Temple of Olympian Zeus
of Olympian Zeus (Olympeion) was an enormous structure, the largest
temple in Greece, exceeding even the Parthenon in size.
Work began on this vast edifice in 515 BCE during the
reign of the tyrant Peisistratos, who initiated the building
work to gain public favor. Although there were several
attempts over many years to finish the temple, it was not completed
until 132 CE by the Emperor Hadrian. The 104 columns, each
17 meters (56 feet) high, of the temple were
made of Pentelic marble. Only 15 of the Corinthian
columns remain standing to give a sense of the enormous size of the
temple which would have been approximately 96 x 40 meters
(315 x 130 feet) in size.
construction of the temple of Zeus, the Athenians honored
Hadrian by building an arched gateway in the northwest
corner of the sanctuary in 131 CE. The arch,
also built of Pentelic marble, bears two inscriptions. The
one on the side facing the Acropolis (west facade) reads
"This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus"
while the other, on the side facing the sanctuary and the
extension of the city by Hadrian, reads "This is the
city of Hadrian and not of Theseus".
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Zeus and the surrounding monuments. Use your browser's back button
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© All pictures are Copyright 2000 Grisel Gonzalez and Jeff