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Temple of Zeus at Olympia. East Pediment

Sculpture from the gable-end of the temple. This large group of figures adorned the temple at the sanctuary at Olympia, site of the ancient festival of religion and sport on which the modern Olympic Games are modelled. The scene shown is just before the start of a chariot race, and therefore suits its sporting setting. Pelops challenged Oenomaos to the race in order to marry Oenomaos’s daughter, Hippodameia. He succeeded, but only by cheating. The figures contrast with the much more violent scene shown in the pediment on the other end of the temple

Location of Original: 

Olympia Museum

19.9m long

Old man and reclining River God purchased 22 May 1877; torso of Zeus and Sterope purchased 28 Mar 1878. Theseus transferred from the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1884. Head of Pelops, head of Hippodameia and head of Kladeos purchased in 1884. All from the casting establishment of Berlin Museum


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 120, (n.3-12), pls. 39, 4; 44, 1-2; 45, 2-4; 46, 1
Richter: Sculpture & Sculptors of the Greeks (1950), 123-124, figs.2, 115-116; 390-391; 392-393
Becatti, G: Il Maestro d’Olympia, 39-, pls. III-
Pfeiff: Apollon (1943), pls. 24-26
Kourouniotis: (?), 24-
Treu: Die Bildwerke von Olympia III (1897), 44-
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 36-, nos.127-143
Ashmole & Yalouris: Olympia, the Sculptures of the Temple of Zeus, 12

Temple constructed 470- 456 BCE

Found on site of Temple of Zeus, Olympia

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