Guest House 2



Province Description

Roman intervention in Greek political affairs resulted in conflicts that led to the destruction of Corinth in 146 B.C. and the sacking of Athens in 86 B.C. It was not until 27 B.C., however, that Augustus formally organized the Roman province of Achaea. Achaea consisted of the cities and territories of the southern Greek mainland between the Peloponnese and Thessaly, as well as Epirus in the northwest and the Ionian and some of the Aegean islands. The provincial capital was Corinth. Under Nero in the mid-1st century A.D. Epirus became a separate province, and in the mid-2nd century Thessaly was detached and added to the province of Macedonia. Under Roman domination many cities such as Athens, Sparta, Patras, and Corinth grew in size and prominence, the latter two partly owing to their importance as ports. After an initial decline in the number of rural sites in the early Empire, by the late Roman period the countryside was densely settled with farms and villas, due to changing landholding patterns and Roman improvements in agricultural and irrigation technology. The main exports from Achaea were wine, particularly from the northern Peloponnese, as well as olive oil and honey, linen and woollen textiles and marbles.


Olympia (Pleiades)


Guest House II


Garden Description

In the first third of the 3rd century A.D. another guest house, so-called Guest House II (B on plan), was built at Olympia, immediately east of and connected with Guest House I (see Fig. 1). Guest House II was almost certainly built to supplement Guest House I after alterations to the latter resulted in its loss of the peristyle courtyard and garden. Guest House II was built with a peristyle courtyard, and its design is very similar to the one in the earlier Guest House I. In the center of the courtyard was an unpaved, and possibly planted, rectangular island surrounded by a water channel (G on plan). Both guest houses were badly damaged in the late 3rd century and only partially used thereafter until their abandonment in the 4th century.


Plan of Guest Houses 1 and 2 with their courtyard gardens.

Fig. 1: Plan of Guest House I (A) and Guest House II (B) with their courtyard gardens (G). The garden in Guest House I was later paved over (C). Adapted from Mallwitz 1972, fig. 230.


3rd-4th century


  • A. Mallwitz, Olympia und seine Bauten. Munich,1972, pp. 276-277, fig. 230. (worldcat)

Pleiades ID





Maureen Carroll (ORCID: 0000-0001-9958-8032)

Publication date

21 Apr 2021