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One of the two ways from the gymnasium leads to the market-place, and to what is called the Umpires' Room; it is above the grave of Achilles, and by it the umpires are wont to go to the gymnasium. They enter before sunrise to match the runners, and at midday for the pentathlum and for such contests as are called heavy.


The market-place of Elis is not after the fashion of the cities of Ionia and of the Greek cities near Ionia; it is built in the older manner, with porticoes separated from each other and with streets through them. The modern name of the market-place is Hippodromus, and the natives train their horses there. Of the porticoes the southern is in the Doric style, and it is divided by the pillars into three parts. In it the umpires generally spend the day.

[3] At the pillars they also cause altars to be made to Zeus, and in the open market-place are the altars, in number not many; for, their construction being improvised, they are without difficulty taken to pieces. As you enter the market-place at this portico the Umpires' Room is on your left, parallel to the end of the portico. What separates it from the market-place is a street. In this Umpires' Room dwell for ten consecutive months the umpires elect, who are instructed by the Guardians of the Law as to their duties at the festival.


Near to the portico where the umpires pass the day is another portico, between the two being one street. The Eleans call it the Corcyrean, because, they say, the Corcyreans landed in their country and carried off part of the booty, but they themselves took many times as much booty from the land of the Corcyreans, and built the portico from the tithe of the spoils.

[5] The portico is in the Doric style and double, having its pillars both on the side towards the market-place and on the side away from it. Down the center of it the roof is supported, not by pillars, but by a wall, beside which on either side have been dedicated statues. On the side of the portico towards the market-place stands a statue of Pyrrhon, son of Pistocrates, a sophist who never brought himself to make a definite admission on any matter. The tomb also of Pyrrhon is not far from the town of the Eleans. The name of the place is Petra, and it is said that Petra was a township in ancient times.

[6] The most notable things that the Eleans have in the open part of the market-place are a temple and image of Apollo Healer. The meaning of the name would appear to be exactly the same as that of Averter of Evil, the name current among the Athenians. In another part are the stone images of the sun and of the moon; from the head of the moon project horns, from the head of the sun, his rays. There is also a sanctuary to the Graces; the images are of wood, with their clothes gilded, while their faces, hands and feet are of white marble. One of them holds a rose, the middle one a die, and the third a small branch of myrtle.

[7] The reason for their holding these things may be guessed to be this. The rose and the myrtle are sacred to Aphrodite and connected with the story of Adonis, while the Graces are of all deities the nearest related to Aphrodite. As for the die, it is the plaything of youths and maidens, who have nothing of the ugliness of old age. On the right of the Graces is an image of Love, standing on the same pedestal.

[8] Here there is also a temple of Silenus, which is sacred to Silenus alone, and not to him in common with Dionysus. Drunkenness is offering him wine in a cup. That the Silenuses are a mortal race you may infer especially from their graves, for there is a tomb of a Silenus in the land of the Hebrews, and of another at Pergamus.

[9] In the market-place of Elis I saw something else, a low structure in the form of a temple. It has no walls, the roof being supported by pillars made of oak. The natives agree that it is a tomb, but they do not remember whose it is. If the old man I asked spoke the truth, it would be the tomb of Oxylus.

[10] There is also in the market-place a building for the women called the Sixteen, where they weave the robe for Hera.

Adjoining the market-place is an old temple surrounded by pillars; the roof has fallen down, and I found no image in the temple. It is dedicated to the Roman emperors.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), BASIL´ICA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PANCRA´TIUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PO´RTICUS
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