296 Route 26. OLYMPIA. Heraeon.
The low mound which rises from 3 to 6 ft. above the surround¬
ing ground to the W., where fragments of a retaining-wall may still
be seen, was the Pelopion, or sacred enclosure of Pelops (p. 290). It
was built in the form of an irregular pentagon, with a curious portal
on the S.W. Only the foundation of the latter tiow remains, for the
columns and entablature were utilized for the Byzantine wall. The
stone approach to the stylobate of the portico may still be made
out. — Beside the Pelopion runs one of the numerous conduits of
Olympia, some of which served to bring fresh drinning-water, and
others to carry off the rain-water. The chief of these, very numerous
and very diverse aqueducts are marked on the Plan with blue lines.
In the direction of the Herseon, to the N. of the Pelopion, are frag¬
ments of a large Altar, near which more than a thousand small bronze
and terracotta figures of animals of the roughest workmanship have
been found. This altar is probably the most ancient in Olympia,
for the blackened earth, mixed with ashes and the remains of bones
in addition to these votive gifts, has been found even under the
foundations of the Herseon.
The Herseon, at the foot of a spur of the Kronion on which rise
two pine-trees, is the most ancient known temple in Greece (comp.
p. lxxiv). A Doric peripteros with 6 columns at each end and 16 on
each side, it deviates in other essential points from the usual
norm. The stereobate has but two steps. T±ie chief entrances are
on the S. side, in the extreme intercolumniations on the right and
left. The 40 peripteral columns, of which only six are entirely
wanting, present the most marked differences: the diameters vary
from 3!/4 to 4'/5 ft.; one column at the S.W. angle has only
16 flutings, while all the rest have 20; the 19 capitals that have
been found are all different; while in material and construction the
columns also vary. [The two columns beside that at the S.W.
angle, of which respectively five low drums and one tall drum were
found in position, were erected to their full height in 1905.] The true
explanation of these variations is most probably that the original
columns were of wood and were replaced with stone columns as
tbe course of time rendered it necessary. Pausanias states that he
saw one wooden column in the opisthodomos. The unusually great
distance between the axes of the columns (10,7 Engl. ft. = 10 old
Attic ft.; height of column 17 Engl. ft. = 16 Attic ft.), and the
fact that no trace of architrave, triglyph, etc., lias been found, permit
the conclusion that the entablature must have been of wood. The
Heraeon may thus be regarded as an important proof of the develop¬
ment of the Doric style from timber-construction.
Only the lower portion of the cella-walls was of stone; some other
material, probably sun-dried bricks, was vsed above the slabs now
extant. Bricks of this kind, made of common clay and unfired, a
building material which the moderns despise, were used in Greece
for many temples, palaces, and town-walls, and probably for most