Walls, from NW, Olympia, Philippeion

Plan, Olympia, Philippeion

Context: Olympia
Type: Tholos
Summary: Circular building; in the northwest corner of the Sanctuary of Zeus (Altis), to the west of the Temple of Hera.
Date: ca. 339 BC - 300 BC

diameter: 15.24 m.

Region: Elis
Period: Hellenistic


Tholos opening west onto peripteral colonnade of 18 Ionic columns. Inner colonnade of 9 engaged Corinthian columns. A window on either side of the door.


Building commenced by Philip of Macedon to commemorate his victory at Chaironeia in 338 B.C., and probably finished by Alexander. The semi-circular statue base inside the tholos held chryselephantine statues of Alexander, his parents Philip and Olympias, and his grandparents Amyntas and Eurydike. The entire structure and its ornamentation were carefully based on divisions of a circle. Examples of this include the 36 stylobate blocks centered under and between the 18 Ionic columns, and floors decoratively flagged in rhomboids arranged at regular degree divisions of a circle.

Other Bibliography:

Mallwitz 1972, 128-133; Rossiter 1981, 343-344; PECS, 649; Dinsmoor 1975, 236