Olympia: Cult, Sport, and Ancient Festival

In antiquity, Olympia stood for sports. A victory at the Olympic games led to lifelong honors and often to a political career and wealth. Alexander the Great and other kings and emperors as well as wealthy and powerful men and women financed the games by erecting religious and civic monuments. Numerous ancient sources provide lively reports about Olympia: activities in the sports arenas, the rites of the games, the reactions of the visitors.

Still, many mysteries remain: When and why was the Olympian fire extinguished? Why are there so many arms found in a place that is famous for its Olympian peace? Olympia is situated in the western corner of Greece; why is it filled with oriental art? Some answers can be found in archaeological excavations. The author, Ulrich Sinn, has been responsible for major archaeological work; some of the latest is described in this book for the first time.

Ulrich Sinn (University of Würzburg) directed several major excavations in Olympia and has published numerous works on Olympia and architecture in antiquity.