The Seven World Wonders

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The Seven World Wonders

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Sat Apr 12, 2003 11:35 pm

Avete Romani,

I plan on writing an essay about the seven classical world wonders:

- The statue of Zeus in Phidias
- The temple of Diana in Ephesus
- The mausoleum in Halikarnassos
- The colossus of Rhodos
- The lighthouse of Alexandria on the isle Pharus
- The piramides of Gizeh
- The gardens of Babylon

If any of you know a few good sites concerning this topic, please post them or pm them. I especially need more info about the colossus of Rhodos because very little is known about this statue.

Valete,

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Sun Apr 13, 2003 11:47 am

Salve Tiberi,

Not a lot of sites can be found about the famous Colossos indeed....and about half of the ones I did find seem to have copied the same text and put it up as their own. Here are two links though (if these weren't the ones you found already)

http://www.amazeingart.com/4_thebook/su ... ossus.html

http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/colossus.html

Vale bene
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The Great Pyramids of Giza + the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Fri Jul 02, 2004 5:19 pm

Salvete Romani,

finally, after a lot of problems, broken links, forgetting and working. It's finished. I'm proud to present the first parts of my "Seven world Wonders".

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The Wonders of the Ancient World.

Introduction.

The list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was originally compiled around the second century BC. Greek historians wrote about the greatest monuments at the time. They did not initially conceive of these monuments as "Wonders" (Greek thaumata) but rather as "sights" or "things to be seen" (theamata); in essence, they were the dramatic monuments that filled the travel guidebooks of the ancient world.

Callimachus of Cyrene (305BC-240BC), Chief Librarian of the Alexandria Mouseion, wrote "A Collection of Wonders around the World". All we know about the collection is its title, for it was destroyed with the Library of Alexandria.

The List

Here is the list of the Seven world wonders which I will write about in the following posts:

1. The Great Pyramids of Giza
2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
4. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassos
5. The Colossus of Rhodes
6. The Lighthouse of Alexandria
7. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia


1. The Great Pyramids of Giza

The great pyramid of Giza, is the only world wonder that still exists today. Contrary to the common belief, only the great pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), not all three great pyramids, is on top of the list of Wonders. The monument was built by the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around the year 2560 BC to serve as a tomb when he dies.

The great pyramid is believed to have been built over a 20 year period. The site was first prepared, and blocks of stone were transported and placed. A fine white limestone casing (which was later stripped of the pyramid by the Arabs to build buildings in Cairo) was then used to smooth the surface. Although it is not known how the blocks were put in place, several theories have been proposed. One theory involves the construction of a straight or spiral ramp that was raised as the construction proceeded. This ramp, coated with mud and water, eased the displacement of the blocks which were pushed (or pulled) into place. A second theory suggests that the blocks were placed using long levers with a short angled foot. However none of these have as yet been proven to be true.

There are also different theories about the actual purpose of the great pyramid itself. Astronomic observatories... Places of cult worship... Geometric structures constructed by a long-gone civilization... Even extraterrestial-related theories have been proposed with little evidence in support... The overwhelming scientific and historic evidence still supports the conclusion that, like many smaller pyramids in the region, the Great Pyramids were built by the great Ancient Egyptian civilization off the west bank of the Nile as tombs for their magnificent kings... Tombs where Khufu, Khefre, and Menkaure could start their mystic journey to the afterlife.

2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The ancient city of Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, must have been a wonder to the traveler's eyes. "In addition to its size," wrote Herodotus, "Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world."

Herodotus claimed the outer walls were 56 miles in length, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high. Wide enough, he said, to allow a four-horse chariot to turn. The inner walls were "not so thick as the first, but hardly less strong." Inside the walls were fortresses and temples containing immense statues of solid gold. Rising above the city was the famous Tower of Babel, a temple to the god Marduk, that seemed to reach to the heavens.

Interestingly enough, though, one of the city's most spectacular sites is not even mentioned by Herodotus: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, whom were said to be built by King Nebuchadnezzar II.

According to accounts, the gardens were built to cheer up Nebuchadnezzar's homesick wife, Amyitis. Amyitis, daughter of the king of the Medes, was married to Nebuchadnezzar to create an alliance between the nations. The land she came from, though, was green, rugged and mountainous, and she found the flat, sun-baked terrain of Mesopotamia depressing. The king decided to recreate her homeland by building an artificial mountain with rooftop gardens.

