290 Route 26. OLYMPIA. History.
pens. 12V2 fr. in gold; hotel-coupons for one day, see p. 287; when the
stay is prolonged, R., L., & A. 4. B. 1, dej. 4, D. 5 fr. Hotel d'Angle-
terre (formerly New Grand Hotel), on the road opposite the station, similar
charges; Hotel d'Allemagne tformerfy Archaea Olympia), on the road
between the Museum and the railway sta'ion, B., L., & A. 2*/2, pens., incl.
wine, 8 fr. in gold, unpretending but good. — All the hotels have restaur¬
ants and grant terms 'en pension' for a stay of more than one day except
during the chief tourist-season (comp. p. xii; bargain beforehand). — The
landlords provide horses or mules for a tour in the Peloponnesus (ca. 8 dr.
The JIoseum is closed between 12 and 1; adm. at other times free,
cloak-room 201. A French translation of the Greek Catalogue (1904; 2 dr.)
by the ephoros K. Kourouniotes has been published.
Olympia (140 ft. above the sea-level), situated on the right bank
of the Alpheios, at the point where it is joined by the Klddeos, flow¬
ing to it from the N., lies in the district of Pisatis, which belonged
to Elis from B.C. 580 onwards. It was never properly speaking a
town, but merely a sacred precinct, with temples, public buildings,
and a few dwelling-houses. It owed its high importance throughout
the entire Hellenic world to the universal reverence for its shrines,
and above all to its famous games in honour of Zeus, which, during
a period of more than a thousand years, were periodically celebrat¬
ed by the Greeks of all states and of all tribes.
The Greeks reverenced Hercules as the founder of the games —
not the hero usually known by that name, but the ldaean Hercules,
who was said to have been present at the birth of Zeus himself.
The later Hercules, however, also took part in some famous contests
here, after the defeat of King Augeas of Elis. CEnomaos, king of
Pisa, the old capital of the district (p. 309), compelled the suitors
of his daughter Hippodameia to compete with him in chariot-racing,
and ignominiously put to death all whom he vanquished, until at
length Pelops succeeded in beating him and so won the hand of
Hippodameia. Pelops was thus the heroic prototype of the victors at
Olympia, and as such was held in high honour there.
The actual founding of the games proper is ascribed to Iphitos
of Elis, who, along with Lykourgos of Sparta, reorganized the games
at the bidding of the oracle of Delphi in the 9th cent. B.C., and
introduced the 'Ekecheiria' (lit. 'hand-staying', 'truce') or 'Peace
of God' among all the states of Greece during the celebration of the
games. Pausanias saw the decree, inscribed on a discus of bronze,
preserved in the Heraeon (p. 296). By this means the Olympian
Games rose to the dignity of a national festival, which was the
visible expression of Hellenic unity, in spite of all the internecine
contentions and wars among the individual states of Greece. The
regular chronicle of Olympian victors begins in B.C. 776 (comp.
p. 387), but the use of Olympiads as chronological epochs did not
originate till much later.
The games took plaoe at the first full moon after the summer
solstice. At the beginning of the sacred month, the Eleans, who had
been left in undisturbed possession of the sanctuary since about