The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are some of the most beautiful and highly regarded feats of construction and engineering in any time period. What makes them so incredible is that they were built without any of the techniques of modern construction. They were built without machines, or electric tools, or computers. They are extraordinary feats of mathematics and architecture that stun people to this day.
Although some of them have been lost to time, the ones that remain leave modern humans speechless.
Although most of these works of ancient art have been destroyed, we know of them through archaeology and mythology. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient world include the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus at Rhodes, and the Light House of Alexandria in Egypt. Each of these wonders has thrilled and inspired countless generations of archaeologists, scientists, mathematicians, and many others.
The Seven Wonders of the World were first called Themata by the ancient Greeks, which means, “things to be seen.” (Mark, Joshua J. Paragraph 1). Even from the first inception of this list, these so called “wonders” amazed everyone who saw them. They demanded so much admiration that famous ancient philosophers and writers such as Philo of Byzantium, and Herodotus devoted entire works to them.
Images of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World:
Great Pyramid of Giza
2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
4. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
6. Colossus of Rhodes
7. Lighthouse of Alexandria
Perhaps the most amazing of the Seven Wonders is the Pyramid at Giza. What makes it so amazing, is that it has perplexed scientists for years as to how it was constructed. The amount of man power it would have taken to build such a structure seems nearly impossible. The Pyramid was built between 2584 and 2561 BCE. It was built as a tomb for the Pharaoh Khufu. It was known for thousands of years as the tallest building in the world. “The Great Pyramid at Giza was constructed between 2584 and 2561 BCE for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (known in Greek as `Cheops’) and was the tallest man-made structure in the world for almost 4,000 years.” (Mark, Joshua J. Paragraph 2). In fact, tourists and visitors are still astounded by its size, despite the increasing height of modern buildings.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built by Nebuchadnezzar II somewhere between 605-562 BCE. They were intended to be a gift to his wife. They are described by ancient writers as planes of flora and fauna which water themselves and stand at a height of seventy-five feet. It is controversial as to whether or not they actually existed, as they are not mentioned in any recording of Babylonian history, or by Herodotus, the so called “father of history.” However, even Herodotus was capable of making mistakes. “There are many other ancient facts, figures, and places Herodotus fails to mention, however, or has been shown to be wrong about.” (Mark, Joshua J. Paragraph 3). Some of the other historians of the time seem to confirm the existence of the gardens.
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a shrine to Zeus where the first Olympic games were held. The site was in an area called the Peloponnesus, and the site of the games was named Olympia. Each Olympic games was held under a sacred truce, and athletes from each of the Greek city states were granted safe passage to and from the site to participate in the games. Because of the growing importance of the Olympic games, the shrine to Zeus was converted into a temple to Zeus, in accordance with the importance of the games. “The shrine to Zeus here was simple in the early years, but as time went by and the games increased in importance, it became obvious that a new, larger temple, one worthy of the King of the gods, was needed.” (Lee Krystek, 2011).
The Statue was designed by Libon of Elis, and it was finished in 456 BC. Later, the statue was stripped of its gold plating after Constantine converted to Christianity and ordered that all pagan statues, shrines, and temples, be stripped of their gold. After the Olympic games were ended in 392 AD, the statue was moved to Constantinople as part of the private art collection of a Greek named Lausus. (Lee Krystek, 2011). It is believed that the statue was destroyed by a fire which destroyed much of Constantinople in 475 AD.
The City in which the Temple of Artemis was located was known as Ephesus, a religious and cultural hub. It was also a port city, meaning a mixture of different cultures could be found there. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder described the temple as a “wonderful monument of Grecian magnificence, and one that merits our genuine admiration.” (Ancient-Origins.net, Paragraph 1). This historian even documented the temple dimensions, its building materials, and how long it took to be constructed.
The Temple was built somewhere between 550 and 650 BC. It was designed by an architect from Crete and his son, whose names were Chersiphron and Metagenes. As told by Greek historians the temple was rebuilt seven times in ten centuries. However, this number cannot be entirely verified. “According to the Greek historian Strabo, the Temple of Artemis was rebuilt seven times over ten centuries although the exact number is uncertain. Excavations have revealed evidence that it has been rebuilt at least three times.” (Ancient-Origins.net, Paragraph 3). Each time the temple was rebuilt at the same site, only larger.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was built on the island of Pharos, in Alexandria, Egypt. It was originally a tower which was meant to serve as the port’s landmark, and eventually it became the lighthouse. It was originally named “Pharos,” after the island it was located on. The island the lighthouse was built on was connected to the main land by a man-made structure called the Heptastadion.
“Pharos was a small island just off the coast of Alexandria. It was linked to the mainland by a man-made connection called the Heptastadion, which thus formed one side of the city’s harbor.” (New World Encyclopedia, Paragraph 5).
The Seven Wonders of the ancient world have astounded archaeologists, historians, and tourists alike, and even those which can no longer be seen, still have an aura of mystery and intrigue about them. Anyone who visits the still existing sites will be awed by them. Hopefully this essay will give many people a good reason to visit the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.