| Olympia was occupied and thriving as far back as Mycenaean times.
The era of the Olympic games began in 776 BC and the games were overseen
by the Eleans (though Pisa also laid claim to this right). The games
were held regularly for over a thousand years and the Olympic Truce,
which forbade any Greek warfare during the time of the games, was
strictly observed and enforced. The most notable exception was an
invasion of the Pisans in which a battle took place at Olympia in
front of the spectators of the games. Elis, however, managed to maintain
its control of Olympia and the prestige of the games increased. |
After the age of Hadrian, Olympia and its games began to fade from
their glory, but were still held until 393 AD, when Theodosius prohibited
all pagan festivals. Thirty years later, Theodosius II ordered the
temples to be destroyed and burned and a Christian basilica was established
there as well as fortifications against the Vandals. Earthquakes and
a landslide from Mt. Kronos, combined with the flooding of the Kladeos,
turned the failing Olympia into a wasteland.