Column stolen from Greek historical siteSeptember 8th, 2009 - 12:17 am ICT by IANS
Athens, Sep 7 (DPA) The Greek culture ministry launched an investigation Monday into the disappearance of a large fragment of a column from the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia in the western Peloponnese.
A guard at the ancient site reported the column capital, from part of a sixth century basilica, missing at the weekend.
It was not clear how the perpetrators were able to remove the capital unnoticed. The ministry immediately suspended the local head of antiquities without pay pending the investigation.
The sanctuary of Ancient Olympia is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in the classical period. The original games date back to 776 BC and were abolished 1,170 years later, in 394 AD, because emperor Theodosius I considered them reminiscent of paganism.
Also known as the Altis, the sanctuary consists of various temples, the hippodrome and an alter where sacrifices to the ancient gods were made.
The Olympic flame of the modern-day Summer and Winter Olympics is lit by the reflection of the sun in a parabolic mirror at the restored Olympic Stadium and then transported by torch to the place where the games are held.
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Tags: altis, ancient gods, ancient olympia, antiquities, classical period, culture ministry, emperor theodosius, greek culture, hippodrome, olympic flame, olympic games, olympic stadium, original games, paganism, parabolic mirror, peloponnese, sixth century, summer and winter, summer and winter olympics, winter olympics