DESCRIPTION OF GREECE, TRANS. BY W. H. S. JONES
THE TREASURIES OF OLYMPIA
[6.19.1] XIX. There is in the Altis to the north of the Heraeum a terrace of conglomerate, and behind it stretches Mount Cronius. On this terrace are the treasuries, just as at Delphi certain of the Greeks have made treasuries for Apollo. There is at Olympia a treasury called the treasury of the Sicyonians, dedicated by Myron, who was tyrant of Sicyon.
[6.19.2] Myron built it to commemorate a victory in the chariot-race at the thirty-third Festival.45 In the treasury he made two chambers, one Dorian and one in the Ionic style. I saw that they were made of bronze; whether the bronze is Tartessian, as the Eleans declare, I do not know.
[6.19.3] They say that Tartessus is a river in the land of the Iberians, running down into the sea by two mouths, and that between these two mouths lies a city of the same name. The river, which is the largest in Iberia, and tidal, those of a later day called Baetis, and there are some who think that Tartessus was the ancient name of Carpia, a city of the Iberians.
[6.19.4] On the smaller of the chambers at Olympia are inscriptions, which inform us that the weight of the bronze is five hundred talents, and that the dedicators were Myron and the Sicyonian people. In this chamber are kept three quoits, being used for the contest of the pentathlum. There is also a bronze-plated shield, adorned with paintings on the inner side, and along with the shield are a helmet and greaves. An inscription on the armour says that they were dedicated by the Myanians as first-fruits to Zeus. Various conjectures have been made as to who these Myanians were.
[6.19.5] I happened to remember that Thucydides46 in his history mentions various cities of the Locrians near Phocis, and among them the Myonians. So the Myanians on the shield are in my opinion the same folk as the Myonians on the Locrian mainland. The letters on the shield are a little distorted, a fault due to the antiquity of the votive offering.
[6.19.6] There are placed here other offerings worthy to be recorded, the sword of Pelops with its hilt of gold, and the ivory horn of Amaltheia, an offering of Miltiades the son of Cimon, who was the first of his house to rule in the Thracian Chersonesus. On the horn is an inscription in old Attic characters:–
To Olympian Zeus was I dedicated by the men of Chersonesus
After they had taken the fortress of Aratus.
Their leader was Miltiades.
There stands also a box-wood image of Apollo with its head plated with gold. The inscription says that it was dedicated by the Locrians who live near the Western Cape, and that the artist was Patrocles of Crotona, the son of Catillus.
[6.19.7] Next to the treasury of the Sicyonians is the treasury of the Carthaginians, the work of Pothaeus, Antiphilus and Megacles. In it are votive offerings – a huge image of Zeus and three linen breast-plates, dedicated by Gelo and the Syracusans after overcoming the Phoenicians in either a naval or a land battle.
[6.19.8] The third of the treasuries, and the fourth as well, were dedicated by the Epidamnians . . . It shows the heavens upheld by Atlas, and also Heracles and the apple-tree of the Hesperides, with the snake coiled round the apple-tree. These too are of cedar-wood, and are works of Theocles, son of Hegylus. The inscription on the heavens says that his son helped him to make it. The Hesperides (they were removed by the Eleans) were even in my time in the Heraeum; the treasury was made for the Epidamnians by Pyrrhus and his sons Lacrates and Hermon.
[6.19.9] The Sybarites too built a treasury adjoining that of the Byzantines. Those who have studied the history of Italy and of the Italian cities say that Lupiae, situated between Brundusium and Hydrus, has changed its name, and was Sybaris in ancient times. The harbor is artificial, being a work of the emperor Hadrian.
[6.19.10] Near the treasury of the Sybarites is the treasury of the Libyans of Cyrene. In it stand statues of Roman emperors. Selinus in Sicily was destroyed by the Carthaginians in a war, but before the disaster befell them the citizens made a treasury dedicated to Zeus of Olympia. There stands in it an image of Dionysus with face, feet and hands of ivory.
[6.19.11] In the treasury of the Metapontines, which adjoins that of the Selinuntians, stands an Endymion; it too is of ivory except the drapery. How it came about that the Metapontines were destroyed I do not know, but to-day nothing is left of Metapontum but the theater and the circuit of the walls.
[6.19.12] The Megarians who are neighbors of Attica built a treasury and dedicated in it offerings, small cedar-wood figures inlaid with gold, representing the fight of Heracles with Achelous. The figures include Zeus, Deianeira, Achelous, Heracles, and Ares helping Achelous. There once stood here an image of Athena, as being an ally of Heracles, but it now stands by the Hesperides in the Heraeum.
