The Statue of Zeus - The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
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The Statue of
Built: About 457 B.C.
Location: Ancient Greek city of Olympia
History: In about 450 B.C., the city of Olympia -- where the
first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. -- built a temple to honor the
Many considered the Doric-style temple too simple, so a lavish
40-foot statue of Zeus was commissioned for inside. Athenian sculptor
Phidias created an ivory Zeus seated on a throne, draped in a gold robe.
Zeus had a wreath around his head and held a figure of his messenger
Nike in his right hand, and a scepter in his left.
Eventually, wealthy Greeks decided to move the statue to a palace in
Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey). Their effort prolonged
its life, as fire later devastated the Olympia temple. However, the new
location couldn't keep Zeus eternally safe: a severe fire destroyed the
statue in 462 A.D.
All that remains in Olympia are the temple's fallen columns and the
foundation of the building.