Ancient Greece

Mycenae
Drake Winston outside Mycenae, best known for being the home of Agamemnon, the legendary king of Mycenae and a hero of the Trojan War. One of the oldest cities in Greece dating from the 3rd millennium BCE, its walls were said to be the work of the Cyclopes. Via a circle grave within the city's walls, Mycenae was connected to a tomb which Schliemann attributed to Agammemnon in 1876, although this claim was later refuted. Also of note are the Lion Gate, featuring two lions flanking a column, and the Megaron Palace which housed the throne room. According to Greek mythology, the legendary hero Perseus was said to have founded the city, moving to rule Mycenae following his marriage to the Æthiopian princess Andromeda. There they produced seven sons and two daughters, collectively known as the Perseids. However, another story claims that Perseus, after unintentionally killing his grandfather and exchanging realms with his relative Megapenthes, arrived in his new kingdom and dropped the cap of his sword scabbard – "mycēs" in Greek. Interpreting this as a good omen, he decided to build a city. Yet another story has Perseus picking up a mushroom – also called mycēs – and drank water from it after which he decided that the land from which the mushroom grew would be a suitable place to establish his city. By 1250 BCE, Mycenaean civilisation was at its prime, and the city was largely prosperous. At one point the city-walls had to be expanded to make way for the ever growing populace. The city was later abandoned and was gradually taken over by bandits by the 5th century BCE.

Beside the Lion Gate in 2001. This monumental gateway to the citadel at Mycenae was built in the mid thirteenth century B.C. and was never lost to view. It, and the massive walls, were thought by the ancient Greeks to have been built by giants, serving as a reminder to them of the achievements of their Age of Heroes, the period about which Homer sang. It was built during the 13th century BCE, around 1250 BCE in the northwest side of the acropolis and is named after the relief sculpture of two lionesses or lions in a heraldic pose that stands above the entrance. It is the sole surviving monumental piece of Mycenæan sculpture, as well as the largest sculpture in the prehistoric Ægean. It is the only monument of Bronze Age Greece to bear an iconographic motif that survived without being buried underground, and the only relief image which was described in the literature of classical antiquity, such that it was well known prior to modern archæology.   
The imposing gate with its representation of the lionesses or lions was an emblem of the Mycenaean kings and a symbol of their power to both subjects and foreigners. It also has been argued that the lionesses (assuming they are not male lions) are a symbol of the goddess Hera. Since the heads of the animals were of a different material from their bodies and originally were fashioned to look toward those approaching below,a number of scholars have suggested that they were composite beasts, probably sphinxes, in the typical Middle Eastern tradition. On the top of the pillar is a row of four discs, apparently representing rafters supporting a further piece of sculpture that has since been lost. Another view is as follows: above the head of the column and what is probably a slab supporting an architrave is a row of discs (ends of transverse beams) and another slab the same size as the slab on top of the column. The beams and the block above them represent a more extended superstructure shortened here because of the diminishing space in the triangle. Thus, no further piece of sculpture has been lost. 
According to Blakolmer (49)
The Lion Gate and its relief block are particularly prominent and stand out amongst all other well-known monuments of Bronze Age Greece for several reasons. It is the only monument of this period bearing an iconographic motif which, since its construction in the 13th century b.C. was never buried underground, but stood continuously in the open and could be seen by visitors. Therefore, it neither had to be discovered nor unearthed and thus cannot be connected to any famous discoverer's name such as Heinrich Schliemann, Christos Tsountas, Alan Wace or other excavators at Mycenae. Furthermore, the triangular stone block above the door lintel represents the most monumental sculpture known to date from the Aegean Bronze Age, with a base line of 3.60 m and a height of more than 3 m. There probably never existed any larger sculpture in prehistoric Greece. Moreover, this monument presents the only relief image of Bronze Age Greece which is described in the literature of classical antiquity. It is a reasonable assumption that Homer had this image in mind when he described the entrance to the Phaeacian palace of Alkinoos as flanked by golden and silver guardian dogs, a work created by the god Hephaistos. More accurate are the references to this gate and its relief decoration made by Pausanias and others ascribing to them a workmanship by the Cyclopes. On the contrary, Strabo erroneously stated that no traces of the capital of the Mycenaeans survived.
At the Lion Gate nearly two decades later with Drake Winston and here shown with Wilhelm Dörpfeld (looking through the hole in the wall to the left) and Heinrich Schliemann in the centre GIF. The Lion Gate had stood in full view of visitors to Mycenae for centuries and was mentioned by Pausanias in the 2nd century CE. The first correct identification of the Lion Gate in modern literature was during a survey conducted by Francesco Grimani, commissioned by the Provveditore Generale of the Kingdom of the Morea in 1700, who had used Pausanias's description of the Lion Gate to identify the ruins of Mycenae. In 1840, the Greek Archæological Society undertook the initial clearing of the site from debris and soil that had accumulated to bury it, and in 1876 Heinrich Schliemann, guided by Pausanias's accounts, excavated the area south of the Lion Gate where he discovered the Shaft Graves, with their skeletons and more regal gold (including the so-called Mask of Agamemnon). His findings were published in Mycenae in 1878.
 
The Gate reconstructed from the German 1891 encyclopedia Pierers Konversationslexikon and as it appears in the video game Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.
Drake in front of Grave Circle A found just inside the main entrance through the Lion Gate
and again as it appears in the video game Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. It has a diameter of ninety feet and contains six shaft graves, the largest of which measures 21 feet and three inches in length and about 4thirteen and an half feet in width. A total of nineteen bodies of men, women, and children buried here, with two to five bodies per shaft. Found with them were a series of gold death masks, full sets of weapons, ornate staffs, gold jewellery, as well as gold and silver cups. The site is notable for the extensive presence of grave goods- it was here that Schliemann, following the descriptions of Homer and Pausanias, discovered the so-called Mask of Agamemnon, thinking that he had found the body of the Mycenaean leader of the Achaeans in the Iliad. However, modern archaeological research suggests that the mask dates to about 1600 BCE, predating the period of the legendary Trojan War by about four hundred years. Nevertheless, the priceless funerary gifts in the graves suggest that powerful rulers were buried in this site. Although Agamemnon was supposed to have lived centuries later, these graves might have belonged to the former ruling dynasty of Mycenae – in Greek mythology, the Perseids. In later Greek mythology, Mycenae had a period where two kings ruled, and archaeologists have suggested that these dual graves may correspond to both kings.
The Mask of Agamemnon itself differs from three of the other masks in that it is three-dimensional rather than flat; one of the facial hairs is cut out, rather than engraved; the ears are cut out; the eyes are depicted as both open and shut, with open eyelids, but a line of closed eyelids across the centre; the face- alone of all the depictions of faces in Mycenaean art- has a full pointed beard with handlebar moustache; the mouth is well-defined; and the brows are formed to two arches rather than one.This has led to the authenticity of the mask being formally questioned, primarily by William Calder III and David Traill. Archaeology magazine has run a series of articles presenting both sides of the debate. On the right is Drake beside the finds as they are currently displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.


Drake entering the secret passage leading downward by some 99 steps to a cistern carved out of rock fifteen metres below ground. It was fed by a tunnel from a spring on more distant higher ground from the Perseia spring further west. Prepared after my earlier visit back in 2001, I brought a torch that allowed us to film our progress to the bottom.
 
