Development of the greek citystate

Development of the greek citystate

In What Ways Were Panhellenic Sanctuaries Distinctive in Comparison with Other Kinds of Greek Sanctuaries

This work is going to centre on the Panhellenic sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi and what made them distinctive but also the reasons why these distinctions occurred To achieve this I am going to focus the discussion on the origins of the sanctuaries in comparison to others that did not have Panhellenic status and also the types of activity that were established at these sanctuaries that were able to appeal to such a vast selection of people

According to tradition the Olympic games were first held in 776 BC but cult activity at Olympia had its origins some time before this as evidenced by the presence of terracotta and bronze votive figurines which suggest a date of at least the late 10th century BC Morgan 1990 57 During this period however the sanctuary was by no means Panhellenic and was mainly used by local groups The site of the sanctuary of Zeus Olympios at Olympia was located in a fertile plain on the banks of the River Alpheios in the northwest Peloponnese and was not controlled by any one state which as we shall see was a key requirement for it becoming Panhellenic Metal evidence of bronze and occasionally iron tripods points to settlements from the regions of Messenia and Arkadia as the main groups participating in the sanctuary in this earlier period and the reasons for this may have been to do with the remoteness of the site It may have been as Morgan suggests a neutral meeting place at which interregional relations were developed Morgan 1990 30 85 Hall 2007 272 It can be seen therefore that even during its earlier history Olympia took on a role that fostered relations between different groups in this case of the western Peloponnese rather than the larger Greek world

In the 8th century the number of communities using the sanctuary hugely increased as shown by a massive rise in the number of tripods being dedicated there Tripods were seen as high status items and were an indictor of wealth and were among the prizes given by Achilles at the funeral games of Patroclus in the Iliad

For swift charioteers first he set forth goodly prizes a woman to lead away one skilled in goodly handiwork and an eared tripod of two and twenty measuresfor him that should be firstHomer Iliad 23264265

It can be seen from this that in around 700BC the approximate date of the composition of the Iliad tripods were given as prizes but as Osborne notes it is difficult to determine whether this association existed earlier in the 8th century Despite this he suggests that the rise in tripod dedication coincides with the traditional creation of the Olympic games in 776 and argues that the reason for there being many more tripods than the number of possible victors is that the range of type and manufacture points to people bringing their own tripods to dedicate whether victorious or not Osborne 1996 96 It is the view of Hall however that this date of 776 was exaggerated through the calculations of Hippias of Elis to increase the standing of the games He asserts that as the other great Panhellenic games were not established until the 6th century the Olympic games may also have their origins in this century Hall 2007 32 272 Morgan on the other hand believes there may be an element of truth in Pausanias account that the games were reestablished in 776 and puts forward the idea that there may have been a small scale local festival tradition in place prior to the 8th century She argues that although a precedent may have been in place wider participation in the games did not commence until c725BC Morgan 1990 48 It does seem odd however that the other Panhellenic games at Delphi Nemea and Isthmia were not established until over a hundred years after those at Olympia and yet these were apparently founded within quick succession between c582 and c573 I am therefore in support of Halls position that perhaps th

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