The Seven Wonders of the World/The Statue of Zeus

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The statue of Zeus from the temple at Olympia was a gigantic statue constructed by Phidias in the fifth century BCE. It was constructed of a wooden frame covered in carved ivory with gold accents.

Statue of Zeus.jpg

In the sculpture, he was seated on a magnificent throne of cedarwood, inlaid with ivory, gold, ebony, and precious stones. In Zeus' right hand there was a small statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, and in his left hand, a shining sceptre on which an eagle perched. Plutarch, in his Life of the Roman general Aemilius Paulus, records that the victor over Macedon "was moved to his soul, as if he had beheld the god in person," while the Greek orator Dio Chrysostom wrote that a single glimpse of the statue would make a man forget his earthly troubles.

Zeus Hermitage St. Petersburg 20021009.jpg

The temple of Zeus, where the statue stood, was destroyed by fire in the fourth century BCE, although some scholars believe that the statue had been moved to Constantinople before the fire, and was later destroyed there.

Biography: Phidias[edit | edit source]

Location: Olympia[edit | edit source]