[6.19.13] On the pediment of the treasury is carved the war of the giants and the gods, and above the pediment is dedicated a shield, the inscription declaring that the Megarians dedicated the treasury from spoils taken from the Corinthians. I think that the Megarians won this victory when Phorbas, who held a life office, was archon at Athens. At this time Athenian offices were not yet annual, nor had the Eleans begun to record the Olympiads.
[6.19.14] The Argives are said to have helped the Megarians in the engagement with the Corinthians. The treasury at Olympia was made by the Megarians years47 after the battle, but it is to be supposed that they had the offerings from of old, seeing that they were made by the Lacedaemonian Dontas, a pupil of Dipoenus and Scyllis.
[6.19.15] The last of the treasuries is right by the stadium, the inscription stating that the treasury, and the images in it,were dedicated by the people of Gela. The images, however, are no longer there.
OTHER SHRINES AT OLYMPIA
[6.20.1] XX. Mount Cronius, as I have already said, extends parallel to the terrace with the treasuries on it. On the summit of the mountain the Basilae, as they are called, sacrifice to Cronus at the spring equinox, in the month called Elaphius among the Eleans.
[6.20.2] At the foot of Mount Cronius, on the north . . . ,48 between the treasuries and the mountain, is a sanctuary of Eileithyia, and in it Sosipolis,49 a native Elean deity, is worshipped. Now they surname Eileithyia Olympian, and choose a priestess for the goddess every year. The old woman who tends Sosipolis herself too by an Elean custom lives in chastity, bringing water for the god's bath and setting before him barley cakes kneaded with honey.
[6.20.3] In the front part of the temple, for it is built in two parts, is an altar of Eileithyia and an entrance for the public; in the inner Part Sosipolis is worshipped, and no one may enter it except the woman who tends the god, and she must wrap her head and face in a white veil. Maidens and matrons wait in the sanctuary of Eileithyia chanting a hymn; they burn all manner of incense to the god, but it is not the custom to pour libations of wine. An oath is taken by Sosipolis on the most important occasions.
[6.20.4] The story is that when the Arcadians had invaded the land of Elis, and the Eleans were set in array against them, a woman came to the Elean generals, holding a baby to her breast, who said that she was the mother of the child but that she gave him, because of dreams, to fight for the Eleans. The Elean officers believed that the woman was to be trusted, and placed the child before the army naked.
[6.20.5] When the Arcadians came on, the child turned at once into a snake. Thrown into disorder at the sight, the Arcadians turned and fled, and were attacked by the Eleans, who won a very famous victory, and so call the god Sosipolis. On the spot where after the battle the snake seemed to them to go into the ground they made the sanctuary. With him the Eleans resolved to worship Eileithyia also, because this goddess to help them brought her son forth unto men.
[6.20.6] The tomb of the Arcadians who were killed in the battle is on the hill across the Cladeus to the west. Near to the sanctuary of Eileithyia are the remains of the sanctuary of Heavenly Aphrodite, and there too they sacrifice upon the altars.
THE STADIUMS OF OLYMPIA
[6.20.7] There is within the Altis by the processional entrance the Hippodameium, as it is called, about a quarter of an acre of ground surrounded by a wall. Into it once every year the women may enter, who sacrifice to Hippodameia, and do her honor in other ways. The story is that Hippodameia withdrew to Midea in Argolis, because Pelops was very angry with her over the death of Chrysippus. The Eleans declare that subsequently, because of an oracle, they brought the bones of Hippodameia to Olympia.
[6.20.8] At the end of the statues which they made from the fines levied on athletes, there is the entrance called the Hidden Entrance. Through it umpires and competitors are wont to enter the stadium. Now the stadium is an embankment of earth, and on it is a seat for the presidents of the games. Opposite the umpires is an altar of white marble;
[6.20.9] seated on this altar a woman looks on at the Olympic games, the priestess of Demeter Chamyne, which office the Eleans bestow from time to time on different women. Maidens are not debarred from looking on at the games. At the end of the stadium, where is the starting-place for the runners, there is, the Eleans say, the tomb of Endymion.
[6.20.10] When you have passed beyond the stadium, at the point where the umpires sit, is a place set apart for the horse-races, and also the starting-place for the horses. The starting-place is in the shape of the prow of a ship, and its prow is turned towards the course. At the point where the prow adjoins the porch of Agnaptus it broadens and a bronze dolphin on a rod has been made at the very point of the ram.
