears a ribbon and—on her head—a garland. In the left hand of the god is a scepter, ornamented with every kind of metal, and the bird sitting on the scepter is the eagle. The sandals also of the god are of gold, as is likewise his robe. Worked into the robe [himation] are figures of animals and the flowers of the lily.
{5.11.2} The throne is adorned with gold and with jewels, to say nothing of ebony and ivory. Upon it are painted figures and worked images. There are four Victories, represented as dancing women, one at each foot of the throne, and two others at the base of each foot. On each of the two front feet are set Theban children ravished by sphinxes, while under the sphinxes Apollo and Artemis are shooting down the children of Niobe.
{5.11.3} Between the feet of the throne are four rods, each one stretching from foot to foot. The rod straight opposite the entrance has on it seven images; how the eighth of them disappeared nobody knows. These must be intended to be representations [mīmēmata] of ancient contests [agōnismata], since in the time of Pheidias, contests for boys had not yet been introduced. The figure of one binding his own head with a ribbon is said to resemble in appearance Pantarkes, a boy of Elis said to have been the love of Pheidias. Pantarkes too won the wrestling bout for boys at the eighty-sixth Festival.
{5.11.4} On the other rods is the band that with Hēraklēs fights against the Amazons. The number of figures in the two parties is twenty-nine, and Theseus too is ranged among the allies of Hēraklēs. The throne is supported not only by the feet, but also by an equal number of pillars standing between the feet. It is impossible to go under the throne, in the way we enter the inner part of the throne at Amyklai. At Olympia, there are screens constructed like walls which keep people out.
{5.11.5} Of these screens the part opposite the doors is only covered with dark blue paint; the other parts show pictures by Panainos. Among them is Atlas, supporting sky [ouranos] and earth, by whose side stands Hēraklēs ready to receive the load of Atlas, along with Theseus; Peirithoos, Hellas, and Salamis carrying in her hand the ornament made for the top of a ship’s bows; then Hēraklēs’ exploit against the Nemean lion, the outrage committed by Ajax on Cassandra,
{5.11.6} Hippodameia, the daughter of Oinomaos with her mother, and Prometheus still held by his chains, though Hēraklēs has been raised up to him. For among the stories told about Hēraklēs is one that he killed the eagle which tormented Prometheus in the Caucasus, and set free Prometheus himself from his chains. Last in the picture come Penthesileia giving up her breath-of-life [psūkhē] and Achilles supporting her; two Hesperides are carrying the apples, the keeping of which, it is said, had been entrusted to them. This Panainos was a brother of Pheidias; he also painted the picture of the battle of Marathon in the painted portico in Athens.
{5.11.7} On the uppermost parts of the throne Pheidias has made, above the head of the statue [agalma], three Graces on one side and three Seasons on the other. These in epic poetry are included among the daughters of Zeus. Homer too in the Iliad [13] says that the Seasons have been entrusted with the sky, just like guards of a king’s court. The footstool of Zeus, called by the Athenians thranion, has golden lions and, in relief, the fight of Theseus against the Amazons, the first brave deed of the Athenians against foreigners.
{5.11.8} On the pedestal supporting the throne and Zeus with all his adornments are works in gold: the Sun mounted on a chariot, Zeus and Hērā, Hephaistos, and by his side Grace. Close to her comes Hermes, and close to Hermes, Hestia. After Hestia is Eros receiving Aphrodite as she rises from the sea, and Aphrodite is being garlanded by Persuasion. There are also reliefs of Apollo with Artemis, of Athena and of Hēraklēs; and near the end of the pedestal, Amphitrite and Poseidon, while the Moon is driving what I think is a horse. Some have said that the steed of the goddess is a mule, not a horse, and they tell a naïve [eu-ēthēs] story about the mule.
{5.11.9} I know that the height and width of the Olympic Zeus have been measured and recorded; but I shall not make a citation [ep-ainos] of those who made the measurements, for even their records fall far short of the impression made by a sight of the statue [agalma] . No, the god himself according to what is said bore witness to the artistic skill of Pheidias. For when the statue [agalma] was quite finished Pheidias prayed the god to show by a sign whether the work was to his liking. Immediately, according to what is said, a thunderbolt fell on that part of the floor where down to the present day the bronze jar stood to cover the place.
{5.11.10} All the floor in front of the statue [agalma] is paved, not with white, but with black tiles. In a circle around the black stone runs a raised rim of Parian marble, to keep in the olive oil that is poured out. For olive oil is beneficial to the statue [agalma] at Olympia, and it is olive oil that keeps the ivory from being harmed by the marshiness of the Altis. On the Athenian Acropolis, the ivory of the statue [agalma] they call the Maiden [Parthénos] is benefited, not by olive oil, but by water. For the Acropolis, owing to its great height, is over-dry, so that the statue [agalma], being made of ivory, needs water or dampness.
{5.11.11} When I asked at Epidaurus why they pour neither water nor olive oil on [the statue [agalma] of] Asklepios, the attendants at the sanctuary informed me that both the statue [agalma] of the god and the throne were built over a cistern.
{5.12.1} Those who think that the projections from the mouth of an elephant are not horns but teeth of the animal should consider both the elk, a beast of the Celtic land, and also the Ethiopian bull. Male elks have horns on their brows, but the female does not grow them at all. Ethiopian bulls grow their horns on their noses. Who therefore would be greatly surprised at horns growing out of an animal’s mouth?
{5.12.2} They may also correct their error from the following considerations. Horns drop off animals each year and grow again; the deer and the antelope undergo this experience, and so likewise does the elephant. But a tooth will never be found to grow again, at least after the animal is full-grown. So if the projections through the mouth were teeth and not horns, how could they grow up again? Again, a tooth refuses to yield to fire; but fire turns the horns of oxen and elephants from round to flat and also into other shapes. However, the hippopotamus and the boar have tusks growing out of the lower jaw, but we do not see horns growing out of jaws.
{5.12.3} So, be assured that an elephant’s horns descend through the temples from above, and so bend outwards. My statement is not hearsay; I once saw an elephant’s skull in the sanctuary of Artemis in Campania. The sanctuary is about thirty stadium-lengths from Capua, which is the capital of Campania. So the elephant differs from all other animals in the way its horns grow, just as its size and shape are peculiar to itself. And the Greeks in my opinion showed an unsurpassed zeal and generosity in honoring the gods, in that they imported ivory from India and Ethiopia to make images.
{5.12.4} In Olympia, there is a woolen curtain, adorned with Assyrian weaving and Phoenician purple, which was dedicated by Antiokhos, who also gave as offerings the golden aegis with the Gorgon on it above the theater in Athens. This curtain is not drawn upwards to the roof as is that in the temple of Artemis at Ephesos, but it is let down to the ground by cords.
{5.12.5} The offerings inside, or in the front part of the temple include: a throne of Arimnestos, king of Etruria, who was the first foreigner to present an offering to the Olympic Zeus, and bronze horses of Kyniska, tokens of an Olympic victory. These are not as large as real horses and stand in the front part of the temple on the right as you enter. There is also a tripod, plated with bronze, upon which, before the table was made, were displayed the garlands for the victors.
{5.12.6} There are statues of emperors: Hadrian, of Parian marble dedicated by the cities of the Achaean confederacy, and Trajan, dedicated by all the Greeks. This emperor subdued the Getai beyond Thrace, and made war on Osroes, the descendant of Arsaces and on the Parthians. Of his architectural achievements, the most remarkable are baths called after him, a large circular theater, a building for horse races which is actually two stadium-lengths long, and the Forum at Rome, worth seeing not only for its general beauty but especially for its roof made of bronze.
{5.12.7} Of the statues set up in the round buildings, the amber one represents Augustus the Roman emperor, the ivory one they told me was a portrait of Nikomedes, king of Bithynia. After him, the greatest city in Bithynia was renamed Nikomedeia; [14] before him, it was called Astakos, and its first founder was Zypoetes, a Thracian by birth to judge from his name. This amber of which the statue of Augustus is made, when found native in the sand of the Eridanos, is very rare and precious to men for many reasons; the other “amber” is an alloy of gold and silver.
{5.12.8} In the temple at Olympia are four offerings of Nero—three garlands representing wild olive leaves, and one representing oak leaves. Here too are laid twenty-five bronze shields, which are for the armed men to carry in the race. Tablets too are set up, including one on which is written the oath sworn by the Eleians to the Athenians, the Argives, and the Mantineians that they would be their allies for a hundred years. [15]
{5.13.1} Within the Altis, there is also a sacred enclosure consecrated to Pelops, whom the Eleians as much prefer in honor above the heroes of Olympia as they prefer Zeus over the other gods. To the right of the entrance of the temple of Zeus, on the north side, lies the Pelopion. It is far enough removed from the temple for statues and other offerings to stand in the intervening space, and beginning at about the middle of the temple, it extends as far as the rear chamber. It is surrounded by a stone fence, within which trees grow and statues have been dedicated.
{5.13.2} The entrance is on the west. The sanctuary is said to have been set apart to Pelops by Hēraklēs the son of Amphitryon. Hēraklēs too was a great-grandson of Pelops, and he is also said to have sacrificed to him into the pit [bothros]. Right down to the present day, the magistrates of the year sacrifice to him, and the victim is a black ram. No portion of this sacrifice goes to the soothsayer, only the neck of the ram it is usual to give to the ‘woodman’ [xuleús], as he is called.
{5.13.3} The woodman [xuleús] is one of the servants [oikétai] of Zeus, and the task assigned to him is to supply cities and private individuals with wood for sacrifices at a fixed rate, wood of the white poplar, but of no other tree, being allowed. If anybody, whether Eleian or stranger, eats of the meat of the victim sacrificed to Pelops, he may not enter the temple of Zeus. The same rule applies to those who sacrifice to Telephos at Pergamon on the river Kaïkos; these too may not go up to the temple of Asklepios before they have bathed.