Drake and I at the Postern, or North Gate, on the left located roughly 250 metres east of the Lion Gate and as it appeared between the wars. Nearby, at the far end of the wall, is a sally port which, being difficult to identify outside and easily defended from within, would have allowed scouting parties to survey the surrounding area in the event of a seige. It's shown with Drake Winston and as from a 1904 photograph. Was this the gate from which which Orestes escaped after murdering Aegisthus and Clytemnestra and wrapping their bodies in the cloak that Agamemnon was wearing when he was slain? 
Drake at Grave Circle B about 384 feet west of the Lion Gate. It was used for the burials of elite families between approximately 1625 and 1550 BCE. It has a diameter of 92 feet and was enclosed by a circular stone wall five feet thick and four feet high. Inside were found a total of 26 graves, fourteen of which are shaft graves and the rest simple cists. The site itself was discovered in 1951 by accident when workmen were digging at the nearby Tomb of Clytemnestra. The number of graves, as well as the fact that they were not looted, enabled archaeologists to extract a detailed analysis of the ruling Mycenaean society of that time.
A total of 24 persons were found in the shafts, whilst six of the shaft graves were family tombs in which several occupants were found. Most of the 35 skeletons found were men; only four were positively identified as female. Many of the males have signs of injury, probably received on the battlefield, whilst some of them died in battle. Researchers at the University of Manchester have carried an ancient DNA study of 22 skeletons found in the site and obtained authentic mitochondrial ancient DNA sequences for four individuals. The results were also compared with facial reconstructions of the skulls and archaeological data to conclude that two bodies were of a brother and sister based on which has been argued that both female and male family members, held a position of authority by right of birth.
Drake a
t the Tomb of Clystemnaestra, a Mycenæan tholos type tomb built around 1250 BCE. A number of architectural features such as the semi-column were largely adopted by later classical monuments of the first millennium BCE, both in the Greek and Latin world. With the so-called Treasury of Atreus nearby, it is the most monumental tomb of its type. Whist it does share several architectural features with that of Atreus such as the combination of conglomerate and limestone, its slightly more advanced technical features with its rows of curved stones continuing around the structure at the same level of the lintel suggest that it was a slightly later construction. The tomb is named after Clytemnestra, the wife of king Agamemnon, mythical ruler of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War. However, it has been also suggested by modern scholars starting with Lord William Taylour that the tomb may have been king Agamemnon’s tomb or even that the tomb was never occupied due to the destruction of Mycenae which occurred during that time. Indeed, a number of Mycenaean tholos tombs were named after mythical persons of the local ruling dynasties, like Atreus and Aegisthus. Pausanias referred to the location of the tombs of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus a little further from the walls of Mycenae, as they were not judged fit to be buried within the walls due to the murder of king Agamemnon. Schliemann used this passage of Pausanias and searched at the vicinity of Mycenae for their tombs. Excavations in the 1960s led to the discovery of the surrounding walls of the tomb within which a woman's grave was found in addition to accompanying artefacts; two mirrors, ornaments and beads. However, the inner burial chamber was found looted and empty.
At the so-called Temple of Atreus and with Drake Winston nearly two decades after. Dating from 1300-1200 BCE in 1923, it's 114 feet long and 20 feet wide consisting of geometric bands- chevrons that are upright Vs shape inside with running spirals. The main chamber is 47 1⁄2 feet and 43 feet high. What was left behind in the tombs were symbols of artwork that were of the wealth and power of the deceased. “The main tomb chamber is a circular room. It roofed with a corbel vault built up in regular course, or layers, of ashlar- squared stones smoothly leaning inward and carefully calculated to meet in single capstone at the peak”. (M.Stokstad, 102) The Atreus tomb has bronze plaques. The tomb was carved with green serpentine porphyry, with engraved red and green marble panel, limestone. The entrance portal to the tumulus was richly decorated: half-columns in green limestone with zig-zag motifs on the shaft, a frieze with rosettes above the architrave of the door, and spiral decoration in bands of red marble that closed the triangular aperture above an architrave.
Drake under the pillars at the British Museum
Segments of the columns and architraves were safely removed by Lord Elgin in the early nineteenth century and are now in the British Museum, shown here on the right with Drake Winston. It appears that the capitals are influenced by ancient Egyptian examples; one is in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin as part of the Antikensammlung Berlin. Other decorative elements were inlaid with red porphyry and green alabaster, a surprising luxury for the Bronze Age. With an interior height of 13.5 metres and a diameter of 14.5 metres, the tomb had the tallest and widest dome in the world for over a thousand years until construction of the Temple of Mercury in Baiae and the Pantheon in Rome. Great care was taken in the positioning of the enormous stones, to guarantee the vault's stability over time in bearing the force of compression from its own weight. This gave a perfectly smoothed internal surface, onto which could be placed gold, silver and bronze decoration. The room was constructed by digging vertically into the hillside, like a well, and then walling and roofing the space with stone from the floor level of the chamber, and finally back-filling the earth above. Tiers of ashlar masonry were laid in rings so that each successive tier projected slightly farther inward, until only a small opening is left at the top. Above the entryway there is an open space in the shape of a triangle. This space, which is known as a relieving triangle, is meant to funnel the weight of the structure off the lintel and into the sides of the structure, preventing the lintel from breaking due to pressure.
The Corinth Canal under construction, during the war, and me in 2001. This had been a dream since antiquity given that it would save two hundred miles of sailing around the Peloponnesus. Periander in the 7th century BCE had envisioned the canal but, lacking the technology, settled for the marble tramway. At the time, it was also thought that Poseidon, god of the sea, opposed joining the Aegean and the Adriatic. Demetrius Poliorcetes dropped his plan after his surveyors, miscalculating the levels of the adjacent seas, feared heavy floods. The philosopher Apollonius of Tyana prophesied that anyone who proposed to dig a Corinthian canal would be met with illness and in fact three Roman rulers considered the idea but all suffered violent deaths; the historians Plutarch and Suetonius both wrote that the Roman dictator Julius Caesar considered digging a canal through the isthmus but was assassinated before he could begin the project. Caligula had commissioned a study in 40 from Egyptian experts who claimed incorrectly that the Corinthian Gulf was higher than the Saronic Gulf resulting in their false conclusion that if a canal were dug the island of Aegina would be inundated. Caligula's interest in the idea got no further as he too was assassinated before making any progress. Nero finally actually attempted it in 66, including in his workforce were six thousand young Jewish slaves recently captured by Vespasian in Galilee, where the Jewish war had begun. His attempt was soon abandoned based on the belief that if the seas were connected, the more northerly Adriatic, mistakenly thought to be higher, would flood the more southern Aegean. Eventually work recommenced in 1881 where Nero's crew had stopped, completing the canal in 1893. Serious damage was caused to the canal during the Second World War. On April 26, 1941 during the Battle of Greece German parachutists and glider troops attempted to capture the main bridge over the canal. The bridge was defended by the British and had been wired for demolition. The Germans surprised the defenders with a glider-borne assault in the early morning and captured the bridge, but the British set off the charges and destroyed the structure. The bridge was replaced by a combined rail and road bridge built in 25 days by the IV Railway Engineer Battalion, of the Royal Italian Army's Railway Engineer Regiment. Three years later, as German forces retreated from Greece, the canal was put out of action by German "scorched earth" operations. German forces used explosives to trigger landslides to block the canal, destroyed the bridges and dumped locomotives, bridge wreckage and other infrastructure into the canal to hinder repairs.
 
