dedicating this page to the Olympic Victors.
After all, winning is what the Olympics were and are all about.
While taking photos at the Olympia Archaeological Site, I was
drawn to the sculpted and inscribed rectangular stone blocks
that I saw along the paths and walkways around the Temple of
At first, I thought they were funerary stones but upon long
search on the internet, I found out that they were the bases of
the Olympic Victor Statues that were no longer on their
pedestals. In 426 CE,
ordered the destruction of the sanctuary and I assume is in good
part responsible for the destruction of the statues.
a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, is famous
for his "Description of Greece". In
6. 1 - 18",
and in great detail, he describes around 200 statues of
Olympian victors, including some of the sculptors that made
More recently in 1921, in the book
"Olympic victor monuments and Greek
athletic art", Walter Woodburn Hyde attempts to
reconstruct the statues from archaeological fragments, coins,
vase and wall paintings and he of course, draws from Pausanias
and other authors.
Since only meager remnants of these monuments have survived, the
work is mainly concerned with the attempt to reconstruct
their various types and poses.
Here is a scholarly review of the book.
My special thanks to
Dr. Michael B. Cosmopoulos, Professor
of Archaeology, The Hellenic Government-Karakas Foundation,
Endowed Professor in Greek Studies Department of Anthropology
University of Missouri for translating the base of Julius the
ASTYLOS OF KROTON:
Astylos of Kroton
in southern Italy won a total of six victory olive wreaths in three
Olympiads (488-480 BC) in the stade and the diaulos (twice the stade)
events. In the first Olympiad, he ran for Kroton and his compatriots
honoured and glorified him. In the two successive Olympiads,
however, he took part as a citizen of Syracuse. The people of Kroton
punished him by demolishing his statue in their city and converting
his house into a prison.
MILON OF KROTON:
pupil of the philosopher Pythagoras, was one of the most famous
athletes in Antiquity. He came from the Greek city of Kroton in
southern Italy. He was six times Olympic wrestling champion. He
first won in 540 BC, in the youth wrestling event, and then five
times in men's wrestling. This is a unique achievement even in
today's competition context. He also won seven times in the Pythian
Games, nine times in the Nemean Games, ten times in the Isthmian
Games and innumerable times in small competitions. In the 67th
Olympiad (512 BC), in his seventh attempt for the championship, he
lost to a younger athlete, Timasitheus. There are many accounts of
MELANKOMAS OF KARIA:
Melankomas of Karia was crowned Olympic boxing champion in 49 BC,
and was a winner in many other events. He went down in history for
the way in which he fought. His movements were light, simple and
fascinating. He would defeat his opponents without ever being hit
himself, nor ever dealing a blow. He was reputed to fight for two
days holding his arms out without ever lowering them. He attained
his excellent competitive form through continuous and strenuous
LEONIDAS OF RHODES:
of Rhodes was one of the most famous runners in Antiquity. His was a
unique achievement, even by today's standards. For four consecutive
Olympiads (164-152 BC), he won three races, - the stade race, the
diaulos race and the armour race. He won a total of 12 Olympic
victory wreaths. He was acclaimed as a hero by his compatriots.