DESCRIPTION
THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
INFORMATION
 
 
Hundreds of statue bases, many of which are inscribed, are scattered throughout the Altis. Situated approximately thirty metres east of the temple of Zeus is a most important example of these, the massive pedestal of the Nike of Paionios, the remarkable Classical statue. The votive Doric inscription on the base records that the Messenians and the Naupaktians dedicated the statue to Olympian Zeus after their victory against the Lacedaemonians in the Archidamian war (approximately 421 BC), and that the statue was crafted by Paionios from Mende. The text was carved on the third course of the pedestal, two metres above ground, and was clearly visible to the visitors.

The base consisted of twelve superimposed rectangular blocks and was shaped like a tapering prism approximately nine metres high. The total height of the base and statue was approximately twelve metres. Another inscription was carved by the Messenians on the right side of the two bottom courses in approximately 135 BC. It records the arbitration by six hundred Milesians concerning the Dentheliatis, an area on Mount Taigetos claimed by both Messenians and Lacedaemonians.

The foundations of the pedestal, and fragments of both the pedestal and statue were uncovered during the nineteenth century German excavations. The pedestal remains in situ, while the statue is displayed in the Olympia Archaeological Museum.
Author
Olympia Vikatou, archaeologist
 
 
 
Creators