Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Zeus, seated on a throne within his temple, was a towering figure over 40 feet high. In his right hand was a small statue of Victory, in his left a scepter crowned with an eagle. His flesh was ivory, his robes gold; and his throne was inlaid with gold, ivory, ebony, and precious stones. A Roman writer, Quintilian, said that the beauty of Phidias' Zeus had added something to traditional religion. We can only guess at the awe-inspiring effect, for there is no surviving picture of the statue. Some coins of the nearby city of Elis show a head of Zeus which may be copied from Phidias' statue; and some molds, on which the gold for the drapery was hammered into shape, were found by excavators near Phidias' workshop at Olympia. But the statue itself was eventually taken to Constantinople where it was destroyed by fire.
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