{5.13.4} The following tale too is told. When the war of the Greeks against Troy was prolonged, the soothsayers prophesied to them that they would not take the city until they had fetched the bow and arrows of Hēraklēs and a bone of Pelops. So it is said that they sent for Philoctetes to the camp, and from Pisa was brought to them a bone of Pelops—a shoulder blade. As they were returning home, the ship carrying the bone of Pelops was wrecked off Euboea in the storm.
{5.13.5} Many years later than the capture of Troy, Damarmenos, a fisherman from Eretria, cast a net into the sea and drew up the bone. Marveling at its size, he kept it hidden in the sand. At last, he went to Delphi to inquire whose the bone was and what he ought to do with it.
{5.13.6} It happened that by the providence of the god [theos] there was then at Delphi an Eleian embassy praying for deliverance from a pestilence. So the Pythian priestess ordered the Eleians to recover the bones of Pelops, and Damarmenos to give back to the Eleians what he had found. He did so, and the Eleians repaid him by appointing him and his descendants to be guardians of the bone. The shoulder blade of Pelops had disappeared by my time because, I suppose, it had been hidden in the depths so long, and besides its age, it was greatly decayed through the salt water.
{5.13.7} There are signs, surviving right down to the present day, that Pelops and Tantalos once dwelled in my own native land. There is a lake called after Tantalos and a famous tomb, and on a peak of Mount Sipylos, there is a throne of Pelops beyond the sanctuary of Plastene the Mother. If you cross the river Hermos, you see a statue [agalma] of Aphrodite in Temnus made of a living myrtle tree. It is a tradition among us that it was dedicated by Pelops when he was propitiating the goddess and asking for Hippodameia to be his bride.
{5.13.8} The altar of Olympic Zeus is about equally distant from the Pelopion and the sanctuary of Hērā, but it is in front of both. Some say that it was built by Idaean Hēraklēs, others by the local heroes two generations later than Hēraklēs. It has been made from the ash of the thighs of the victims sacrificed to Zeus, as is also the altar at Pergamon. There is an ashen altar of Samian Hērā not a bit grander than what in Attica the Athenians call ‘improvised hearths’ [eskharai].* [16]
{5.13.9} The first stage of the altar at Olympia called prothysis has a circumference of one hundred and twenty-five feet; the circumference of the stage on the prothysis is thirty-two feet; the total height of the altar reaches to twenty-two feet. The victims themselves it is the custom to sacrifice on the lower stage, the prothysis. But the thighs they carry up to the highest part of the altar and burn them there.
{5.13.10} The steps that lead up to the prothysis from either side are made of stone, but those leading from the prothysis to the upper part of the altar are, like the altar itself, composed of ashes. The ascent to the prothysis may be made by girls, and likewise by women, when they are not shut out from Olympia, but men only can ascend from the prothysis to the highest part of the altar. Even when the festival is not being held, sacrifice is offered to Zeus by private individuals and daily by the Eleians.
{5.13.11} Every year, the soothsayers, keeping carefully to the nineteenth day of the month Elaphios, bring the ash from the town hall, and making it into a paste with the water of the Alpheios, they daub the altar with it. But never may the ash be made into paste with other water, and for this reason, the Alpheios is thought to be of all rivers the dearest to Olympic Zeus. There is also an altar at Didyma of the Milesians, which Hēraklēs the Theban is said by the Milesians to have made from the blood of the victims. But in later times, the blood of the sacrifices has not made the altar excessively large.
{5.14.1} The altar at Olympia shows another strange peculiarity, which is this. The kite, the bird of prey with the most rapacious nature, never harms those who are sacrificing at Olympia. Should ever a kite seize the entrails or some of the flesh, it is regarded as an unfavorable sign for the sacrificer. There is a story that when Hēraklēs, the son of Alkmene, was sacrificing at Olympia, he was much worried by the flies. So either on his own initiative or at somebody’s suggestion, he sacrificed to Zeus Averter of Flies, and thus, the flies were diverted to the other side of the Alpheios. It is said that in the same way, the Eleians too sacrifice to Zeus, Averter of Flies, to drive the flies out of Olympia.
{5.14.2} The Eleians are accustomed to use for the sacrifices to Zeus the wood of the white poplar and of no other tree, preferring the white poplar, I think, simply and solely because Hēraklēs brought it into Greece from Thesprotia. And it is my opinion that when Hēraklēs sacrificed to Zeus at Olympia, he himself burned the thigh bones of the victims upon wood of the white poplar. [17] Hēraklēs found the white poplar growing on the banks of the Acheron, the river in Thesprotia, and for this reason, Homer [18] calls it ‘Acherōïs’.
{5.14.3} So, from the first down to the present, all rivers have not been equally suited for the growth of plants and trees. Tamarisks grow best and in the greatest numbers by the Maeander; the Boeotian Asopos can produce the tallest reeds; [19] the persea tree flourishes only in the water of the Nile. So it is no wonder that the white poplar grew first by the Acheron and the wild olive by the Alpheios and that the dark poplar is a nursling of the Celtic land of the Celtic Eridanos.
{5.14.4} Now that I have finished my account of the greatest altar, let me proceed to describe all the altars in Olympia. My narrative will follow in dealing with them the order in which the Eleians are accustomed to sacrifice on the altars. They sacrifice to Hestia first, secondly to Olympic Zeus, going to the altar within the temple, thirdly to Zeus Laoitas and to Poseidon Laoitas. This sacrifice too it is usual to offer on one altar. Fourthly and fifthly, they sacrifice to Artemis and to Athena, Goddess of Plunder,
{5.14.5} sixthly to the Worker Goddess. The descendants of Pheidias, called Cleansers, have received from the Eleians the privilege of cleaning the statue [agalma] of Zeus from the dirt that settles on it, and they sacrifice to the Worker Goddess before they begin to polish the. There is another altar of Athena near the temple, and by it, a square altar of Artemis rising gently to a height.
{5.14.6} After the altars I have enumerated, there is one on which they sacrifice to Alpheios and Artemis together. The cause of this Pindar, I think, intimates in an ode, and I give it in my account of Letrini. Not far from it stands another altar of Alpheios, and by it, one of Hephaistos. This altar of Hephaistos some Eleians call the altar of Warlike Zeus. These same Eleians also say that Oinomaos used to sacrifice to Warlike Zeus on this altar whenever he was about to begin a chariot race with one of the suitors of Hippodameia.
{5.14.7} After this stands an altar of Hēraklēs surnamed Parastates (Assistant); there are also altars of the brothers of Hēraklēs—Epimedes, Idas, Paionaios, and Iasos; I am aware, however, that the altar of Idas is called by others the altar of Acesidas. At the place where are the foundations of the house of Oinomaos stand two altars: one is of Zeus of the Courtyard, which Oinomaos appears to have had built himself, and the other of Zeus of the Thunderbolt, which I believe they built later, when the thunderbolt had struck the house of Oinomaos.
{5.14.8} An account of the great altar I gave a little way back; it is called the altar of Olympian Zeus. By it is an altar of Unknown Gods, and after this, an altar of Zeus Purifier, one of Nike, and another of Zeus—this time surnamed Underground. There are also altars of all gods, and of Hērā surnamed Olympian, this too being made of ashes. They say that it was dedicated by Klymenos. After this comes an altar of Apollo and Hermes in common, because the Greeks have a story about them that Hermes invented the lyre and Apollo the lute.
{5.14.9} Next come an altar of Concord, another of Athena, and the altar of the Mother of the gods. Quite close to the entrance to the stadium are two altars; one they call the altar of Hermes of the Games, the other the altar of Opportunity. I know that a hymn to Opportunity is one of the poems of Ion of Chios; in the hymn, Opportunity is made out to be the youngest child of Zeus. Near the treasury of the Sikyonians is an altar of Hēraklēs, either one of the Kouretes or the son of Alkmene, for both accounts are given.
{5.14.10} On what is called the Gaion (sanctuary of Earth) is an altar of Earth; it too is of ashes. In more ancient days, they say that there was an oracle also of Earth in this place. On what is called the Stomion (Mouth), the altar to Themis has been built. All around the altar of Zeus, Descender runs a fence; this altar is near the great altar made of the ashes. The reader must remember that the altars have not been enumerated in the order in which they stand, but the order followed by my narrative is that followed by the Eleians in their sacrifices. By the sacred enclosure of Pelops is an altar of Dionysus and the Graces in common; between them is an altar of the Muses, and next to these, an altar of the Nymphs.
{5.15.1} Outside the Altis there is a building called the workshop of Pheidias, where he made the statue [agalma] of Zeus piece by piece. In the building is an altar to all the gods in common. Now return back again to the Altis opposite the Leonidaion.
{5.15.2} The Leonidaion is outside the sacred enclosure but at the processional entrance to the Altis, which is the only way open to those who take part in the processions. It was dedicated by Leonidas, a native, but in my time, the Roman governors of Greece used it as their lodging. Between the processional entrance and the Leonidaion is a street, for the Eleians call streets what the Athenians call lanes.
{5.15.3} Well, there is in the Altis, when you are about to pass to the left of the Leonidaion, an altar of Aphrodite, and after it, one of the Seasons. About opposite the rear chamber, a wild olive is growing on the right. It is called the olive of the Beautiful Crown, and from its leaves are made the garlands which it is customary to give to winners of Olympic contests. Near this wild olive stands an altar of Nymphs; these too are styled Nymphs of the Beautiful Crowns.
