Olympia – the sanctuary of Hellas (part 2)
The ancient Greeks erected the origin of the Olympic Games to mythological times, the honor of their approval was attributed to both Zeus himself and Heracles. But these are just myths. Today we know that the Olympics could arise in that era when the ideal of a free personality was formed, in which the beauty of the body was combined with moral greatness, that ideal of a person who combined the strength of an athlete, the courage of a warrior and the courage of a citizen.
The holding of the ancient Olympic Games is considered to be from 776 BC. e., when they began to record the names of athletes-winners. This year formed the basis of the Greek chronology. Now Olympia is growing immeasurably as a pan-Greek sanctuary. Once every four years, athletes from all regions and colonies of Greece flocked here to measure their strength and courage. For three months, a sacred ceasefire was declared, under pain of the curse and disgrace of the gods, no one could appear here with weapons. Using modern terminology, we can say that Olympia became the center of peaceful coexistence of various Greek tribes.
All this could not but affect the artistic monuments. In the V century BC e. the sanctuary takes on a complete classic look. In the center of the sacred grove – Altis – magnificent temples rise, treasures with the gifts of the largest Greek cities, numerous marble and bronze statues of athletes-winners. The most magnificent was the temple of Olympian Zeus, built by architect Libon in the 5th century BC. e. The architecture of the temple, its sculptural decorations serve as the best example of ancient early classics. It was created after the outstanding victories of the Greeks in the long war with the Persians, and the heroic spirit of the victorious people clearly affected the art of this period. The Temple of Olympian Zeus with particular artistic power expresses heroic aspirations.
The building itself was not preserved, the wonderful sculptural decorations of the pediments survived, although in a very damaged form. The names of their creators remained unknown. In their art, masters turned to mythological subjects, but were able to express in them ideas that were consonant with modern times. The main eastern pediment depicts the myth of the competition between Pelops and Enomai. The king of the Arcade Pisa Enomai received a prediction that he would be killed by his son-in-law. Therefore, he tried to get rid of all the grooms of the daughter of Hippodamia, forcing them to compete with themselves in chariot races. Enomai himself had invincible horses – a gift from his father, the god Ares. Skipping forward the opponent, Enomai then easily caught up with him and hit him with a spear in the back. So he killed 12 or 13 grooms of Hippodamia, until the Pelops clasped her. He resorted to tricks – he persuaded the driver of Mitril to replace the metal pin in the wax chariot, and Enomai crashed.