Statue of Zeus at Olympia Facts

This historic monument may only appear now on coins and in ancient Greek descriptions, but in ancient Greece times it stood tall and magnificent. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was sculpted by an artist named Phidias. This incredible statue took him 12 years to make; he began sculpting in 430 BC and completed it in 422 BC.

The Temple at Olympia was a shrine to Zeus, the Greek god of the sky, lighting, thunder, law, and order. The Olympic Games also took place here every four years. The statue unfortunately was destroyed by a fire in the 5th Century A.D. Even though it does not exist anymore, it is still known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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Statue of Zeus at Olympia Facts for Kids

 

  • The Statue of Zeus stood at about 13 meters high and the head of Zeus almost touched the roof of the temple!
  • The statue was constructed from with a wooden frame and then was covered in ivory and gold panels. The exposed skin of the statue was ivory and the accessories such as robe, shoes, hair and beard were made from gold. The eyes of the statue were even made from precious jewels!
  • The statue was made from wood and the Olympia was known to be a very damp area and the humidity could cause damage to it. To help prevent it from being ruined, olive oil was applied to the statue!
  • Phidias, the sculptor, had set up his workshop nearby the Temple at Olympia so that he could complete most of his Statue of Zeus work close to the site.
  • His workshop was actually discovered by archaeologists in the 1950s. They also found the tools that he would have used to sculpt the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.
  • The statue was also damaged by an earthquake in 170 BC but they managed to repair it, it unfortunately was not repaired after the fire that ultimately destroyed it.
  • A visitor of the statue in 97 A.D, Dio Crysostomos, had described the statue as: made of gold, ebony, ivory and precious stones. He also described that it had images of animals and Greek gods carved onto the chair he sat on. Zeus held a figure of the goddess of victory, Nike, in his right hand and his left hand help a scepter with an eagle on top.
  • Did you know that in the early fourth century A.D, when Emperor Constantine was in power, he ordered that all gold be stripped from pagan shrines and that included the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

 

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Question: What was Zeus the Greek god of?
Answer: The sky, lighting, thunder, law, and order

Question: How many years did it take Phidias to sculpt the Statue of Zeus at Olympia?
Answer: 12 Years

Question: What year was Phidias’s workshop found by archeologists?
Answer: 1950s

Question: Does the statue still exist?
Answer: No