{5.15.4} Outside the Altis, but on the right of the Leonidaion, is an altar of Artemis of the Market, and one has also been built for Mistresses, and in my account of Arcadia, I will tell you about the goddess they call Mistress. After this is an altar of Zeus of the Market, and before what is called the Front Seats stands an altar of Apollo surnamed Pythian, and after it, one of Dionysus. The last altar is said to be not old and to have been dedicated by private individuals.
{5.15.5} As you go to the starting point for the chariot race there is an altar with an inscription “to the Bringer of Fate.” This is plainly a surname of Zeus, who knows the affairs of men, all that the Fates give them, and all that is not destined for them. Near there is also an oblong altar of Fates, after it, one of Hermes, and the next two are of Zeus Most High. At the starting point for the chariot race, just about opposite the middle of it, there are in the open altars of Poseidon god of horses and Hērā goddess of horses, and near the pillar, an altar of the Dioskouroi.
{5.15.6} At the entrance to what is called the Wedge, there is on one side an altar of Ares god of horses, on the other one of Athena goddess of horses. On entering the Wedge itself, you see altars of Good Luck, Pan, and Aphrodite; at the innermost part of the Wedge, an altar of the Nymphs called Blooming. An altar of Artemis stands on the right as you return from the Portico that the Eleians call the Portico of Agnaptos, giving to the building the name of its architect.
{5.15.7} After re-entering the Altis by the processional gate, there are behind the Hēraion altars of the river Kladeos and of Artemis; the one after them is Apollo’s, the fourth is of Artemis surnamed Coccoca, and the fifth is of Apollo Thermios. As to the Eleian surname Thermios, the conjecture occurred to me that in the Attic dialect it would be thesmios (god of laws), but why Artemis is surnamed Coccoca, I could not discover.
{5.15.8} Before what is called Theakleon is a building, in a corner of which has been set up an altar of Pan. The Town Hall of the Eleians is within the Altis, and it has been built beside the exit beyond the gymnasium. In this gymnasium are the running tracks and the wrestling grounds for the athletes. In front of the door of the Town Hall is an altar of Artemis the Hunter.
{5.15.9} In the Town Hall itself, on the right as you enter the room where they have the hearth, is an altar of Pan. This hearth too is made of ashes, and on it, fire burns every day and likewise every night. The ashes from this hearth, according to the account I have already given, they bring to the altar of Olympian Zeus, and what is brought from the hearth contributes a great deal to the size of the altar.
{5.15.10} Each month the Eleians sacrifice once on all the altars I have enumerated. They sacrifice in an ancient manner; for they burn on the altars incense with wheat which has been kneaded with honey, placing also on the altars twigs of olive, and using wine for a libation. Only to the Nymphs and the Mistresses are they not accustomed to pour wine in libation, nor do they pour it on the altar common to all the gods. The care of the sacrifices is given to a priest, holding office for one month, to soothsayers and libation bearers, and also to a guide, an aulos player, and the woodman.
{5.15.11} The traditional words spoken by them in the Town Hall at the libations, and the hymns which they sing, it was not right for me to introduce into my narrative. They pour libations, not only to the Greek gods, but also to the god in Libya, to Hērā Ammonia and to Parammon, which is a surname of Hermes. From very early times, it is plain that they used the oracle in Libya, and in the temple of Ammon are altars which the Eleians dedicated. On them are engraved the questions of the Eleians, the replies of the god, and the names of the men who came to Ammon from Elis. These are in the temple of Ammon.
{5.15.12} The Eleians also pour libations to all heroes and wives of heroes who are honored either in Elis or among the Aetolians. The songs sung in the Town Hall are in the Doric dialect, but they do not say who it was that composed them. The Eleians also have a banqueting room. This too is in the Town Hall, opposite the chamber where stands the hearth. In this room, they entertain the winners in the Olympic Games.
{5.16.1} It remains after this for me to describe the temple of Hērā and the noteworthy objects contained in it. The Eleian account says that it was the people of Skillos, one of the cities in Triphylia, who built the temple about eight years after Oxylos came to the throne of Elis. The style of the temple is Doric, and pillars stand all round it. In the rear chamber, one of the two pillars is of oak. The length of the temple is one hundred and sixty-nine feet, the width sixty-three feet, the height not short of fifty feet. Who the architect was they do not relate.
{5.16.2} Every fourth year there is woven for Hērā a robe by the Sixteen women, and the same also hold Games called Heraia. The Games consist of foot races for girls. These are not all of the same age. The first to run are the youngest; after them come the next in age, and the last to run are the oldest of the girls. They run in the following way:
{5.16.3} Their hair hangs down, a tunic reaches to a little above the knee, and they bare the right shoulder as far as the breast. These too have the Olympic stadium reserved for their Games, but the course of the stadium is shortened for them by about one-sixth of its length. To the winning girls they give garlands of olive and a portion of the cow sacrificed to Hērā. They may also dedicate statues with their names inscribed upon them. Those who administer to the Sixteen are, like the presidents of the Games, married women.
{5.16.4} The Games of the girls too are traced back to ancient times; they say that, out of gratitude to Hērā for her marriage with Pelops, Hippodameia assembled the Sixteen Women, and with them, inaugurated the Heraia. They relate too that a victory was won by Chloris, the only surviving daughter of the house of Amphion, though with her, they say, survived one of her brothers. As to the children of Niobe, what I myself chanced to learn about them, I have set forth in my account of Argos.
{5.16.5} Besides the account already given, they tell another story about the Sixteen Women as follows. Damophon, it is said, when tyrant of Pisa did much grievous harm to the Eleians. But when he died, since the people of Pisa refused to participate as a people in their tyrant’s sins, and the Eleians too became quite ready to lay aside their grievances, they chose a woman from each of the sixteen cities of Elis still inhabited at that time to settle their differences; this woman to be the oldest, the most noble, and the most esteemed of all the women.
{5.16.6} The cities from which they chose the women were Elis.The women from these cities made peace between Pisa and Elis. Later on, they were entrusted with the management of the Games called Heraia, and with the weaving of the robe for Hērā. The Sixteen Women also arrange two choral dances, one called that of Physkoa and the other that of Hippodameia. This Physkoa they say came from Elis in the Hollow, and the name of the deme [dēmos] where she lived was Orthia.
{5.16.7} She mated, they say, with Dionysus and bore him a son called Narkaios. When he grew up, he made war against the neighboring folk and rose to great power, setting up moreover a sanctuary of Athena surnamed Narkaia. They say too that Narkaios and Physkoa were the first to pay worship to Dionysus. So various honors are paid to Physkoa, especially that of the choral dance, named after her and managed by the Sixteen Women. The Eleians still adhere to the other ancient customs, even though some of the cities have been destroyed. For they are now divided into eight tribes [phulai], and they choose two women from each.
{5.16.8} Whatever ritual it is the duty of either the Sixteen Women or the Eleian umpires to perform, they do not perform before they have purified themselves by sacrificing a pig that is ritually appropriate for purification and with water. Their purification takes place at the spring Piera. You reach this spring as you go along the flat road from Olympia to Elis.
{5.17.1} These things, then, are as I have already described. In the temple of Hērā is a statue [agalma] of Zeus, and the statue [agalma] of Hērā is sitting on a throne with Zeus standing by her, bearded and with a helmet on his head. They are crude works of art. The figures of Seasons next to them, seated upon thrones, were made by the Aeginetan Smilis. [20] Beside them stands a statue [agalma] of Themis, as being mother of the Seasons. It is the work of Dorykleidas, a Lacedaemonian by birth and a disciple of Dipoinos and Skyllis.
{5.17.2} The Hesperides, five in number, were made by Theokles, who like Dorykleidas was a Lacedaemonian, the son of Hegylus; he too, they say, was a student under Skyllis and Dipoinos. The Athena wearing a helmet and carrying a spear and shield is, it is said, a work of Medon, a Lacedaemonian, brother of Dorykleidas, and a pupil of the same masters.
{5.17.3} Then the Maiden and Demeter sit opposite each other, while Apollo and Artemis stand opposite each other. Here too have been dedicated Leto, Fortune, Dionysus and a winged Nike. I cannot say who the artists were, but these figures too are in my opinion very ancient. The figures I have enumerated are of ivory and gold, but at a later date other statues [agalmata] were dedicated in the Hēraion, including a marble Hermes carrying the baby Dionysus, a work of Praxiteles, and a bronze Aphrodite made by Kleon of Sikyon. [21]
{5.17.4} The master of this Kleon, called Antiphanes, was a pupil of Periklytos, who himself was a pupil of Polycleitus of Argos. A nude gilded child is seated before Aphrodite, a work fashioned by Boethus of Calchedon. There were also brought here from what is called the Philippeion other statues [agalmata] of gold and ivory, Eurydikē, the wife of Aridaios, and Olympias, the wife of Philip.
{5.17.5} There is also a chest made of cedar with figures on it, some of ivory, some of gold, others carved out of the cedar-wood itself. It was in this chest that Kypselos, the tyrant of Corinth, was hidden by his mother when the Bakkhidai were anxious to discover him after his birth. In gratitude for the saving of Kypselos, his descendants, the Kypselidai as they are called, dedicated the chest at Olympia. The Corinthians of that age called chests kypselai, and from this word, they say, the child received his name of Kypselos.
{5.17.6} On most of the figures on the chest, there are inscriptions, written in the ancient characters. In some cases the letters read straight on, but in others, the form of the writing is what the Greeks call. [22] It is like this: at the end of the line the second line turns back, as runners do when running the double race. Moreover, the inscriptions on the chest are written in winding characters difficult to decipher. Beginning our survey at the bottom, we see in the first space of the chest the following scenes.
