Among the Greek gods, Zeus was the greatest. He ruled over all the other gods. Sometimes he acted like a wise and loving father, other times like a stern ruler.
The Greeks believed that Zeus made his home on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece, about 175 miles from Olympia. For over 1,000 years, Greeks came to Olympia to worship Zeus. About 450 B.C., the people of Olympia began building a temple to honor Zeus. The work lasted 15 years. Once finished, the simple rectangular building seemed plain. Olympia asked Phidias of Athens, one of Greece’s best sculptors, to create a statue of Zeus for the temple. The awesome 40-foot-tall ivory and gold statue filled the inside of the temple. No one called the temple ordinary after that.