[6.20.11] Each side of the starting-place is more than four hundred feet in length, and in the sides are built stalls. These stalls are assigned by lot to those who enter for the races. Before the chariots or race-horses is stretched a cord as a barrier. An altar of unburnt brick, plastered on the outside, is made at every Festival as near as possible to the center of the prow,
[6.20.12] and a bronze eagle stands on the altar with his wings stretched out to the fullest extent. The man appointed to start the racing sets in motion the mechanism in the altar, and then the eagle has been made to jump upwards, so as to become visible to the spectators, while the dolphin falls to the ground.
[6.20.13] First on either side the barriers are withdrawn by the porch of Agnaptus, and the horses standing thereby run off first. As they run they reach those to whom the second station has been allotted, and then are withdrawn the barriers at the second station. The same thing happens to all the horses in turn, until at the ram of the prow they are all abreast. After this it is left to the charioteers to display their skill and the horses their speed.
[6.20.14] It was Cleoetas who originally devised the method of starting, and he appears to have been proud of the discovery, as on the statue at Athens he wrote the inscription:–
Who first invented the method of starting the horses at Olympia,
He made me, Cleoetas the son of Aristocles.
It is said that after Cleoetas some further device was added to the mechanism by Aristeides.
[6.20.15] The race-course has one side longer than the other, and on the longer side, which is a bank, there stands, at the passage through the bank, Taraxippus, the terror of the horses. It has the shape of a round altar, and as they run along the horses are seized, as soon as they reach this point, by a great fear without any apparent reason. The fear leads to disorder; the chariots generally crash and the charioteers are injured. Consequently the charioteers offer sacrifice, and pray that Taraxippus may show himself propitious to them.
[6.20.16] The Greeks differ in their view of Taraxippus. Some hold that it is the tomb of an original inhabitant who was skilled in horsemanship; they call him Olenius, and say that after him was named the Olenian rock in the land of Elis. Others say that Dameon, son of Phlius, who took part in the expedition of Heracles against Augeas and the Eleans, was killed along with his charger by Cteatus the son of Actor, and that man and horse were buried in the same tomb.
[6.20.17] There is also a story that Pelops made here an empty mound in honor of Myrtilus, and sacrificed to him in an effort to calm the anger of the murdered man, naming the mound50 Taraxippus (Frightener of horses) because the mares of Oenomaus were frightened by the trick of Myrtilus. Some say that it is Oenomaus himself who harms the racers in the course. I have also heard some attach the blame to Alcathus, the son of Porthaon. Killed by Oenomaus because he wooed Hippodameia, Alcathus, they say, here got his portion of earth; having been unsuccessful on the course, he is a spiteful and hostile deity to chariot-drivers.
[6.20.18] A man of Egypt said that Pelops received something from Amphion the Theban and buried it where is what they call Taraxippus, adding that it was the buried thing which frightened the mares of Oenomaus, as well as those of every charioteer since. This Egyptian thought that Amphion and the Thracian Orpheus were clever magicians, and that it was through their enchantments that the beasts came to Orpheus, and the stones came to Amphion for the building of the wall. The most probable of the stories in my opinion makes Taraxippus a surname of Horse Poseidon.
[6.20.19] There is another Taraxippus at the Isthmus, namely Glaucus, the son of Sisyphus. They say that he was killed by his horses, when Acastus held his contests in honor of his father. At Nemea of the Argives there was no hero who harmed the horses, but above the turning-point of the chariots rose a rock, red in color, and the flash from it terrified the horses, just as though it had been fire. But the Taraxippus at Olympia is much worse for terrifying the horses. On one turning-post is a bronze statue of Hippodameia carrying a ribbon, and about to crown Pelops with it for his victory.
OTHER SHRINES & THE GYMNASIUM AT OLYMPIA
[6.21.1] XXI. The other side of the course is not a bank of earth but a low hill. At the foot of the hill has been built a sanctuary to Demeter surnamed Chamyne. Some are of opinion that the name is old, signifying that here the earth gaped51 for the chariot of Hades and then closed up52 once more. Others say that Chamynus was a man of Pisa who opposed Pantaleon, the son of Omphalion and despot at Pisa, when he plotted to revolt from Elis; Pantaleon, they say, put him to death, and from his property was built the sanctuary to Demeter.
