Zeus, King among Gods

The magnificent thirteen metre gold and ivory statue of Zeus was found inside his temple at Olympia on a throne described by a contemporary ‘as an elaborate structure of cedar wood, laid in with ebony and richly adorned with valuable stones and sculptures’. His figure required so much ivory Philo of Byzantium claimed it was ‘the reason nature had created elephants’. The face, chest and upper part of his body were ivory; the eyes brilliant stones; hair, beard and figure of Nike solid gold; sceptre of different precious metals; drapery covering the lower part of his body gold with flowers in a kind of enamel. Reflected in a pool of water or oil, to prevent the ivory drying out, Zeus sat sublime, inapproachable, although inclined toward the spectator. He was the goal of every one’s longing and not to have seen Olympian Zeus for any Greek was considered a misfortune.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.