{5.17.7} Oinomaos is chasing Pelops, who is holding Hippodameia. Each of them has two horses, but those of Pelops have wings. The next thing that is worked in is the house of Amphiaraos, and baby Amphilokhos is being carried by some old woman or other. In front of the house stands Eriphyle with the necklace, and by her are her daughters, Eurydikē and Demonassa, and the boy, Alkmaion, naked.
{5.17.8} Asios in his poem makes out Alkmene also to be a daughter of Amphiaraos and Eriphyle. Baton is driving the chariot of Amphiaraos, holding the reins in one hand and a spear in the other. Amphiaraos already has one foot on the chariot and his sword drawn; he is turned towards Eriphyle in such a transport of anger that he can scarcely refrain from striking her.
{5.17.9} After the house of Amphiaraos come the Games at the funeral of Pelias, with the spectators looking at the competitors. Hēraklēs is seated on a throne, and behind him is a woman. There is no inscription saying who the woman is, but she is playing on a Phrygian, not a Greek, aulos [‘double-reed’]. Driving chariots drawn by pairs of horses are Pisos, son of Perieres, and Asterion, son of Cometas (Asterion is said to have been one of the Argonauts), Polydeukes, Admetos, and Euphemos. The poets declare that the last was a son of Poseidon and a companion of Jason on his voyage to Kolkhis. He it is who is winning the chariot race.
{5.17.10} Those who have boldly ventured to box are Admetos and Mopsos, the son of Ampyx. Between them stands a man playing the aulos [‘double-reed’], as in our day they are accustomed to play the aulos [‘double-reed’] when the competitors in the pentathlon are jumping. The wrestling bout between Jason and Peleus is an even one. Eurybotas is shown throwing the discus; he must be some famous discus thrower. Those engaged in a running race are Melanion, Neotheus, and Phalareus; the fourth runner is Argeios, and the fifth is Iphiklos. Iphiklos is the winner, and Akastos is holding out the garland to him. He is probably the father of the Protesilaos, who joined in the war against Troy.
{5.17.11} Tripods too are set here, prizes, of course, for the winners; and there are the daughters of Pelias, though the only one with her name inscribed is Alcestis. Iolaos, who voluntarily helped Hēraklēs in his labors, is shown as a victor in the chariot race. At this point, the funeral Games of Pelias come to an end, and Hēraklēs, with Athena standing beside him, is shooting at the hydra, the beast in the river Amymone. Hēraklēs can be easily recognized by his exploit and his attitude, so his name is not inscribed by him. There is also Phineus, the Thracian, and the sons of Boreas are chasing the harpies away from him.
{5.18.1} Now I come to the second space on the chest, and in going round it, I had better begin from the left. There is a figure of a woman holding on her right arm a white child asleep, and on her left she has a black child like one who is asleep. Each has his feet turned different ways. The inscriptions declare, as one could infer without inscriptions, that the figures are Death and Sleep, with Night the nurse of both.
{5.18.2} A beautiful woman is punishing an ugly one, choking her with one hand and with the other striking her with a staff. It is Justice who thus treats Injustice. Two other women are pounding in mortars with pestles; they are supposed to be wise in the lore of medicine, though there is no inscription to them. Who the man is who is followed by a woman is made plain by the hexameter verses, which run thus:
Idas brings back, not against her will, Fair-ankled Marpessa, daughter of Euenos, whom Apollo carried off.
{5.18.3} A man wearing a tunic is holding in his right hand a cup, and in his left, a necklace; Alkmene is taking hold of them. This scene represents the Greek story how Zeus in the likeness of Amphitryon had intercourse with Alkmene. Menelaos, wearing a breastplate and carrying a sword, is advancing to kill Helen, so it is plain that Troy has been captured. Medea is seated upon a throne, while Jason stands on her right and Aphrodite on her left. On them is an inscription: Jason weds Medea, as Aphrodite bids.
{5.18.4} There are also figures of Muses singing, with Apollo leading the song; these too have an inscription: This is Leto’s son, Prince Apollo, far-shooting; Around him are the Muses, a graceful choir, whom he is leading. Atlas too is supporting, just as the story has it, sky [ouranos] and earth upon his shoulders; he is also carrying the apples of the Hesperides. A man holding a sword is coming towards Atlas. This everybody can see is Hēraklēs, though he is not mentioned specially in the inscription, which reads:
Here is Atlas holding the sky [ouranos], but he will let go the apples.
{5.18.5} There is also Ares clad in armor and leading Aphrodite. The inscription by him is “Enyalios.” There is also a figure of Thetis as a maid; Peleus is taking hold of her, and from the hand of Thetis, a snake is darting at Peleus. The sisters of Medusa, with wings, are chasing Perseus, who is flying. Only Perseus has his name inscribed on him.
{5.18.6} On the third space of the chest are military scenes. The greater number of the figures is on foot, though there are some knights in two-horse chariots. About the soldiers one may infer that they are advancing to battle, but that they will recognize and greet each other. Two different accounts of them are given by the guides. Some have said that they are the Aetolians with Oxylos and the ancient Eleians and that they are meeting in remembrance of their original descent and as a sign of their mutual good will. Others declare that the soldiers are meeting in battle, and that they are Pylians and Arcadians about to fight by the city Pheia and the river Iardanos.
{5.18.7} But it cannot for a moment be admitted that the ancestor of Kypselos, a Corinthian, having the chest made as a possession for himself, of his own accord passed over all Corinthian story, and had carved on the chest foreign events which were not famous. The following interpretation suggested itself to me. Kypselos and his ancestors came originally from Gonoussa above Sikyon, and one of their ancestors was Melas, the son of Antasus.
{5.18.8} But, as I have already related in my account of Corinth, Aletes refused to admit as settlers Melas and the host with him, being nervous about an oracle which had been given him from Delphi; but at last Melas, using every art of winning favors, and returning with entreaties every time he was driven away, persuaded Aletes however reluctantly to receive them. One might infer that this army is represented by the figures that are worked in upon the chest.
{5.19.1} In the fourth space on the chest as you go round from the left is Boreas, who has carried off Oreithyia; instead of feet, he has serpents’ tails. Then comes the combat between Hēraklēs and Geryones, who is represented as three men joined to one another. There is Theseus holding a lyre, and by his side is Ariadne gripping a garland. Achilles and Memnon are fighting; their mothers stand by their side.* [23]
{5.19.2} There is also Melanion by whom is Atalanta holding a young deer. Ajax is fighting a duel with Hector, according to the challenge, [24] and between the pair stands Strife in the form of a most repulsive woman. Another figure of Strife is in the sanctuary of Ephesian Artemis; Kalliphon of Samos included it in his picture of the battle at the ships of the Greeks. On the chest are also the Dioskouroi, one of them a beardless youth, and between them is Helen.
{5.19.3} Aithra, the daughter of Pittheus, lies thrown to the ground under the feet at Helen. She is clothed in black, and the inscription upon the group is an hexameter line with the addition of a single word:
The sons of Tyndareus are carrying of Helen, and are dragging Aithra
From Athens.
{5.19.4} Such is the way this line is constructed. Iphidamas, the son of Antenor, is lying, and Koön is fighting for him against Agamemnon. On the shield of Agamemnon is Fear, whose head is a lion’s. The inscription above the corpse of Iphidamas runs: Iphidamas, and this is Koön fighting for him. The inscription on the shield of Agamemnon runs:
{5.19.5} This is the Fear of mortals: he who holds him is Agamemnon.
There is also Hermes bringing to Alexander the son of Priam the goddesses of whose beauty he is to judge, the inscription on them being:
Here is Hermes, who is showing to Alexander, that he may arbitrate
Concerning their beauty, Hērā, Athena and Aphrodite.
On what account Artemis has wings on her shoulders I do not know; in her right hand she grips a leopard, in her left a lion. Ajax too is represented dragging Cassandra from the statue [agalma] of Athena, and by him is also an inscription: Ajax of Lokris is dragging Cassandra from Athena.
{5.19.6} Polyneikes, the son of Oedipus, has fallen on his knee, and Eteokles, the other son of Oedipus, is rushing on him. Behind Polyneikes stands a woman with teeth as cruel as those of a beast, and her fingernails are bent like talons. An inscription by her calls her Doom, implying that Polyneikes has been carried off by fate, and that Eteokles fully deserved his end. Dionysus is lying down in a cave, a bearded figure holding a golden cup, and clad in a tunic reaching to the feet. Around him are vines, apple trees and pomegranate trees.
{5.19.7} The highest space—the spaces are five in number—shows no inscription, so that we can only conjecture what the reliefs mean. Well, there is a grotto and in it a woman sleeping with a man upon a couch. I was of opinion that they were Odysseus and Circe, basing my view upon the number of the handmaidens in front of the grotto and upon what they are doing. For the women are four, and they are engaged on the tasks which Homer mentions in his poetry. [25] There is a Centaur with only two of his legs those of a horse; his forelegs are human.
{5.19.8} Next come two-horse chariots with women standing in them. The horses have golden wings, and a man is giving armor to one of the women. I conjecture that this scene refers to the death of Patroklos; the women in the chariots, I take it, are Nereids, and Thetis is receiving the armor from Hephaistos. And moreover, he who is giving the armor is not strong upon his feet, and a slave follows him behind, holding a pair of fire-tongs.
{5.19.9} An account also is given of the centaur, that he is Kheiron, freed by this time from human affairs and held worthy to share the home of the gods, who has come to assuage the grief of Achilles. Two maidens in a mule-cart, one holding the reins and the other wearing a veil upon her head, are thought to be Nausikaa, the daughter of Alkinoos, and her handmaiden, driving to the washing-pits. The man shooting at centaurs, some of which he has killed, is plainly Hēraklēs, and the exploit is one of his.
