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Essay: Zeus statue in Olympia

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Unfortunate were the inhabitants of ancient Greece, who did not see this statue of Zeus in Olympia. The main decoration of the temple of Zeus Antipater Sidonsky in the III century BC attributed to the list of 7 wonders of the world. The most memorable work of the sculptor Phidias shocked all contemporaries who saw her.

The author of the statue was the famous Athenian sculptor Phidias. To create the main statue of Greece, it was even necessary to build a special room corresponding to the size of the temple. In the process of creating the statue, the disciple Kolot and brother Panen helped. The statue of Zeus appeared before the public in 435 BC. According to the stories, Phidias personally watched the reaction of the people who came, surprised by the greatness of the thunderer. Even there was an opinion that Zeus himself personally went down to the sculptor to pose. So the main religious center of Greece acquired another attraction.

For all its existence, the statue was restored several times. The statue of Zeus in Greece was damaged by lightning, an earthquake, there were cases of the theft of its golden parts. Special attention was paid to her by the Romans. So the Emperor Caligula in the year 40 was going to bring to Rome the statues and images of all the important monuments of the conquered Greece, the statue of Zeus also fell under this list. But according to legend, during the works the statue laughed, and all fled in wild fear, and the statue still remained in Olympia. The last time it is mentioned in 363 AD. After the adoption of Christianity in 391, all pagan temples are closed, and the temple of Zeus is destroyed. There are mentions that the statue of Zeus is transported to Constantinople somewhere in the beginning of the fifth century, where it is completely destroyed by the fire of 475, according to the Byzantine historian Kedren.

The statue was covered with a huge woolen curtain, painted with Phoenician purple. In spite of all the established traditions, the curtain did not move apart or rise, but rather fell down on the ropes, revealing the majestic image of Zeus to the visitor of the temple.

The statue of Olympian Zeus was made of gold and ivory, in the so-called chrysoelephantine technique. To decorate the statue brought 200 kilograms of pure gold. According to the description of his contemporaries Zeus sat on the throne, his head was decorated with a wreath, in his right hand he held the goddess of victory, Nick, in the left – a scepter, crowned with an eagle. The cloak of Zeus was decorated with images of animals and flowers. The feet of Zeus rested on a bench. The throne rose on a huge pedestal – 9.5 by 6.5 meters.

Special attention was paid to the decoration of the throne of the miracle of light by the statue of Zeus in Olympia. It was made of ebony, gold, ivory and precious stones. The throne was plentifully filled with images of scenes of ancient Greek mythology. Each leg of the throne contained four Nicks, on the crossbeams between the legs were scenes of the war of the Greeks with the Amazons and sports competitions. The throne was painted by Fidiy’s brother, artist Panen. In the scenes there are images of the famous Hercules, Thezey, Prometheus, Achilles, Apollo, Artemis, Helios, Hera, Hermes, Aphrodite, Athena, Poseidon. Of course, among these paintings is personally present and Zeus himself.

But most of all, of course, amazed the size of the statue of Zeus in ancient Greece. The right palm was at the height of the columns of the first tier of the temple, the head at the level of the second tier. Strabo even had the impression that if Zeus had risen from his throne, the roof of the temple would have been broken. According to modern views, the total height of the statue is estimated from 12 meters to 17 meters.

To preserve ivory, the priests oiled the statue with oil. This protected her from the “swampy air”. In the Athenian Acropolis. on the contrary, because of the dry air, the statue of Athena was moistened with water. The floor of the statue was covered with black marble with an artificial depression resembling a pool where oil was draining. Another destination for the pool was associated with the illusion of light – the light from the door was reflected from the oil and illuminated the head and shoulders of the statue, giving the impression that it was this god who radiated light to people.

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