The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was built by the famous Greek Sculptor Phidias which stood at a towering height of 43 feet. It is believed that this wonder statue was built around 435 BC at the famous sanctuary located in Olympia, Greece.
It is said to have been erected in the Temple of Zeus. This statue was the representation of God Zeus who was depicted as sitting on a beautiful cedar wood throne that was magnificently ornamented with gold, ivory, precious stones and ebony. This was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World but unfortunately it was destroyed in 5th century due to a massive fire. There is not much information about its form and whatever is known is from the Greek descriptions and the various representations found on coin. There is also no copy of this statue and hence its chances of being duplicated are almost nil.
This magnificent statue had a wooden frame and was richly covered in gold and ivory panels. It is said that this richly crafted statue needed lot of care as the place where it was kept, was quite damp and there was a huge risk of it getting destroyed due to humidity. Olive oil was regularly applied on the statue which helped to keep the wood in great condition. An account suggests that the chair has wonderful carvings of animals and Greek Gods carved well in the chair. In the right hand of Greek God Zeus, there was a figurine. There was an eagle perched on left hand of Zeus.
Interesting Facts About The Statue of Zeus At Olympia
- Time Duration – It took the sculptor 12 years to complete this masterpiece. It was built from the years 430-422 BC.
- Why The Statue Was Built – This statue was built to honor Zeus, who was the Greek Good. This is why this statue was placed in the Olympia temple. The Olympic Games were held to honor Zeus who was regarded as the ‘Father of gods and men’. The games were held once in every four years and brought several thousands of sports enthusiasts in the region.
Theories About Its Destruction
In the year 1970 a massive earthquake caused major damage to the status but it was repaired soon and most of it was restored. In the 4th century, Constantine (Emperor) converted to Christianity and ordered that all pagan shrines should be stripped off their gold. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was not spared too and it lost much of its richness and grandeur – though the statue is believed to have remained intact. In 392 AD Emperor Theodosius I of Rome, stopped The Olympics as he thought these games were a part of pagan ritual. Another theory says that Lausus who was a Greek art collector moved this statue to Constantinople and included this grand statue in his private collection. In 475 AD there was a huge fire and the statue was destroyed. However, another theory suggests that the statue was in its original place till 425 AD when it was burned down and was lost forever.