Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World
“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million,”
I’ve seen two of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Colossus of Rhodes. I hope to see them all one day. Most of these wonders of ancient civilizations are not there anymore. – except the Pyramid of Giza.
The list of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World that we use today was put together in 200 BC. by a Greek Historian names Antipatros who wanted to commemorate the achievements of the ancient world. He picked them for many reasons . They were chosen for grandeur and prestige. They were well-known unique constructions at that time. They stood unequaled in size, design and craftsmanship. He chose them for the vision and the purpose that inspired them. This was important to the Greeks. Did it serve as a tomb? Was its purpose to bring beauty into the world? Was it a monument to an ancient religion that no longer exists?
Completed around 550 B.C. to honor the Greek goddess of hunting and nature, the Temple of Artemis was built during the Achaemenid Dynasty of the Persian Empire. Arson destroyed the temple in 356 B.C. The ancient author and philosopher Pliny described the temple as being 377 feet long and 180 feet wide (about 3 times the size of the Parthenon), with 127 Ionic columns measuring 60 feet high, and made solely of marble. Used as both a marketplace and a place of worship, the temple housed many works of art and sculpture. There is one column from the Temple of Artemis on site and the rest are in the British Museum in London.
The Colossus of Rhodes was actually an enormous, looming 100-foot tall statue of the Greek god Helios, built on the island of Rhodes, Greece around 280 B.C. The statue was erected to commemorate the island’s patron god Helios.
The Great Pyramid is the largest of the 3 pyramids built in the ancient city of Giza, now part of greater Cairo, Egypt. The pyramid is believed to have been built around 2560 B.C. as a tomb for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, and likely took 20 years to build. (Egyptologists argue over man-power numbers, and estimates have ranged from 14,000 to 360,000 men). When built, the pyramid measured nearly 480 feet high, with the sides each measuring about 755 feet long. In addition, each side is oriented with one of the cardinal points (north, south, east and west). Nearly 2.3 million blocks of stone, each weighing about 2 tons, form the pyramid. The pyramid remained the world’s tallest building for 4 millennia after it was built .
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have been built by Nebuchadnezzar II, a ruler of Babylon, around 600 B.C. Though historians often debate the real existence of the gardens, because there’s no physical evidence and Babylonian documents never mention them (Greek scholars first described the gardens), accounts state that the gardens consisted of vaulted terraces raised above one another and supported on pillars – an artificial rising mountain of gardens. The amazement over the gardens stems from what would have been an extraordinarily complicated irrigation system, which brought water from the Euphrates to the gardens in an otherwise arid environment. The gardens are thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake around the first century B.C.
This enormous statue honoring the God Zeus was built at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece around 450 B.C. Designed by the Greek sculptor Pheidias, the statue of a seated Zeus measured 40 feet tall and was carved from ivory with gold-plated accents.
Scholars estimate the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt measured between 383 and 450 feet high and was built in the third century B.C. to act as a landmark for Pharos, a small island off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. The lighthouse’s tower was built using light-colored stone. At its highest point, a mirror was placed to reflect sunlight during the day and at night a fire burned to give off light. Some historians believe that the light given off could be seen for some 35 miles. The lighthouse was damaged by 2 earthquakes in 1303 and 1323, and its remains were destroyed in 1480, when a fort was built on the site.
The tomb built to hold the remains of the Persian King Mausollos and his wife, Artemisia, was designed by the Greek architects Satyrus and Pythius and constructed around 353 B.C. on a hill overlooking the ancient city of Halicarnassus in Western Turkey. The tomb stood 135 feet high, and its exterior was surrounded by an ornamental frieze. Numerous statues, bas-reliefs and columns decorated the exterior of the ornate and enormous tomb, and eventually the term “mausoleum” became used to describe any large and impressive tomb. Multiple earthquakes ultimately led to the destruction of the tomb in the 14th century.
Why do we go to these places? I have been to a lot of ancient ruins in my life. When I look at a Greek column or a broken one, I see a civilization that gave us philosophy, science, art, economy, logic and democracy. It isn’t so much what I see but what I feel standing in the depth of history. I look at the ancient stones and wonder if they knew that what they were doing was so important? Probably not. They were just living their lives, going to the Agora, starting a war with someone over something that seems very important at the time, falling in love, fighting with their friends, going to work and taking care of their families and pets. Maybe it just emphasizes the human connection to the past. There are always stray animals at ruins. I like to think they have the souls of the people who lived there.
As I write this I am trying to organize my photos from all the ruins I have seen in Turkey. I know where they come from but I didn’t take good notes about what they actually are. It didn’t matter to me. I just cared that I was there. I stood where they stood. Maybe I was standing where Aristotle, Homer, Heraclitus or Helen of Troy stood. Did a girl who’s heart was broken, or a man who had miraculously made it back from a bad war stand on these steps? I always make these stories up in my head when I am standing there trying to listen to why this column or pile of stones is important. Since we aren’t leaving much stone, what will they find from us?
Thank you Jayne, As always your writing makes me think, fills me with wonderful points of history, which has been my passion since I was very young….Unfortunately I have done very little traveling . I have been to Florence and Pisa Italy…. They held much architectural history and phenomenal art. The imagination can flourish standing in any number of the piazza’s that you come upon…
JD and I stayed in a lovely old town overlooking Florence called Fiesole….There we found an ancient Etruscan ruin that held many spirits, laughter and cheers…It held panoramic views of the valleys below. We walked among the columns that remained and the underground chambers where gladiators, slaves and beasts were held. We sat in the stone seats of the arena and listened to the wind meet the trees near by…. So much power in these places ! We had the place to ourselves practically and felt very blessed to have stumbled upon it in our venturing into the village of Fiesole.
Thank you for reminding of the extreme joy and sorrows of traveling into the ancient lands, and experiencing the very pulse that remains amongst the ruins and the foot paths of these lands..
Very gratefully yours,
Sent from my iPad