[6.21.2] In place of the old images of the Maid and of Demeter new ones of Pentelic marble were dedicated by Herodes the Athenian.
In the gymnasium at Olympia it is customary for pentathletes and runners to practise, and in the open has been made a basement of stone. Originally there stood on the basement a trophy to commemorate a victory over the Arcadians. There is also another enclosure, less than this, to the left of the entrance to the gymnasium, and the athletes have their wrestling-schools here. Adjoining the wall of the eastern porch of the gymnasium are the dwellings of the athletes, turned towards the southwest.
[6.21.3] On the other side of the Cladeus is the grave of Oenomaus, a mound of earth with a stone wall built round it, and above the tomb are ruins of buildings in which Oenomaus is said to have stabled his mares.
SAURUS RIDGE & RIVER ERYMANTHUS
The boundaries which now separate Arcadia and Elis originally separated Arcadia from Pisa, and are thus situated. On crossing the river Erymanthus at what is called the ridge of Saurus are the tomb of Saurus and a sanctuary of Heracles, now in ruins. The story is that Saurus used to do mischief to travellers and to dwellers in the neighborhood until he received his punishment at the hands of Heracles.
[6.21.4] At this ridge which has the same name as the robber, a river, falling into the Alpheius from the south, just opposite the Erymanthus, is the boundary between the land of Pisa and Arcadia; it is called the Diagon. Forty stades beyond the ridge of Saurus is a temple of Asclepius, surnamed Demaenetus after the founder. It too is in ruins. It was built on the height beside the Alpheius.
[6.21.5] Not far from it is a sanctuary of Dionysus Leucyanites, whereby flows a river Leucyanias. This river too is a tributary of the Alpheius; it descends from Mount Pholoe. Crossing the Alpheius after it you will be within the land of Pisa.
PHRIXA & RIVER PARTHENIA
[6.21.6] In this district is a hill rising to a sharp peak, on which are the ruins of the city of Phrixa, as well as a temple of Athena surnamed Cydonian. This temple is not entire, but the altar is still there. The sanctuary was founded for the goddess, they say, by Clymenus, a descendant of Idaean Heracles, and he came from Cydonia in Crete and from the river Jardanus. The Eleans say that Pelops too sacrificed to Cydonian Athena before he set about his contest with Oenomaus.
[6.21.7] Going on from this point you come to the water of Parthenia, and by the river is the grave of the mares of Marmax. The story has it that this Marmax was the first suitor of Hippodameia to arrive, and that he was killed by Oenomaus before the others; that the names of his mares were Parthenia and Eripha; that Oenomaus slew the mares after Marmax, but granted burial to them also, and that the river received the name Parthenia from the mare of Marmax.
HARPINA & PISA
[6.21.8] There is another river called Harpinates, and not far from the river are, among the other ruins of a city Harpina, its altars. The city was founded, they say, by Oenomaus, who named it after his mother Harpina.
[6.21.9] A little farther on is a high mound of earth, the grave of the suitors of Hippodameia. Now Oenomaus, they say, laid them in the ground near one another with no token of respect. But afterwards Pelops raised a high monument to them all, to honor them and to please Hippodamaeia. I think too that Pelops wanted a memorial to tell posterity the number and character of the men vanquished by Oenomaus before Pelops himself conquered him.
[6.21.10] According to the epic poem called the Great Eoeae the next after Marmax to be killed by Oenomaus was Alcathus, son of Porthaon; after Alcathus came Euryalus, Eurymachus and Crotalus. Now the parents and fatherlands of these I was unable to discover, but Acrias, the next after them to be killed, one might guess to have been a Lacedaemonian and the founder of Acriae. After Acrias they say that Oenomaus slew Capetus, Lycurgus, Lasius, Chalcodon and Tricolonus, who, according to the Arcadians, was the descendant and namesake of Tricolonus, the son of Lycaon.
[6.21.11] After Tricolonus there met their fate in the race Aristomachus and Prias, and then Pelagon, Aeolius and Cronius. Some add to the aforesaid Erythras, the son of Leucon, the son of Athamas, after whom was named Erythrae in Boeotia, and Eioneus, the son of Magnes the son of Aeolus. These are the men whose monument is here, and Pelops, they say, sacrificed every year to them as heroes, when he had won the sovereignty of Pisa.
