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A Walking Tour of Olympia, Greece


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The Temple of Zeus at Olympia
Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece

Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece

Aschwin Prein
The Temple of Zeus, while not as old as the Heraion, was of a grander scale. The building of the temple was described by the writer Pausanias the Traveler, who reported that it had been built by the architect Lidon between 470 and 456 BC. He wrote: "Its height up to the pediment is sixty-eight feet, its breadth is ninety-five, its length two hundred and thirty. ... The tiles are not of baked earth, but of Pentelic marble cut into the shape of tiles. The invention is said to be that of Byzes of Naxos, who they say made the images in Naxos on which is the inscription:--

To the offspring of Leto was I dedicated by Euergus,
A Naxian, son of Byzes, who first made tiles of stone."

At the center of the temple stood a twelve-meter high gold and ivory statue of Zeus, sitting on his throne, and wrought by Pheidias. It was one of the 12 wonders of the world.

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