10th - 8th century B.C.

7th - 6th century B.C.

5th century B.C.

4th century B.C.

3rd - 1st century B.C.

1st - 4th century A.D.






Olympia during the 4th century BC

In the end of the 5th century BC there were important changes in the life and values of the people of Elis, which was no longer prosperous, and its residents became temporary allies of various city-states. The Peloponnesian War caused the decline of many of the moral values expressed by the Games. These changes are particularly obvious in the spatial organization of the sanctuary: from this time onwards the main sanctuary has been divided from the area of the Games and the Stadium. The erection of the Stoa of Echo -the largest of the sanctuary, on the east side of the Altis- signaled the separation of the religious centre from the Stadium, which was transferred to the east. It was named Echo due to its acoustics and Poikile after the wall paintings that decorated its interior.

The athletes that were caught breaking the rules paid fine, which was used for the erection of the Zanes. These were statues of Zeus, which were set up to be a reminder of the punishment of those that did not abide by the rules of the Games.

In the Late Classical years the Metroon and a number of Stoas were erected. The Metroon, built in 400 BC near the Treasuries, was a temple dedicated to the Mother of the Gods, Cybele. Her altar was located at the western entrance. Later, the Metroon was used for the cult of the Roman emperors.

The South Stoa was built on the south end of the sanctuary and the original Sacred Way passed in front of it. Other Stoas were built as facades of the Bouleuterion and other buildings.

During this period the length of the Stadium reached 212,50 meters, while the distance from the starting and finishing lines increased to 192,28 meters. It had a capacity of 45,000 spectators, who sat on the ground.


Short description of the monuments at ancient Olympia

3D reconstructions:
Some of the most important buildings in ancient Olympia rendered in three-dimensions.

3D reconstruction of the Temple of Zeus in ancient Olympia.

Other games:
Short reference on other famous contests in ancient Greece

In the first person:
Young Ariston shares his experience in the Olympic Games

Olympic victors:
Database of the ancient Olympic victors based on each athletic event and each Olympiad

Specimen sources