Corinth 
Drake Winston on the left in front of the Temple of Apollo and me about 18 years earlier at a time when access to the sites was much freer. So much today is either closed off or even closed completely. The city site is in the foreground, dominated by the remains of the sixth-century BCE Temple of Apollo, one of the few survivors of the town's destruction by the Romans. Our only evidence that this is dedicated to Apollo is the brief reference in Pausanias's Description of Greece [2.iii.6] as well as a small plaque which was dedicated to Apollo and found in the area. On the right in the distance to the south rises the citadel, Acrocorinth, linked by long walls to the city in the fourth century BCE. It is the most impressive of the acropoleis of mainland Greece. Its seven standing columns are one of the most prominent landmarks of Corinth. Built in the middle of the 6th century B.C. to replace a destroyed 7th century predecessor, the temple is of the Doric order and originally had six columns at each end and fifteen along each side. Indications of its Archaic date include the great length of the temple relative to its width, the large monolithic columns, and the squat, widely flaring capitals. This is quite unlike the Corinthian order, developed as Corinth served as host of the Isthmian Games, which would form the third main style of classical architecture after the Doric and the Ionic. The Corinthian order was the most complicated of the three, showing the city's wealth and the luxurious lifestyle, whilst the Doric order evoked the rigorous simplicity of the Spartans, and the Ionic was a harmonious balance between these two following the cosmopolitan philosophy of Ionians like the Athenians.
Corinth itself would be destroyed in 146 BCE after Lucius Mummius besieged and captured the city. Entering it, Mummius killed all the men and sold the women and children into slavery before burning the city, for which he was given the cognomen Achaicus as the conqueror of the Achaean League. Corinth would remain largely deserted until Julius Caesar refounded the city as Colonia Laus Iulia Corinthiensis in 44 BCE shortly before his assassination. Under the Romans, Corinth was rebuilt as a major city in Southern Greece or Achaia with a large mixed population of Romans, Greeks, and Jews.
Sitting atop the Bema (Judgement seat) at Corinth, where Paul was claimed to have been brought before Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus(Acts xviii.14). Paul had first visited the city in 49 or 50 when Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul of Achaia. Paul resided here for eighteen months where he first became acquainted with Priscilla and Aquila with whom he later travelled. They worked here together as tentmakers (from which is derived the modern Christian concept of tentmaking), and regularly attended the synagogue. In 51 and 52, Gallio presided over the trial of the Apostle Paul in Corinth. However, the idea of an obscure wandering rabbi called Paul being given an hearing from the Roman consul of all Greece, a Roman senator and brother of Seneca is hard to credit. Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul here, having last seen him in Berea as recorded in Acts viii.5 which goes on to suggest that the Jewish refusal to accept his preaching here led Paul to resolve no longer to speak in the synagogues where he travelled, proclaiming that "[f]rom now on I will go to the Gentiles." However, on his arrival in Ephesus in Acts xviii.19, the narrative records that Paul went to the synagogue to preach.

Drake at the Peirene fountain, said to be a favored watering-hole of Pegasus, sacred to the Muses, after it was created by the hoof of Pegasus striking the ground. Poets would travel there to drink and receive inspiration. Pausanias described the following in his 2nd century travel guide: 
On leaving the market-place along the road to Lechaeum you come to a gateway, on which are two gilded chariots, one carrying Phaethon the son of Helius, the other Helius himself. A little farther away from the gateway, on the right as you go in, is a bronze Heracles. After this is the entrance to the water of Peirene. The legend about Peirene is that she was a woman who became a spring because of her tears shed in lamentation for her son Cenchrias, who was unintentionally killed by Artemis. The spring is ornamented with white marble, and there have been made chambers like caves, out of which the water flows into an open-air well. It is pleasant to drink, and they say that the Corinthian bronze, when red-hot, is tempered by this water, since bronze the Corinthians have not. Moreover near Peirene are an image and a sacred enclosure of Apollo; in the latter is a painting of the exploit of Odysseus against the suitors.

Drake in front of the remains of the Roman temple at the east end of the podium attributed to Octavia - sister of Augustus-  and described by Pausanias as containing a statue of Octavia in a single line: " Above the agora is a temple of Octavia the sister of Augustus, who was emperor of the Romans after Caesar, the founder of the modern Corinth." Seated upon a throne within, the temple would have served as a symbol of the Julia family. The temple was enclosed within these Corinthian columns and built on a podium surrounded by stoas. It has also been identified as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. Standing nine metres above the Forum, this building would have enjoyed as prominent a place in the Roman city as the Temple of Apollo. Originally it would have had stone foundations on which was constructed a limestone Doric temple with six columns across its facade. In the late 1st century however the temple was radically altered and built in the Corinthian order on a podium 3.4 metres high and surrounded by a colonnade of six columns across the short sides and twelve along the long sides.
Climbing up the Acrocorinth, 575 metres above Corinth which had been built at its northern foot. Atop was the infamous Temple of Aphrodite which, according to most sources, employed over a thousand temple prostitutes. Strabo (Geography 12. 4. 36) wrote how 
The temple of Aphrodite was so rich that it owned more than a thousand temple slaves, courtesans, whom both men and women had dedicated to the goddess. And therefore it was also on account of these women that the city was crowded with people and grew rich; for instance, the ship captains freely squandered their money, and hence the proverb, ‘Not for every man is the voyage to Korinthos.
 Accoring to Pausanias, the Corinthians claimed that Briareus, one of the Hecatonchires, was the arbitrator in a dispute between Poseidon and Helios, between the sea and the sun: His verdict was that the Isthmus of Corinth belonged to Poseidon and the acropolis of Corinth to Helios. It was used from ancient times as a watchtower that emerged as a castle-fortress from which any raid from Central Greece or from the sea was supervised. With its secure water supply, Acrocorinth's fortress was repeatedly used as a last line of defence in southern Greece because it commanded the Isthmus of Corinth, repelling foes from entry by land into the Peloponnese peninsula. Acrocorinth was fortified for the first time by Kypselos and his son the tyrant Periandros in the 7th-6th century BCE. The Macedonians in the 4th century BCE repaired and strengthened the walls. It was destroyed in 146 BCE by Mummius during his destruction of Corinth and was also rebuilt by Caesar repairs in 44 BCE. Another repair took place in the 6th century by Justinian.
At the Temple of Zeus. Pindar speaks of "deep-soiled Nemea", but the character of the country has indeed changed with soil having been washed away by the storms of the ages. There is scarcely a human habitation to be seen. Here and there a patch of green offers scant pasture to a herd of goats. The Nemean Games took place at a spot some twelve miles to the west of this temple.
It was here that Heracles was required to bring the skin of this beast to Eurystheus; at Nemea he cut himself a club with which he killed the monster. This is the early tradition of the story; later authors (of whom Theocritus gives the fullest account in his twenty-fifth idyll)made the lion invulnerable, so that Heracles was obliged to strangle it with his hands after clubbing it, and then to flay it by using its claws to cut the invulnerable hide. At any rate, the club and lion's skin henceforth were Heracles' weapon and clothing par excellence; in art as in literature, they are invariably associated with him. 
Herakles, after the Nemean lion had bitten off one of his fingers had only nine and that there exists a tomb erected for this detached finger.
Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 2  
"Not in Nemea or ancient Argos shall I [Herakles the god] more often dwell
 Statius, Silvae 3. 1. 1
 
