Olympia and Greek Temple of Zeus

The temple of Zeus at Olympia was one of the greatest temples in the Greek world, dedicated to the grandest god of the pantheon. It was built in the Doric order, as can be seen by its massive pillars and simple, yet elegant statues. The architect in charge was a man who lived in the city of Olympia named Libon and he built it to clearly be of the Doric style. The sculptor Pheidias, the same one who oversaw the work on the Parthenon, was also involved, building the huge statue of Zeus for the inside of the monument.

The entire temple was built from limestone coated in white stucco with marble tiles. It was built between 470 and 456 BCE, just before the start of the construction of the Parthenon. The similarities between the two buildings would have been striking, complete with beautiful statues, elegant columns, and bright paintings, though the two were dedicated to different entities and were located in different cities.

The main idea behind the Temple of Zeus was not only to honor the god, but also to showcase his devotion to justice. The frescoes and statues showcased battles of heroes to restore order and justice to the mortal realm, such as the tasks of Heracles that were meant to restore order to the Greek religion.

Unfortunately, the temple was destroyed in an earthquake in the fifth century BCE and was mostly buried. The site was discovered in the early eighteenth century and was excavated into the nineteenth and twentieth century by various archaeologists. However, the full temple will never be excavated as the marble was poached by other builders and a lot of it is in fragments. However, there is enough to get a good idea of how and why the temple was built.

Architecture History:


Jay The Bubble- Beaver's picture

I'd like to see it when it was at its height of splendor. Oh well, at least we know it existed.
Bubble Beaver, Jay

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