olympia museum

Enthroned Zeus and eagle, Lakonian Black Figure kylix. 530-525 BCE, Workshop of the Naukratis Painter, from the north embankment of the stadium, Olympia. Olympia Archaeological Museum, Greece. Photo by Dan Diffendale, July 4 2010 via Flickr (X) Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Today, you are invited to join with people all around the world in making a libation to Zeus. In this way, whatever else we do to celebrate Hellenic occasions, we are united in doing the same action on the same day.

Dockland area at Rheinauhafen in Köln (Cologne), Nordrhein-Westfalen, Northwestern Germany. Rheinau harbor is an urban regeneration project on the Rhein river south of Cologne’s historic old town. It spans 2 km and commenced with an urban design competition in the early 1990s, followed by construction lasting from 2002 to 2011. The project comprises 15 hectars of waterfront land, mostly used for offices, cultural sights, hotels, and dwellings. The former commercial port is now being used as a marina and the area is home to many companies of the creative industry. The German Sport & Olympia Museum and the Imhoff Chocolate Museum are also located here.

Ἐνάτη Μεσοῦντος/ Ἐνάτη ἐπὶ δέκα / Ἐννεακαιδεκάτη, XIX day

From today’s sunset: nineteenth day of Mounychion.
The nineteenth is always dedicated to purifications and apotropaic rites.

Olympia Athenon, Olympieia: “It was the nineteenth day of the month Mounychion, and the horsemen conducting the procession in honour of Zeus were passing by the prison. Some of them took off their garlands, and others gazed at the door of the prison with tears in their eyes. And it was thought by all those whose souls were not wholly savage and debauched by rage and jealousy, that an impious thing had been done in not waiting over that day, and so keeping the city pure from a public execution when it was holding festival.” (Plut. Phoc. 37.1)
“Games of Zeus”, equestrian and athletic (added later by Emperor Hadrian to celebrate the completion of the Temple) competitions.

Anthippasia, main contest at the Olympieia (cfr. IG II² 3079)
“When the Hippodrome is the scene of the display, the right plan would be that the men should first be drawn up on a front broad enough to fill the Hippodrome with horses and drive out the people standing there. In the sham fight when the regiments pursue and fly from one another at the gallop in two squadrons of five regiments, each side led by its commander, the regiments should ride through one another. How formidable they will look when they charge front to front; how imposing when, after sweeping across the Hippodrome, they stand facing one another again; how splendid, when the trumpet sounds and they charge once more at a quicker pace! After the halt, the trumpet should sound once more, and they should charge yet a third time at top speed; and when they have crossed, they should all range themselves in battle line preparatory to being dismissed, and ride up to the Council, just as you are accustomed to do.”
(Xen. Cav. 3.10-12)

(Horseman with birds and a winged figure, perhaps Nike. Lakonian black-figured kylix, ca. 550–530 BC. Now in the British Museum..)