Olympia
Drake Winston at the temple of Hera at Olympia and Jürgen Ascherfeld on the far left, initially used by Leni Riefenstahl for Olympia. The Heraeum was one of the oldest sanctuaries of Greece. A scarab of Thothmes III has been found among its ruins, and the temple registers furnished a system of dating older than the reckoning by Olympiads. Here the Greeks acknowledged Agamemnon as commander in chief of the expedition to Troy, and the great Goddess never failed in loyal zeal for the success of the Grecian arms. The most interesting story connected with the Heraeum is the one told by Herodotus (i.31). When Solon was at the court of the Lydian king, Croesus, the king, after showing him his possessions, asked him who was the happiest man whom he had ever seen.
The Temple reconstructed
When Solon had provoked him by saying that the affairs of Tellus were so fortunate, Croesus asked who he thought was next, fully expecting to win second prize. Solon answered, “Cleobis and Biton. They were of Argive stock, had enough to live on, and on top of this had great bodily strength. Both had won prizes in the athletic contests, and this story is told about them: there was a festival of Hera in Argos, and their mother absolutely had to be conveyed to the temple by a team of oxen. But their oxen had not come back from the fields in time, so the youths took the yoke upon their own shoulders under constraint of time. They drew the wagon, with their mother riding atop it, travelling five miles until they arrived at the temple. When they had done this and had been seen by the entire gathering, their lives came to an excellent end, and in their case the god made clear that for human beings it is a better thing to die than to live. The Argive men stood around the youths and congratulated them on their strength; the Argive women congratulated their mother for having borne such children. She was overjoyed at the feat and at the praise, so she stood before the image and prayed that the goddess might grant the best thing for man to her children Cleobis and Biton, who had given great honour to the goddess. After this prayer they sacrificed and feasted. The youths then lay down in the temple and went to sleep and never rose again; death held them there. The Argives made and dedicated at Delphi statues of them as being the best of men.

 The Heraeum was the scene of the well known tale of the philosopher Pythagoras and the shield of Euphorbus. Menelaus,after his return from Troy, dedicated in this temple the captured shield of Euphorbus, whom he had killed. In later years, Pythagoras entered the temple and selected this shield at once from the many votive shields hung on the walls. It proved to have the name of Euphorbus upon it. Now Pythagoras in teaching the doctrine of metempsychosis had always claimed to be a reincarnation of Euphorbus, and he announced that he had established the claim by his success in picking out the right shield.

Drake under the vaulted tunnel leading into the stadium

 

My father sprinting from the ancient starting blocks and son from the same position a generation later, and as the site is reimagined through Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. The physical landmarks of the stadium are 697.3 feet long and 98–112 feet wide as seen here and recreated for the video game Assassin's Creed, and it served mainly for running races that determined the fastest person in the Greek world. The track was made of hard-packed clay to serve as traction for the contestants in the running events. As in current day athletics, a white block was placed on one end of the track where the athletes would line up to place their feet and got ready to start of the race as seen here with Drake Winston demonstrating. The white block was used to align all the athletes so they would all run the same distance. 

The Philippeion in the 1930s and today, the latter after Berlin's Pergamon Museum agreed to return its missing parts in situ, as well as attempting its restoration. It was an Ionic circular memorial in limestone and marble, a tholos, which contained chryselephantine (ivory and gold) statues of Philip II's family including himself, his son Alexander the Great, his wife Olympias, Amyntas III and Eurydice I. In his book By the Spear, Ian Worthington (107-8) states that
Philip chose Olympia deliberately because it was home to the panhellenic Olympic Games and because in its sanctuary (altis) was the great statue of Zeus, one of the wonders of the ancient world, which Phidias of Athens had carved in the 430s. Both of these things made Olympia a major attraction for pilgrims and visitors. The Philippeion was a large, eye-catching, circular building (tholos), a shape commonly reserved for sacred buildings, but there was nothing religious about Philip’s monument. It had an open, external row of eighteen Ionic columns and an internal row of nine Doric columns. Inside it but in plain view were statues of Philip, his mother and father (Eurydice and Amyntas), his son and heir Alexander, and Olympias. Philip’s statue in the centre of the group emphasised his importance. One of the period’s preeminent artists, Leochares of Athens (who had worked on another of the ancient world’s wonders, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus), was commissioned to design the building. The Philippeion was built in the temenos, the area of the sanctuary housing statues and buildings in honour of the gods, and this combination of sacred and secular in one setting was startling and deliberate: next to the statue of Zeus, the supreme god of Greece, stood that of the supreme secular ruler of Greece. Just as the Lion of Chaeronea memorialised the Theban Sacred Band, so the Philippeion memorialised Philip—and Macedonia. We can imagine the grating effect that the building in this religious setting would have on Greeks, with the corollary of empowerment and self-esteem on the part of Macedonians. 
The Gymnasium

 The Berlin Olympic Games of 1936 led to an intensification of the relationship between Germany and Greece on all levels: political, cultural, economic and military. Greek politicians and military staff made use of their visit to the games in Berlin to seal agreements on closer economic and military cooperation. The sports administrator Carl Diem helped raise awareness of Greek culture among the German public. He initiated the Olympic torch relay, with images of the Greek Konstantin Kondylis carrying the torch in 1936 going around the world. German travel literature about Greece became popular. Tourists travelled through the country, visiting ancient sites like Athens, Delphi, Delos and Olympia. The popularity of Greece had reached a peak. In 1936 Leni Riefenstahl made her film “Olympia”. In Greece she was advised by Walther Wrede. For the realisation of this film she received a total of 1.5 million Reichsmarks (400,000 of which were her payment for the project).  The Olympic Games inspired the large-scale excavations at Olympia. These were described as the “Führer Excavation (Führergrabung)” and were personally financed by Hitler from the proceeds of Mein Kampf (50,000 Reichsmarks a year from 1938 onwards). This prestigious project received extensive coverage in the German press. Archaeological research occupied the limelight as seldom before and enjoyed great esteem among the German public. The first official excavations during the Nazi era took place in spring 1937 under the guidance of Roland Hampe and Ulf Jantzen. In October 1937 Emil Kunze and Hans Schleif took over the reins, though the reasons for this change in personnel haven’t yet been established. Perhaps it was because the somewhat more senior pairing of Kunze and Schleif had more experience of excavations and better contacts in Greece. Schleif was responsible for technological and architectural history, while Kunze took care of the archaeological side of things. B The excavations were focused on the periphery of the sacred area of Olympia: the stadium as well as the Roman sites at Leonidaion and Kladeos. Schleif also got to work on publication of his book “Das Philippeion”.
The temple of Zeus, at the site of which is Drake Winston, was the largest temple in the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, where the Olympic Games were held. The sculptures in the pediments show racing and wrestling, but in mythological contexts. Here the subject is a battle between Lapiths and Centaurs, mythical tribes of northern Greece, which took place at a wedding feast. The Centaurs, half horse half man, had been invited to the wedding but drank too much wine and attempted to abduct the Lapith women. In the fight which followed, Apollo stands calmly at the centre while Peirithoös, the Lapith king and bridegroom, leads the attack on the Centaurs. Lapith women watch anxiously from the corners of the pediment. The sculptures contrast with the much more peaceful scene shown in the pediment on the other end of the temple. In an act forever recorded in infamy, Theodosius II infamously ordered the destruction of the temple during the Persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire in 476.

