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                                                 Elis - the city of the Olympic Games
Ancient Elis

Capital of Hollow (or Coele) Elis, on the left bank of the Peneus river, having Cyllene as a port. Diodorus and Strabo telling that Elis was built after the Persian wars, around 470 BC, and Pausanias mentions that Oxylus the Aetolian gathered there the inhabitants of the nearby towns and created the town at the age of the Dorian invasion. Homer mentions aboout Elin, but it's believed that this is the country and not the city. In historical times, Elis was a great city with splendid buildings and artistic works. 



The large gymnasium was called Xystos, and had tall plane-trees inside, private area for the runners and pentathlon athlets, another site called Plethrion where the Hellanodicae separated the athlets, altars of the Idaean Heracles - who was surnamed as Parastates (assistant) also - altars of Eros and Anteros, of Demeter and Persephone, and the cenotaph of Achilles.

There was a smaller precinct of the gymnasium, which called Tetragonon (square), and a third called Maltho, because it had a soft ground. Other buildings were the bouleuterion (parliament) of the Eleans, the Lalichmion (named after the man who built it), where speeches where recited and various writings were read, the temple of Philomirax Artemis, where lead there the road of the Silence, the Hellanodicaeon, where lived there for eleven months those who were elected as the Hellanodicae (umpires), to learn from the nomophylakes (law-guardians) what they should do during the games, the Hippodrome or market, with its many stoas, the temples and statues of Apollo Acesius, the temple of the Sun and Moon, the temple of Charites, of Eros, of Silenus, the tomb of Oxylus with a temple shape, and a building the so-called sixteen women's who weaved the Hera's veil.

Near the market existed a temple which was dedicated to the Roman kings, another temple dedicated to Aphrodite (Ourania - Pandemos), a precinct and a temlple of Hades, a temple of Tyche (fortune), a temple and a statue of beardless Poseidon, a theater and a temple of Dionysus, etc.

In the citadel of Elis was the temple of Athena with an alectryon on her head, a work of Pheidias of gold and ivory. Elis was unwalled as being a sacred city of the Olympian Zeus. Only the citadel was fortificated. Ruins of Elis found by the Austrian Archaeological School of Athens during the years 1910-14.





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