Pausanias V 10, 1-3

Pausanias about the tempel of Zeus at Olympia:

The sacred domain (‘alsos’) of Zeus is from antiquity called the ‘Altis’, a corruption of the normal word. Pindarus too calls the place like that in a song he wrote for an Olympic victor.
The temple and the statue for Zeus are made from spoils, when the Eleans and the other locals who joined the war against the Piseans, destroyed Pisa. The statue is made by Pheidias. An inscription under the feet of Zeus testifies this. It says: ‘Pheidias, son of Charmides, from Athens, has made me.’ The temple is in Doric style, with a colonnade along the outside. It is made from local chalk-stone. The height up to the eagle (on the roof) is 68 feet, the width 95 feet and the length is 230 feet. The architect was a local man called Libon. The roof-tiles are not of terracotta, but of Pentelic stone cut into the shape of tiles.


After this Pausanias gives an elaborate description of the reliefs on the temple and of the great statue of Zeus.

Pausanias' books about Elis

© KU Leuven, 2012