 Standing in front of the Apollon of Olympia, part of the group of sculptures found in the west pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.
Drake following in his father's footsteps eighteen years later. Its original location also provides it with another name: the Apollon from the west pediment. It is one of the most important statues of the Severe style or early Classical style, dating from around 460 BCE. The statue is currently in the archaeological museum in Olympia.  The sculptures of the west pediment depicted the battle of the Lapiths against the Centaurs, following the wedding feast of Peirithous and Hippodamia. The battle of the Lapiths - legendary inhabitants of Thessaly - against the Centaurs - wild forest inhabitants with a human upper half and the body of a horse - frequently acted as a mythological metaphor for the conflicts between the Greeks and the Barbarians. Most of the figures in this turbulent battle scene were discovered during the German excavations of 1875, led by the archaeologist Georg Treu. Apollo stood in the centre of the pediment, directing his gaze toward the Lapiths. With his outstretched right arm, he seemed to order an end to the iniquity: the Centaurs had betrayed the Lapiths' hospitality, drunk to excess, and kidnapped their women. Nevertheless, his inclusion appears to be merely figurative; the combatants seem ignorant of his presence, with no other figure in the pediment referring, either in their motion or gesture, to the appearance of the god.  
Drake beside the Hermes of Praxiteles, discovered in 1877 in the ruins of the Temple of Hera. It is traditionally attributed to Praxiteles and dated to the 4th century BC, based on a remark by Pausanias, and has made a major contribution to the definition of Praxitelean style. Its attribution is, however, the object of fierce controversy among art historians. The sculpture is unlikely to have been one of Praxiteles' famous works, as no ancient replicas of it have been identified. When Olympia had been hit by an earthquake during the reign of Diocletian in the final years of the third century CE, the roof of the Temple of Hera collapsed and and buried the statue in rubble. When it was finally uncovered on May 8, 1877 by German excavations in the temple of Hera, Ernst Curtius discovered its body including the head, torso, legs and left arm resting against a tree trunk covered by a mantle. Protected by the thick clay layer above it, it was in an exceptionally good state of preservation.It took six more separate discoveries to uncover the rest of the statue as it is displayed today as seen in the comparison on the left with how it first appeared and how it looks today. Hermes is still missing his right forearm, two fingers of his left hand, both forearms below the elbow, the left foot and his penis, whilst Dionysus is missing his arms (except the right hand on Hermes's shoulder) and the end of his right foot. Much of the tree trunk and the plinth are also lost. However, an ancient base survives, made of a grey limestone block between two blocks of marble.

The Nike of Paionios with the original six-metre high base in situ on the right near the temple of Zeus. It's shown how it would have originally appeared and as it looked after being found in 1875-76. Today it is still missing its face, neck, forearms, part of left leg, toes and some fragments of drapery. It base itself has the inscription: "The Messenians and the Naupaktians dedicated this statue to Zeus Olympios from the spoils of the wars. Paionios of Mende made it, who also won the competition to make the acroteria of the temple." This would indicate the statue was installed to honour the recapture of Sphacteria from the Spartans in 425 BCE.
Drake in Phidias’s workshop and as it appears in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. A sculptor, painter, and architect, his Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Phidias also designed the statues of the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis, namely the Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon, and the Athena Promachos, a colossal bronze which stood between it and the Propylaea, the monumental gateway that served as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. When the workshop was discovered in 1954  just where Pausanias said the statue of Zeus was constructed, it was then discovered the significant advancement of knowledge he had with his work for within were his tools, terracotta moulds and even evidence of his life there such as a cup inscribed with “I belong to Phidias”.  

Delphi
The ancient precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the major oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The oracle was international in character and also fostered sentiments of Greek nationality, even though the nation of Greece was centuries away from realisation. The ancient Greeks considered the centre of the world to be in Delphi, marked by the stone monument known as the omphalos (navel) shown on the left with Drake Winston beside, which represents the stone which Rhea wrapped in swaddling clothes, pretending it was Zeus, in order to deceive Cronus. It was also claimed that in his attempt to locate the centre of the earth, Zeus launched two eagles from both ends of the world which, starting simultaneously and flying at equal speed, crossed their paths above the area of Delphi. From this point, Zeus threw this stone from the sky to see where it will fall. It fell at Delphi, which since then was considered to be the centre of the world, the omphalos – "navel of the earth".According to Suda, the Delphi took its name from the Delphyne, the dragon who lived there and was killed by the god Apollo (in other accounts the serpent was named Python). The sacred precinct occupies a delineated region on the south-western slope of Mount Parnassus. It is now an extensive archaeological site. The site is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in having had a great influence in the ancient world, as evidenced by the various monuments built there by most of the important ancient Greek city-states, demonstrating their fundamental Hellenic unity. It would be impossible to remove the influence of the Delphic oracle from the written history of the times.

At the Temple of Apollo. Its ruins date from the 4th century BCE, and are of a peripteral Doric building. It was erected on the remains of an earlier temple, dated to the 6th century BC which itself was erected on the site of a 7th-century BCE construction attributed to the architects Trophonios and Agamedes.  The 6th-century BCE temple was named the "Temple of Alcmonidae" in tribute to the Athenian family who funded its reconstruction following a fire, which had destroyed the original structure. The new building was a Doric hexastyle temple of six by 15 columns. This temple was destroyed in 375 BCE by an earthquake. The pediment sculptures are a tribute to Praxias and Androsthenes of Athens. The temple had the statement "Know thyself", one of the Delphic maxims, carved into it. The temple survived until 390 CE, when Theodosius I silenced the oracle by destroying the temple and most of the statues and works of art in the intolerant name of Christianity. The site was completely destroyed by Christian fanatics in a savage attempt to remove all traces of Paganism.
Drake Winston above the temple, and the same point of view recreated for the video game Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. The geographical location of the Temple of Apollo was significant in Greek mythology as it was the destination where two eagles, placed at opposite ends of the earth by Zeus, met. This temple was considered an oracle, where Apollo could communicate to humans through the Pythia. The Greeks, their leaders and other foreign leaders journeyed to the temple of Apollo seeking advice from the Pythia, despite misinterpretations often leading to twists in fate. Much like the Olympics today, the site of Delphi hosted the Pythian games as a dedication to Apollo, in the site's Greek theatre. As well as athletic competitions, the Pythian games also held poetry, dance and music contests, drawing in spectators and crowds. The presence of the oracle and the Pythian games, allowed the Athenians to showcase their treasury on an international scale.
 
