Archaeological Museum Olympia

The Archaeological Museum of Olympia
One of the most important archaeological museums in Greece. It hosts in its collection
artefacts from the sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, in Olympia, where the ancient Olympic
Games were born and hosted.
The new museum was constructed in 1975, and eventually opened in 1982, reexhibiting its treasures. The architect of the museum was Patrocolos Karadinos.
Its collections contain:
A collection of terracottas (prehistoric, Archaic and Classical periods).
A collection of bronzes.
A collection of sculptures (Archaic upto the Roman periods).
A collection from the Olympic Games.
Among the most important exhibits of the museum are:
The sculptured ornaments from the Temple of Zeus.
There were 42 figures decorating the 2 pediments of the temple, 12 metopes and the
lion-headed water spouts running along the lengths of the temple. It is one of the best
surviving ensembles from ancient Greek works of art. They belong to the "austere style"
and date to the 1st half of the 5th century B.C.
The eastern pediment depicts the chariot race between Pelops and Oinomaos, and the
central figure which dominates the work is of Zeus. The western pediment depicts the
abduction of the Lapith women by Centaurs, and has Apollo as its central figure. The
metopes bear the relief representation of Hercules' labours. These sculptures were made
during the 5th century B.C.
Hermes of Praxiteles
One of the masterpieces of ancient Greek art. Hermes, as Pausanias informs us, is
depicted carrying the infant Dionysos. Made from Parian marble it stands 2,10m in
height. It is thought to be an original of the great sculptor and it is dated to ca. 330 B.C.
Nike of Paionios
The statue depicts a winged woman. An inscription on the base states that the statue
was dedicated by the Messenians and the Naupactians for their victory against the
Lacedaemonians (Spartans), in the Archidamian (Peloponnesian) war prabably in 421
B.C. It is the work of the sculptor Paionios of Mende in Chalkidiki, who also made the
acroteria of the Temple of Zeus.
Nike, cut from Parian marble, has a height of 2,115m, but with the tips of her (now
broken) wings would have reached 3m. In its completed form, the monument with its
triangular base (8,81m high) would have stood at the height of 10,92m. giving the
impression of Nike triumphantly descending from Olympos. It dates from 421 B.C.
Zeus and Ganymedes
A terracotta statuette depicting Zeus carrying off young Ganymedes. Probably an
acroterion of a temple, dated to 480-470 B.C.
Bronze breast-plate with incised decoration.
On its lower part there is an engraved scene of Zeus and Apollo with his 'kithara', while
other figures are also represented. Probably the work of an island bronze-smith around
the dates of 650-625 B.C.
Museum number M394.
The Helmet of Miltiades
Dedication by Miltiades, as the inscription informs us "Miltiades dedicates to Zeus". It is
the same helmet worn by the Athenian general in the battle of Marathon, where he
defeated the Persians, and thus offered it to Zeus as a sign of gratitude.
Bronze battering-ram
The only surviving besieging instrument of its kind from Antiquity. On all sides of the
battering-ram there are symbolic depictions of rams heads, from where indeed it got its
name. 5th century B.C.
Museum number B2360.
Bronze horse
It is dated in the transition between the Geometric to the Archaic period. It is unique for
its monumentality on comparison with the small scale of other artefacts from the
Geometric period.
Museum number B1741.
Little bronze horse
Formerly harnessed to a quadriga (a chariot pulled by 4 horses). A beautiful little piece,
probably the work of an Argive sculptor showing the grace of the animal. Ca. 470 B.C.
Museum number 1000.
At the museum there is a shop selling books, postcards and slides supplied by the
Archaeological Receipts Fund.
Ancient Olympia
West Greece
7th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities
Opening hours
Summer Opening Hours
©1995-2001 Hellenic Ministry of Culture
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