The Zanes

P232In front of the terraces with the treasuries, there was a row of sixteen bronze statues of Zeus, called Zanes, which is the plural of Zeus in the local dialect. They were erected in the fourth century BC and later, with the money of fines imposed upon persons or cities who had been found guilty of corruption in the games. The location of these statues was no coincidence: the athletes had to pass them when going to the running track.

The reasons for the fines were given in inscriptions on the statue bases and are extensively treated by Pausanias. He describes the case of the Athenian pentathlete Kallippos, who had bribed his opponents in 332 BC. The Athenians at first refused to pay the fine, but they were eventually forced by an intervention of the oracle of Delphi. At another occasion Damonikos, a citizen of Elis, had bribed the father of his son's opponent. Both fathers were fined.

Twice a statue of Zeus was erected for another offence. The Alexandrian boxer Apollonios arrived late at Olympia, because he had participated in local games with high prize-money during the official preparation period - the athletes were expected to arrive a month on beforehand. He lied about this to the hellanodikai. The Alexandrian pankratiast Sarapion was fined for withdrawing cowardly when he was called up for the contest.

© KU Leuven, 2012