The Statue of Zeus at Olympia is one of the magnificent seven wonders of the ancient world. Located on the west coast of Greece, athletes from around the known world (Asia Minor, Egypt, Sicily and Syria) were invited to Olympia to participate in the Ancient Olympic Games to worship Zeus.

Libon of Elis was the architect who designed the temple in which the statue is found, around the year 450 B.C. Sculptor Pheidias was hired to create the statue itself, in 440 B.C., because the simple Doric structure of the temple didn't seem to the people of Greece to be grand enough for a temple to the king of their gods. Pheidias was chosen for this task, because he had developed a technique for creating huge statues of ivory and gold, which he employed while building a statue of Athena for the Parthenon in Athens. When he finished with the statue, the head of Zeus nearly brushed the ceiling of the enormous temple. The pedestal upon which the statue sat rose about 3 feet (1 m) off the floor, and the statue itself rose nearly 40 feet (13 m)!

Travellers from all over the world came to see this magnificent temple, and after about 300 years or so, repairs had to be effected to the statue. About 300 or so years after that, the Roman Emperor Caligula (Gaius Caesar) tried to have the statue moved to Rome. This turned out to be a not too bright idea, and ended in abysmal failure. In 391 A.D. the Olympic Games were banned as pagan rituals, and the temple was closed down. The statue was moved to Constantinople where it sat until it was destroyed in a massive fire in 462 A.D.

All that remains on the spot where this majestic statue once sat is some rubble and ruins. The stadium around the temple where the Ancient Olympic Games used to be played, however, has been restored.

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