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7 wonders of the ancient world

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The seven wonders of the traditional world have been a choice of distinctive items of structure and artwork within the Center East, North Africa and southern Europe.

Quite a few historical and medieval writers from Europe and Center East debated and described what are in the present day referred to as the seven “wonders” of the world (not all writers used the time period “marvel” to explain them). The traditional Greek author Herodotus, who lived from 484 to 425 B.C., was one of many earliest writers to debate them, and whereas his writings on the wonders didn’t survive, they have been referenced in later texts. 

The wonders that must be included within the checklist have been debated over millennia, with completely different authors proposing completely different websites. The checklist that we’ve in the present day “solely grew to become mounted within the Renaissance,” archaeologists Peter Clayton and Martin Value wrote within the e-book “The Seven Wonders of the Historic World” (Routledge, 1988). 

On this gallery, Dwell Science takes a quick have a look at every of the seven wonders.

The Nice Pyramid at Giza, Egypt

(Image credit: John Keates / Alamy)

The Nice Pyramid at Giza is each the oldest historical marvel on the checklist and the one one nonetheless standing in the present day. It was constructed as a mausoleum for the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Khufu almost 4,600 years in the past and was the world’s tallest construction till Lincoln Cathedral’s central tower was accomplished in England in 1311. 

The Nice Pyramid was 481 toes (147 meters) tall when it was first accomplished, however in the present day, as a result of lack of a few of its stones, it stands 455 toes (139 m) excessive. The inside of the pyramid accommodates a system of passageways resulting in a “grand gallery” that travels up in direction of a room with an empty sarcophagus — typically referred to as the “king’s chamber.” 

Moreover, the passageways within the Nice Pyramid result in two different chambers together with what is typically referred to as the “queen’s chamber” (though it likely didn’t maintain a queen) and a subterranean chamber situated beneath the pyramid. The aim of those two chambers is a matter of debate. In 2017 scientists scanning the pyramid additionally detected a large void above the grand gallery that might comprise a number of chambers. 

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Iraq

(Image credit: North Wind Picture Archives / Alamy )

In line with legend, the sixth-century B.C. Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II had a colossal maze of waterfalls and dense vegetation included into his palace for his spouse, Amytis of Media, who missed her lush homeland in Persia. Nonetheless, archaeologists nonetheless debate whether or not the backyard actually existed. 

The gardens have been described by a number of historical writers. “The method to the backyard sloped like a hillside and the a number of components of the construction rose from each other tier on tier, the looks of the entire resembled that of a theatre,” the traditional Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote within the first century B.C. 

Archaeological excavations on the web site of Babylon, situated 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, haven’t succeeded in revealing a web site that may be definitively recognized because the Hanging Gardens. Moreover, there aren’t any surviving Babylonian data discussing them. One idea is that Diodorus Siculus and different historical writers received the situation improper, and the gardens have been truly constructed at Nineveh, close to modern-day Mosul in northern Iraq. 

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece

(Image credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Constructed round 450 B.C., the seated determine of Greece’s chief Olympic deity was 40 toes (12 m). Made largely of ivory, it was constructed by the sculptor Phidias, it “confirmed Zeus seated however nearly touching the roof together with his head, thus making the impression that if Zeus arose and stood erect he would unroof the temple” the traditional greek author Strabo, who lived from round 64 B.C. to A.D. 24, wrote. 

The Roman emperor Caligula tried to steal it round A.D. 40. Caligula ordered that the statue of Zeus, and different well-known statues of gods, ought to “be introduced from Greece, with a view to take away their heads and put his [Caligula’s] personal of their place,” wrote Suetonius, who lived round. A.D. 69 to 122 . Nonetheless, Caligula was assassinated earlier than his orders have been carried out. 

It is not clear precisely when the statue was destroyed. Historic data present that within the fifth century A.D., Christianity was the official faith of the Roman Empire and conventional Graeco-Roman beliefs have been being persecuted. It is doable that it was destroyed round this time.  

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Turkey

(Image credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Constructed round 550 B.C. by Croesus, a king of Lydia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was praised by historical writers for its magnificence. A smaller temple to Artemis, a goddess related to animals and looking, beforehand existed at Ephesus, however Croesus, who had not too long ago conquered the realm, tremendously enlarged it, historian Michael Immendörfer wrote in his e-book “Ephesians and Artemis: The Cult of the Nice Goddess of Ephesus because the Epistle’s Context” (Mohr Siebeck, 2017). 

