Votive objects


Games and art

The athletic competitions were the central theme of ancient Greek art and literature. They were the reason for the birth, already from the 6th century BC, of two literary genres, of the victory hymns (epinicia), with Pindar as the main representative, and of the epigram.

The Olympic victors were the first historical figures in ancient Greece which enjoyed the special honor to be depicted in public places. However, the statues of the Olympic victors were not created just in memory of the person and his athletic achievement, but they were mainly a means for the promotion of the athlete's family and city of birth.

The representations of themes related to the games were not solely on statues of Olympic victors. All the forms of ancient art dealt extensively with the subject: sculpture, painting, mosaics, pottery and coins.

The co-existence of athletics and art started from the Prehistoric Period and lasted until the end of Antiquity. The reason is that athletics and art had a common interest: the human body. The ancient potters and sculptors were able, although it was something quite difficult, to depict, in the best possible way, the movement of the human body in the Gymnasium, the Stadium and the Palaestra.


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