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Olympus

Pages of Macedonia University


Olympus

Perseus Project index. Total results: 558 for Olympus & 94 for Olympos (more than one title).


Orevatein WebPages

Beazley Archive Dictionary

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Olympus

   (Olumpos). A mountain situated in Thessaly, the summit of which (nearly 10,000 feet above the sea) rises from the region of the earth's atmosphere into the sky, and was, according to the earliest popular belief of the Greeks, the abode of the higher (hence named Olympian) gods. Below the summit, which, according to Homer's description, is never ruffled by winds or drenched with rain, but is always radiant in cloudless splendour, comes the region of clouds, which Zeus at one time gathers together and at another dispels; it forms the boundary between the celestial region and that of the earth, and, accordingly, Homer elsewhere implies that the clouds are the gates of heaven, which are guarded by the Horae. On the highest peak Zeus has his throne, and it is there that he summons the assemblies of the gods. The abodes of the other gods were imagined to be placed on the precipices and in the ravines of the mountain. When the height of the vault of heaven came to be regarded as the abode of the gods, the name Olympus was transferred to the sky.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)

Olympus

Olympus (Olumpos). One of the loftiest mountains in Greece, of which the southern side forms the boundary of Thessaly, while its northern base encloses the plains of Macedonia. Hence it is sometimes called a mountain of Macedonia (Strab. vii. p. 329; Ptol. iii. 13. ยง 19), and sometimes a mountain of Thessaly. (Herod. vii. 128; Plin. iv. 8. s. 15.) It forms the eastern extremity of the Cambunian range, and extends to the sea as far as the mouth of the Peneius, being separated by the vale of Tempe from the heights of Ossa. Xenagoras, who measured the perpendicular height of Olympus from the town of Pythium, ascertained its elevation to be ten stadia and nearly one plethrum (Plut. Aemil. 15); which Holland, Dodwell, Leake, and others regard as not far from the truth, since they estimate its height to be between six and seven thousand feet. But these writers have considerably undercalculated its elevation, which is now ascertained to be 9754 feet. Herodotus relates that Mt. Olympus was seen by Xerxes from Therma (vii. 128); and we know from modern travellers that in clear weather it is visible from Mt. Athos, which is 90 miles distant. (Journ. Geogr. Soc. vol. vii. p. 69.) All travellers, who have visited Mt. Olympus, dwell with admiration upon its imposing grandeur. One of the most striking descriptions of its appearance is given by Dr. Holland, who beheld it from Litokhoro at its base:--We had not before been aware of the extreme vicinity of the town to the base of Olympus; but when leaving it, and accidentally looking back, we saw through an opening in the fog, a faint outline of vast precipices, seeming almost to overhang the place; and so aerial in their aspect, that for a few minutes we doubted whether it might not be a delusion to the eye. The fog, however, dispersed yet more on this side, and partial openings were made, through which, as through arches, we saw the sunbeams resting on the snowy summits of Olympus, which rose into a dark blue sky far above the belt of clouds and mist that hung upon the sides of the mountain. The transient view we had of the mountain from this point showed us a line of precipices of vast height, forming its eastern front toward the sea; and broken at intervals by deep hollows or ravines, which were richly clothed with forest trees. The oak, chestnut, beech, planetree, &c., are seen in great abundance along the base and skirts of the mountain; and towards the summit of the first ridge, large forests of pine spread themselves along the acclivities. Behind this first ridge, others rise up and recede towards the loftier central heights of Olympus. Almost opposite the town of Litokhoro, a vast ravine penetrates into the interior of the mountain, through the opening of which we saw, though only for a few minutes, what I conceive to be the summit,--from this point of view, with a somewhat concave ascending line on each side. (Holland, Travels, vol. ii. p. 27.) Though the lower sides of Olympus are well wooded, the summit presents a wide extent of a bare light-coloured rock. (Leake, Northern Greece, vol. i. p. 434.) The broad summit of Olympus is alluded to by Homer, who gives to it the epithet of makros more frequently than any other. Next to that, is aganniphos (Il. i. 420), from its being covered with snow during the greater part of the year. Hesiod (Theog. 118) also gives it the epithet of Wiphoeis. Below the summit its rugged outline is broken into many ridges and precipices, whence Homer describes it as poludeiras. (Il. i. 499, v. 754.) The forests, which covered the lower sides of Olympus, are frequently alluded to by the ancient poets. (poludendros, Eurip. Bacch. 560; Ossae frondosums involvere Olympum, Virg. Georg. 281; opacus Olympus, Hor. Carm. iii. 4. 52.) The mountain is now called Elymbo, i. e. Elumpos, by the surrounding inhabitants, which name Leake observes is probably not a modern corruption, but the ancient dialectic form, for the Aeolic tribes of Greece often substituted the epsilon for the omicron, as in the instance of Orchomenos which the Boeotians called Erchomenos. (Dodwell, Tour through Greece, vol. ii. p. 105;. Leake, Northern Greece, vol. iii. pp. 341, 407.) Olympus was believed to be the residence of Zeus and the other gods; and as its summit rose above the clouds into the calm ether, it was believed that here was an opening into the vault of heaven, closed by a thick cloud, as a door. (Il. v. 751.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


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