However, while the most descriptive accounts of the Gardens come from Greek historians such as Berossus and Diodorus Siculus, Babylonian records stay silent on the matter. Tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar do not have a single reference to the Hanging Gardens, although descriptions of his palace, the city of Babylon, and the walls are found. Even the historians who give detailed descriptions of the Hanging Gardens never saw them. So did they reallt exist? Or did it only exist in the imagination of poets and ancient historians?

This was one of the questions that occurred to German archaeologist Robert Koldewey in 1899. For centuries before that the ancient city of Babel was nothing but a mound of muddy debris. Though unlike many ancient locations, the city's position was well-known, nothing visible remained of its architecture. Koldewey dug on the Babel site for some fourteen years and unearthed many of its features including the outer walls, inner walls, foundation of the Tower of Babel, Nebuchadnezzar's palaces and the wide processional roadway which passed through the heart of the city.

While excavating the Southern Citadel, Koldewey discovered a basement with fourteen large rooms with stone arch ceilings. Ancient records indicated that only two locations in the city had made use of stone, the north wall of the Northern Citadel, and the Hanging Gardens. The north wall of the Northern Citadel had already been found and had, indeed, contained stone. This made it seem likely that Koldewey had found the cellar of the gardens. He continued exploring the area and discovered many of the features reported by Diodorus. Finally a room was unearthed with three large, strange holes in the floor. Koldewey concluded this had been the location of some kind of pumps that were used to raise the water to the garden's roof.

However, the Greek historian Strabo had stated that the gardens were situated by the River Euphrates. So others argue that the site is too far from the Euphrates to support the theory since the Vaulted Building is several hundreds of meters away.

Wherever the location of the gardens were, we can only wonder if Queen Amyitis was happy with her fantastic present, or if she continued to pine for the green mountains of her homeland.

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If you have comments or suggestions, or if you would simply like more information, feel free to post it here.

Valete,
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Artemis' Temple + Halicarnassos' Mausoleum

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Sat Jul 03, 2004 10:08 am

Salvete,

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3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Referred to as the great marble temple, it was sponsored by the Lydian king Croesus and was designed by the Greek architect Chersiphron. The Temple was decorated with bronze statues sculpted by the most skilled artists of their time: Pheidias, Polycleitus, Kresilas, and Phradmon.

The temple served as both a marketplace and a religious institution. For years, the sanctuary was visited by merchants, tourists, artisans, and kings who paid homage to the goddess by sharing their profits with her. Recent archeological excavations at the site revealed gifts from pilgrims including statuettes of Artemis made of gold and ivory... earrings, bracelets, and necklaces... artifacts from as far as Persia and India.

On the night of 21 July 356 BC, a man named Herostratus burned the temple to ground in an attempt to immortalize his name, in which he succeeded. The temple was rebuilt however, in 323 B.C. When St Paul visited Ephesus to preach Christianity in the first century AD, he was confronted by the Artemis' cult who had no plans to abandon their goddess. And when the temple was again destroyed by the Goths in AD 262, the Ephesians vowed to rebuild. By the fourth century AD, most Ephesians had converted to Christianity and the temple lost its religious glamor. The final chapter came when in AD 401 the Temple of Artemis was torn down by St John Chrysostom. Ephesus was later deserted, and only in the late nineteenth century has the site been excavated. The digging revealed the temple's foundation and the road to the now swampy site. Attempts were recently made to rebuilt the temple, but only a few columns have been re-erected.

4. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassos

When the Persians expanded their ancient kingdom to include Mesopotamia, Northern India, Syria, Egypt, and Asia Minor, the king could not control his vast empire without the help of local governors or rulers -- the Satraps. Like many other provinces, the kingdom of Caria in the western part of Asia Minor was so far from the Persian capital that it was practically autonomous. From 377 to 353 BC, king Mausollos of Caria reigned and moved his capital to Halicarnassos. Nothing is exciting about Maussollos life except the construction of his tomb. The Mausoleum was completed around 350 BC, three years after Maussollos death.

For 16 centuries, the Mausoleum remained in good condition until an earthquake caused some damage to the roof and colonnade. When crusaders invaded the region in the early fifteenth century, they built a great castle. When they decided to reinforce it, stones were used from the Mausoleum.

