The Age of Pericles: A History of the Politics and Arts of Greece from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War - Vol. 2

By William Watkiss Lloyd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER LIII.
THE CHRYSELEPHANTINE STATUES: THE ZEUS OF OLYMPIA.

BUT of the numerous dedications to the Gods in acknowledgment of the liberation of Hellas from the Mede, the most important in every respect was the Chryselephantine statue of Zeus at Olympia, with its accessories. Among these would be included indeed the temple itself, if we are justified in assuming that it was designed and constructed purposely to contain the statue. The vastness of the structure is not in itself conclusive on this point. The temple at Samos and the earlier Parthenon were both on a still larger scale; but when Pausanias states that both statue and temple, as he saw them, were from the spoils of Pisa upon its subversion by Elis, the ascription may safely be transferred to earlier monuments which were now superseded, though not supplanted in the traditions of local patriotism. It may not even be safe to assume that the native architect mentioned by Pausanias,--a Libon, of whom no more is known,--was really the designer of the later temple.

This temple was the largest hexastyle of the Doric order of which we have knowledge in Greece Proper, and only surpassed in magnitude in Peloponnesus by the later Ionic temple of Athene Alea, built by Scopas at Tegea. The stylobate measured 95 feet in front by 250 feet. The columns had a lower diameter of 6.70 feet, exceeding those of the

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