Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday's Wonders of the World - Statue of Zeus

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World #3 - The Statue of Zeus at Olympia




The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was made by the Greek sculptor of the Classical period, Phidias, circa 432 BC on the site where it was erected in the temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece. The seated statue, some 12 metres (39 feet) tall, occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple built to house it. Zeus was a chryselephantine sculpture, made of ivory and gold-plated bronze, and no copy, in marble or bronze, has survived.

The circumstances of its eventual destruction are a source of debate: the eleventh-century Byzantine historian Georgios Kedrenos recorded that it was carried off to Constantinople, where it was destroyed in the great fire of the Lauseion, in 475. Others argue that it perished with the temple when it burned in 425 AD.

Perhaps the greatest discovery came in 1954-58 with the excavation of the workshop at Olympia where Phidias created the statue. Tools, terracotta molds and a cup inscribed "I belong to Pheidias" were found here, where the traveller Pausanius said the Zeus was constructed. This has enabled archaeologists to re-create the techniques used to make the great work and confirm its date.

(Workshop of Phidias at Olympia)

Here are several good articles on the Statue of Zeus:

Archaeopaedia

Ancient Wonders of the World

Authentic Wonders

2 comments:

Shadows of the goddess designs said...

the beauty of the everyday buildings,staues , surroundings in the ancient cities is just stunning at times.

Julia Smith said...

Just catching up to your Seven Wonders series - amazing again, Bobbi. Just love the reclaimed workshop, too.