What were the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?
This famous list of the seven most spectacular sights on earth was first referenced by Herodotus around 440 BC, then Callimachus of Cyrene(305-240 BC), and then again by Antipater of Sidon and Philon, a Byzantine mathematician and traveler who wrote the widely circulated account entitled, De Septum Orbis Spectaculis (or The Seven Wonders of the World). Therefore it was written a long, long, long time ago and is hardly contemporary by any standards. The authors didn’t have a clue that other great constructions the Taj Mahal, The Great Wall in China, or Stonehenge even existed at all. Quite simply, it must be remembered this list was compiled at least 150 years before Christ’s birth and these historians were not aware of their existence. The following is listed chronologically and in a nutshell: 2 were in Egypt, 2 were in present day Greece, 2 were in present day Turkey, and one in present day Iraq.
If you are a betting man, see how many people can guess more than two, and also see the shock on their face when you reveal the Acropolis in Athens is not considered one of them.
- The Great Pyrimids of Giza-located outside of present day Cairo, Egypt. As the only surviving one of the original seven, they were started during the Fourth dynasty around 2500 BC to serve as the royal tombs of the pharaohs-kings Cheops (Khufu), Chephren (Khefre), and Mycerinus (Menkaure). The largest of the group is the limestone pyramid of Cheops standing 450 ft./137 M high (originally 482ft./146M high) and 755 ft./230 M wide at its base. It is composed of over 2.3 million blocks of stone, some of which weigh almost 2.5 tons, took 100,000 men nearly 20 years to complete, and covers an area of 13 acres.
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon-once located on the east bank of the River Euphrates, about 50 km. south of present day Baghdad, Iraq. Originally designed in 562 BC as a gift by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his new wife, Amytis, the hanging gardens stood an estimated 400 foot high and contained a series of five square-shaped terraces made of glazed brick. It was supposedly built to remind Amytis of her mountainous homeland in Medes (Media). In fact, they were not hanging gardens at all like the name would suggest, but rather densely planted gardens of grass, flowers, and fruit trees built on balconies or terraces and irrigated by pumps. Very little is known about the details of its actual existence, and in fact it had been reduced to rubble when Pliny the Elder visited Babylon before his death in 79 AD.
- The Statue of Zeus at Olympia-located in the ancient town of Olympia, about 150 km. west of Athens where the earliest of Olympics began around . Sculpted by Phidius after 432 BC, this 40 ft/13 M high statue was constructed of ivory and gold plates to honor Zeus, the king of gods in Greek mythology. Placed in a seated position on a throne with a 12 ft. base with golden lions at his feet,
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus-
- The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- The Colossus of Rhodes-
- The Pharos or Lighthouse at Alexandria-was located on a small island called Pharos, off Alexandria, Egypt. It was built during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus around 285 BC by the architect Sostratus of Cnidus. The marble tower stood nearly 450 feet tall/150 M.