1.2 Statue of Zeus at Olympia

7 Wonders of the world old (series 1)

The statue of Zeus at Olympia was a chryselephantine sculpture made by the famous classical sculptor Phidias about el432 BC, in what is currently known as Olympia, Greece, 150 km to the West of Athens; and it is part of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The statue occupied the entire width of the Hall of the temple built to House it. According to a contemporary source, it was approximately twelve meters high. Zeus was sculpted in ivory (or modeling, because in carrying out the ivory is dipped in a liquid that made him more malleable).

This is the statue representing God in whose honor the ancient Olympic Games were organized. When he played the games, held every 4 years, all wars stopped, and athletes came from Asia minor, Syria, Egypt and Sicily to compete and worship the King of the Greek pantheon: Zeus.
According to records, the first Olympic games that has started in the year 776 b.c. The magnificent temple of Zeus had been designed by the architect Libon and built around 450 a. C. When with the passing of time, the power of the ancient Greece was increased, that simple Doric- style Temple was too mundane, so it became necessary to modify it in any way. The solution they found was placed inside a majestic statue of the God. For this sacred task was appointed the Athenian sculptor Phidias.
According to Pausanias, Zeus appeared sitting on a throne with bare torso and the cloak around the legs, wore the crowned head of the olive tree and the gaze, directed down gave him paternal appearance. In the right hand holding a Nike and on the left the scepter topped by an eagle; the mantle was adorned of lilies and sandals were gold. The throne was in itself a work of art, made of ivory, ebony, gold and precious stones; the back, arms, feet and studs among them were carved and decorated with reliefs, later copied and reproduced separately, as is the case with the Atenea Partenos sculpture. Particular impact had relief with the massacre of the children of Niobe, sculpted on the rail of the front legs of the throne.

The altar of Zeus today in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany
Just as he had done in Athens, to decorate the base of the statue of Zeus chooses the theme of the birth of unadivinidad, in this case Aphrodite, Phidias and treat it new as an event of cosmic order seen by the Olympic gods and Astral divinities. Pausanias says that you looked to Aphrodite, which emerged from the sea and was welcomed by Eros.
Give the unique known reproductions of the Zeus de Olimpia us coins, rather commemorative medals, minted in Elis in the time of Hadrian, in one of whose faces Zeus enthroned, the other appears head detail. Despite the representation of profile and to the reduced format, the essential aspects coincide with the description of Pausanias, where comes the special interest of the reproduction of the head with his noble bearing and her hairstyle of curls hanging on both sides.
Award-winning head of Zeus in a Greek tetradrachm, Lampsacus, c 360-340 BC.
Coin of Elis with the statue of Zeus de Olimpia.
Throughout history have been making many copies of the statue, including the exact replica of Cyrene (Libya). None of them, however, has survived to the present day. Most modern reconstructions as the engraving made by von Erlach is believed now that they are inaccurate. So it is only us, fantasizing about the true appearance of the statue - the greatest work of classical Greek sculpture.
All that remains of the temple are the columns

 Column drop by a gale in 1852.
Source consulted or translated:   Estatua de Zeus en Olimpia

Recommended Contents