Olympia – the sanctuary of Hellas (part 4)
In the building of the workshop there were altars. The disciples of Phidias received the nickname of the cleaners, as they were entrusted with the honorable duty of cleaning the statue of Zeus from the settling mud. It is instructive that before starting this work, they sacrificed to Ergan, the goddess of labor. A statue of the goddess of victory, made by the sculptor Paeonius, was later installed on the pedestal on the eastern facade of the temple. It does not have the swiftness that is characteristic of Nika of Samothrace. The master portrayed her as if floating in the air. The goddess personifies confidence in victory, her triumph.
Olympia is associated with the name of another remarkable sculptor – Praxiteles. Here is his original work: Hermes with little Dionysus. Praxiteles became famous as a master of beautiful female statues, a singer of the goddess of love Aphrodite. Even in the male images of the sculptor there is a shade of femininity. Hermes is depicted with Dionysus in his arms, which he carries to the education of nymphs. On the way he stopped to rest and, leaning against a tree trunk, plays with the baby, teasing the future god of wine with a bunch of grapes (this detail has not been preserved).
Hermes eyes are fixed in the distance. In the words of B. R. Wipper, the sculptor is not so much “interested in the inner state of the hero, but in the special charm of a dreamy mood that he knew how to put into his statues. Praxiteles was able to extract such transparency, such tenderness, such a richness of midtones from marble that the contours of the body seem to dissolve in the air.
Praxiteles’s heroes generally don’t like to stand upright, even less they show energy, they usually lean, lean, lean idly. The dreamy wet look of the Praxitelevye statues aroused particular admiration of the ancient audience. The practitioner reached it by slightly thickening the lower eyelid and forcing him to gently, almost imperceptibly pass into the eyeball. ” Strength and confidence in the sculptures of the 5th century BC e., now, as it were, leaving the statue, and the figure seems relaxed, having lost power.
In addition to the statues of the gods, in Olympia there were many bronze and marble statues of athletes. They were created by famous sculptors: Miron, Polyclet, Phidias, Skopas, Lysippus. Near the entrance to the stadium were copper statues of Zeus. They were called Zanami. They were made with the money of the fine imposed on athletes who violated the rules of the competition. The statues were supplied with signatures, which reported what fault it was set for, or edification was contained – victory in Olympia can be obtained not by money, but by the speed of legs and the strength of the body. The penalty was also imposed for cowardice, as was the case with the pankratist wrestler who tried to escape the day before the start of the competition.
Behind the statues was a vaulted passage called the Secret, through which judges and athletes walked through the stadium. The stadium’s dimensions are very modest by today’s standards: a treadmill 192 m and a width of 10 m. There was a place for judges on the dais, on the contrary there was an altar made of white marble, the priestess of Demeter usually sat on it. In general, married women were not allowed to enter the games.
For girls, running competitions were organized – “heroes”. Their institution is credited with Hippodamia, which thus gave thanks to Hera for her marriage to Pelops. An Olympic stadium was provided for them, but the distance for running was reduced by 1/6. The winner received a wreath of olive branches and part of a cow sacrificed to Hera. In 145 BC e. Greece became a Roman province. Some Roman rulers venerated the Greek shrines and brought them their gifts, while others robbed them. Olympia was particularly affected by Sulla, which allowed soldiers to devastate her treasures. In the year 394, with the spread of the Christian religion, games were banned. Olympia was hit by natural elements: floods and strong earthquakes. The waters of the rivers flooded and covered the remaining ruins with sand. So under a layer of river silt the sanctuary lay thirteen centuries. Today, this fact is hard to believe – it seems that Olympia has always existed. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, they knew about it only from written sources. But even the location was not precisely determined. Some believed that the sanctuary was located near Mount Olympus, and not near Kronos.
In the XVIToday it is a major historical and artistic monument of Greece. People come from different parts of the world and come here to join the ancient culture, which still has not lost its ennobling effect on the minds and hearts of people.
II century, when interest in antiquity became acute, it became necessary to find Olympia, but systematic excavations began only in 1829 by French researchers. Then they found marble metopes adorning the temple of Zeus. They were sent to France, to the Louvre. Soon, the agreement between the Greeks and the French was violated and excavations were suspended. In 1875, they were led by German archaeologists. All the discovered monuments should now remain in Greece, a museum was built for them in Olympia.