The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are a set of architectural artworks that the people of the Hellenistic period considered worthy to visit. Of these only remains the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Still, I will do a tour of all.
Great Pyramid of Cheops
Erected in Egypt to have the sarcophagus of the Pharaoh Cheops, is the only one of the Seven Wonders that still exists. It is located in Gizeh, in Egypt. Its construction was completed in around 2570 before Christ. Herodotus tells that worked a hundred thousand men for three decades in each pyramid, considering that only could work there three months a year due to the flooding of the Nile. It is built with two million three hundred thousand limestone blocks, of weights of between two and sixty tons. Measures nearly a hundred fifty meters high and each side is two hundred and thirty meters.
Each one of the faces is oriented to a cardinal point with high accuracy. The entrance is on the north side. Inside has several chambers, connected by corridors. Highlights the Chambers of the King and the Queen and the Grand Gallery. Also has ventilation ducts oriented to the constellations. It was built by an internal ramp, and its coating, which has practically lost, made it to shine at the sunlight.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Nebuchadnezzar II, king of the Chaldeans, was the one who built this around 600 before Christ as a gift to his wife Amytis, daughter of the king of the Medes. The historians Strabo and Diodorus mention them. The first described them: "consists of vaulted terraces raised one above the other, resting on cubic pillars. These are hollowed out and filled with soil to permit planting large trees. The pillars, domes and terraces are constructed of baked brick and asphalt."
The gardens were arranged in overlapping and vaulted terraces. Down the arches that supported the terraces were chambers prepared for relaxing and contemplation. Moreover, from the top deck, flowed water constantly to irrigate the plants and the trees that grew there. Located in the city of Babylon, the current Iraq, they lasted until no further than 126 before Christ, when the city was finally destroyed by the Persians.
Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the actual Turkey, also known as Artemision, was built around 550 before Christ and destroyed by an arson in 356 before Christ, caused by a Greek named Erostratus, a pastor who, under torture, said that only wanted fame with such act. It was dedicated to the goddess Artemis, twin sister of Apollo. Known to the Romans as Diana, the goddess was identified with fertility, hunting and war in Greek mythology.
It was built by the architects Quersifronte, Metagenes, Deinocrates, Paionios, Demetrio and Teodoro. According to Pliny the Elder and Marco Vitruvius, its construction took more than 120 years. Alexander the Great ordered its reconstruction, completed after his death in 323 before Christ. This new temple was destroyed by the Goths in 262 before Christ. Further, the conversion to Christianity of the population made the interest to be lost and the temple was looted, using its materials to raise other buildings. Researchers at the British Museum discovered its remains in 1869.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was sculpted by Phidias in 430 before Christ. It was made with gold, jewels and ivory. He took over a year to finish it and lasted a thousand years. It disappeared between 393, when the Emperor Theodosius the Great banned the pagan worship, and 426, where Theodosius II ordered the demolition of the monuments of Olympia. Its importance is that it set a standard way of representing the god Zeus. The datas about its dimensions are uncertain as they are based on different classical sources that do not always coincide. However, it is generally accepted that was about twelve meters high and occupied the entire width of the hall that housed inside the temple.
The Greek historian Pausanias described it as a chryselephantine statue. These sculptures were modeled with ivory, gold, and sometimes, with crystal and gemstones. In this case, as detailed the source, Zeus was carved on ivory and wore golden sandals. The throne was of ivory, gold, ebony and precious stones. There are also references to the statue on coins and medals from the time of Hadrian.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was the tomb of King Mausolus, an aristocrat who in the year 377 before Christ inherited the satrapy of Caria. The tomb was one of the most important buildings of Halicarnassus, where he established his court. At his death, his wife and sister Artemisia II of Caria, was greatly affected. It is said that she took daily a handful of ashes of Mausolus mixed with her drinks. To prove her love, Artemisia asked the actual prayers to praise for her husband and Greek artists to decorate his grave.
The architects Satyr and Piteos directed the works of the tumulus. The sculptors Skopas, Timothy, Bryaxis and Leochares completed the work after the death of Artemisia. The tomb of Mausolus was built in white marble. According to the sources, it got to measure fifty meters high and had space for more than four hundred statues. It remained standing throughout the centuries, but a series of earthquakes around 1404 made that had been reduced to ruins.
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was built in the VI century before Christ in honor to the god Helios, who according to Greek mythology, married the nymph Rodo, daughter of Poseidon, from who took its name the island of Rhodes. Strategically located for trade between Greece, Egypt and Asia Minor, the island was besieged by the Macedonian king Demetrius Poliorcetes, who had been general of Alexander the Great and wanted to reunite his empire. Rhodes fought and won. To celebrate the victory was erected this colossal statue, whose construction began in 292 before Christ and lasted twelve years. The sculptor Chares of Lindos directed the work, in which used an iron frame covered with bronze plaques.
This sculpture stood thirty-two meters and weighed about seventy tons. It was built as a young athlete, that he could well be Alexander the Great. It was carrying a torch in one hand and, on its head, was wearing a crown of rays in honor of Helios. In the year 223 before Christ, an earthquake demolished the sculpture, and the inhabitants of Rhodes decided to leave its remains stranded at the sea. And there they remained until in 654, the Muslims took the bronze as booty.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Ptolemy II, second Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Dynasty that ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great, ordered the construction to Sostratus of Cnidus, on the island of Pharos, a tower in whose top had a fire to bring the ships to the position of the city. The tower was erected between 285 and 247 before Christ. Several sources say that the tower reached one hundred thirty-four meters high.
To build was used a base of glass blocks, designed to prevent the erosion of the sea. They endured other marble blocks. Its lower base was in a rectangular shape and had places for sentries. The middle part was octagonal and possessed interior stairs. The top was cylindrical, with metallic mirrors that increased and directed the light. The lighthouse lasted until the earthquakes of 1303 and 1323, that reduced it to ruins. In 1480, its remains were reused in the construction of a nearby fortress.
The Tower of Babel
Could be said that the Tower of Babel is the eighth wonder of the world. The universal flood and the Tower of Babel are images that, from the history of Mesopotamia, have survived through time and cultures. The Tower of Babel, symbol of confusion, appears in many paintings symbolizing the pride punished. It would be actually the Ziggurat of Babylon. This building, in whose top was the Esagila, a temple dedicated to Marduk, originally had seven floors high and over
91 meters, but few of its
remains are today.
In conclusion, it is a shame how such magnificent works are lost. With the amount of stupid artworks that are in the present, and this wonderful artworks have been destroyed... Luckily, always will remain the Pyramids.