Category:Sanctuary of Zeus Olympios (Ancient Dion)

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Sanctuary of Zeus Olympios (Ancient Dion) 
building in Dio-Olympos Municipality, Central Macedonia, Greece
The santuary of Zeus Olympios, Ancient Dion (6930213594).jpg
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Instance of temple
LocationDio-Olympos Municipality, Central Macedonia, Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace
Heritage designation
  • listed archaeological site in Greece
40° 10′ 16.92″ N, 22° 29′ 40.92″ E
Authority control
Blue pencil.svg
Sanctuary of Zeus Olympios (Ancient Dion) (en); Храм на Зевс Олимпийски (bg); Ιερό Ολυμπίου Διός (el); Zeus Olympioksen pyhäkkö (fi) building in Dio-Olympos Municipality, Central Macedonia, Greece (en); bâtiment de Macédoine-Centrale, en Grèce (fr); αρχαίος ναός (el) Temple of Olympian Zeus, Dion (en)

The sanctuary of Zeus Olympios was originally a grove. The first architectural structures were erected in the Hellenistic times. The precinct was surrounded by a wall, partially found. A stoa with propylon in the middle, separated the altar area from the grand yard to the west. Situated in a predominant position to the east of the sanctuary, is the altar of Zeus Olympios, an elongated struture 22 meters long. Built in the 4th century BC, probably over earlier altars. It was made by carved porous limestone and filled with bricks. In front of the altar there were three rows of eleven stone bases. A bronze ring attached to each base, was used to hold the sacrificial animal down.

Inside the sanctuary, stood the statues of the Macedonian kings. Only the pedestral of the statue of Kassandros and a fragment of the pedestral of the statue of Perseus were found. In this same place probably stood the famous sculptures of Lysipos, a group of bronze horsemen, dedicated by Alexander the Great, in honour of those who fell in the battle of the Granikos river in 334 BC.

The renowed sanctuary of the Macedonians was burned down in the summer of 219 BC by the Aetolian army. Their ill-famed general Skopas destropyed the building and knocked to the ground the statues of kings. The Macedonians of Dion rebuilt their sanctuary and buried in pits many of the dedication that had been destroyed. Recent excavations have brought to light just such pits containing, among other things, royal inscriptions of value for the history of Macedonia, such as a letter of Philipp V to the inhabitants of Pherai and Demetrias, an alliance agreement between Philipp V and the Lysiacheians, the healing text of the treaty between king Perseus and the Boiotians etc.

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