[6.22.1] XXII. Going forward about a stade from the grave one sees traces of a sanctuary of Artemis, surnamed Cordax because the followers of Pelops celebrated their victory by the side of this goddess and danced the cordax, a dance peculiar to the dwellers round Mount Sipylus. Not far from the sanctuary is a small building containing a bronze chest, in which are kept the bones of Pelops. Of the wall and of the rest of the building there were no remains, but vines were planted over all the district where Pisa stood.
[6.22.2] The founder of the city, they say, was Pisus, the son of Perieres, the son of Aeolus. The people of Pisa brought of themselves disaster on their own heads by their hostility to the Eleans, and by their keenness to preside over the Olympic games instead of them. At the eighth Festival53 they brought in Pheidon of Argos, the most overbearing of the Greek tyrants, and held the games along with him, while at the thirty-fourth Festival54 the people of Pisa, with their king Pantaleon the son of Omphalion, collected an army from the neighborhood, and held the Olympic games instead of the Eleans.
[6.22.3] These Festivals, as well as the hundred and fourth,55 which was held by the Arcadians, are called “Non-Olympiads” by the Eleans, who do not include them in a list of Olympiads. At the forty-eighth Festival,56 Damophon the son of Pantaleon gave the Eleans reasons for suspecting that he was intriguing against them, but when they invaded the land of Pisa with an army he persuaded them by prayers and oaths to return quietly home again.
[6.22.4] When Pyrrhus, the son of Pantaleon, succeeded his brother Damophon as king, the people of Pisa of their own accord made war against Elis, and were joined in their revolt from the Eleans by the people of Macistus and Scillus, which are in Triphylia, and by the people of Dyspontium, another vassal community. The list were closely related to the people of Pisa, and it was a tradition of theirs that their founder had been Dysponteus the son of Oenomaus. It was the fate of Pisa, and of all her allies, to be destroyed by the Eleans.
[6.22.5] Of Pylus in the land of' Elis the ruins are to be seen on the mountain road from Olympia to Elis, the distance between Elis and Pylus being eighty stades. This Pylus was founded, as I have already said,57 by a Megarian called Pylon, the son of Cleson. Destroyed by Heracles and refounded by the Eleans, the city was doomed in time to be without inhabitants. Beside it the river Ladon flows into the Peneius.
[6.22.6] The Eleans declare that there is a reference to this Pylus in the passage of Homer:–
And he was descended from the river
Alpheius, that in broad stream flows through the land of the Pylians. Hom. Il. 5.544
The Eleans convinced me that they are right. For the Alpheius does flow through this district, and the passage cannot refer to another Pylus. For the land of the Pylians over against the island Sphacteria simply cannot in the nature of things be crossed by the Alpheius, and, moreover, we know of no city in Arcadia named Pylus.
THE RIVER CYTHERUS
[6.22.7] Distant from Olympia about fifty stades is Heracleia, a village of the Eleans, and beside it is a river Cytherus. A spring flows into the river, and there is a sanctuary of nymphs near the spring. Individually the names of the nymphs are Calliphaeia, Synallasis, Pegaea and Iasis, but their common surname is the Ionides. Those who bathe in the spring are cured of all sorts of aches and pains. They say that the nymphs are named after Ion, the son of Gargettus, who migrated to this place from Athens.
[6.22.8] If you wish to go to Elis through the plain, you will travel one hundred and twenty stades to Letrini, and one hundred and eighty from Letrini to Elis. Originally Letrini was a town, and Letreus the son of Pelops was its founder; but in my time were left a few buildings, with an image of Artemis Alpheiaea in a temple.
[6.22.9] Legend has it that the goddess received the surname for the following reason. Alpheius fell in love with Artemis, and then, realizing that persuasive entreaties would not win the goddess as his bride, he dared to plot violence against her. Artemis was holding at Letrini an all-night revel with the nymphs who were her playmates, and to it came Alpheius. But Artemis had a suspicion of the plot of Alpheius, and smeared with mud her own face and the faces of the nymphs with her. So Alpheius, when he joined the throng, could not distinguish Artemis from the others, and, not being able to pick her out, went away without bringing off his attempt.
[6.22.10] The people of Letrini called the goddess Alpheian because of the love of Alpheius for her. But the Eleans, who from the first had been friends of Letrini, transferred to that city the worship of Artemis Elaphiaea established amongst themselves, and held that they were worshipping Artemis Alpheiaea, and so in time the Alpheiaean goddess came to be named Elaphiaea.
[6.22.11] The Eleans, I think, called Artemis Elaphiaea from the hunting of the deer (elaphos). But they themselves say that Elaphius was the name of a native woman by whom Artemis was reared. About six stades distant from Letrini is a lake that never dries up, being just about three stades across.