Today, the massive crusader castle still remains and the polished stone and marble blocks of the Mausoleum can be spotted within the walls of the structure. Some of the sculptures survived and are today on display at the British Museum in London. At the site of the Mausoleum itself, only the foundation remains of the once magnificent Wonder.

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Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Mon Jul 05, 2004 12:35 pm

Salvete,

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5. The Colossus of Rhodes

In 305 B.C., the island Rhodes was besieged by Antigonus the One-Eyed, a powerful ruler of Macedonia who wanted to break the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance.

When it became clear that they were unable to break the cities defences, Antigonus ordered his son Demtrius, who was in charge of the war, to withdraw. Demetrius reluctantly moved on to other conquests, but he left behind many of his expensive siege engines as a gift, reputedly because he was impressed with the spirit of the Rhodian's resistance (even their slaves had manned the city walls).

To celebrate their victory, the Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to erect an enormous statue of their sun god, Helios. The construction of the Colossus took 12 years and was finished in 282 B.C. For years, the statue stood at the harbor entrance, until a strong earthquake hit Rhodes about 226 B.C. The city was badly damaged, and the Colossus was broken at its weakest point -- the knee. The Rhodians received an immediate offer from Ptolemy III Eurgetes of Egypt to cover all restoration costs for the toppled monument. However, an oracle was consulted and forbade the re-erection. Ptolemy's offer was declined.

The statue lay where it fell for over 875 years until Arab invaders pillaged its remains and sent the scrap metal to Syria, it is said that the fragments had to be transported on the backs of 900 camels. Nothing of the Colossus remains today, and the site upon which it once stood has not been securely identified.

The most popular image most people have of the Colossus, is a huge statue that has one foot in each side of the entrance of the harbor. This way, ships would have to sail underneath its legs. Given the height of the statue and the width of the harbor mouth, this picture is rather impossible than improbable. Moreover, the fallen Colossus would have blocked the harbor entrance. Recent studies suggest that it was erected either on the eastern promontory of the Mandraki harbor, or even further inland. Anyway, it did never straddle the harbor entrance.

Although it disappeared from existence, the ancient World Wonder inspired modern artists such as French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi best known by his famous work: The Statue of Liberty.

6. The Lighthouse of Alexandria

Because of the fact that Alexandria in Egypt made use of a double harbor and the dangerous sailing conditions and flat coastline in the region, the construction of a lighthouse was necessary. Pharos, a small island of the coast of the city, was chosen as the construction site of the lighthouse.

For centuries, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (occasionally referred to as the Pharos Lighthouse) was used to mark the harbor, using fire at night and reflecting sun rays during the day. It was even shown on Roman coins, just as famous monuments are depicted on currency today.

When the Arabs conquered Egypt, they admired Alexandria and its wealth. The Lighthouse continues to be mentioned in their writings and travelers accounts. But the new rulers moved their capital to Cairo since they had no ties to the Mediterranean. When the mirror was brought down mistakenly, they did not restore it back into place. Later on, an earthquake shook the city and caused minor damage to the lighthouse. It was later in 1303 and in 1323 that two stronger earthquakes left a significant impression on the structure.

The lighthouse was eventually taken down when the Sultan Qaitbay decided to reinforce the defences of Alexandria. The marble was used to construct a castle on the island Pharos.

7. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

When the power of ancient Greece grew, a simple Doric-style temple in honor of Zeus seemed too mundane, and modifications were needed. The solution: A majestic statue.

For the years that followed, the temple attracted visitors and worshippers from all over the world. In the second century BC repairs were skillfully made to the aging statue. In the first century AD, the Roman emperor Caligula attempted to transport the statue to Rome. However, his attempt failed when the scaffolding built by Caligula's workmen collapsed.

Olympia was further struck by earthquakes, landslides and floods, and the temple was damaged by fire in the fifth century AD. Earlier, the statue had been transported by wealthy Greeks to a palace in Byzantium. There, it survived until it was destroyed by a severe fire in AD 462. Today nothing remains at the site of the old temple except rocks and debris, the foundation of the buildings, and fallen columns.

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sources: Amazeingart, Ancient World Wonders and "Wonderen der Wereld"

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Postby Anonymous on Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:12 am

Last year, i saw a DVD about the Seven Wonders, by John Romer.
It was not only excellent, it delivers more than expected. The appeal of the great monuments, the way they connected in life and psyche of the ancient and modern worlds.
Really fascinating, and beautiful.
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