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ALTIS 100.00%

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The sacred grove near Olympia (q.v.), in which the Olympic Games were celebrated. (See OLYMPIA.)

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The persons who arranged, and acted as umpires in, the various public games of Greece. They were also called Agonothetoe, and at Olympia Hellanodikoe. (See also PANATHENEA.)
METOPES 26.93%

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[Metopoe, either " the intervening openings," or (Vitruv. iv 2, 4) " the spaces between the sockets " (Gr. opai). In Doric architecture the spaces between the triglyphs (q.v.) in the frieze. They were originally left open. Thus, Orestes manages to make his way into the Tauric temple of Artemis through one of these openings (Eur., Iph. T. 113). They were afterwards filled with panels of wood, which were in course of time superseded by plain slabs of marble, as in the temples at Paestum, etc. These slabs were sometimes slightly ornamented with around shield in low relief, as in the frieze of the temple of Zeus at Olympia. More frequently they were filled with figures in relief, as in those of Selinus (see SCULPTURE, fig. 1), and of the Theseum and the Parthenon (q.v.). The term is also applied to similarly sculptured slabs not placed between the triglyphs, but on the wall of the cella, as in the temple of Zeus at Olympia. See OLYMPIAN GAMES, fig. 3.]
The Greek name for the racecourse for horses and chariots. It was about 400 yards long and 125 broad. The two long sides were meant for spectators. At one of the narrow ends was the starting-point; the other end was of semi-circular form. In front of the middle of the latter was the goal; at Olympia a round altar of Taraxippos (possibly a demon who terrified horses). The drivers had to pass round this after they had driven down one of the long sides; then they turned back and went up the other long side to a second goal, situated near the starting-point. At Olympia this goal bore a statue of Hippodameia. Here they turned round and drove back again. Racing chariots with full-grown horses had to cover this circuit twelve times; and with young horses (according to a later custom) eight times. The name of Hippodrome was also given to the race-courses laid out in Grecian countries in the time of the Romans, after the pattern of the Roman circus (q.v.). The most famous of these was that at Byzantium, which was begun by Septimius Severus, and finished by Constantine.

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Seven ancient buildings or works of art, distinguished either for size or splendour: viz. (1) the Egyptian pyramids; (2) the hanging gardens of Semiramis at Babylon; (3) the temple of Artemis, at Ephesus; (4) the statue of Zeus (q.v.) by Phidias, at Olympia; (5) the Mausoleum (q.v.) at Halicarnassus; (6) the Colossus of Rhodes (see CHARES, 2); and (7) the lighthouse on the island of Pharos, off Alexandria in Egypt.
ALTAR 21.10%

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Originally a simple elevation above the ground, made of earth, fieldstones, or turf; and such altars continued to be used in the country parts of Italy. But altars for constant use, especially in temple service, were, as a rule, of stone, though in exceptional cases they might be made of other materials. Thus, several in Greece were built out of the ashes of burnt-offerings, as that of Zeus at Olympia. One at Delos was made of goats' horns. Their shape was very various, the four-cornered being the commonest, and the round less usual. A temple usually had two altars: the one used for bloodless offerings standing before the deity's image in the cella, and the other for burnt-offerings, opposite the door in front of the temple. The latter was generally a high altar, standing on a platform which is cut into steps. Being an integral part of the whole set of buildings, its shape and size were regulated by their proportions. Some few of these high altars were of enormous dimensions; the one at Olympia had a platform measuring more than 125 feet round, while the altar itself, which was ascended by steps, was nearly 25 feet high. In Italy as well as Greece, beside the altars attached to temples, there was a vast number in streets and squares, in the courts of houses (see cut), in open fields, in sacred groves, and other precincts consecrated to the gods. Some altars, like some temples, were dedicated to more than one deity; we even hear of altars dedicated to all the gods. On altars to heroes, see HEROES.
PHIDIAS 20.79%

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The famous Greek artist, born about 500 B.C. at Athens, pupil of Ageladas, and eminent as architect, bronze founder, sculptor, and painter. His great powers were displayed in the buildings erected under the administration of his intimate friend Pericles on the Acropolis at Athens, and at Olympia, where he was commissioned to execute the statue of Zeus for the temple there. Returning to Athens in 432, he was accused, by intriguers against Pericles, of misappropriating the gold supplied him for the drapery of Athene's statue in the Parthenon. From this he could readily clear himself, having so contrived the drapery that it could easily be taken off and weighed [Plut., Pericles 31]. But being afterwards accused of impiety, on the ground that he had introduced portraits of himself and Pericles on the goddess' shield, he was thrown into prison, where he died of an illness in the same year (ib.). Among all his works, the foremost rank was taken, according to the testimony of antiquity, by the statue of Zeus at Olympia, and three statues of Athene on the Acropolis at Athens; viz. the statue in the Parthenon constructed, like the Zeus, of ivory and gold, and two others, Athene Promachus and the "Lemnian Athene," of bronze. These works (for which see ATHENE and<smallCapsZUES</smallCaps) have perished; but of the marble sculptures of the Parthenon (q.v.), which were probably constructed from his designs, and certainly under his direction, the greater part still remains. Most of them are in the British Museum. They fully substantiate the judgment of antiquity, which looked on him as the representative of artistic perfection, as the one man who in his art combined perfect sublimity with perfect beauty. It was said of him that he alone had seen the exact image of the gods and revealed it to men. He fixed for ever the ideal types of Zeus and of Athene, the gods who, in the spiritual dignity of their attributes , are foremost of all the divinities of Greece.