[6.23.1] XXIII. One of the noteworthy things in Elis is an old gymnasium. In this gymnasium the athletes are wont to go through the training through which they must pass before going to Olympia. High plane-trees grow between the tracks inside a wall. The whole of this enclosure is called Xystus, because an exercise of Heracles, the son of Amphitryo, was to scrape up (anaxuein) each day all the thistles that grew there.
[6.23.2] The track for the competing runners, called by the natives the Sacred Track, is separate from that on which the runners and pentathletes practise. In the gymnasium is the place called Plethrium. In it the umpires match the competitors according to age and skill; it is for wrestling that they match them.
[6.23.3] There are also in the gymnasium altars of the gods, of Idaean Heracles, surnamed Comrade, of Love, of the deity called by Eleans and Athenians alike Love Returned, of Demeter and of her daughter. Achilles has no altar, only a cenotaph raised to him because of an oracle. On an appointed day at the beginning of the festival, when the course of the sun is sinking towards the west, the Elean women do honor to Achilles, especially by bewailing him.
[6.23.4] There is another enclosed gymnasium, but smaller, adjoining the larger one and called Square because of its shape. Here the athletes practise wrestling, and here, when they have no more wrestling to do, they are matched in contests with the softer gloves. There is also dedicated here one of the images made in honor of Zeus out of the fines imposed upon Sosander of Smyrna and upon Polyctor of Elis.
[6.23.5] There is also a third enclosed gymnasium, called Maltho from the softness of its floor, and reserved for the youths for the whole time of the festival. In a corner of the Maltho is a bust of Heracles as far as the shoulders, and in one of the wrestling-schools is a relief showing Love and Love Returned, as he is called. Love holds a palm-branch, and Love Returned is trying to take the palm from him.
[6.23.6] On each side of the entrance to the Maltho stands an image of a boy boxer. He was by birth, so the Guardian of the Laws at Elis told me, from Alexandria over against the island Pharos, and his name was Sarapion; arriving at Elis when the townsfolk were suffering from famine he supplied them with food. For this reason these honors were paid him here. The time of his crown at Olympia and of his benefaction to the Eleans was the two hundred and seventeenth Festival.58
[6.23.7] In this gymnasium is also the Elean Council House, where take place exhibitions of extempore speeches and recitations of written works of all kinds. It is called Lalichmium, after the man who dedicated it. About it are dedicated shields, which are for show and not made to be used in war.
[6.23.8] The way from the gymnasium to the baths passes through the Street of Silence and beside the sanctuary of Artemis Philomeirax. The goddess is so surnamed because she is neighbor to the gymnasium; the street received, they say, the name of Silence for the following reason. Men of the army of Oxylus were sent to spy out what was happening in Elis. On the way they exhorted each other, when they should be near the wall, themselves to keep a strict silence, but to listen attentively if perchance they might learn aught from the people in the town. These men by this street reached the town unobserved, and after hearing all they wished they went back again to the Aetolians. So the street received its name from the silence of the spies.
[6.24.1] XXIV. One of the two ways from the gymnasium leads to the market-place, and to what is called the Umpires' Room; it is above the grave of Achilles, and by it the umpires are wont to go to the gymnasium. They enter before sunrise to match the runners, and at midday for the pentathlum and for such contests as are called heavy.
[6.24.2] The market-place of Elis is not after the fashion of the cities of Ionia and of the Greek cities near Ionia; it is built in the older manner, with porticoes separated from each other and with streets through them. The modern name of the market-place is Hippodromus, and the natives train their horses there. Of the porticoes the southern is in the Doric style, and it is divided by the pillars into three parts. In it the umpires generally spend the day.
[6.24.3] At the pillars they also cause altars to be made to Zeus, and in the open market-place are the altars, in number not many; for, their construction being improvised, they are without difficulty taken to pieces. As you enter the market-place at this portico the Umpires' Room is on your left, parallel to the end of the portico. What separates it from the market-place is a street. In this Umpires' Room dwell for ten consecutive months the umpires elect, who are instructed by the Guardians of the Law as to their duties at the festival.
[6.24.4] Near to the portico where the umpires pass the day is another portico, between the two being one street. The Eleans call it the Corcyrean, because, they say, the Corcyreans landed in their country and carried off part of the booty, but they themselves took many times as much booty from the land of the Corcyreans, and built the portico from the tithe of the spoils.