It was set ablaze round 356 B.C., supposedly by a person named Herostratus who sought fame. It is questionable whether or not Herostratus truly burned the temple, Immendörfer wrote, noting that individuals might have been looking for a scapegoat, not eager to consider {that a} lightning strike might have destroyed the goddess’s temple. In any case the temple was rebuilt. 

In A.D. 262 the temple was broken by an earthquake and plundered by the Goths — a gaggle of Germanic individuals who seemingly originated in Scandinavia — Immendörfer wrote. No matter was left of the temple seems to have been deserted or destroyed across the fifth century A.D., as Christian writers point out the top of the temple round that point.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Turkey

(Image credit: Classic Image / Alamy )

Constructed for Mausolus, a satrap of Caria in northern Anatolia who died in 353 B.C., this tomb made a robust impression on historical writers and gave us the identify “mausoleum.” The Roman author Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23 to 79) wrote that the constructing took place as a result of a workforce of the best sculptors at the moment — Scopas, Bryaxis, Timotheus and Leochares — labored collectively on this mission regardless of the very fact they thought-about one another rivals. 

When Artemisia, Mausolus’ spouse, died round 350 B.C., the mausoleum was incomplete, and it was unsure whether or not the sculptors would proceed to be paid. However regardless of this, the workforce pressed on. “They didn’t depart their work, nevertheless, till it was completed, contemplating that it was without delay a memorial of their very own fame and of the sculptor’s artwork,” Pliny wrote. 

Pliny wrote that the constructing was 140 toes (43 m) tall and had a pyramid formed base with 63 columns on the high. Stays of the mausoleum are nonetheless seen in the present day, however they lie in ruins — the passage of time and reuse of stone for different buildings have steadily triggered the mausoleum to crumble.

The Colossus of Rhodes, Greece

(Image credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

The Colossus of Rhodes, an immense statue depicting the Greek solar god Helios, was constructed on Rhodes, an island off the coast of modern-day Turkey, round 280 B.C., and collapsed throughout an earthquake in 226 B.C. Nothing stays of the colossus in the present day, and the precise location and peak of the colossus are topics of debate amongst students. 

The statue itself might have been about 110 toes (34 m) tall and should have stood on a three-tiered column that was about 50 toes tall (15 m) tall, Robert Kebric, a retired historical past professor on the College of Louisville, wrote in an article revealed in 2019 within the Athens Journal of Humanities and Artwork. This could have given it a complete peak of 160 toes (49 m) Kebric wrote, after he analyzed descriptions by historical writers. 

Whereas some modern-day creative depictions think about the statue straddling the harbor of Rhodes, Kebric wrote {that a} extra seemingly location was on the apex of the acropolis on the island’s primary metropolis. Quite a few temples and non secular monuments existed in that location on the time, Kebric wrote. 

The lighthouse of Alexandria, Greece

(Image credit: The Print Collector/Getty Images)

Constructed on the orders of pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who reigned from round 285 to 246 B.C., the lighthouse of Alexandria guided mariners into Alexandria in Egypt, one of many largest ports within the historical world. It was constructed on the island of Pharos, situated on the entrance to Alexandria’s harbor. A causeway was created to attach the island to the mainland. The lighthouse had a mirror that mirrored solar rays throughout the day, and a hearth was set at night time and at different occasions when it was essential. 

Estimates for the lighthouse’s peak fluctuate, however it might have been round 400 toes (122 m) tall. The lighthouse was in use all through the Center Ages, however it collapsed within the mid 14th century, Doris Behrens-Abouseif, a professor on the Faculty of Oriental and African Research on the College of London, wrote in an article revealed in 2006 within the journal Muqarnas. Injury from earthquakes and coastal erosion contributed to its collapse, though efforts have been made all through the Center Ages to restore the injury. 

At the moment, what’s left of the lighthouse, together with a large portion of historical Alexandria, lie underwater. Stays of the lighthouse have been found by archaeologists in 1994, and research of them are ongoing. 

Initially revealed on Dwell Science.


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