The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Location: Ancient Greek town of Olympia, about 150 km west of Athens.
Description: In its original form, the base of the statue was about 20 ft wide and 3 ft high (see image below). The height of the ivory statue itself was 40ft, equivalent to a modern 4-story building. Zeus' throne was adorned with sphinxes and winged figures of Victory (Nike).
"In his right hand a figure of Victory ( Nike) made from ivory and gold. In his left hand, his scepter inlaid with all metals, and an eagle perched on the sceptre. The sandals of the god are made of gold, as is his robe."
~Pausanias the Greek (2nd century AD)
The statue was surrounded by Doric-style temple
Information: Around 450 BC in Olympia, the site of the first Olympics, an architect, named Libon designed the temple of Zeus, to honor the father of the Gods. Considered to be too simple, the sculptor, Pheidias was assigned to add the majestic statue.
Efforts were made in the first century to move the statue to Rome, however this failed, and with the banning of the Olympic games, the temple was closed to visitors. Another attempt in moving the statue to a palace in Constantinople was successful and lucky as its original temple was struck by fire in the fifth century AD. Unfortunately, the new location could not protect Zeus, the statue soon met a similar fate in AD 462.
All that remains in Olympia today are the temple's fallen columns and its foundation.