FOR 60 YEARS THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD EXISTED SIMULTANEOUSLY
There are considered to be many wonders of the world today, natural and man-made, but none have inspired people as much as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The list originates from around 100BC when the ancient Greeks, who in their growing empire encountered and went on to build some of these, then landmarks, located mainly around the Mediterranean. Many accounts of them survive from this period including a song by The Philo of Byzantium, a Greek engineer and poet. It is fragmented but describes about six of the seven wonders.
PYRAMIDS OF GIZA
Perhaps the most famous of the wonders are these Egyptian tombs. The oldest of the wonders and the only surviving to present day, the Pyramids of Giza are visited by millions each year. Completed around 2584BC, the Pyramids were already ancient when the Greeks discovered them.
HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are the most mysterious of the seven wonders as their precise location is unknown and some suggest they never existed at all. All evidence of them disappears after 1AD. The Babylonians were an ancient Middle Eastern civilisation from and area we know as Iraq. They appeared around 1894BC. The tiered gardens were considered an impressive feat of engineering as they included a complex irrigation system. All evidence of them disappears after 1AD.
TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS AT EPHESUS
“…but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.’” — Antipater, Greek Anthology IX.58
This quote from a larger description sums up the glory of the Temple of Artemis. It was located in what is now Modern day Turkey. It is suspected to be of Amazonian origin but was destroyed several times by flood and fire and was rebuilt by a different group each time. Its final destruction was by the Goths in 268AD.
STATUE OF ZEUS AT OLYMPIA
This gold, ivory and bronze statue of Zeus stood 13m high in the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece. It was built in 435BC by Phidias, a Greek sculpture, who took 12 years to create it. The statue was stripped of its gold when Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and finally burnt down in 475AD.
MAUSOLEUM AT HALICARNASUS
Built in 351BC in what is now modern day Turkey, for Persian governor Mausolus, there are many different versions of what the structure, now in ruins, once looked like. It was demolished in 1494AD by Knights of St John of Rhodes who used the stone to fortify Bodrum Castle.
COLOSSUS OF RHODES
The Colossus was a 33m statue of Helios, the Greek God of the Sun. Built in 292BC, it was the first of the seven wonders to be destroyed, flattened by an earthquake in 657AD.
PHAROS LIGHTHOUSE AT ALEXANDRIA
The Lighthouse was the last wonder to be built, in 280AD. It was built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom and stood 137m tall. It was destroyed by an earthquakes and looters between 1303AD and 1480AD. Stones can still be found submerged in the Bay of Alexandria.
The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World are all iconic structures built as symbols of wealth and power. They are often considered as a whole. However, all seven wonders existed together for a mere 60 years before The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in an earthquake. They were built and rebuilt by many different civilisations they saw the rise and fall of. However, although only one remains, they have not been forgotten and their images and stories continue to inspire today.