{5.19.10} As to the maker of the chest, I found it impossible to form any conjecture. But the inscriptions upon it, though possibly composed by some other poet, are, as I was on the whole inclined to hold, the work of Eumēlos of Corinth. My main reason for this view is the processional hymn he wrote for Delos.
{5.20.1} There are here other offerings also: a couch of no great size and for the most part adorned with ivory; the discus of Iphitos; a table on which are set out the garlands for the victors. The couch is said to have been a toy of Hippodameia. The discus of Iphitos has inscribed upon it the truce which the Eleians proclaim at the Olympic festivals; the inscription is not written in a straight line, but the letters run in a circle round the discus.
{5.20.2} The table is made of ivory and gold, and is the work of Kolotes. Kolotes is said to have been a native of Herakleia, but specialists in the history of sculpture maintain that he was a Parian, a pupil of Pasiteles, who himself was a pupil of There are figures of Hērā, Zeus, the Mother of the gods, Hermes, and Apollo with Artemis. Behind is the disposition of the Games.
{5.20.3} On one side are Asklepios and Hygieia, one of his daughters; Ares too and Contest by his side; on the other are Pluto [Ploutōn], Dionysus, Persephone and nymphs, one of them carrying a ball. As to the key (Pluto [Ploutōn] holds a key) they say that what is called Hades has been locked up by Pluto [Ploutōn], and that nobody will return back again therefrom.
{5.20.4} I must not omit the story told by Aristarkhos, the guide to the sights at Olympia. He said that in his day the roof of the Hēraion had fallen into decay. When the Eleians were repairing it, the corpse of a foot soldier with wounds was discovered between the roof supporting the tiles and the ornamented ceiling. This soldier took part in the battle in the Altis between the Eleians and the Lacedaemonians. [26]
{5.20.5} The Eleians in fact climbed to defend themselves on to all high places alike, including the sanctuaries of the gods. At any rate, this soldier seemed to us to have crept under here after growing faint with his wounds, and so died. Lying in a completely sheltered spot, the corpse would suffer harm neither from the heat of summer nor from the frost of winter. Aristarkhos said further that they carried the corpse outside the Altis and buried him in the earth along with his armor.
{5.20.6} What the Eleians call the pillar of Oinomaos is in the direction of the sanctuary of Zeus as you go from the great altar. On the left are four pillars with a roof on them, the whole constructed to protect a wooden pillar which has decayed through age, being for the most part held together by bands. This pillar, so runs the tale, stood in the house of Oinomaos. Struck by lightning the rest of the house was destroyed by the fire; of all the building only this pillar was left.
{5.20.7} A bronze tablet in front of it has the following elegiac inscription:
Stranger, I am a remnant of a famous house,
I, who once was a pillar in the house of Oinomaos;
Now by Kronos’ son I lie with these bands upon me,
A precious thing, and the baleful flame of fire consumed me not.
In my time another incident took place, which I will relate.
{5.20.8} A Roman senator won an Olympic victory. Wishing to leave behind, as a memorial of his victory, a bronze statue with an inscription, he proceeded to dig, so as to make a foundation. When his excavation came very close to the pillar of Oinomaos, the diggers found there fragments of armor, bridles and curbs.
{5.20.9} These I saw myself as they were being dug out. A temple of no great size in the Doric style they have called down to the present day Mētrōon, [27] keeping its ancient name. No image lies in it of the Mother of the gods, but there stand in it statues of Roman emperors. The Mētrōon is within the Altis, and so is a round building called the Philippeion. On the roof of the Philippeion is a bronze poppy which binds the beams together.
{5.20.10} This building is on the left of the exit over against the Town Hall. It is made of burned brick and is surrounded by columns. It was built by Philip after the fall of Greece at Khairōneia. Here are set statues of Philip and Alexander, and with them is Amyntas, Philip’s father. These works too are by Leokhares and are of ivory and gold, as are the statues of Olympias and Eurydikē.
{5.21.1} From this point my account will proceed to a description of the statues and votive offerings; but I think that it would be wrong to mix up the accounts of them. For whereas on the Athenian Acropolis statues are votive offerings like everything else, in the Altis some things only are dedicated in honor of the gods, and statues are merely part of the prizes awarded to the victors. The statues I will mention later; I will turn first to the votive offerings, and go over the most noteworthy of them.
{5.21.2} As you go to the stadium along the road from the Mētrōon, there is on the left at the base of the mountain [oros] named Kronion a platform of stone, right by the very mountain [oros], with steps through it. By the platform have been set up bronze statues [agalmata] of Zeus. These have been made from the fines inflicted on athletes who have wantonly broken the rules of the contests, and they are called Zanes [figures of Zeus] by the natives.
{5.21.3} The first, six in number, were set up in the ninety-eighth Olympiad. For Eupolos of Thessaly bribed the boxers who entered the competition, Agenor the Arcadian and Prytanis of Kyzikos, and with them also Phormion of Halicarnassus, who had won at the preceding Festival. This is said to have been the first time that an athlete violated the rules of the Games, and the first to be fined by the Eleians were Eupolos and those who accepted bribes from Eupolos. Two of these images are the work of Kleon of Sikyon; who made the next four, I do not know.
{5.21.4} Except for the third and the fourth, these images have elegiac inscriptions on them. The first of the inscriptions is intended to make plain that an Olympic victory is to be won, not by money, but by swiftness of foot and strength of body. The inscription on the second image declares that the image stands to the glory of the deity, through the piety of the Eleians, and to be a terror to law-breaking athletes. The purport of the inscription on the fifth image is praise of the Eleians, especially for their fining the boxers; that of the sixth and last is that the images are a warning to all the Greeks not to give bribes to obtain an Olympic victory.
{5.21.5} Next after Eupolos they say that Kallippos of Athens, who had entered for the pentathlon, bought off his fellow-competitors by bribes, and that this offence occurred at tie hundred and twelfth Festival. When the fine had been imposed by the Eleians on Kallippos and his antagonists, the Athenians commissioned Hypereides to persuade the Eleians to remit them the fine. The Eleians refused this favor, and the Athenians were disdainful enough not to pay the money and to boycott the Olympic Games, until finally the god at Delphi declared that he would deliver no oracle on any matter to the Athenians before they had paid the Eleians the fine.
{5.21.6} So when it was paid, images, also six in number, were made in honor of Zeus; on them are inscribed elegiac verses not a bit more elegant than those relating the fine of Eupolos. The gist of the first inscription is that the images were dedicated because the god by an oracle expressed his approval of the Eleian decision against the pentathletes; on the second image and likewise on the third are praises of the Eleians for their fining the competitors in the pentathlon.
{5.21.7} The fourth purports to say that the contest at Olympia is one of merit and not of wealth; the inscription on the fifth declares the reason for dedicating the images, while that on the sixth commemorates the oracle given to the Athenians by Delphi.
{5.21.8} The images next to those I have enumerated are two in number, and they were dedicated from a fine imposed on wrestlers. As to their names, neither I nor the guides of the Eleians knew them. On these images too are inscriptions; one says that the Rhodians paid money to Olympian Zeus for the wrongdoing of a wrestler; the other that certain men wrestled for bribes and that the image was made from the fines imposed upon them.
{5.21.9} The rest of the information about these athletes comes from the guides of the Eleians, who say that it was at the hundred and seventy-eighth Festival that Eudelos accepted a bribe from Philostratus, and that this Philostratus was a Rhodian. This account I found was at variance with the Eleian record of Olympic victories. In this record, it is stated that Straton of Alexandria at the hundred and seventy-eighth Festival won on the same day the victory in the pankration and the victory at wrestling. Alexandria on the Canopic mouth of the Nile was founded by Alexander the son of Philip, but it is said that previously there was on the site a small Egyptian town called Rakotis.
{5.21.10} Three competitors before the time of this Straton, and three others after him, are known to have received the wild-olive for winning the pankration and the wrestling: Kapros from Elis itself, and of the Greeks on the other side of the Aegean, Aristomenes of Rhodes and Protophanes of Magnesia on the Lethaios, were earlier than Straton; after him came Marion his compatriot, Aristeas of Stratonikia (anciently both land and city were called Khrysaoris), and the seventh was Nikostratos, from Cilicia on the coast, though he was in no way a Cilician except in name.
{5.21.11} This Nikostratos while still a baby was stolen from Prymnessus in Phrygia by robbers, being a child of a noble family. Conveyed to Aigeai, he was bought by somebody or other, who some time afterwards dreamed a dream. He thought that a lion’s whelp lay beneath the pallet-bed on which Nikostratos was sleeping. Now Nikostratos, when he grew up, won other victories elsewhere, besides in the pankration and wrestling at Olympia.
{5.21.12} Afterwards, others were fined by the Eleians, among whom was an Alexandrian boxer at the two hundred and eighteenth Festival. The name of the man fined was Apollonios, with the surname of Rhantes—it is a sort of national characteristic for Alexandrians to have a surname. This man was the first Egyptian to be convicted by the Eleians of a misdemeanor.
{5.21.13} It was not for giving or taking a bribe that he was condemned, but for the following outrageous conduct in connection with the Games. He did not arrive by the prescribed time, and the Eleians, if they followed their rule, had no option but to exclude him from the Games. For his excuse, that he had been kept back among the Cyclades islands by contrary winds, was proved to be an untruth by Hērakleidēs, himself an Alexandrian by birth. He showed that Apollonios was late because he had been picking up some money at the Ionian Games.