[6.24.5] The portico is in the Doric style and double, having its pillars both on the side towards the market-place and on the side away from it. Down the center of it the roof is supported, not by pillars, but by a wall, beside which on either side have been dedicated statues. On the side of the portico towards the market-place stands a statue of Pyrrhon, son of Pistocrates, a sophist who never brought himself to make a definite admission on any matter. The tomb also of Pyrrhon is not far from the town of the Eleans. The name of the place is Petra, and it is said that Petra was a township in ancient times.
[6.24.6] The most notable things that the Eleans have in the open part of the market-place are a temple and image of Apollo Healer. The meaning of the name would appear to be exactly the same as that of Averter of Evil, the name current among the Athenians. In another part are the stone images of the sun and of the moon; from the head of the moon project horns, from the head of the sun, his rays. There is also a sanctuary to the Graces; the images are of wood, with their clothes gilded, while their faces, hands and feet are of white marble. One of them holds a rose, the middle one a die, and the third a small branch of myrtle.
[6.24.7] The reason for their holding these things may be guessed to be this. The rose and the myrtle are sacred to Aphrodite and connected with the story of Adonis, while the Graces are of all deities the nearest related to Aphrodite. As for the die, it is the plaything of youths and maidens, who have nothing of the ugliness of old age. On the right of the Graces is an image of Love, standing on the same pedestal.
[6.24.8] Here there is also a temple of Silenus, which is sacred to Silenus alone, and not to him in common with Dionysus. Drunkenness is offering him wine in a cup. That the Silenuses are a mortal race you may infer especially from their graves, for there is a tomb of a Silenus in the land of the Hebrews, and of another at Pergamus.
[6.24.9] In the market-place of Elis I saw something else, a low structure in the form of a temple. It has no walls, the roof being supported by pillars made of oak. The natives agree that it is a tomb, but they do not remember whose it is. If the old man I asked spoke the truth, it would be the tomb of Oxylus.
[6.24.10] There is also in the market-place a building for the women called the Sixteen, where they weave the robe for Hera.
Adjoining the market-place is an old temple surrounded by pillars; the roof has fallen down, and I found no image in the temple. It is dedicated to the Roman emperors.
[6.25.1] XXV. Behind the portico built from the spoils of Corcyra is a temple of Aphrodite, the precinct being in the open, not far from the temple. The goddess in the temple they call Heavenly; she is of ivory and gold, the work of Pheidias, and she stands with one foot upon a tortoise. The precinct of the other Aphrodite is surrounded by a wall, and within the precinct has been made a basement, upon which sits a bronze image of Aphrodite upon a bronze he-goat. It is a work of Scopas, and the Aphrodite is named Common. The meaning of the tortoise and of the he-goat I leave to those who care to guess.
[6.25.2] The sacred enclosure of Hades and its temple (for the Eleans have these among their possessions) are opened once every year, but not even on this occasion is anybody permitted to enter except the priest. The following is the reason why the Eleans worship Hades; they are the only men we know of so to do. It is said that, when Heracles was leading an expedition against Pylus in Elis, Athena was one of his allies. Now among those who came to fight on the side of the Pylians was Hades, who was the foe of Heracles but was worshipped at Pylus.
[6.25.3] Homer is quoted in support of the story, who says in the Iliad:–
And among them huge Hades suffered a wound from a swift arrow,
When the same man, the son of aegis-bearing Zeus,
Hit him in Pylus among the dead, and gave him over to pains. Hom. Il. 5.395-397
If in the expedition of Agamemnon and Menelaus against Troy Poseidon was according to Homer an ally of the Greeks, it cannot be unnatural for the same poet to hold that Hades helped the Pylians. At any rate it was in the belief that the god was their friend but the enemy of Heracles that the Eleans made the sanctuary for him. The reason why they are wont to open it only once each year is, I suppose, because men too go down only once to Hades.
[6.25.4] The Eleans have also a sanctuary of Fortune. In a portico of the sanctuary has been dedicated a colossal image, made of gilded wood except the face, hands and feet, which are of white marble. Here Sosipolis too is worshipped in a small shrine on the left of the sanctuary of Fortune. The god is painted according to his appearance in a dream: in age a boy, wrapped in a star-spangled robe, and in one hand holding the horn of Amaltheia.
[6.25.5] In the most thickly-populated part of Elis is a statue of bronze no taller than a tall man; it represents a beardless youth with his legs crossed, leaning with both hands upon a spear. They cast about it a garment of wool, one of flax and one of fine linen.