Its appearance in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.
A visitor in the fifth century BE would have entered Delphi at the southeast. Climbing the Sacred Way, he would pass the small treasure-houses of the Sikyonians, the Siphnians, and the Megarians, before arriving at a crossroads. Rounding a hairpin turn, he would get his first clear view of the Temple of Apollo, looming high on a terrace over the roadway, shown here as it appears today and recreated for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Below it in front of which Drake stands, is the stoa of the Athenians, sited along the base of the polygonal wall retaining the terrace on which the Temple of Apollo sits. The stoa opened to the Sacred Way. The nearby presence of the Treasury of the Athenians suggests that this quarter of Delphi was used for Athenian business or politics, as stoas are generally found in market-places. What's left of the building are seven fluted columns, unusually carved from single pieces of stone (most columns were constructed from a series of discs joined together). The inscription on the stylobate indicates that it was built by the Athenians after their naval victory over the Persians in 478 BCE to house their war trophies. 
Immediately below this great temple he would be able to see a small, Doric structure: the Treasure-House of the Athenians. It was an exceptionally lavish little structure, built entirely of dazzling Parian marble, with metopes and pediments carved in high relief, and ten bronze statues atop a limestone base that ran along the south side. Offset against the dark retaining wall of the temple terrace, gleaming white below the limestone west end of the temple itself, its effect on pilgrims must have been considerable. Among the dozens of other such treasuries at Delphi, Olympia, and Delos, this one stands out as a particularly well-documented, complex, and significant example. 
Drake below the treasury from the side, and how it was recreated for Assassin's Creed. It is important to note the historical and geographical importance of the area in which the Athenian treasury is located. The Athenians, Siphnians, and the Sikyonians each had their own treasury lining the pathway to the Temple of Apollo, at the site of Delphi. Unlike its recreation in the video game, it is now believed that ten bronze statues stood atop the base. which by the third century had increased to twelve, and then again to thirteen. Though the nature of the statues remains hypothetical, the shift in its numbers suggests that the original statues depicted the ten eponymous heroes of the Kleisthenic tribes, and that the later changes reflect the creation of new tribes in the Hellenistic period: Antigonos Monophthalmos and Demetrios Poliorketes became eponymoi in 306, and Ptolemy III joined the ranks in 223. Each change at Athens probably resulted in a corresponding change on the base at Delphi. Although the architecture at Delphi is generally the plain Doric style in keeping with the Phocian traditions, which were Doric, the Athenians did not prefer the Doric. The treasury and the stoa alongside it were built in their own preferred style, the Ionic order, the capitals of the columns being a sure indicator. In the Ionic order they are floral and ornate, although not as much as the Corinthian, which is in deficit there.

German soldiers in June 1941 in front of the Athenian Treasury shown left, constructed by the Athenians to house dedications made by their city and citizens to the sanctuary of Apollo. It is located directly below the Temple of Apollo along the Sacred Way for all visitors to view the Athenian treasury on the way up to the sanctuary. The entire treasury, including its sculptural decoration, is built of Parian marble; Richard Neer considers this point significant given how extraordinary that the Athenians should have been buying large quantities of marble from Paros, a city that had fought on the Persian side at Marathon. Indeed, the Athenians under Miltiades had actually laid siege to the island in reprisal, the failure of which led to Miltiades’s prosecution at the hands of Xanthippos; a wound he had received there had led to his death. Paros had medised in the 490s, and remained true to the Persians throughout the 480s; unlike its neighbours Melos, Naxos, and Siphnos, it fought on the Persian side at Salamis, and was subsequently punished by the victorious Greeks. That the Athenians should have chosen to build their monument for Marathon entirely out of Parian stone less than a year after Athenian soldiers had tried to sack the place despite exploiting their own superfine, ostentatious marble from the newly opened quarries on Mount Pentelikonis- that which was used to build the Parthenon- is striking.
Drake in front of the Athenian Treasury At Delphi. The Greek states dedicated treasuries at the major national sanctuaries, to house rich offerings and display their own wealth and piety. This stands just below the temple terrace at Delphi beside the Sacred Way, and was dedicated by the Athenians to commemorate their victory at Marathon and was rebuilt at the beginning of this century when the period photo on the left was taken. It is a small Doric building, of Athenian marble, with sculptural decoration in the metopes, showing the exploits of Heracles and Theseus. It is the only building at Delphi that stands in its true dimensions. Pausanias mentions the building in his account of the sanctuary, claiming that it was dedicated from the spoils of the Battle of Marathon, fought in 490 BCE. After the battle, the spoils of war were used to either create or upgrade the treasury and store many of the other spoils as gifts to the gods. The metope of Theseus and the Bull of Marathon shows how the Athenians tried to tie the win to their divine right to be the head polis and rule over the others. This also tied their mythology more closely to their reality. 

Drake above the theatre at Delphi from the top seats with the Temple of Apollo below,
showing the foundations and restored columns and looking south-east over the lower sanctuary terrace (Marmaria), with a Temple of Athena, and to the pass leading east to Boeotia. The other approach led up from the Gulf of Corinth, at Itea, from the south west. The dramatic sanctuary site is built on a steep slope beneath Mount Parnassus. At the left is the gully with the sacred spring of Castalia. Built further up the hill from the Temple of Apollo giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the valley below. It was originally built in the 4th century BCE but was remodelled on several occasions since. Its 35 rows could seat five thousand spectators. 

