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Statue_of_Zeus: Welcome

A Divine Work of Gold and Ivory

Click here for Episode 3

Every four years for more than a millennium, the athletes of the Greek, and later, Roman world would converge on a small sacred space in the Western Peloponnese. There, at the Olympic Games, they would test their mettle and strive for greatness.

Overlooking the festivities was the great temple of Zeus, where inside, the renowned sculptor Pheidias created his gold-and-ivory masterpiece: the Statue of Zeus, seated, with Nike in his hand. The statue was so large that the Lincoln Memorial's Abe would only come up to Zeus' knees.

In this episode, we discuss the ancient Olympic games and their athletes, Pheidias' craftsmanship, and the possible eventual fate of the statue.


After a side trip to Sparta, we seek out that most Greek of healthy fats: olive oil.


Forrest, W.C., A History of Sparta: 950 - 192 B.C.

The Lonely Planet Guide to Greece

Powell, Anton, Athens and Sparta: Constructing Greek Political and Social History from 478 BC

Reynolds et al, The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World: the Great Monuments and How They Were Built

Romer, John and Elizabeth, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: a History of the Modern Imagination

​Swaddling, Judith, The Ancient Olympic Games

Engraving by Antoine-Chrysostome Quatremère de Quincy













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