Statue of Zeus at Olympia

In ancient times the Greek city states used to play games every 4 years. This is what is now called the Olympic games. During those times truce is declared and wars are stopped. Players and athletes from all over the places traveled to a place in Greece called Peloponnesus. These Olympic games were started during 776 BC. Incidentally this is the period when the Greek calendar starts.

These Olympic games were held in honour of their King of gods, Zeus. He is also known as God of Jupiter.

During the 5th century, they decided to have a temple for their king of gods and Libon was assigned the task of completing the work. Libon designed the temple and Pheidias was asked to build a big statue for Zeus. Pheidias had good techniques with him to build big statues. He used wooden frame to make the outer casings for the statues in gold. His workshop still remains and incidentally its size can accommodate building of such big statues. He built a statue of approximately 40 ft height.

The statue was so high that, even while sitting the head of the god Zeus was near the roof of the temple. This is what amazed the historians and poets of those times. This simply illustrates that the god Zeus is so big that even if he stands, the whole roof would come off its place. Zeus was seated on a throne, draped in gold robe. Zeus had a wreath around his head and held a figure of his messenger in his right hand.

The statue, one among the seven wonders of world was occasionally presented with gifts from rulers. The most notable one was the woolen curtain dedicated by the Syrian king.

In the I century AD, Roman emperor Caligula tried to take the statue to Rome but failed. But before 5th century AD, wealthy Greeks have moved it to Constantinople which saved the statue for some more years. After that a severe fire has destroyed the statue. Even before this the temple site was ravaged by floods, landslides and earthquakes to the extent that the structure was badly damaged. Now the remnants of this statue, one among the seven wonders of world have gone without even a small trace except for the reproduction in some of the medieval coins.

Leave a Comment