Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Life Swift
Published on December 7, 2023
Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was carved by the famed sculptor Phidias. It was craved around 435 B.C.E. in Olympia, Greece. It is one of the classical Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Phildas was a great sculptor and had also rendered a forty-foot high statue of the goddess Athena for the Parthenon in Athens. He came to Olympia in 432 B.C. to start statue of Zeus. This is considered his best as well as famous work. Phildas was given the responsibility for maintenance of the statue.


The statue was built in the Temple of Zeus. The seated statue occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple. It was more than 40 feet high almost touching the roof and 22 feet wide.  The statue was accented with gold plating. The magnificent throne of Zeus was made of cedar wood, inlaid with ivory, gold, ebony as well as precious stones. The figures of Greek gods and mystical animals, including the half man/half lion sphinx, were crabbed in the throne. In Zeus’s right hand was a small statue of Nike which is the goddess of victory.  A shining scepter on which an eagle perched was in his left hand. Olive oil was kept in a special reservoir in the floor of the temple to keep the statue in good shape.


Temple of Zeus as well as the statue was built in Olympia site. This site also had a stadium there for ancient Olympic games. These games and site were made for the honor of King of their gods, Zeus. Athletes came from different places to compete. These games helped to unify the Greek city. This site consisted of other small temples too. Greek rhetorician as well as philosopher Dio Chrysostom wrote that a single glimpse of the statue would make a man forget his earthly troubles.


The first archaeological work on the Olympia site was done in 1829. It was done by a group of French scientists They could locate the outlines of the temple and found fragments of the sculpture. 1875’s excavation by Germans mapped out most of the buildings there and discovered more fragments of the temple’s sculpture. In 1958, an excavation discovered the workshop used to create the statue. This has led archaeologists to attempt to re-create the technique used to make the great work.

Present Situation

Presently, the stadium at the site has been restored. Even the temple is almost completed excluding a few jumbled columns on the ground. Unfortunately, the statue is now completely gone. Different theories suggest different hampers on the statue by earthquake, fire as well as theft. Its remaining are a part of historical museum as well as history books.