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Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Temple of Zeus-Olympia

The Temple of Zeus at Olympia is one of the earliest examples of fully developed temple design in Greece, and is considered a model of Doric temple architecture (N. Yalouris). The temple was designed by local architect, Libon of Elis, and constructed between 470 BC – 456 BC to commemorate the Elean defeat of the Pisatans in 470 BC.
The hexastyle temple was constructed of local limestone, and coated with stucco. Its dimensions stretched 64.12 x 27.68 m, with six columns at each end and thirteen columns along each side. The columns were 10.43 m high and slightly tapered, measuring 2.21 – 2.25 meters in diameter at the base and 1.68 – 1.72 meters in diameter at the top. They had 20 flutings around the shaft, three incised rings around the neck, and four rings around the capital. The architrave and triglyph freize were large and colorful; paint traces suggest that the upper band of the architrave was red, and the metopes blue (E. Gardiner). The roof was originally tiled with Parian marble slabs, but these were replaced during Roman times with Pentelican marble (E. Gardiner). A continuous marble sima supported the roof, interrupted only by lion’s head water spouts. The 39 mostly intact lion’s heads found at the temple are of varying styles and material; this suggests the temple underwent constant repairs and upkeep until it was destroyed by earthquake in the 5th century AD.

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