Wonders of the Ancient World, part 1
Now, I know this is unrelated to Georgian or Regency England, but I found it fascinating so have decided to devote this week and next Monday to the topic. What do you consider the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world? There are varied lists, although most commonly mentioned are the seven listed below.
Great Pyramid of Giza
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Colossus of Rhodes
Lighthouse at Alexandria
1. Great Pyramid at Giza
The oldest and largest of the three pyramids is at the Giza Necropolis in Egypt, and it is also the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Original it was thought that they used slave labor to build this monument, but Egyptologists now believe that it was built by men of skill. Camps where they think the men lived have been found nearby.
Some believe that his pyramid at Giza was built by slaves but this is not true. One hundred thousand people worked on it for three months of each year. This was the time of the Nile’s annual flood which made it impossible to farm the land and most of the population was unemployed. He provided good food and clothing for his workers and was kindly remembered in folk tales for many centuries. Pyramids of Giza
- Giza is also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops.
- Construction of the Pyramid may have been 2584–2561 BC.
- In AD 1300, a massive earthquake loosened many of the outer casing stones, which were then carted away by Bahri Sultan An-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan in 1356 to build mosques and fortresses in nearby Cairo. The stones can still be seen as parts of these structures. (wiki)
- Weight estimated at 5.9 million tonnes
- For about 4300 years, Khufu’s Pyramid was the tallest building on earth, until in 1889 the French built the Eiffel Tower.
- It contains around 1,300,000 blocks ranging in weight from 2.5 tons to 15 tons and is built on a square base with sides measuring about 230m (755ft), covering 13 acres!
- Its four sides face the four cardinal points precisely and it has an angle of 52 degrees. (same source as above)
- The King’s Chamber is built entirely of Rose Granite.
2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The gardens are attributed to the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled between 605 and 562 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his homesick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the plants of her homeland. Whether this is true or merely a legend is unclear. The gardens were said to have been destroyed by several earthquakes after the 2nd century BC, and even though some ancients did write about the gardens, no archaeological evidence has been found to support their stories.
- The Hanging Gardens would have required a minimum amount of 8,200 gallons (37,278 liter) of water per day.
- “The Garden is quadrangular, and each side is four plethra long. It consists of arched vaults which are located on checkered cube-like foundations. The ascent of the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway. ” Greek historian Strabo
3. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The statue was created by Phidias around 432 B.C. and reportedly took twelve years to complete. Created from ivory and gold it stood some forty-three feet tall.
- “It seems that if Zeus were to stand up,” Strabo noted early in the 1st century BC, “he would unroof the temple.”
In 97 A.D. Dio Crysostomos declared the image was so powerful that, “If a man, with a heavy heart from grief and sorrow in life, will stand in front of the statue, he will forget all these.”
In his right hand the statue held the figure of Nike, the goddess of victory, and in his left was a scepter “inlaid with every kind of metal” and topped with an eagle. Perhaps even more impressive than the statue itself was the throne made out of gold, ebony, ivory and inlaid with precious stones. Carved into the chair were figures of Greek gods and mystical animals, including a sphinx.
Impressive stuff from our ancient ancestors!
To read about the remaining four, click this link here: Wonders of the Ancient World, part 2