Classical period


The classical period, between the 5th and 4th centuries BC, was the golden age of the site at Olympia. A wide range of new religious and secular buildings and structures were constructed.[4] The Temple of Zeus was built in the middle of the 5th century BC. Its size, scale and ornamentation was beyond anything previously constructed on the site. Further sporting facilities, including the final iteration of the stadium, and the hippodrome (for chariot-racing) were constructed. The Prytaneion was built at the north west side of the site in 470 BC.[4] In the late classical period, further structures were added to the site. The Metroon was constructed near the Treasuries c.400 BC. The erection of the Echo Stoa, around 350, separated off the sanctuary from the area of the games and stadium. The South Stoa was built BC at the southern edge of the sanctuary at approximately the same time. Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (ca. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era.[1] Included in Ancient Greece is the period of Classical Greece, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Classical Greece began with the repelling of a Persian invasion by Athenian leadership. Because of conquests by Alexander the Great, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe, for which reason Classical Greece is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture. A hippodrome (Greek: ) was a Greek stadium for horse racing and chariot racing. The name is derived from the Greek words "hippos (?; "horse") and "dromos" (; "course"). The term is used in the French language and some others; hence, some present-day horse racing tracks are also called hippodromes, for example the Central Moscow Hippodrome. The Greek hippodrome was similar to the Roman Circus, except that in the latter only four chariots ran at a time,[1] whereas ten or more contended in the Greek games, so that the width was far greater, being about 400 ft (120 m)., the course being 600 to 700 ft (210 m). long. The hippodrome was not a "Roman amphitheatre" which was used for spectator sports, games and displays, or a Greek or Roman semi-circular theater used for theatrical performances. The Greek hippodrome was usually set out on the slope of a hill, and the ground taken from one side served to form the embankment on the other side. One end of the hippodrome was semicircular, and the other end square with an extensive portico, in front of which, at a lower level, were the stalls for the horses and chariots. At both ends of the hippodrome there were posts (termai) that the chariots turned around. This was the most dangerous part of the track, and the Greeks put an altar to Taraxippus (disturber of horses) there too show the spot where many chariots wrecked. A large ancient hippodrome was the Hippodrome of Constantinople, built between AD 203 and 330. However, since it was built to a Roman design, it was actually a circus.