{5.21.14} In these circumstances, the Eleians shut out from the Games Apollonios with any other boxer who came after the prescribed time, and let the garland go to Hērakleidēs without a contest. Whereupon Apollonios put on his gloves for a fight, rushed at Hērakleidēs, and began to pummel him, though he had already put the wild-olive on his head and had taken refuge with the umpires. For this light-headed folly he was to pay dearly.
{5.21.15} There are also two other images of modern workmanship. For at the two hundred and twenty-sixth Festival, they detected that two boxing men, in a fight for victory only, had agreed about the issue for a sum of money. For this misconduct a fine was inflicted, and of the images of Zeus that were made, one stands on the left of the entrance to the stadium and the other on the right. Of the boxers, the one bribed was called Didas, and the briber was Sarapammon. They were from the same district, the newest in Egypt, called Arsinoites.
{5.21.16} It is a wonder in any case if a man has so little respect for the god of Olympia as to take or give a bribe in the contests; it is an even greater wonder that one of the Eleians themselves has fallen so low. But it is said that the Eleian Damonikos did so fall at the hundred and ninety second Festival. They say that collusion occurred between Polyktor the son of Damonikos and Sosandros of Smyrna, of the same name as his father; these were competitors for the wrestling prize of wild-olive. Damonikos, it is alleged, being exceedingly ambitious that his son should win, bribed the father of Sosandros.
{5.21.17} When the transaction became known, the umpires imposed a fine, but instead of imposing it on the sons, they directed their anger against the fathers, for that they were the real sinners. From this fine, images were made. One is set up in the Eleian gymnasium; the other is in the Altis in front of what is called the Painted Portico, because anciently there were pictures on the walls. Some call this Portico “the Echo Portico,” because when a man has shouted, his voice is repeated by the echo seven or even more times.
{5.21.18} They say that a competitor in the pankration, a man from Alexandria by the name of Sarapion, at the two hundred and first Festival, was so afraid of his antagonists that on the day before the pankration was to be called on he ran away. This is the only occasion on record when any man, not to say a man of Egypt, was fined for cowardice.
{5.22.1} These were the causes for which I found that these images were made. There are also images of Zeus dedicated by States and by individuals. There is in the Altis an altar near the entrance leading to the stadium. On it the Eleians do not sacrifice to any of the gods, but it is customary for the trumpeters and heralds to stand upon it when they compete. By the side of this altar has been built a pedestal of bronze, and on it is an image of Zeus, about six cubits in height, with a thunderbolt in either hand. It was dedicated by the people of Kynaitha. The figure of Zeus as a boy wearing the necklace is the votive offering of Kleolas, a Phliasian.
{5.22.2} By the side of what is called the Hippodamion is a semicircular stone pedestal, and on it are Zeus, Thetis, and Day entreating Zeus on behalf of her children. These are on the middle of the pedestal. There are Achilles and Memnon, one at either edge of the pedestal, representing a pair of combatants in position. There are other pairs similarly opposed, foreigner against Greek: Odysseus opposed to Helenos, reputed to be the cleverest men in the respective armies; Alexander and Menelaos, in virtue of their ancient feud; Aeneas and Diomedes, and Deiphobos and Ajax son of Telamon.
{5.22.3} These are the work of Lykios, the son of Myron, and were dedicated by the people of Apollonia on the Ionian sea. There are also elegiac verses written in ancient characters under the feet of Zeus:
As memorials of Apollonia have we been dedicated—the place on the Ionian sea that Phoebus founded, he of the uncut locks. The Apollonians, after taking the land of Abantis, set up here
Those who took the territory of the Abantes established these memorials here with the help of the gods [theoi], tithe from Thronion.
The land called Abantis and the town of Thronion in it were a part of the Thesprotian mainland over against the Ceraunian mountains.
{5.22.4} When the Greek fleet was scattered on the voyage home from Troy, men of Lokris who originated from Thronion, a city on the river Boagrios, and Abantes from Euboea, with eight ships altogether, were driven on the Ceraunian mountains. Settling here and founding the city of Thronion by common agreement, they gave the name of Abantis to the land as far as they occupied it. Afterwards, however, they were conquered in war and expelled by the people of Apollonia, their neighbors. Apollonia was a colony of Corcyra, they say, and Corcyra of Corinth, and the Corinthians had their share of the spoils.
{5.22.5} A little farther on is a Zeus turned towards the rising sun; he holds an eagle in one hand and in the other a thunderbolt. On him are set spring flowers, with a garland of them on his head. It is an offering of the people of Metaponton. The artist was Aristonous of Aegina, but we do not know when he lived nor who his teacher was.
{5.22.6} The Phliasians also dedicated a Zeus, the daughters of Asopos, and Asopos himself. Their images have been ordered thus: Nemeā is the first of the sisters, and after her comes Zeus seizing Aegina; by Aegina stands Harpina, who, according to the tradition of the Eleians and Phliasians, mated with Ares and was the mother of Oinomaos, king around Pisa; after her is Corcyra, with Thebe next; last of all comes Aesopus. It is said about Corcyra that she mated with Poseidon, and the same thing is said by Pindar of Thebe and Zeus.
{5.22.7} Men of Leontinoi have set up a Zeus, not at public expense but out of their private purse. The height of the image is seven cubits, and in its hands are an eagle and the bolt of Zeus, in accordance with the poets’ tales. It was dedicated by Hippagoras, Phrynon, and Ainesidemos, who in my opinion was some other Ainesidemos and not the tyrant of Leontinoi.
{5.23.1} As you pass by the entrance to the Council Chamber, you see an image of Zeus standing with no inscription on it, and then on turning to the north, another image of Zeus. This is turned towards the rising sun, and was dedicated by those Greeks who at Plataea fought against the Persians under Mardonios. [28] On the right of the pedestal are inscribed the cities which took part in the engagement: first the Lacedaemonians, after them the Athenians, third the Corinthians, fourth the Sikyonians,
{5.23.2} fifth the Aeginetans; after the Aeginetans, the Megarians and Epidaurians, of the Arcadians the people of Tegea and Orkhomenos, after them the dwellers in Phleious, Troizen and Hermion, the Tirynthians from the Argolid, the Plataeans alone of the Boeotians, the Argives of Mycenae, the islanders of Ceos and Mēlos, Ambraciots of the Thesprotian mainland, the Tenians and the Lepreans, who were the only people from Triphylia, but from the Aegean and the Cyclades there came not only the Tenians but also the Naxians and Cythnians, Styrians too from Euboea, after them Eleians, Potidaeans, Anaktorioi, and lastly the people of Khalkis-on-the-Euripos.
{5.23.3} Of these cities the following are at the present day uninhabited: Mycenae and Tiryns were destroyed by the Argives after the Persian wars. The Ambraciots and Anaktorioi, colonists of Corinth, were taken away by the Roman emperor [29] to help to found Nikopolis near Actium. The Potidaeans twice suffered removal from their city, once at the hands of Philip, the son of Amyntas [30] , and once before this at the hands of the Athenians. [31] Afterwards, however, Kassandros restored the Potidaeans to their homes, but the name of the city was changed from Potidaea to Kassandreia after the name of its founder. [32] The image at Olympia dedicated by the Greeks was made by Anaxagoras of Aegina. The name of this artist is omitted by the historians of Plataea.
{5.23.4} In front of this Zeus, there is a bronze slab, on which are the terms of the Thirty-years Peace between the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians. The Athenians made this peace after they had reduced Euboea for the second time, in the third year of the eighty-third Olympiad, when Crison of Himera won the foot-race [33] . One of the articles of the treaty is to the effect that although Argos has no part in the treaty between Athens and Sparta, yet the Athenians and the Argives may privately, if they wish, be at peace with each other. Such are the terms of this treaty.
{5.23.5} There is yet another image of Zeus dedicated beside the chariot of Kleosthenes. This chariot I will describe later; the image of Zeus was dedicated by the Megarians, and made by the brothers Psylakos and Onaithos with the help of their sons. About their date, their nation and their master, I can tell you nothing.
{5.23.6} By the chariot of Gelon stands an ancient Zeus holding a scepter which is said to be an offering of the Hyblaeans. There were two cities in Sicily called Hybla, one surnamed Gereatis and the other Greater, it being in fact the greater of the two. They still retain their old names, and are in the district of Catana. Greater Hybla is entirely uninhabited, but Gereatis is a village of Catana, with a sanctuary of the goddess Hyblaea which is held in honor by the Sicilians. The people of Gereatis, I think, brought the image to Olympia. For Philistos, the son of Arkhomenides, says that they were interpreters of portents and dreams, and more given to devotions than any other foreigners in Sicily.
{5.23.7} Near the offering of the Hyblaeans has been made a pedestal of bronze with a Zeus upon it, which I conjecture to be about eighteen feet high. The donors and sculptors are set forth in elegiac verse: The Clitorians [people of Kleitor] dedicated this image to the god, a tithe From many cities that they had reduced by force. The sculptors were Ariston and Telestas, Own brothers and Laconians. I do not think that these Laconians were famous all over Greece, for had they been so the Eleians would have had something to say about them, and the Lacedaemonians more still, seeing that they were their fellow citizens.
{5.24.1} By the side of the altar of Zeus Laoitas and Poseidon Laoitas is a Zeus on a bronze pedestal. The people of Corinth gave it and Musus made it, whoever this Musus may have been. As you go from the Council Chamber to the great temple, there stands on the left an image of Zeus, garlanded as it were with flowers, and with a thunderbolt set in his right hand. It is the work of Ascarus of Thebes, a pupil of Kanakhos of Sikyon. The inscription on it says that it is a tithe from the war between Phokis and Thessaly.
{5.24.2} If the Thessalians went to war with Phokis and dedicated the offering from plunder taken from Phokis, this could not have been the so-called “Sacred War,” [34] but must have been a war between the two States previous to the invasion of Greece by the Persians under their king. Not far from this is a Zeus, which, as is declared by the verse inscribed on it, was dedicated by the Psophidians for a success in war.
