Archaeological Museum at Olympia

Katakolon Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Closer view of Hermes with Dionysus (Praxiteles)

I was very excited to stop in my first achaeological museum in Greece. This is something I had always dreamed of eventually seeing and I couldn't believe I was finally here!  Our tour for the day included a stop at the museum and then on to the actual site of Olympia!  I was in awe when we got inside the museum and proceeded to run around trying to take pictures of everything! LOL.  Here are some of the highlights from the museum tour:

Hermes of Praxiteles

Dates back to 343 BC and made from Parian marble.  It is the only known work to survive of Praxiteles and found at Olympia, intact under the ground in 1877 AD.  The sculpture, "The Diamond of Olympia" represents Hermes, messenger of the Gods, holding Dionysus, who is reaching for something from his hand.

Nike of Paionios
  The story behind this sculpture is said to be that the mother of Dionysus (Themele) died from terror when Zeus appeared in front of her with his thunderbolts.  She was pregnant at the time and Zeus took the infant to the nymphs in Crete, where Hermes was.  In order to keep him quiet when the baby started to cry, he showed him a shiny object. 

Nike of Paeonius

Paeonius (or Paionios) of Mende in Macedonia, was a Greek sculptor of the late 5th century BC.  This sculpture of Nike (circa 420 BC) was discovered at Olympia in 1875, and is known as "Winged Victory".  It has an inscription on the base that indicates it was dedicated to the people of Messenia and Naupactus after a victory in an unnamed conflict, possibly the battle against the Spartans.

East Pediment of Zeus
  The Nike of Paeonius was featured as part of the design of the medals for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and remains on exhibit at the archaeological museum here. 

East Pediment at the Temple of Zeus

Construction began around 572 BC by the Elean Libo and completed about 450 BC. It depicted the chariot race between Pelops and Oenomaos, with Zeus standing between the two teams. This depicts the moment before the race when Oenamaos announces the rules and the two contestants swear an oath.  It was designed by Paeonios. The statues on the East Pediment are said to be: River God Alpheus, Charioteer, Chariot Boy or Observer, Chariot Team, Arkas or a Chariot Boy, Sterope or Hippodameia, Pelops, Zeus, Oenomaos, Hippodameia or Sterope, Old Man, Chariot Team, Seer, Crouching Girl, River God (Kladeos)

West Pediment at the Temple of Zeus

This depicted the fight between Centaurs, who were said to be guests at the wedding of Peirithoos and the Lapithae.

Another shot of West Pediment of Zeus - Thesus attacking the Centaur
  After getting drunk (apparently they had a low tolerance for wine), the Centaurs tried to abduct the bride, Deiameia, as well as other Lapithae women.  The middle of the pediment depicts Apollo, with Peirithoos and Theseus on each side, fighting with the Centaurs.  There has been debate as to the central figure but most agree it was Apollo who is standing there pointing out Eurytion, the Centaur chief who was trying to rape the bride.  This pediment was designed by Alkamenes of Athens.  The statues on the West Pediment are said to be: Group of Lapiths, Deidameia & Centaur, Apollo, Theseus, Eurytion, Lapiths and Centaur, Females in each corner, and Old Woman

Metopes - Temple of Zeus

The metopes around the exterior of the temple of Zeus were left blank, but those within the two porticos of the temple were decorated with the Labors of Herakles.  It was felt he was a good subject for the temple decoration since he was the son of Zeus and great-grandson of Pelops, the founder of the Olympic Games. 

*UNDER CONSTRUCTION*

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Closer view of Hermes with Dionysu…
Closer view of Hermes with Dionys…
Nike of Paionios
Nike of Paionios
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
Another shot of West Pediment of Z…
Another shot of West Pediment of …
Hermes of Praxiteles
Hermes of Praxiteles
Back side of Hermes with Dionysus …
Back side of Hermes with Dionysus…
Different view of Hermes of Praxit…
Different view of Hermes of Praxi…
Nike of Paionios
Nike of Paionios
Another view of Nike of Paionios
Another view of Nike of Paionios
Side view - Poppea (Neros Wife)
Side view - Poppea (Nero's Wife)
Poppaea Sabina (wife of Nero)
Poppaea Sabina (wife of Nero)
Poppea (Neros Wife)
Poppea (Nero's Wife)
Emporer Titus
Emporer Titus
Hadrian Sculpture
Hadrian Sculpture
Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius
Roman bull sculpture
Roman bull sculpture
various pieces of pottery found at…
various pieces of pottery found a…
Zeus and Ganymedes
Zeus and Ganymedes
West Pediment of Zeus
West Pediment of Zeus
Metope - W4 Cretan Bull
Metope - W4 Cretan Bull
East Pediment
East Pediment
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
Metopes: (L)Apples of the Hesperid…
Metopes: (L)Apples of the Hesperi…
Apollo - West Pediment of Temple o…
Apollo - West Pediment of Temple …
West Pediment of Zeus
West Pediment of Zeus
West Pediment of Zeus
West Pediment of Zeus
West Pediment of Zeus - Thesus att…
West Pediment of Zeus - Thesus at…
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
Megarian Treasury Pediment
Megarian Treasury Pediment
Decorative Pediment
Decorative Pediment
Shield and helmet
Shield and helmet
Olympic shield
Olympic shield
Capital
Capital
Another view of Hadrian sculpture
Another view of Hadrian sculpture
West Pediment of Zeus
West Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
East Pediment of Zeus
Apollo - West Pediment of Zeus
Apollo - West Pediment of Zeus
Greek Helmets
Greek Helmets
Olympic shield and helmet
Olympic shield and helmet
96 km (60 miles) traveled
Sponsored Links
Katakolon
photo by: Deehu