Delphi and Olympia: The Spatial Politics of Panhellenism in the Archaic and Classical Periods

Cambridge University Press, 2010

Michael Scott

“Michael Scott provides a synthetic overview of the built structures and monumental dedications at Delphi and Olympia from 650 to 300 BC. The book complements C. Morgan’s Athletes and Oracles (1990), which focuses on Delphi and Olympia in the tenth to seventh centuries BC. Scott argues that Olympia and Delphi have been studied primarily for their athletics and oracle respectively, while the material culture and spatial politics of these sanctuaries has been underappreciated. The book has an introduction (essentially a literature review and a description of Scott’s method), a chapter on the regulation of dedications at Delphi and Olympia (precious little is known), five chapters tracing the chronological development of the sanctuaries, a chapter that compares the two sanctuaries, and a chapter that critiques the contemporary concept of Panhellenism. Overall, the book is a notable success. The archaeological bibliography on these two sanctuaries is extraordinarily large and written primarily in French and German; Scott’s synthesis and analysis of this vast amount of research provides a particularly helpful English-language overview of the sanctuaries’ material culture, while offering several novel, illuminating ideas along the way.”