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The Statue of Zeus

The Statue of Zeus

Built: About 457 B.C.

Location: Ancient Greek city of Olympia

History: In about 450 B.C., the city of Olympia -- where the first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. -- built a temple to honor the god Zeus.

Many considered the Doric-style temple too simple, so a lavish 40-foot statue of Zeus was commissioned for inside. Athenian sculptor Phidias created an ivory Zeus seated on a throne, draped in a gold robe. Zeus had a wreath around his head and held a figure of his messenger Nike in his right hand, and a scepter in his left.

Eventually, wealthy Greeks decided to move the statue to a palace in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey). Their effort prolonged its life, as fire later devastated the Olympia temple. However, the new location couldn't keep Zeus eternally safe: a severe fire destroyed the statue in 462 A.D.

All that remains in Olympia are the temple's fallen columns and the foundation of the building.

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