Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was located in Olympia, Greece. The construction began in approximately 430 BC and was completed in 422 BC. It has become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world since. It was created by a sculptor named Phidias. He took almost 12 years to complete the structure.

The statue was about 42 feet tall. A frame made of cedar wood was used and then it was covered with ivory stripes and gold panels. It required a special care because the Olympia was a damp place. The humidity could damage it. Olive oil was applied to prevent the ivory from cracking and wood from deteriorating.


Fast Facts: –

  • The statue depicted ‘Zeus’. Zeus is the Greek god of the sky, lighting, thunder, law, and order.
  • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia holds Nike, the goddess of victory in Greek mythology in his right hand.
  • There is a scepter with an eagle perched on the top of it. A scepter like this is carried by a king as a symbol of power.
  • The robe, shoes, hair, and beard of the statue were made of gold. The exposed part of the skin was made of ivory.
  • The statue was sculpted in a seated position on a throne that was carved with different animal figures.
  • Phidias set up a workshop next to the temple of Zeus in which the statue was to be placed.
  • In the 1950s, that workshop was discovered by archaeologists. His tools were also found during the excavation.
  • The eyes of the statue were set with precious jewels,
  • The sculpture was so tall that its head nearly brushed the roof of the temple.
  • The Olympic Games were one of the most important festivals of Greeks. These games were held every 4 years in the honor of the king of their gods, Zeus.
  • It is said that the temple was stroked with a thunderbolt after the completion of the statue that caused no damage.
  • It is believed that Phidias, the sculptor who made the statue asked Zeus for a sign of approval.
  • The statue was destroyed by fire in the fifth century.