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A Greek artist of Athens or Lemnos, and a pupil of Phidias, who flourished towards the end of the 5th century B.C. Following his master's ideal tendency, he devoted himself mainly to religious subjects, working like him in various materials, gold and ivory, bronze and marble. His statue of the winner in the Pentathlon was stamped as classic by the epithet of Enkrinomenos, as the Doryphoros of Polyclitus was by that of Kanon. About 436 B.C. he was employed with Phidias in decorating the temple of Zeus at Olympia. The marble groups of the battle of Centaurs and Lapithae in its western pediment are his work. Of these considerable remains have been brought to light by the recent German excavations. (See OLYMPIAN GAMES, fig. 2.)
STADIUM 18.01%

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The course for foot-races amongst the Greeks; the usual length of it was 600 Greek feet, a measure which Heracles, according to the myth, had appointed for the course at Olympia. (See OLYMPIAN GAMES, fig. 4.) Subsequently this became the standard unit for measuring distances. On both of the longer sides of the course were Datural or artificial elevations with terraced seats for the spectators. At one end there was generally a semicircular space especially intended for wrestling, and this was the place for the umpires. Near this was the pillar which marked the goal. The starting-point was also [sometimes] indicated by a pillar at the other end, which was originally straight, and in later times curved like the end near the goal. For the different kind of races, see GYMNASTICS.
PELOPS 16.85%
Son of the Lydian or Phrygian king Tantalus and Dione, daughter of Atlas. When he was a child, his father slew him, cut him to pieces and seethed him, and set him as food before the gods. The gods did not touch the horrible meal; only Demeter, absorbed in grief for her stolen daughter, ate one shoulder. By the command of Zeus, Hermes replaced the pieces in the caldron, and Clotho drew the boy from it in renewed beauty, while Demeter replaced the missing shoulder by one made of ivory. Hence it was that his descendants, the Pelopidae, bore on one shoulder a mark of dazzling whiteness. Pelops, when grown to manhood, went to Pisa in Elis as a wooer of Hippodamia, daughter of king (Enomaus. He won the victory, the bride, and the kingdom, by the help of the winged steeds given him by Poseidon, and by the treachery of Myrtilus, the chariot driver of (Enomaus. When Myrtilus (or Myrsilus), a son of Hermes, claimed the promised reward, half the kingdom, Pelops hurled him from his chariot into the sea. Through his curse and the anger of Hermes, the baneful spell was once more cast upon the house of Pelops. He returned to Pisa, and, after he had made himself master of Olympia, he is said to have restored the games with great splendour, a service for which his memory was afterwards honoured above that of all other heroes. By another act of violence he obtained possession of Arcadia, and extended his power so widely over the peninsula that it was called after his name the Peloponnesus, or "island of Pelops." By Hippodamia he had six sons (cp. ALCATHOUS, ATREUS, PITTHEUS, THYESTES), and two daughters; and by then Nymph Axioche, a son Chrysippus. The latter, his father's favourite, was killed by Atreus and Thyestes, at the instigation of Hippodamia, and his dead body was cast into a well. Peleus discovered the crime, and banished the murderers from the country. Hippodamia thereupon took refuge with her sons at Midea in Argolis. On her death, Peleus buried her bones in the soil of Olympia.
In Greek mythology, the beautiful son of Aethlios (or, according to another story, Zeus and Calyce), daughter of Aeolus, king of Elis, father of Epeus, Aetolus, and Paeon, the first of whom won the government of the country by conquering in a race which his father had set on foot. He was loved by Selene, the goddess of the moon, by whom he had fifty daughters. They were supposed to symbolize the fifty lunar months which intervened between the Olympic games. His grave was at Olympia. Another story made him a shepherd or hunter on Mount Latmos in Caria. Zeus bestowed on him eternal youth and eternal life in the form of unbroken slumber. Selene descended every night from heaven to visit and embrace the beautiful sleeper in his grotto.
THEMIS 15.62%
One of the Titanides; daughter of Uranus and Gaea, and Jupiter's second wife after Metis; mother of the Horae and Moerae (Lat. Parcoe). She is the goddess who, with Jupiter, presides over law and order. She also reigns with him in Olympus as his trusted assessor and no longer as his wife; she represents divine justice in all its relations to man. The rights of hospitality are especially under her protection; hence she is protector of the oppressed, and honoured in many towns as the saving goddess (Soteira). She also had the power of foretelling the future, and for this reason the Delphic oracle was in her possession for some time before it came into that of Apollo. She was especially honoured in Athens, Delphi, Thebes, Olympia, and Troezen. In works of art, she is represented as a woman of commanding and awe-inspiring presence, holding a pair of scales and a cornucopia, the symbol of the blessings of order.
ONATAS 14.27%
