The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The colossal Statue of Zeus was housed in the Temple of Zeus in the city of Olympia in the west of Greece - refer to Zeus at Olympia. The statue measured over 13m (42 ft) tall and its base was 6m (21 feet) wide and it stood for over 800 years. The following pictures are an artists impression of what the amazing statue depicting the ancient Greek god might have looked like, taken from first-hand descriptions of the statue and the engravings found on ancient coins.
|Pictures of the Statue of Zeus
Description of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus was constructed over a wooden framework
- The statue of Zeus was over 42 ft high and 21 feet wide
- The god was depicted bare-chested - all of the area representing skin was covered in ivory
- His garments, weapons, beard and hair were covered in gold leaf
- His sandals were gold
- His head was crowned by a silver olive wreath
- On the robe were figures of animals, zodiac scenes and the flowers of the lily
- The throne was decorated with gold, silver, bronze, precious stones, ebony, and ivory
- On each side at the top of the throne statues of the three Graces and the three Seasons (Horae) were depicted
- The arm-rests of the throne were figures of the mythical sphinx
- Beneath the sphinxes were images of Apollo and Artemis are shooting down the children of Niobe.
- In his left hand Zeus held a scepter made of a variety of rare metals
- The scepter was crowned with an eagle's head, symbolizing his power as a king
- In his right hand he held a life-sized image of Nike, the goddess of Victory, made of gold and ivory
- His foot stool was upheld by two gold lions
- Beneath the lions the fight of Theseus against the Amazons was depicted
- On the gold leafed pedestal, which supports the throne there were figures of gold including Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, Athena and Poseidon
- Imagery of lesser gods and mythical creatures were also represented on the Statue of Zeus
Ancient Greek coins depicting Zeus
Short Facts about the Statue of Zeus
Discover interesting information and short facts about the Statue of Zeus, the king of the gods. The fun facts about the statue of Zeus for kids provides a list detailing fascinating information to increase your knowledge about Zeus and the ancient Greeks.
Facts about the Statue of Zeus for Kids
Fact 1 about the Statue of Zeus: Location: It was erected in the Temple of Zeus at the sanctuary of Olympia, on the western coast of Greece, where the ancient Olympic Games were held every four years
Fact 2 about the Statue of Zeus: Does it still exist? No. Nothing remains of the Statue today, but it stood in the temple at Olympia for more than 800 years
Fact 3 about the Statue of Zeus: How big was it? Massive! It was about 13 m (42 ft) tall and its base was 6m (21 feet) wide and 1m height. The statue's perimeter was 13 m (43 feet)
Fact 4 about the Statue of Zeus: To get a better idea of its size: In his right hand he holds a life-sized image of Nike (the goddess of Victory). It was the size of a modern four-story building
Fact 5 about the Statue of Zeus: Who built it? The name of the sculptor was an Athenian named Phidias. Although most of the temple and the complete statue were destroyed, the remains of the workshop of Phidias still stands at Olympia - it was discovered in 1954.
Fact 6 about the Statue of Zeus: When was it constructed? It was made about 432 BC
Fact 7 about the Statue of Zeus: How long did it take to create? It took 12 years to build
Fact 8 about the Statue of Zeus: Why was it made and what was its function? As a shrine to Zeus, the king of the gods
Fact 9 about the Statue of Zeus: What was it made of? It was made from a wooden frame of cedarwood which was covered with expensive materials such as ivory, ebony, bronze, gold leaf and precious stones
Fact 10 about the Statue of Zeus: The sculptor Phidias was assisted in his work by his pupils Panainos and Kolotis who decorated the throne in gold, ebony and precious stones with images of heroes and lesser gods from Greek mythology
Fact 11 about the Statue of Zeus: The work is described as a Chryselephantine statue (from Greek words 'chrysos' meaning gold, and 'elephantinos' meaning ivory and refers to the sculptural medium of gold and ivory
Fact 12 about the Statue of Zeus: Chryselephantine statues were made with an inner core of wood overlaid with thin slabs of ivory representing unclothed skin, and sheets of gold leaf to represent drapery, clothing, hair, beards, crowns, wreaths and armour.
Fact 13 about the Statue of Zeus: Some Chryselephantine statues were also embellished with glass, and precious and semi-precious stones for eyes, jewellery, and weapons.
Fact 14 about the Statue of Zeus: The sculptor Phidias was assisted in his work by his pupils Panainos and Kolotis who decorated the throne in gold, ebony and precious stones
Fact 15 about the Statue of Zeus: The throne was decorated with images of heroes and gods from Greek mythology including Apollo, Artemis and Nike, together with lions, sphinxes, warriors, Amazons and mythical beasts
Fact 16 about the Statue of Zeus: In the fourth century A.D. the Roman Emperor Theodorius I banned the Olympics as Pagan practices and the Sanctuary of Zeus was closed (13 of its original great columns still remain).
Fact 17 about the Statue of Zeus: The statue was removed from the Temple of Zeus in c.392AD when it was taken by Greeks to Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey) in order to save it from possible destruction
Fact 18 about the Statue of Zeus: Sixty years later a great fire in Constantinople completely destroyed the statue
Fact 19 about the Statue of Zeus: The seated statue of Zeus in the temple at Olympia, was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Fact 20 about the Statue of Zeus: The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were:
- The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- The Great Pyramid of Giza
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- The Colossus of Rhodes
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Facts about the Statue of Zeus for Kids