Pausanias, Description of Greece (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Paus.].
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6.24.3

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.

6.24.4

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.

6.24.5

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.

6.24.6

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.

6.24.7

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.

6.24.8

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.

6.24.9

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.

6.24.10

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.

ch. 25 6.25.1

Behind the portico built from the spoils of Corcyra is a temple of Aphrodite, the precinct being in the open, not far from the temple. The goddess in the temple they call Heavenly; she is of ivory and gold, the work of Pheidias, and she stands with one foot upon a tortoise. The precinct of the other Aphrodite is surrounded by a wall, and within the precinct has been made a basement, upon which sits a bronze image of Aphrodite upon a bronze he-goat. It is a work of Scopas, and the Aphrodite is named Common. The meaning of the tortoise and of the he-goat I leave to those who care to guess.

6.25.2

The sacred enclosure of Hades and its temple (for the Eleans have these among their possessions) are opened once every year, but not even on this occasion is anybody permitted to enter except the priest. The following is the reason why the Eleans worship Hades; they are the only men we know of so to do. It is said that, when Heracles was leading an expedition against Pylus in Elis, Athena was one of his allies. Now among those who came to fight on the side of the Pylians was Hades, who was the foe of Heracles but was worshipped at Pylus.

6.25.3

Homer is quoted in support of the story, who says in the Iliad: And among them huge Hades suffered a wound from a swift arrow,
When the same man, the son of aegis-bearing Zeus,
Hit him in Pylus among the dead, and gave him over to pains.
Hom. Il. 5.395-397If in the expedition of Agamemnon and Menelaus against Troy Poseidon was according to Homer an ally of the Greeks, it cannot be unnatural for the same poet to hold that Hades helped the Pylians. At any rate it was in the belief that the god was their friend but the enemy of Heracles that the Eleans made the sanctuary for him. The reason why they are wont to open it only once each year is, I suppose, because men too go down only once to Hades.



Pausanias, Description of Greece (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Paus.].
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