Statue of Zeus at Olympia
"The father of Zeus in heaven is of course Cronus, but the father of Zeus in Olympia is Phidias. He was born of immortal nature, and this one - from the hands of man, who alone knew how to create gods ...". In the heart of Greece, on the sacred Olympic land, was the fourth wonder of the world, the only one created by a single man.
The statue of Zeus at Olympia belongs to the famous Greek sculptor Phidias and is one of the old Seven Wonders of the World and is the only one that has been on European territory. The temple of Zeus resembled the Parthenon in Athens and the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. The unique Phidias began the statue around 440 BC. and completed it in 436 BC. Today, the remains of the temple where the statue was located are in the alpine valleys of the Elida region of the Peloponnese. In Olympia, the most sacred piece of land in ancient Greece, Zeus defeated the bloodthirsty Cronus. Therefore, in the V century BC the citizens of Olympia decided to build a temple to Zeus - the ruler and most powerful of all the gods. The architectural marvel was 64 meters wide and 28 meters wide.
According to historical investigations, the statue of Zeus at Olympia was about 12 meters high and gave the impression that if Zeus got up, he would destroy the ceiling. It was made of wood, which was covered with soft pink ivory, and the clothes of Zeus were made of gold leaves. In his right hand he held a golden statue about 5 meters high of the goddess of victory Nike, and in his left - a scepter.
About 800 years after its creation, in 394 AD, the statue of Zeus at Olympia was moved to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. At that time, Christianity was already established as a religion and the statue of Zeus was a pagan sculpture. Despite this fact, no one dared to destroy her, and what saved her was her incredible beauty. To destroy it, historians theorize that it burned during a fire in the palace of Emperor Theodosius II in 462. The statue of Zeus at Olympia is a breathtaking miracle for everyone standing in front of it. The first thing that amazed every visitor was its monumentality. The second was its jewel.
Archaeologists have described how Zeus' tunic and hair were made of gold, the uncovered parts of his body made of ivory, the throne made of cedar wood inlaid with ebony and precious stones. To the monumentality and jewel was added the exceptional mastery with which Phidias sculpted the face and figure of Zeus. For the Greeks, this miracle was not just a statue. For them, the statue of Zeus at Olympia was a monument to Hellenic greatness and glory. The study of the architectural masterpiece tells of the events of Greek mythology sculpted on the throne of Zeus, which were selected to be understood as the apotheosis of the victory over the barbaric Persian Empire.
Created by Phidias, Zeus sat on a throne with a high back, his face exuding dignity and nobility, he wore on his head a wreath of an Olympic winner. The end of the golden toga, studded with palm leaves, was slung over his left shoulder, holding in his right hand the statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, leaning with his left on the long scepter of the Elanodics, adorned with precious stones, on top of which landed the sacred eagle. On the side backs were two sphinxes, three charming charites and three choirs, goddesses of the seasons. The legs of the throne of Zeus supported four dancing Niketis. The decoration glorified both Greece and the Olympic Games.