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The Statue of Zeus (Grade 2)

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The Statue of Zeus

In ancient Greece, one god reigned above them all. His name was Zeus and he was known as the King of the Gods. The people in Greece worshipped the gods and built statues and temples to honor them. One of those statues, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, has become one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Statue of Zeus was built sometime in 400 B.C. It was around 40 feet (12 meters) tall and made of ivory, gold, and ebony plates on a wooden frame. Precious jewels were laid in the statue as well. A man named Phidias was chosen to build the statue. He had worked on another structure, the Parthenon in Athens. To build the statue, he traveled from Athens to Olympia. He stayed in Olympia for 12 years until the statue was complete.

Some people did not like the job Phidias did. They said that Zeus was too tall because the head of the statue almost touched the roof of the temple. Others loved the statue. They said the king of the gods should have a statue that showed how big and powerful he was.

Once it was finished, the statue required a lot of care from the Greeks. They had to protect the statue from the damp weather in Olympia. They regularly covered it with olive oil to keep it from cracking. The olive oil was kept in a pool at the bottom of the statue. The reflection and light from the pool of olive oil made the statue look like it was lit up. It was quite a sight to see.

Unfortunately, no one can see the Statue of Zeus at Olympia today. Even though it was carefully preserved, it was destroyed in a fire around the 5th Century AD.

In the 1950s, archaeologists unearthed remains of the workshop where the statue was built. This helped them glimpse a little bit of the magnificence of this wonder.
1. 
How do people today know what the Statue of Zeus actually looked like?
  1. They can read about it textbooks.
  2. They can go see it for themselves.
  3. They can see pictures of what archaeologists uncovered.
  4. They can imagine it in their minds.
2. 
Why was the statue covered in olive oil?
  1. to keep it looking shiny
  2. to keep it from getting too dry
  3. to keep the moisture from cracking it
  4. to keep the evil spirits away from it
3. 
How did the pool of olive oil make the statue look better?
  1. It reflected Zeus and made him look bigger.
  2. It reflected sunlight and made the statue look like it glowed.
  3. It heated up the statue and caused the fine stones and jewels to smoke.
  4. It kept people from coming close to the statue and touching it.
4. 
Why can't we see the Statue of Zeus today?
  1. It burned down.
  2. It was carefully maintained.
  3. It rotted from dampness.
  4. It was torn down by critics.
5. 
How long did the statue take to build?
  1. 2 years
  2. 5 years
  3. 10 years
  4. 12 years

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