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Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Updated on August 15, 2012

The Greeks had built the Temple of Zeus in honor of their god, the king of all gods, Zeus.  However, after the construction, the temple alone was considered to be too plain.  And so, a statue of Zeus was deemed necessary to place in the great temple.

The statue of Zeus at Olympia was made by a Greek sculptor Phidias.  The seated statue was about 40 feet tall or equivalent to a modern 4 storey building.  It occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple.  It was placed in the Temple of Zeus located in Olympia, Greece.  The statue of Zeus was made of ivory and gold plated bronze.  In Zeus’ right hand, there was a life-sized statue of goddess Nike, the goddess of victory.  In his left hand was a scepter on which an eagle perched.

The statue was so huge for its temple that the historian Strabo wrote that “we have the impression that if Zeus moved to stand up, he would unroof the temple”.

Olympia is the city where the first Olympics was held.  Aside from that, this city was well known for one of its world wonders, a larger than life statue of Zeus that occupied the whole width of the aisle of a temple where this statue was built for.  The statue was made of precious materials like gold, bronze, ivory, ebony, marbles, and other precious stones.

This statue attracted many visitors and worshippers during that time.  The Roman emperor Caligula attempted to transport it to Rome, however, this attempt has failed when the scaffolding built by his workmen had collapsed.  For now, how this statue has perished was not well documented.  Some sources say that it perished together with the Temple of Zeus when the temple was destroyed by fire.  Others say that it was transported to Constantinople and was eventually destroyed by fire, about fifty years later.

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Stamp with the image of Statue of ZeusAn artist's illustration of The Temple of ZeusAn artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the templeAn artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the templeAn artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the templePhidias' workshop discoveredTemple of Zeus in ruinsTemple of Zeus in ruins
Stamp with the image of Statue of Zeus
Stamp with the image of Statue of Zeus
An artist's illustration of The Temple of Zeus
An artist's illustration of The Temple of Zeus
An artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the temple
An artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the temple
An artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the temple
An artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the temple
An artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the temple
An artist's illustration on how the statue might have looked like inside the temple
Phidias' workshop discovered
Phidias' workshop discovered
Temple of Zeus in ruins
Temple of Zeus in ruins
Temple of Zeus in ruins
Temple of Zeus in ruins

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    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Reminds me of my history classes at school, had a tough time remembering the time and the names of the kings :-)

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      lol Cgull, you & me alike. :) Hated history because of those reasons. But really enjoyed those stories when they're on TV. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      When mythology is modulated with history the latter becomes less credible, don't you agree?

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      Actually Quicksand, before Christianity, mythology we now know was actually their bible. So those Roman and Greek gods and goddesses and titans were actually their gods and goddesses. The ancient olympians had actually prayed for Zeus to give them peace. And when the olympics was held, much of their wars were halted.

      I think it's still credible because the history here was before the introduction of Christianity.

      I just don't know how the future people's beliefs will be if someday, the bible we now know will be considered a mythology. :(

    • profile image

      daytripeer 7 years ago

      I had time to read this morning and I didn't have to search for material, I just headed for your hubs. As always, great hub.:-)

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      Hi Daytripeer, thanks for your lovely visit. :)

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Interesting stuff, the "gold, bronze, ivory, ebony, marbles, and other precious stones." got me in. It sounds amazing, Beatsme.

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      I agree, Katyzzz. It sounds impressive. And every material used for it are precious.

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      kendra 6 years ago

      this will help for my report i am doing it on the statue of zeus and i am in 6th yep need a a

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 6 years ago

      Glad to be of help, Kendra.

    • profile image

      hannah 4 years ago

      great page

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 4 years ago

      :) :)

    • profile image

      Joe 3 years ago

      :))))))))))))))))

    • profile image

      yr 2 years ago

      i don't want to do this

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