[6.25.6] This image was said to be of Poseidon, and to have been worshipped in ancient times at Samicum in Triphylia. Transferred to Elis it received still greater honor, but the Eleans call it Satrap and not Poseidon, having learned the name Satrap, which is a surname of Corybas, after the enlargement of Patrae.
[6.26.1] XXVI. Between the market-place and the Menius is an old theater and a shrine of Dionysus. The image is the work of Praxiteles. Of the gods the Eleans worship Dionysus with the greatest reverence, and they assert that the god attends their festival, the Thyia. The place where they hold the festival they name the Thyia is about eight stades from the city. Three pots are brought into the building by the priests and set down empty in the presence of the citizens and of any strangers who may chance to be in the country. The doors of the building are sealed by the priests themselves and by any others who may be so inclined.
[6.26.2] On the morrow they are allowed to examine the seals, and on going into the building they find the pots filled with wine. I did not myself arrive at the time of the festival, but the most respected Elean citizens, and with them strangers also, swore that what I have said is the truth. The Andrians too assert that every other year at their feast of Dionysus wine flows of its own accord from the sanctuary. If the Greeks are to be believed in these matters, one might with equal reason accept what the Ethiopians above Syene say about the table of the sun.59
[6.26.3] On the Acropolis of the Eleans is a sanctuary of Athena. The image is of ivory and gold. They say that the goddess is the work of Pheidias. On her helmet is an image of a cock, this bird being very ready to fight. The bird might also be considered as sacred to Athena the worker.
[6.26.4] Cyllene is one hundred and twenty stades distant from Elis; it faces Sicily and affords ships a suitable anchorage. It is the port of Elis, and received its name from a man of Arcadia. Homer does not mention Cyllene in the list of the Eleans, but in a later part of the poem he has shown that Cyllene was one of the towns he knew.
Pulydamas stripped Otus of Cyllene,
Comrade of Phyleides and ruler of the great-souled Epeans. Hom. Il. 15.518
In Cyllene is a sanctuary of Asclepius, and one of Aphrodite. But the image of Hermes, most devoutly worshipped by the inhabitants, is merely the male member upright on the pedestal.
[6.26.6] The land of Elis is fruitful, being especially suited to the growth of fine flax. Now while hemp and flax, both the ordinary and the fine variety, are sown by those whose soil is suited to grow it, the threads from which the Seres make the dresses are produced from no bark, but in a different way as follows. There is in the land of the Seres an insect which the Greeks call ser, though the Seres themselves give it another name.
[6.26.7] Its size is twice that of the largest beetle, but in other respects it is like the spiders that spin under trees, and furthermore it has, like the spider, eight feet. These creatures are reared by the Seres, who build them houses adapted for winter and for summer. The product of the creatures, a clue of fine thread, is found rolled round their feet.
[6.26.8] They keep them for four years, feeding them on millet, but in the fifth year, knowing that they have no longer to live, they give them green reed to eat. This of all foods the creature likes best; so it stuffs itself with the reed till it bursts with surfeit, and after it has thus died they find inside it the greater part of the thread. Seria is known to be an island lying in a recess of the Red Sea.
[6.26.9] But I have heard that it is not the Red Sea, but a river called Ser, that makes this island, just as in Egypt the Delta is surrounded by the Nile and by no sea. Such another island is Seria said to be. These Seres themselves are of Aethiopian race, as are the inhabitants of the neighboring islands, Abasa and Sacaea. Some say, however, that they are not Ethiopians but a mongrel race of Scythians and Indians.
THE RIVER LARISUS
[6.26.10] Such are the accounts that are given. As you go from Elis to Achaia you come after one hundred and fifty-seven stades to the river Larisus, and in modern days this river forms the boundary between Elis and Achaia, though of old the boundary was Cape Araxus on the coast.
45. 648 B.C.
46. Thuc. 3.101
47. The Greek scarcely allows of this meaning. Some numeral, or adjective, seems to have fallen out.
48. Some genitive seems to have fallen out here. tou Hêraiou and tês Alteôs have been suggested. Other conjectures are: (1) to insert teichos after arkton, to read Altin for arkton.
49. “Saviour of the State.”
50. Or, “him.”
53. 748 B.C.
54. 644 B.C.
55. 364 B.C.
56. 588 B.C.
57. Paus. 4.36.1
58. A.D. 88
59. See Paus. 1.33.4