{5.24.3} On the right of the great temple is a Zeus facing the rising of the sun, twelve feet high and dedicated, they say, by the Lacedaemonians, when they entered on a war with the Messenians after their second revolt. On it is an elegiac couplet: Accept, king, son of Kronos, Olympian Zeus, a lovely image, And have a heart propitious to the Lacedaemonians.
{5.24.4} We know of no Roman, either commoner or senator, who gave a votive offering to a Greek sanctuary before Mummius, and he dedicated at Olympia a bronze Zeus from the spoils of Achaea [35] . It stands on the left of the offering of the Lacedaemonians by the side of the first pillar on this side of the temple. The largest of the bronze images of Zeus in the Altis is twenty-seven feet high, and was dedicated by the Eleians themselves from the plunder of the war with the Arcadians.
{5.24.5} Beside the Pelopion is a pillar of no great height with a small image of Zeus on it; one hand is outstretched. Opposite this are other offerings in a row, and likewise images of Zeus and Ganymedes. Homer’s poem [36] tells how Ganymedes was carried off by the gods to be wine-bearer to Zeus, and how horses were given to Tros in exchange for him. This offering was dedicated by the Thessalian Gnathis and made by Aristokles, pupil and son of Kleoitas.
{5.24.6} There is also another Zeus represented as a beardless youth, which is among offerings of Mikythos. The history of Mikythos, his family, and why he dedicated so many offerings at Olympia, my narrative will presently set forth. A little farther on in a straight line from the image I have mentioned is another beardless image of Zeus. It was dedicated by the people of Elaea, who live in the first city of Aeolis you reach on descending from the plain of the Kaïkos to the sea.
{5.24.7} Yet another image of Zeus comes next, and the inscription on it says that it was dedicated by the Chersonesians of Knidos from enemy spoils. On either side of the image of Zeus, they have dedicated images of Pelops and of the river Alpheios respectively. The greater part of the city of Knidos is built on the Carian mainland, where are their most noteworthy possessions, but what is called Chersonnesus is an island lying near the mainland, to which it is joined by a bridge.
{5.24.8} It is the inhabitants of this quarter who dedicated to Zeus the offerings at Olympia, just as if Ephesians living in what is called Koresos were to say that they had dedicated an offering independently of the Ephesians as a body. There is also by the wall of the Altis a Zeus turned towards the setting of the sun; it bears no inscription, but is said to be another offering of Mummius made from the plunder of the Achaean war.
{5.24.9} But the Zeus in the Council Chamber is of all the images of Zeus the one most likely to strike terror into the hearts of sinners. He is surnamed Oath-god, and in each hand, he holds a thunderbolt. Beside this image it is the custom for athletes, their fathers and their brothers, as well as their trainers, to swear an oath upon slices of boar’s flesh that in nothing will they sin against the Olympic Games. The athletes take this further oath also, that for ten successive months they have strictly followed the regulations for training.
{5.24.10} An oath is also taken by those who examine the boys, or the foals entering for races, that they will decide fairly and without taking bribes, and that they will keep secret what they learn about a candidate, whether accepted or not. I forgot to inquire what it is customary to do with the boar after the oath of the athletes, though the ancient custom about victims was that no human being might eat of that on which an oath had been sworn.
{5.24.11} Homer proves this point clearly. For the boar, on the slices of which Agamemnon swore that Briseis had not lain with him, Homer says was thrown by the herald into the sea:
He spoke, and cut the boar’s throat with ruthless bronze;
And the boar Talthybios swung and cast into the great depth
Of the grey sea, to feed the fishes.
Iliad 19.266–268
Such was the ancient custom. Before the feet of the Oath-god is a bronze plate, with elegiac verses inscribed upon it, the object of which is to strike fear into those who take false oaths.
{5.25.1} I have enumerated the images of Zeus within the Altis with the greatest accuracy. For the offering near the great temple, though supposed to be a likeness of Zeus, is really Alexander, the son of Philip. It was set up by a Corinthian, not one of the old Corinthians, but one of those settlers whom the Emperor planted in the city. I shall also mention those offerings which are of a different kind, and not representations of Zeus. The statues which have been set up, not to honor a deity, but to reward mere men, I shall include in my account of the athletes.
{5.25.2} The Messenians on the Strait in accordance with an old custom used to send to Rhēgion a chorus of thirty-five boys, and with it a trainer and an aulos-player, to a local festival of Rhēgion. On one occasion, a disaster befell them for not one of those sent out returned home alive, but the ship with the boys on board went to the bottom.
{5.25.3} The sea in fact at this strait is the stormiest of seas; it is made rough by winds bringing waves from both sides, from the Adriatic and the other sea, which is called the Tyrrhenian, and even if there be no gale blowing, even then the strait of itself produces a very violent swell and strong currents. So many monsters swarm in the water that even the air over the sea is infected with their stench. Accordingly, a shipwrecked man has not even a hope left of getting out of the strait alive. If it was here that disaster overtook the ship of Odysseus, nobody could believe that he swam out alive to Italy, were it not that the benevolence of the gods makes all things easy.
{5.25.4} On this occasion the Messenians mourned for the loss of the boys, and one of the honors bestowed upon them was the dedication of bronze statues at Olympia, the group including the trainer of the chorus and the aulos-player. The old inscription declared that the offerings were those of the Messenians at the strait; but afterwards Hippias, called “a sage” by the Greeks, [37] composed the elegiac verses on them. The artist of the statues was Kallon of Elis.
{5.25.5} At the headland of Sicily that looks towards Libya and the south, called Pakhynon, there stands the city Motye, inhabited by Libyans and Phoenicians. Against these foreigners of Motye war was waged by the People of Akragaspeople of Akragas, who, having taken from them plunder and spoils, dedicated at Olympia the bronze boys, who are stretching out their right hands in an attitude of prayer to the god. They are placed on the wall of the Altis, and I conjectured that the artist was Kalamis, a conjecture in accordance with the tradition about them. [38] Sicily is inhabited by the following races:
{5.25.6} Sicanians, Sicels, and Phrygians; the first two crossed into it from Italy, while the Phrygians came from the river Skamandros and the land of the Troad. The Phoenicians and Libyans came to the island on a joint expedition, and are settlers from Carthage. Such are the foreign races in Sicily. The Greeks settled there include Dorians and Ionians, with a small proportion of people from Phokis and from Attica.
{5.25.7} On the same wall as the offerings of the People of Akragas are two nude statues of Hēraklēs as a boy. One represents him shooting the lion at Nemeā. This Hēraklēs and the lion with him were dedicated by Hippotion of Tarentum, the artist being Nikodamos of Mainalos. The other image was dedicated by Anaxippos of Mende, and was transferred to this place by the Eleians. Previously it stood at the end of the road that leads from Elis to Olympia, called the Sacred Road.
{5.25.8} There are also offerings dedicated by all the Achaean people in common; they represent those who, when Hector challenged any Greek to meet him in single combat, dared to cast lots to choose the champion. They stand, armed with spears and shields, near the great temple. Right opposite, on a second pedestal, is a figure of Nestor, who has thrown the lot of each into the helmet. The number of those casting lots to meet Hector is now only eight, for the ninth, the statue of Odysseus, they say that Nero carried to Rome,
{5.25.9} but Agamemnon’s statue is the only one of the eight to have his name inscribed upon it; the writing is from right to left. The figure with the rooster emblazoned on the shield is Idomeneus the descendant of Minos. The story goes that Idomeneus was descended from the Sun, the father of Pasiphae, and that the rooster is sacred to the Sun and proclaims when he is about to rise.
{5.25.10} An inscription too is written on the pedestal:
To Zeus these images were dedicated by the Achaeans,
Descendants of Pelops the godlike offspring of Tantalos.
Such is the inscription on the pedestal, but the name of the artist is written on the shield of Idomeneus:
This is one of the many works of clever Onatas, The Aeginetan, whose sire was Mikon.
{5.25.11} Not far from the offering of the Achaeans, there is also a Hēraklēs fighting with the Amazon, a woman on horseback, for her waistband. It was dedicated by Euagoras, a Zanclaean by descent, and made by Aristokles of Kydonia. Aristokles should be included amongst the most ancient sculptors, and though his date is uncertain, he was clearly born before Zancle took its present name of Messene.
{5.25.12} The Thasians, who are Phoenicians by descent and sailed from Tyre, and from Phoenicia generally, together with Thasos, the son of Agenor, in search of Europa, dedicated at Olympia a Hēraklēs, the pedestal as well as the image being of bronze. The height of the image is ten cubits, and he holds a club in his right hand and a bow in his left. They told me in Thasos that they used to worship the same Hēraklēs as the Tyrians, but that afterwards, when they were included among the Greeks, they adopted the worship of Hēraklēs the son of Amphitryon.
{5.25.13} On the offering of the Thasians at Olympia there is an elegiac couplet:
Onatas, son of Mikon, fashioned me,
He who has his dwelling in Aegina. [39]
This Onatas, though belonging to the Aeginetan school of sculpture, I shall place after none of the successors of Daidalos or of the Attic school.
{5.26.1} The Dorian Messenian who received Naupaktos from the Athenians dedicated at Olympia the image of Nike upon the pillar. It is the work of Paionios of Mende, and was made from the proceeds of enemy spoils, [40] I think from the war with the Arcarnanians and Oiniadai. The Messenians themselves declare that their offering came from their exploit with the Athenians in the island of Sphakteria, [41] and that the name of their enemy was omitted through dread of the Lacedaemonians; for, they say, they are not in the least afraid of Oiniadai and the Acarnanians.
