The Ancients

The Rise of Olympia

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Episode notes

Forget the Games, ancient Olympia’s importance stretched much further than simply being the birthplace of its namesake sporting festival. Boasting hundreds of years of history, at its height this critical sanctuary was home to some of the most stunning art and architecture in the ancient world. Its cultural history is astonishing, known about by scholars thanks to both an extraordinary amount of archaeology surviving and several vital ancient literary accounts.   In this second episode of our mini-series on ancient Olympia, Professor Judy Barringer from the University of Edinburgh shines a light on Olympia’s early history and how the site rose to become one of the most important religious centres in the ancient Greek World. Judy is the author of Olympia: A Cultural History.  

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