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Metopes of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia

Drwg of metopes
  • Drawing. John Boardman, Greek Sculpture Classical Period, fig.22 (Marion Cox)

The twelve metopes show the Labours of Herakles. His guardian goddess Athena appears on four of them, and is depicted with increasing maturity and authority.

The first metope shows Athena as a young woman, comforting the tired hero who has accomplished his first Labour, against the Nemean Lion. On the third metope she received the dead Stympahlian birds from him, and is seated on a rock, a possible reference to Athens. On the tenth she is mature, helping bear the weight of the heavens on Herakles' shoulders. The last metope, where Herakles cleans the Augean stables, shows her armed with helmet, shield and spear.


Look at casts from the Temple of Zeus at Olympia
More about the Temple of Zeus | east pediment | west pediment


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