{5.26.2} The offerings of Mikythos I found were numerous and not together. Next after Iphitos of Elis, and Ekhekheiria garlanding Iphitos, come the following offerings of Mikythos: Amphitrite, Poseidon, and Hestia; the artist was Glaukos the Argive. [42] Along the left side of the great temple Mikythos dedicated other offerings: the Maiden, daughter of Demeter, Aphrodite, Ganymedes, and Artemis, the poets Homer and Hesiod, then again deities, Asklepios and Hygieia.
{5.26.3} Among the offerings of Mikythos is Struggle carrying jumping-weights, the shape of which is as follows. They are half of a circle, not an exact circle but elliptical, and made so that the fingers pass through as they do through the handle of a shield. Such are the fashion of them. By the statue of Struggle are Dionysus, Orpheus the Thracian, and an image of Zeus which I mentioned just now. They are the works of Dionysius of Argos. [43] They say that Mikythos set up other offerings also in addition to these, and that they formed part of the treasures taken away by Nero.
{5.26.4} The artists are said to have been Dionysius and Glaukos, who were Argives by birth, but the name of their teacher is not recorded. Their date is fixed by that of Mikythos, who dedicated the works of art at Olympia. For Herodotus in his Histories says that this Mikythos, when Anaxilas was despot of Rhēgion, became his slave and steward of his property afterwards, on the death of Anaxilas, he went away to Tegea.
{5.26.5} The inscriptions on the offerings give Choerus as the father of Mikythos, and as his fatherland the Greek cities of Rhēgion and Messene on the Strait. The inscriptions say that he lived at Tegea, and he dedicated the offerings at Olympia in fulfillment of a vow made for the recovery of a son, who fell ill of a wasting disease.
{5.26.6} Near to the greater offerings of Mikythos, which were made by the Argive Glaukos, stands an image of Athena with a helmet on her head and clad in an aegis. Nikodamos of Mainalos was the artist, but it was dedicated by the Eleians. Beside the Athena has been set up a Nike. The Mantineians dedicated it, but they do not mention the war in the inscription. Kalamis is said to have made it without wings in imitation of the wooden image in Athens called Wingless Nike.
{5.26.7} By the smaller offerings of Mikythos, that were made by Dionysius, are some of the exploits of Hēraklēs, including what he did to the Nemean lion, the Hydra, the Hound of Hades, and the boar by the river Erymanthos. These were brought to Olympia by the people of Herakleia when they had overrun the land of the Mariandynians, their foreign neighbors. Herakleia is a city built on the Euxine Sea, a colony of Megara, though the people of Tanagra in Boeotia joined in the settlement.
{5.27.1} Opposite the offerings I have enumerated are others in a row; they face towards the south, and are very near to that part of the precinct which is sacred to Pelops. Among them are those dedicated by the Maenalian Phormis. He crossed to Sicily from Mainalos to serve Gelon the son of Deinomenes. Distinguishing himself in the campaigns of Gelon and afterwards of his brother Hieron, he reached such a pitch of prosperity that he dedicated not only these offerings at Olympia, but also others dedicated to Apollo at Delphi.
{5.27.2} The offerings at Olympia are two horses and two charioteers, a charioteer standing by the side of each of the horses. The first horse and man are by Dionysius of Argos, the second are the work of Simon of Aegina. [44] On the side of the first of the horses is an inscription, the first part of which is not metrical. It runs thus:
Phormis dedicated me,
An Arcadian of Mainalos, now of Syracuse.
{5.27.3} This is the horse in which is, say the Eleians, the hippomanes (what maddens horses). It is plain to all that the quality of the horse is the result of magic skill. It is much inferior in size and beauty to all the horses standing within the Altis. Moreover, its tail has been cut off which makes the figure uglier still. But male horses, not only in spring but on any day, are at heat towards it.
{5.27.4} In fact, they rush into the Altis, breaking their tethers or escaping from their grooms, and they leap upon it much more madly than upon a living brood mare, even the most beautiful of them. Their hoofs slip off, but nevertheless they keep on neighing more and more and leap with a yet more violent passion, until they are driven away by whips and sheer force. In no other way can they be separated from the bronze horse.
{5.27.5} There is another marvel I know of, having seen it in Lydia; it is different from the horse of Phormis, but like it not innocent of the magic art. The Lydians surnamed Persian have sanctuaries in the city named Hierocaesareia and at Hypaepa. In each sanctuary is a chamber, and in the chamber are ashes upon an altar. But the color of these ashes is not the usual color of ashes.
{5.27.6} Entering the chamber, a magician piles dry wood upon the altar; he first places a tiara upon his head and then sings to some god or other an invocation in a foreign tongue unintelligible to Greeks, reciting the invocation from a book. So it is without fire that the wood must catch, and bright flames dart from it.
{5.27.7} So much for this subject. Among these offerings is Phormis himself opposed to an enemy, and next are figures of him fighting a second and again a third. On them it is written that the soldier fighting is Phormis of Mainalos, and that he who dedicated the offerings was Lykortas of Syracuse. Clearly, this Lykortas dedicated them out of friendship for Phormis. These offerings of Lykortas are also called by the Greeks offerings of Phormis.
{5.27.8} The Hermes carrying the ram under his arm, with a helmet on his head, and clad in tunic and cloak, is not one of the offerings of Phormis, but has been given to the god by the Arcadians of Pheneus. The inscription says that the artist was Onatas of Aegina helped by Kalliteles, who I think was a pupil or son of Onatas. Not far from the offering of the Pheneatians is another image, Hermes with a herald’s wand. An inscription on it says that Glaukias, a Rhegian by descent, dedicated it, and Gallon of Elis made it.
{5.27.9} Of the bronze oxen one was dedicated by the Corcyraeans and the other by the Eretrians. Philesios of Eretria was the artist. Why the Corcyraeans dedicated the ox at Olympia and another at Delphi will be explained in my account of Phokis. About the offering at Olympia, I heard the following story.
{5.27.10} Sitting under this ox a little boy was playing with his head bent towards the ground. Suddenly lifting his head, he broke it against the bronze and died a few days later from the wound. So the Eleians were purposing to remove the ox from out the Altis as being guilty of bloodshed. But the god at Delphi gave an oracle that they were to let the offering stay where it was, after performing upon it the purificatory rites that are customary among the Greeks for unintentional shedding of blood.
{5.27.11} Under the plane trees in the Altis, just about in the center of the enclosure, there is a bronze trophy, with an inscription upon the shield of the trophy, to the effect that the Eleians raised it as a sign that they had beaten the Lacedaemonians. It was in this battle that the warrior lost his life who was found lying in his armor when the roof of the Hēraion was being repaired in my time.
{5.27.12} The offering of the Mendeans in Thrace came very near to beguiling me into the belief that it was a representation of a competitor in the pentathlon. It stands by the side of Anauchidas of Elis, and it holds ancient jumping-weights. An elegiac couplet is written on its thigh:
To Zeus, king of the gods, as first fruits was I placed here by the Mendeans, who reduced Sipte by might of hand.
Sipte seems to be a Thracian fortress and city. The Mendeans themselves are of Greek descent, coming from Ionia, and they live inland at some distance from the sea that is by the city of Ainos.


[ back ] 1. 174 CE.
[ back ] 2. 44 BCE.
[ back ] 3. Iliad 2.622
[ back ] 4. 420 BCE.
[ back ] 5. 401-399 BCE.
[ back ] 6. 401 BCE.
[ back ] 7. That is, in the Greek way of counting. Between two Olympic festivals there were only four complete intervening years, but the Greeks included both years in which consecutive festivals were held.
[ back ] 8. Iliad 23.295
[ back ] 9. The Greek word (…) can mean either a celebration of the Olympic games or the interval between two consecutive celebrations. I have translated it by “Festival” in the first case and by “Olympiad” in the second.
[ back ] 10. Circa 570 BCE.
[ back ] 11. 609-560 BCE.
[ back ] 12. Iliad 14.318
[ back ] 13. Iliad 5.470 and following.
[ back ] 14. 264 BCE.
[ back ] 15. 420 BCE.
[ back ] 16. Placeholder: GN will comment here on the traditional concept of the movable fireplace.
[ back ] 17. Placeholder: GN will comment on this detail about the thighs of sacrificial animals.
[ back ] 18. Iliad 13.389, and 16.482
[ back ] 19. Pausanias implies here a relationship between the river Asopos and the river Maeander.
[ back ] 20. circa 580-540 BCE.
[ back ] 21. circa 388 BCE.
[ back ] 22. That is, “as oxen turn when ploughing.” The writing went from left to right and from right to left alternately.
[ back ] 23. Placeholder: commentary here by GN, to be completed soon.
[ back ] 24. Iliad 7.225 and following.
[ back ] 25. Odyssey 10.348 and following.
[ back ] 26. Circa 400 BCE.
[ back ] 27. “Temple of the Mother.”
[ back ] 28. 479 BCE.
[ back ] 29. Augustus
[ back ] 30. 356 BCE.
[ back ] 31. 430-429 BCE.
[ back ] 32. 316 BCE.
[ back ] 33. 446-445 BCE.
[ back ] 34. 355-346 BCE.
[ back ] 35. 146 BCE.
[ back ] 36. Iliad 5.265 and following. And Iliad 20.231 and following.
[ back ] 37. floruit 436 BCE.
[ back ] 38. circa 500-460 BCE.
[ back ] 39. circa 470 BCE.
[ back ] 40. circa 430 BCE.
[ back ] 41. 425 BCE.
[ back ] 42. circa 460 BCE.
[ back ] 43. circa 460 BCE.
[ back ] 44. 488-460 BCE.