294 Route 26. OLYMPIA. Temple of Zeus.
exact height of the Parthenon columns) high, with a base-diameter
of 7 Olympic feet (7V3 ft.); they had 20 flutings. The distance
between the columns, from axis to axis, was 16'/4 Olympic feet or
one-half of the height. A few well-preserved capitals lie on the S.
side of the building, adjoining some of the prostrate columns, which
are extended at full length as they were thrown down by the earth¬
quakes. Fragments of the entablature lie scattered around; the mas¬
sive piece at the N.W. corner, originally 183/4 ft. long and 53/4 ft.
high, gives an idea of the imposing size of the temple.
Traces of marks left by bronze statues may be seen ofi the stylo¬
bate between the columns on the S. side. The floor of the colonnade
was laid with a pavement of lime and river-gravel; it remains in
good preservation on the E. (i.e. the ancient approach), where it
was covered by a beautiful coloured marble pavement of Roman
workmanship. The Pronaos, within the colonnade, has two columns
between antae (the sockets for the bolts of the metal doors are still
visible); its floor retains the remains of a Greek Mosaic in rough
round stones from the river, representing Tritons, within a tasteful
border of palmettes and meandering lines (now covered). The Cella
(outside measurement) is 100 Olympic feet long by 50 broad. It
was divided by two rows of Doric columns, the lowest drums of
which are still in position, into three aisles, of which the centre
one was considerably the widest. This central nave was divided
from E. to W. into three sections. The central section was paved
with blue limestone slabs, with a raised border of white Pentelic
marble, still preserved, and was enclosed on the S., E., and X. by
stone screens (still to be traced between the columns), adorned
with paintings from the hand of Panaenos. The third section
was entirely occupied by the chryselephantine Statue of Zeus,
about 40 ft. in height, carved by Phidias (comp. p. xciv). Fragments
of its grey limestone pedestal, which was about 20 Olympic feet
wide by 30 deep, lie scattered about; some of those in the S.E.
angle have been fitted together again. The statue itself probably
perished under the hands of some plundering expedition. The
image was usually covered by a curtain, only withdrawn on solemn
festal occasions. The spectators could walk round the statue by a
narrow passage, and ascend by spiral staircases to galleries above
the side-aisles, whence the upper part of the statue could he more
closely inspected. A hydria (water-vessel) or a marble frame near
the wonderful image marked the spot struck by the thunderbolt,
by which Zeus is said to have announced, to Phidias his satis¬
faction with the work.
The whole ceiling of the temple was of wood (not stone); the roof
was covered with marble tiles, many of which are now deposited on
the Pelopion. The cornice was ornamented with lions' heads, which
served as water-spouts or gargoyles. — The plastic ornamentation
of the pediments and metopes is described at pp. 304-306.