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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10496
Strabo, Geography, 8.3.2


nanWhat is now the city of Elis had not yet been founded in Homer's time; in fact, the people of the country lived only in villages. And the country was called Coele Elis from the fact in the case, for the most and best of it was Coele. It was only relatively late, after the Persian wars, that people came together from many communities into what is now the city of Elis. And I might almost say that, with only a few exceptions, the other Peloponnesian places named by the poet were also named by him, not as cities, but as countries, each country being composed of several communities, from which in later times the well-known cities were settled. For instance, in Arcadia, Mantineia was settled by Argive colonists from five communities; and Tegea from nine; and also Heraea from nine, either by Cleombrotus or by Cleonymus. And in the same way the city Aegium was made up of seven or eight communities; the city Patrae of seven; and the city Dyme of eight. And in this way the city Elis was also made up of the communities of the surrounding country (one of these . . . the Agriades). The Peneius River flows through the city past the gymnasium. And the Eleians did not make this gymnasium until a long time after the districts that were under Nestor had passed into their possession.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

4 results
1. Herodotus, Histories, 9.33.1 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

9.33.1. On the second day after they had all been arrayed according to their nations and their battalions, both armies offered sacrifice. It was Tisamenus who sacrificed for the Greeks, for he was with their army as a diviner; he was an Elean by birth, a Clytiad of the Iamid clan, and the Lacedaemonians gave him the freedom of their city.
2. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 11.54.1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

11.54.1.  When Praxigerus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Aulus Verginius Tricostus and Gaius Servilius Structus. At this time the Eleians, who dwelt in many small cities, united to form one state which is known as Elis.
3. Strabo, Geography, 8.3.30 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

