Lion-head spouts of the sima (in Museum), Olympia, Temple of Zeus

Section, c. 470-457 B.C. (stone is black, wood is gray), Olympia, Temple o...

Crepidoma second column drum from N peristyle, Olympia, Temple of Zeus

Dowel cutting in column capital, Olympia, Temple of Zeus

Overall view from W, Olympia, Temple of Zeus

Plan, Olympia, Temple of Zeus

Context: Olympia
Type: Temple
Summary: Peripteral temple; in the Sanctuary of Zeus, north of the Bouleuterion.
Date: ca. 470 BC - ca. 456 BC

Stylobate: 27.68 m x 64.12 m; external front columns: 5.23 m (4.79 m at corners), axial spacing external side columns 5.22 m (4.75 m at corners); external front column lower diameter: 2.25 m; external side column lower diameter: 2.21 m; height external columns: 10.43 m.

Region: Elis
Period: Early Classical
Architect: Libon

Architect Evidence:

Literary attestation (Paus. 5.10.3)


Doric peripteral temple, 6 x 13 columns on a crepidoma of 3 unequal steps. An east opening cella, with pronaos and opisthodomos both distyle in antis. Two rows, each of 7 Doric columns with superimposed Doric columns, divided the cella into 3 aisles. The statue on its enormous base was separated from public access by a barrier which ran between the columns of the side aisles and across the cella at the 2nd column and behind the statue base. The temple was approached by a ramp on the east.


Pausanias wrote that the Temple of Zeus was designed by Libon of Elis (Paus. 5.10.3). The gold and ivory statue of Zeus in the temple, by Pheidias, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. At the time of the Herulian invasions, 267 A.D., a wall (not pictured here but shown on the site maps of Olympia) was built incorporating the Temple of Zeus and the South Stoa.

Other Bibliography:

Mallwitz 1972, 211-234; Rossiter 1981, 336-337; PECS, 648; Dinsmoor 1975, 151-153

See Also: Olympia, South StoaOlympia, Workshop of PheidiasOlympia Metopes