AAIA | Gale Visiting Professor Program
Olympia – Competing and feasting in the sanctuary of Zeus: Recent excavations and research of the German Archaeological Institute
Professor Reinhard Senff
The 2023 Gale Visiting Professorship has been made possible by the generous support of Janet Gale, a foundation supporter of the Institute and one of our first Governors.
The sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia was a place of veneration of the Greek pantheon, and particularly its supreme god, throughout the year The athletic games held here every four years, however, made it for centuries a Panhellenic meeting place where the whole Greek world came together.
In the tradition of Heracles who was said to have rested and dined at Olympia with his companions after one of his Labours, the visitors of the games participated in major sacrifices and feasting during their stay which have left their traces in various types of installations and numerous objects found during the excavations. Moreover, the sanctuary became a unique stage for the exhibition of personal success, not only in sport but also in military and political achievements, which were exhibited in expensive votive dedications and monuments, some of which have recently been restored to provide the visitor with a better understanding of the sanctuary´s former wealth, contributing to a constantly developing picture of its infrastructure, its maintenance and the cultic practices conducted within its confines.
About the speaker
Professor Reinhard Senff is the recently retired Director of the Ancient Olympia Excavations (appointed 2005) and Second Director of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens. He will bring with him to Australia a wealth of experience of working at Olympia, one of the foremost ancient Greek sanctuaries from where the modern Olympic movement took its inspiration.
Madsen Building F09
University of Sydney Camperdown Campus
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