Statue of Zeus at Olympia
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.