This temple, also called the Olympieion (the temple of the Olympian Zeus), was built in three periods: 1) Peisistratus started in the sixth century BC. building the temple, which he designed as the largest temple in Greece. Lack of money, but especially the overthrow of the regime of his sons, left construction unfinished. The pillars that had been completed in the meantime were used to strengthen the city walls of Athens. It was not until many years later that the construction of the temple, which was in any case partly regarded as a monument to the tyranny of Peisistratos, was resumed. 2) Antiochus IV Epiphanes, in the year 175 BC. resumed the project and hired the Roman architect Cossutius to erect a new temple on the old foundations, a terrace measuring 300 meters x 70 meters. But when the king died, construction stopped. Sulla took in his punitive measures against the Athenians in 86 BC. two of the columns of the temple, and had them embedded in the temple of Iuppiter Capitolinus. 3) Only after 200 years Hadrian managed to complete the construction, according to the design of Cossutius. Only the most precious marble was used in this construction. Hadrian also gave the god the gold and ivory Zeus statue, which he had placed next to his in the cella. In addition, he donated a gem-encrusted snake from India. Pausanius, who describes the Olympieion in detail, adds that the Athenians believed that Deukalion originally founded the temple, the chief survivor of the Greek version of the Flood story:
When Pandora unleashed all evil on humanity from her box, the mortal malice prevailed and Zeus set out to destroy the people. Deukalion (a son of Prometheus) and his wife Pyrrha, (daughter of Pandora), learned about Zeus’s plan. They built a ship and thus made themselves safe from the flood. When the waters flowed out on the ninth day, the ship had landed on top of Parnassus. Deukalion and Pyrrha begged Zeus to populate the earth with new people. They were then told to throw the bones of the Great Mother behind them. Prometheus explained the hidden meaning of these words: the Great Mother represented the earth and her bones were the stones. Deukalion and Pyrrha obeyed the order, after which the new men emerged from the stones Deukalion cast behind them, and from the stones of Pyrrha, the new women emerged, who together form the ancestors of the new human race.