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A history of the architectural seven wonders of the ancient world

The Colossus of Rhodes was an inspiration for the Statue of Liberty. The gardens were said to have been planted as high as 75 feet in the air on a huge square brick terrace that was laid out in steps like a theater. Later writers described how people could walk underneath the beautiful gardens, which rested on tall stone columns.

Modern scientists have deduced that for the gardens to survive they would have had to be irrigated using a system consisting of a pump, waterwheel and cisterns to carry water from the Euphrates many feet into the air. Though there are multiple accounts of the gardens in both Greek and Roman literature, none of them are firsthand, and no mention of the gardens has been found in Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions.

As a result, most modern scholars believe that the existence of the gardens was part of an inspired and widely believed but still fictional tale.

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Statue of Zeus at Olympia The famed statue of Zeus was crafted by the Athenian sculptor Phidias and completed and placed in the temple of Zeus at Olympia, site of the ancient Olympics, around the mid-fifth century B.

The statue depicted the god of thunder seated bare-chested at a wooden throne. The statue of Zeus was richly decorated with gold and ivory.

At 40 feet, it was so tall that its head nearly touched the top of the temple.

  1. The most fabulous of these structures were two marble temples built around 550 B.
  2. The seven chapters are written by six different authors, so as is usual in such compendiums, the writing style varies quite a bit from tediously academic to very engaging for the non-specialist. Ruins of the Parthenon The Parthenon.
  3. Archeologists disagree as to whether the building had an open-air ceiling or was topped with wood tiles.

According to legend, the sculptor Phidias asked Zeus for a sign of his approval after finishing the statue; soon after, the temple was struck by lightning.

The Zeus statue graced the temple at Olympia for more than eight centuries before Christian priests persuaded the Roman emperor to close the temple in the fourth century A. At that time, the statue was moved to a temple in Constantinoplewhere it is believed to have been destroyed in a fire in the year 462.

The Megalith Builders

A series of several altars and temples was destroyed and then restored on the same site in Ephesusa Greek port city on the west coast of modern-day Turkey. The most fabulous of these structures were two marble temples built around 550 B. The former was designed by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes and decorated by some of the most celebrated artists of the ancient world.

The building burned on July 21, 356 B. About six years later, the building of a new temple to replace it was begun. The new building was surrounded by marble steps that led to a more than 400-foot-long terrace. Inside stood 127 60-foot marble columns and a statue of Artemis. Archeologists disagree as to whether the building had an open-air ceiling or was topped with wood tiles. The temple was largely destroyed by Ostrogoths in A. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus Located in what is now southeastern Turkey, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built by Artemisia for her husband, Mausolus, the king of Carnia in Asia Minor, after his death in 353 B.

The massive mausoleum was made entirely of white marble and is thought to have been about 135 feet high. The first layer was a 60-foot base of steps, followed by a middle layer of 36 Ionic columns and a stepped, pyramid-shaped roof.

At the very top of the roof lay the tomb, decorated by the work of four sculptors, and a 20-foot marble rendition of a four-horse chariot.

  • Some of its remains have since been discovered at the bottom of the Nile;
  • The Phoenicians may even have circumnavigated Africa, 2000 years before any European accomplished this feat;
  • A caveat is that, originally published in 1988, the book may be a little outdated by now, as new discoveries are coming to light.

The mausoleum was largely destroyed in an earthquake in the 13th century and its remains were later used in the fortification of a castle. Colossus of Rhodes The Colossus was an enormous bronze sculpture of the sun god Helios built by the Rhodians over 12 years in the third century B. The city was the target of a Macedonian siege early in the fourth century B.

Sevens Wonders of the Ancient World

Designed by the sculptor Chares, the statue was, at 100 feet, the tallest of the ancient world. It was completed around 280 B. It was never rebuilt. Hundreds of years later, Arabs invaded Rhodes and sold the remains of the statue as scrap metal. Because of this, archeologists do not know much about the exact location of the statue or what it looked like.

Most believe that it depicted the sun god standing naked while he lifted a torch with one hand and held a spear in the other. Lighthouse of Alexandria The Lighthouse of Alexandria was located on a small island called Pharos near the city of Alexandria. Designed by the Greek architect Sostratos and completed around 270 B.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Archeologists have found ancient coins on which the lighthouse was depicted, and from them deduced that the structure had three tiers: Above that stood a 16-foot statue, most likely of Ptolemy II or Alexander the Great, for whom the city was named. The lighthouse was gradually destroyed during a series of earthquakes from 956 to 1323.

Some of its remains have since been discovered at the bottom of the Nile.