At the theatre back when one had pretty much unrestricted access to most of the sites and my son nearly two decades later. The ancient theatre at Delphi was built further up the hill from the Temple of Apollo giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the valley below. It was originally built in the 4th century BCE but was remodeled on several occasions, particularly in 160/159 at the expense of king Eumenes II of Pergamon and in 67 CE on the occasion ofNero's visit. The cavea leans against the natural slope of the mountain whereas its eastern part overrides a little torrent that led the water of the fountain Cassotis right underneath the temple of Apollo. The orchestra was initially a full circle with a diameter measuring seven metres. The rectangular scene building ended up in two arched openings, of which the foundations are preserved today. Access to the theatre was possible through the parodoi; the side corridors. On the support walls of the parodoi are engraved large numbers of manumission inscriptions recording fictitious sales of the slaves to the god. The koilon was divided horizontally in two zones via a corridor called diazoma. The lower zone had 27 rows of seats and the upper one only eight. Six radially arranged stairs divided the lower part of the koilon in seven tiers. The theatre could accommodate about 4,500 spectators.  On the occasion of Nero's visit to Greece in 67 A.D. various alterations took place. The orchestra was paved and delimited by a parapet made of stone. The proscenium was replaced by a low pedestal, the pulpitum; its façade was decorated with scenes from Hercules' myth in relief. Further repairs and transformations took place in the 2nd century Pausanias mentions that these were carried out under the auspices of Herod Atticus. In antiquity, the theatre was used for the vocal and musical contests which formed part of the programme of the Pythian Games in the late Hellenistic and Roman period. The theatre was abandoned when the sanctuary declined in Late Antiquity. After its excavation and initial restoration it hosted theatrical performances during the Delphic Festivals organised by A. Sikelianos and his wife, Eva Palmer, in 1927 and in 1930. It has recently been restored again as the serious landslides posed a grave threat for its stability for decades. 
Drake Winston reciprocates with a photo of me at the stadium, shown during the 1930s and today. The stadium is located further up the hill, beyond the via sacra and the theatre. It was originally built in the 5th century BCE but was altered in later centuries. The last major remodelling took place in the 2nd century under the patronage of Herodes Atticus when the stone seating was built and provided with an arched entrance supported by four pillars on the eastern side. It could seat 6500 spectators and the track was 177 metres long and 25.5 metres wide. It remains the best preserved ancient stadium in Greece.  Here took place the gymnastic contests, what would today be considered track and field sports. Musical contests were probably organised there as well and a 2nd century BCE inscription describes Satyr the Samian who performed a hymn “for the god and the Greeks” to the sound of a guitar.
Reconstruction of the serpent column built to commemorate the Greeks who fought and defeated the Persians at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BCE eventually relocated to Constantinople by Constantine the Great in 324. This bronze column in the shape of intertwined snakes was created from melted-down Persian weapons, acquired in the plunder of the Persian camp, and was erected at Delphi, commemorating all the Greek city-states that had participated in the battle, listing them on the column, and thus confirming some of Herodotus's claims. Most of it still survives in the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Plataea, with Mycale, have great significance in ancient history as the battles that decisively ended the second Persian invasion of Greece, thereby swinging the balance of the Græco-Persian Wars in favour of the Greeks, preventing the Persians from conquering all of Greece, although they paid a high price by losing many of their men. Whilst the Battle of Marathon showed that the Persians could be defeated, and the Battle of Salamis saved Greece from immediate conquest, Plataea and Mycale effectively ended that threat even though neither of these battles is nearly as well known as Thermopylae, Salamis or Marathon. The reason for this discrepancy is not entirely clear; it might, however, be a result of the circumstances in which the battle was fought. The fame of Thermopylae certainly lies in the doomed heroism of the Greeks in the face of overwhelming numbers and Marathon and Salamis perhaps because they were both fought against the odds, and in dire strategic situations. Conversely, the Battles of Plataea and Mycale were both fought from a relative position of Greek strength, and against lesser odds; the Greeks, in fact, sought out battle on both occasions. 
Drake at the Tholos of Delphi, nestled amongst the ancient structures of the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. The circular temple shares the immediate site with other ancient foundations of the Temple of Athena Pronaia, all located less than a mile east of the main ruins at Delphi. The tholos is part of the Delphi UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architect of the "vaulted temple at Delphi" is named by Vitruvius, in De architectura Book VII, as Theodorus Phoceus (not Theodorus of Samos, whom Vitruvius names separately).  Externally, twenty Doric columns supported a frieze with triglyphs and metopes. The circular wall of the cella, the central chamber of the building, was also crowned by a similar frieze, metopes and triglyphs but to a lesser extent. Inside, a stone bench was positioned on which stood ten Corinthian style pilasters, all of them attached to the concave surface of the wall.  The manifold combination and blending of various architectural styles in the same building was completed through a natural polychromatic effect, resulting from the use of different materials. Materials used included Eleusinian thin slabs and Pentelic marble in the superstructure and limestone at the platform. The building's eight-arched roof was also constructed of marble, and was decorated respectively by eight female statues carved in motion. The sculptured decoration of the dome was also beautifully crafted and dated between 380 and 370 BCE. High reliefs ascribed the figures of the metopes, which contributed to being easily detached from the plates and be reused as building material and tomb covers in the early Christian years after they were smoothed over again. 
Following strenuous and time-consuming efforts of specialists who attempted to agglutinate the fragments around the monument, we can today have at least an incomplete picture of its original form and the stylistic and decorative elements of its relief representations. In the major metopes of the outer side there are scene representations from Amazon and Centaur battles, already known from mythology and very dear to Greek sculpture. In the inside, the figures of the frieze survived unfortunately at a very small scale and with high fragmentation. They allegedly portrayed labors, either by Hercules or Theseus.  Despite their fragmentary nature, the architectural reliefs on the Dome of Delphi reveal the great skill of their creators, as regards both the treatment of materials – especially marble – and catching details with vitality and excellent anatomical accuracy. All these novel compounds with unexpected combinations in the iconographic tradition of the 4th century BCE introduce an innovative artistic movement, resulting in a creative competition between the art of relief and sculpted plastic art. Particularly to achieve the above confrontational blending of antithetical elements, the discernible elements include the high relief which may be detached from the plate of the panel, the kinesiological freedoms of the sculptures achieved through their details, as well as the dramatic intensity reflected in the figures to demonstrate the passion and the fury of the conflict of enemies in lively battle scenes.
 Inside the Archaeological Museum of Delphi. Drake in front of the Sphinx of Naxos, a colossal 2.22 metre tall marble statue of a sphinx, which had stood on a ten metre high column that culminated in one of the first Ionic capitals, and was erected next to the Temple of Apollo in 560 BCE.  The first fragments had been excavated from the sanctuary of the Temple of Apollo in 1860 with the remainder found in 1893. It was originally set up on a stele around 560 BCE as an offering to the Temple of Apollo by Naxos, one of the richest Cycladic islands at the time. It was carved from a large piece of Naxian marble; its solid construction combined elements that gave the statue a character of motion and vitality, such are the details that depict the hair, chest, and wings. It is also notable because it is an early example of carving in-the-round, as opposed to relief carving that was common during that time. On the base there was an inscription dated to 328-327 B.C., renewing the promanteia for the Naxians:  
ΔΕΛΦΟΙ ΑΠΕΔΩΚΑΝ ΝΑΞΙΟΙΣ ΤΑΝ ΠΡΟΜΑΝΤΗΙΑΝ ΚΑΤΤΑ ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΑΡΧΟΝΤΟΣ ΘΕΟΛΥΤΟΥ ΒΟΥΛΕΥΟΝΤΟΣ ΕΠΙΓΕΝΕΟΣ 
(Delphi accorded the Naxians the right of Promanteia as before, at the time of archon Theolytos and Epigenes the Bouleutes).
Because of this, the Naxians had the right to acquire oracles first.
Drake beside the Charioteer of Delphi and as it appears in Assassin's Creed with its imagined larger group of statuary, including the chariot, at least four horses and possibly two grooms. Some fragments of the horses were found with the statue. Also known as Heniokhos, it is one of the best-known statues surviving from Ancient Greece, and considered one of the finest examples of ancient bronze sculptures. The life-size was found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo and is now in the Delphi Archaeological Museum. Whilst the name of the sculptor is unknown, for stylistic reasons it is believed that the statue was cast in Athens given that it has certain similarities of detail to the statue known as the Piraeus Apollo, which is known to be of Athenian origin.An inscription on the limestone base of the statue shows that it was dedicated by Polyzalus, the tyrant of Gela, a Greek colony in Sicily, as a tribute to Apollo for helping him win the chariot race. The inscription reads: [P]OLUZALOS MA nETHÊK[EN] ...]ON AES EUONUM APOLL[ON], which is reconstructed to read "Polyzalus dedicated me. ... Make him prosper, honoured Apollo." The Charioteer is not portrayed during the race, as in this case his movement would be more intense, but in the end of the race after his victory when, being calm and ecstatic, he makes the victory lap in the hippodrome. His gemstone eyes evoke what the Greeks called ethos and balance. His motion is instantaneous, but also eternal. In spite of the great victory, there are no shouts, but a calm inner power. The face and the body do not have the features of arrogance, but those of calm self-confidence. It's unusual for this era to have the charioteer clothed head to foot when most athletes at this time would have competed, and been depicted nude. The young man would certainly have been of a lower status than his master Polyzalos, and Honour and Fleming have speculated that he may have been a household slave whom it was not appropriate to depict in the nude. Whilst most bronze statues from ancient times were melted down for their raw materials or were naturally corroded, the Charioteer survived because it was buried under a rock-fall at Delphi, which probably destroyed the site in 373 BCE.
In front of the east frieze of the Treasury of Siphnos showing Achilles against Memnon during the battle of Troy and a colour reproduction. The inset shows the north frieze with the Battle of the Giants (Gigantomachy). First Hephaestus stands out with his short chiton, standing in front of his bellows. He is followed by two females fighting two Giants, then Dionysus (or possibly Heracles), and Themis on her chariot drawn by lions. A pair of gods who are shooting their arrows against the Giants have been identified as Artemis and Apollo. They are followed by the other gods, but these sculptures do not survive in good condition. 
 
