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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Temple of Zeus at Olympia, metope

Metopes, the panels on a temple between the columns and the pediment, were ideal places to decorate with sculpture; they are square, and come in sets of even numbers. On the temple of Zeus at Olympia there were six at each end of the cella, the inner part of the temple — their decoration with the labours of Herakles contributed greatly to the hero’s achievements being quantified as a canonical twelve.

One of the labours is depicted here, the capture of the Cretan Bull. The temple was built by a local architect called Libon, but was destroyed by an earthquake in the fifth century CE

Location of Original: 

Olympia Museum 80 & Paris, Louvre

1.60m x 1.50m

Purchased in 1884 from the casting establishment of the Berlin Museum


Lippold: Griechische Plastik, 121 (n.9-10), pls. 46, 3-4
Richter: Sculpture & Sculptors of the Greeks (1950), figs.66, 355, 414
Becatti, G: Il Maestro d’Olympia, 44-, pl. XXIV-XXV, fig.75; pl. XXIII, fig.72; pl. XXIV, fig.72; pl. XXII
Ashmole & Yalouris: Olympia, the Sculptures of the Temple of Zeus, 26
Walston: Catalogue of Casts in the Museum of Classical Archaeology (1889), 36, no.122

Temple constructed 470-456 BCE

Found on site at Olympia

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