8.3.30. It remains for me to tell about Olympia, and how everything fell into the hands of the Eleians. The sanctuary is in Pisatis, less than three hundred stadia distant from Elis. In front of the sanctuary is situated a grove of wild olive trees, and the stadium is in this grove. Past the sanctuary flows the Alpheius, which, rising in Arcadia, flows between the west and the south into the Triphylian Sea. At the outset the sanctuary got fame on account of the oracle of the Olympian Zeus; and yet, after the oracle failed to respond, the glory of the sanctuary persisted none the less, and it received all that increase of fame of which we know, on account both of the festal assembly and of the Olympian Games, in which the prize was a crown and which were regarded as sacred, the greatest games in the world. The sanctuary was adorned by its numerous offerings, which were dedicated there from all parts of Greece. Among these was the Zeus of beaten gold dedicated by Cypselus the tyrant of Corinth. But the greatest of these was the image of Zeus made by Pheidias of Athens, son of Charmides; it was made of ivory, and it was so large that, although the temple was very large, the artist is thought to have missed the proper symmetry, for he showed Zeus seated but almost touching the roof with his head, thus making the impression that if Zeus arose and stood erect he would unroof the temple. Certain writers have recorded the measurements of the image, and Callimachus has set them forth in an iambic poem. Panaenus the painter, who was the nephew and collaborator of Pheidias, helped him greatly in decorating the image, particularly the garments, with colors. And many wonderful paintings, works of Panaenus, are also to be seen round the temple. It is related of Pheidias that, when Panaenus asked him after what model he was going to make the likeness of Zeus, he replied that he was going to make it after the likeness set forth by Homer in these words: Cronion spoke, and nodded assent with his dark brows, and then the ambrosial locks flowed streaming from the lord's immortal head, and he caused great Olympus to quake. A noble description indeed, as appears not only from the brows but from the other details in the passage, because the poet provokes our imagination to conceive the picture of a mighty personage and a mighty power worthy of a Zeus, just as he does in the case of Hera, at the same time preserving what is appropriate in each; for of Hera he says, she shook herself upon the throne, and caused lofty Olympus to quake. What in her case occurred when she moved her whole body, resulted in the case of Zeus when he merely nodded with his brows, although his hair too was somewhat affected at the same time. This, too, is a graceful saying about the poet, that he alone has seen, or else he alone has shown, the likenesses of the gods. The Eleians above all others are to be credited both with the magnificence of the sanctuary and with the honor in which it was held. In the times of the Trojan war, it is true, or even before those times, they were not a prosperous people, since they had been humbled by the Pylians, and also, later on, by Heracles when Augeas their king was overthrown. The evidence is this: The Eleians sent only forty ships to Troy, whereas the Pylians and Nestor sent ninety. But later on, after the return of the Heracleidae, the contrary was the case, for the Aitolians, having returned with the Heracleidae under the leadership of Oxylus, and on the strength of ancient kinship having taken up their abode with the Epeians, enlarged Coele Elis, and not only seized much of Pisatis but also got Olympia under their power. What is more, the Olympian Games are an invention of theirs; and it was they who celebrated the first Olympiads, for one should disregard the ancient stories both of the founding of the sanctuary and of the establishment of the games — some alleging that it was Heracles, one of the Idaean Dactyli, who was the originator of both, and others, that it was Heracles the son of Alcmene and Zeus, who also was the first to contend in the games and win the victory; for such stories are told in many ways, and not much faith is to be put in them. It is nearer the truth to say that from the first Olympiad, in which the Eleian Coroebus won the stadium-race, until the twenty-sixth Olympiad, the Eleians had charge both of the sanctuary and of the games. But in the times of the Trojan War, either there were no games in which the prize was a crown or else they were not famous, neither the Olympian nor any other of those that are now famous. In the first place, Homer does not mention any of these, though he mentions another kind — funeral games. And yet some think that he mentions the Olympian Games when he says that Augeas deprived the driver of four horses, prize-winners, that had come to win prizes. And they say that the Pisatans took no part in the Trojan War because they were regarded as sacred to Zeus. But neither was the Pisatis in which Olympia is situated subject to Augeas at that time, but only the Eleian country, nor were the Olympian Games celebrated even once in Eleia, but always in Olympia. And the games which I have just cited from Homer clearly took place in Elis, where the debt was owing: for a debt was owing to him in goodly Elis, four horses, prize-winners. And these were not games in which the prize was a crown (for the horses were to run for a tripod), as was the case at Olympia. After the twenty-sixth Olympiad, when they had got back their homeland, the Pisatans themselves went to celebrating the games because they saw that these were held in high esteem. But in later times Pisatis again fell into the power of the Eleians, and thus again the direction of the games fell to them. The Lacedemonians also, after the last defeat of the Messenians, cooperated with the Eleians, who had been their allies in battle, whereas the Arcadians and the descendants of Nestor had done the opposite, having joined with the Messenians in war. And the Lacedemonians cooperated with them so effectually that the whole country as far as Messene came to be called Eleia, and the name has persisted to this day, whereas, of the Pisatans, the Triphylians, and the Cauconians, not even a name has survived. Further, the Eleians settled the inhabitants of sandy Pylus itself in Lepreum, to gratify the Lepreatans, who had been victorious in a war, and they broke up many other settlements, and also exacted tribute of as many a they saw inclined to act independently.
4. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.4.3, 5.10.1 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5.4.3. He is also said to have induced to come into the city the dwellers in the villages near the wall, and by increasing the number of the inhabitants to have made Elis larger and generally more prosperous. There also came to him an oracle from Delphi, that he should bring in as co-founder “the descendant of Pelops.” Oxylus made diligent search, and in his search he discovered Agorius, son of Damasius, son of Penthilus, son of Orestes. He brought Agorius himself from Helice in Achaia, and with him a small body of Achaeans. 5.10.1. Many are the sights to be seen in Greece, and many are the wonders to be heard; but on nothing does Heaven bestow more care than on the Eleusinian rites and the Olympic games. The sacred grove of Zeus has been called from of old Altis, a corruption of the word “alsos,” which means a grove. Pindar Pind. O. 10.55 too calls the place Altis in an ode composed for an Olympic victor.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
altars, of ashes Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
altars Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
altis Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
chrêsmologos Johnston and Struck, Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination (2005) 184
dillery, john Johnston and Struck, Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination (2005) 184
divination, and authority Johnston and Struck, Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination (2005) 184
elis Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
heraion, olympia Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
herodotus Johnston and Struck, Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination (2005) 184
mania' Johnston and Struck, Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination (2005) 184
metroon, olympia Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
mother of the gods Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
olympia Johnston and Struck, Mantikê: Studies in Ancient Divination (2005) 184; Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
oxylos Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
pelopion Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
pelops Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
persian wars Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
phidias Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
pisa Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
pisatis Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
skillous Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
sparta Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
synecism Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
zeus, olympios Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152
zeus, statue Pirenne-Delforge and Pironti, The Hera of Zeus: Intimate Enemy, Ultimate Spouse (2022) 152