Ancient Ilida

Ilida or Elis was a city-state of Ancient Ilia.

Elis, was inhabited from prehistoric times, was next to Ancient Olympia and became an Independent Kingdom at Mycenaean age, one of the greatest cities of Ilia. Its inhabitants were called “Epeioi” and took part in the Trojan War under Polyxenus.

According to mythology was founded by Oksylus, who also was her first king. Oksylus came from Aitolia and brought the culture pieces he found in the area together into a city. He was assumed to be the man who established the Olympic Games and he attached Olympia to his state. Indeed, the athletes who participated in the Olympics were obliged to train in Elis one month before. Some other great kings of the area was Pelopas, Oinomaos, Laias and Ifitos.

Εlis had a gymnasium with many courtyards, a theatre without stands but the crowd were attending the show from the slopes, a palaestra in which there were statues of the athletes Polyctoros and Sosandros. Outside the gymnasium on the road to marketplace there was the so-called Ellanodikaionas and the Corfians Stoa. There was also a marketplace and bathhouses.

In the city there were some sanctuaries important for the area’s history. First of all, there was the sanctuary of Acessios Apollo, who was adored like a god curer, with a god’s statue inside. Secondly, there was the sanctuary of Graces, which was located at the marketplace and inside the sanctuary there were wooden statues of the Graces. Each of the Graces  was holding as a badge one rose, one ankle and one olive myrtle. Also, the temple of Silinos at the market, in which were adored both Dionysus and Methi. The sanctuary of God Luck at the market. Inside a stoa there was its big statue that was gold except of her ends. The temple of Sosipolis at the market which depicted Sosipolis like a kid wearing a chlamyda decorated with stars and holding in a hand Amaltheia’s horn. Sosipolis in Ilia was believed to be a personification of Zeus. There was also Athena’s temple at acropolis of Elis. Inside was an ivory and gold statue of Athena and depicted the god like Ergani wearing a cock helmet. Dionysus sanctuary, which was located near the theatre between the marketplace and the Minius river, had a god’s statue, sculpted by Praxitelis. There were a temple of Roman Emperors, with a cyclic peristyle, which at the age of Pausanias its roof had collapsed and Achilles temenus, temple of Ades with courtyard and the temple of Artemis Filomiras near the gymnasium. Finally there was the temple of Afrodite Ourania near the Corfians Stoa, with an ivory and gold god’s statue, sculpted by Feidias, which depicted Afrodite with one foot on a turtle and one temenus of Afrodite Pandimus next to Afrodite’s Ourania temple.

Elis was winting her own coin, while was Sparta’s ally until the Peloponnesian War when she became member of the Achaean Federation and later at the Roman empire she was part of the Roman county of Achaia. The city was inhabited at the early Byzantine Years and was finally been decayed when Theodosius The Great prohibited the Olympic Games.


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