The Greek traveller and geographer, a native of Lydia. He explored Greece, Macedonia, Asia, and Africa; and then, in the second half of the 2nd century A.D., settled in Rome, where he composed a Periegesis or Itinerary of Greece in ten books. Book i includes Attica and Megaris; ii, Corinth with Sicyon, Phlius, Argolis, Aegina, and the other neighbouring islands; iii, Laconia; iv, Messenia; v, vi, Elis and Olympia; vii, Achaea; viii, Arcadia; ix, Boeotia: x, Phocis and Locris. The work is founded on notes, taken on the spot, from his own observation and inquiry from the natives of the country, on the subject of the religious cults and the monuments of art and architecture. Together with these there are topographical and historical notices, in working up which Pausanias took into consideration the accounts of other authors, poets as well as prose writers. Although his account is not without numerous inaccuracies, omissions, and mistakes, it is yet of inestimable value for our knowledge of ancient Greece, especially with regard to its mythology and its religious cults, but above all for the history of Greek art. The composition of his work (especially in the earlier books) shows little skill in plan, execution, or style.
SLEEP 12.62%
DEATH 12.21%
In the Homeric poems Death is called the twin brother of Sleep. In Hesiod he is barn of Night without a father, with Ker (the goddess of mortal destiny), Moros (the fatal stroke of death), Hypnos, (sleep) and the Dreams. Hesiod represents Death, the hard-hearted one, hated by the immortal gods, as dwelling with his brother Sleep in the darkness of the West, whither the sun never penetrates either at his rising or his setting. On the chest of Cypselus at Olympia is a representation of Night, holding in each hand a sleeping boy; the one in the right hand being white, and symbolizing Sleep; the other in the left hand, black, and symbolizing Death. Euripides introduces Death on the stage in his Alcestis. He has a black garment and black wings, and a knife to cut off a lock of hair as an offering to the gods below. In works of art he appears as a beautiful boy or youth, sometimes with, sometimes without, wings, and often with his brother Sleep. He is usually in slumber, and holds a torch, either lowered, or reversed and extinguished.
GORGLAS 11.34%
A Greek sopbist and rhetorician, a native of Leontini in Sicily. In 427 B.C., when already advanced in years, he came to Athens on an embassy from his native city, to implore aid against the Syracusans. The finished style of his speaking excited general admiration. He was successful in the object of his mission, and immediately returned home. But he soon came back to Athens, which he made his headquarters, travelling through Greece, like the other Sophists, and winning much popularity and emolument from a large number of disciples. He survived Socrates, who died in 399, and ended his days at Larissa in Thessaly in his hundredth year. His philosophy was a nihilistic system, which he summed up in three propositions: (a) nothing exists; (b) if anything existed, it could not be known; (c) did anything exist, and could it be known, it could not be communicated. Ile declined to assume the name of Sophist, preferring that of rhetorician. He professed to teach not virtue, but the art of persuasion; in other words, to give his disciples such absolute readiness in speaking, that they should be able to convince their hearers independently of any knowledge of the subject. He did not found his instruction on any definite rhetorical system, but gave his pupils standard passages of literature to learn by art and imitate, practising them in the application of rhetorical figures. He appeared in person, on various occasions, at Delphi, Olympia, and Athens, with model speeches which he afterwards published. It must not be forgotten that it was Gorgias who transplanted rhetoric to Greece, its proper soil, and who helped to diffuse the Attic dialect as the literary language of prose. Two highly rhetorical exercises, the genuineness of which is doubtful, have come down to us under his name, the Encomium of Helen, and the Defence of Palamedes against the charge of high treason brought against him by Odysseus.

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The Greek term for a room in which all kinds of objects, provisions, jewels, etc., were stored; hence a " treasury" or "treasure house." In ordinary life the underground store-chambers, circular vaulted rooms with an opening above, similar to our cellars, were thus named. The same name was given to treasure-houses which each State maintained within the precincts of Panhellenic sanctuaries, as repositories for their offerings to the gods. Such were those at Olympia and Delphi. The subterranean tombs, shaped like beehives, and of a construction dating from remote Greek antiquity, which have been found in various places, have been wrongly described as "treasure houses." The most celebrated of these are the so called thesaurus of Atreus at Mycenae (see ARCHITECTURE, fig. 3), and that of Minyas at Orchomenus (see TROPHONIUS). The latter is only partly, the former wholly preserved. The ground-plan of these structures is circular, and consists of one enclosed room with a domed roof, constructed of horizontal layers of massive stone blocks, projecting one over the other. This circular chamber was used probably for services in honour of the dead. The actual restiug-place of the body was a square room adjoining. The large room at Mycenae is fifty feet in diameter, and about the same in height. It consists of thirteen courses, the uppermost of which was only a single stone. It was decorated with hundreds of bronze plates, the holes for the nails being still visible.
Type: Standard
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