Among the Greek gods, Zeus was the greatest. He ruled over all other gods, sometimes acting 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 completed, the simple rectangular building seemed plain. Olympia asked Phidias of Athens, one of Greece’s finest 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.