Statue of Zeus at Olympia
This giant seated representation of the Greek god Zeus was built by the sculptor Phidias around 435BC in the Temple of Zeus at the sanctuary of Olympia. It consisted of a wooden framework covered with ivory plates and gold panels, while the throne was decorated with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones. It was mentioned by the Roman historian Suetonius (apparently Caligula gave orders for it to be shipped to Rome so its head could be replaced with a sculpture of his own). The statue may have been destroyed when the Temple of Zeus was lost to fire in 425. Alternatively, it was taken to Constantinople (now Istanbul), where it burnt with the Palace of Lausus in 475. Phidias’s workshop was rediscovered at Olympia in the 1950s.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Built between 353BC and 350BC, this tomb – for Mausolus, a Persian satrap (a provincial governor) – was 45 metres in height and covered in ornate reliefs by four different Greek sculptors. It stood at Halicarnassus, near modern-day Bodrum, Turkey, until it was destroyed by successive earthquakes between the 12th and 15th centuries. Since its construction, the word “mausoleum” has come to represent any above-ground tomb.
Colossus of Rhodes
This statue to the Greek god of the sun, Helios, once stood at the entrance to the harbour at Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name. It was built in 280BC to mark victory over the ruler of Cyprus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, but survived for just 54 years, when it was destroyed by an earthquake. It was more than 30 metres tall and made of bronze and iron with a marble pedestal.