Thermopylae
At the immortal site of the battle of Thermopylae. It was here in 480 BCE that an army of roughly 7,000 soldiers, under the command of Leonidas I of Sparta, met an overwhelming force from Persia whose numbers Herodotus cites as 2,641,610. Xerxes, son of Darius I, had launched a full-scale land-and-sea invasion of the Greek mainland with an army so large that it dismayed the Greeks. The advent of this Persian host forced most Greek states in its path to surrender, or medise, given that none could seriously contemplate standing up to it. Yet a handful of Greek poleis in central Greece and the Peloponnese, led by Athens and Sparta, did just that. Facing insurmountable odds, a Spartan contingent of 300 warriors led by one of their two kings, along with allied troops, was charged with stopping the Persian invader at the narrow pass of Thermopylae, while the Greek armies mustered in the rear. The battle ended in a Greek defeat, following betrayal by a local with topographical knowledge. The Battle of Thermopylae can be viewed as the first in a great cultural tradition that culminates with Dunkirk: the Glorious Defeat. The essence of this tradition is that a military defeat be converted into a moral victory, most commonly by claims that it manifests admirable national, cultural, or ethnic qualities. Though Leonidas held the pass for a number of days, the Persians forced a path through and attacked the Greeks from the rear. Only two Greek soldiers survived the ordeal after which all of central Greece, including Athens, fell to the Persians. The Persian land forces were eventually defeated by Athens and her allies at the Battle of Plataiai in 479. 
The present landscape has changed considerably from the narrow gorge of old; the coastline to the north has been extended by the silt brought down by the River Spercheiós, pushing the sea back over three miles. The modern highway is seen going through what had constituted the ancient shoreline of the Gulf of Malia. The changed landscape can be appreciated above through Louis S. Glanzman's painting commissioned for the October 1975 edition of National Geographic and which appears in my childhood copy of "Greece and Rome: Builders of Our World" in which "Leonard Cottrell reawakens fields of battle and shrines of gods in the land 'Where grew the arts of war and peace.'":
With Drake at the hot springs on the battlesite
The Greeks held a superb defensive position, the pass of the Hot Gates—Thermopylae—where the coastal road, flanked by mountain, sea, and hot mineral springs, nar- rowed to a path some 50 feet wide. Leonidas, the Spartan king who commanded the Greeks, held the pass with about 7,000 troops, including his own 300-man royal guard, all fathers of sons. If a guardsman fell, his name would live.
Xerxes, enthroned near the pass to watch his men pour through, laughed at a scout's report of vain Greek warriors bathing and preening on the eve of battle. But a Greek, serving Xerxes, heard the report and understood: The troops were Spartans, ritualistically preparing to die. "O king!" he exclaimed, "now are you face to face with . . . the most valiant men in Hellas."While the Spartans awaited attack, Herodotus wrote, one of them remarked that the Persian archers' arrows would fly so thickly they would darken the sky. "So much the better," his comrade replied. "We can fight in the shade."
For three days a storm raged off Euboea, where part of the Greek fleet sheltered. Caught at sea, hundreds of Persian ships sank. As the storm died down, Xerxes hurled wave after human wave, including his vaunted guard, the ten thousand Immortals, against the pass. But Leonidas' troops, who manned an ancient wall, would not yield.As night fell over the second day of battle, a Greek traitor led a Persian force along a mountaintop trail to outflank the pass. Leonidas learned of the treachery in time to send away most of his army. His Spartans stayed, with some Boeotian troops, as a doomed rearguard. "Have a good breakfast, men," tradition reports his words. "We shall dine in Hades!"Next morning, while the night marchers fell on the Greek flank, Leonidas led his men over the wall for a last, spear- shattering charge. Now, recounts Herodotus, they fought  "with their swords, if they had them, but if not, with their hands and teeth." Leonidas fell. Spartans, rallying round his body, enshrouded it with theirs. 
Where the highway from Lamia crosses a plain beside the sea, I saw a Greek warrior gleaming in the sun. Immortal in bronze as he is in legend, Leonidas still defends Thermopylae. Atop a nearby knoll I read inscribed words of the poet Simonides: "Tell them in Sparta, passerby, that here, obedient to their orders, we lie." The eminent archeologist Spyridon Marinatos told me he had pinpointed this site after digging up hundreds of Persian-type arrowheads.

Drake top-right is shown on Kolonos Hill where the Spartans made their last stand beside the epitaph with Simonides' epigram, originally engraved on a commemorative stone placed on top of the burial mound of the Spartans at the top of the hill on which the last of them died. The original stone has not survived, but in 1955, the epitaph was engraved on a new stone.  Ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι. Oh stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians that we lie here, obedient to their words.


Building the memorial to Leonidas and his 300 in 1955 and the site today with Drake Winston at the end of a long day of travelling. On the right is the memorial beside it honouring the 700 Thespians who too fell in the battle.

The ruins of the temple of Athena Alea at Tegea, where I taught for a year at modern-day Stadio, Tegeas. The grandest of all temples in the Peloponnese, Herodotus gives the following account of the time the Spartans tried to subdue the Tegeans only to once again misinterpret the Delphic oracle:
[R]egarding the Arcadians as very much their inferiors, they sent to consult the oracle about conquering the whole of Arcadia. The Pythoness thus answered them:
Cravest thou Arcady? Bold is thy craving. I shall not content it.
Many the men that in Arcady dwell, whose food is the acorn-
They will never allow thee. It is not I that am niggard.
I will give thee to dance in Tegea, with noisy foot-fall,
And with the measuring line mete out the glorious champaign.
When the Lacedaemonians received this reply, leaving the rest of Arcadia untouched, they marched against the Tegeans, carrying with them fetters, so confident had this oracle (which was, in truth, but of base metal) made them that they would enslave the Tegeans. The battle, however, went against them, and many fell into the enemy's hands. Then these persons, wearing the fetters which they had themselves brought, and fastened together in a string, measured the Tegean plain as they executed their labours. The fetters in which they worked were still, in my day, preserved at Tegea where they hung round the walls of the temple of Minerva Alea.