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The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

December 6th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

[Historic place, which presently does not exist]

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia carved by the famed Classical sculptor Phidias (5th century BC) circa 435 BC, in present day Greece, is traditionally one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In AD 394, after over 800 years at Olympia, it was taken to Constantinople (modern Istanbul), the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Historians believe it was probably destroyed in an accidental fire.

The seated statue occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple that was built to house it. According to a contemporary source, it was about 12 metres (~40 feet) tall. "It seems that if Zeus were to stand up," the geographer Strabo noted early in the 1st century BC, "he would unroof the temple." Zeus was carved from ivory (technically the ivory was soaked in a liquid that made it more malleable, so the ivory was probably both shaped and carved as neccesary) and 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. Visitors like the Roman general Aemilius Paulus, the victor over Macedon, were moved to awe by the godlike majesty and splendor that Phidias had captured.

Perhaps the greatest discovery in terms of finding out about this wonder came in 1958 with the excavation of the workshop used to create the statue. This led archaeologists to be able to re-create the anatomy of the great work.

(Source: Wikipedia)

One Response to “The Statue of Zeus at Olympia”

  1. John Says:

    wrong map location, 100 miles south of that location.

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