Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Seven Wonders of the World (or the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) is a well known list of seven remarkable constructions of classical antiquity. It was based on guide-books popular among Hellenic (Greek) tourists and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim. Later lists include those for the Medieval World and the Modern World. The number seven was chosen because the Greeks believed it to be magical.

The Seven Ancient Wonders

The traditional list, though not the first or last, was made by Philo of Byzantium, and written in 225 BC in his work "On the Seven Wonders". Earlier and later lists, written by the historian Herodotus (484 BC–ca. 425 BC), and the architect Callimachus of Cyrene (ca 305–240 BC) at the Museum of Alexandria, survive only as references. The later version of a list of seven wonders was compiled by Antipater of Sidon, who described the structures in a poem around 140 BC:

These are given in the table below:Anon. (1993)"The Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia" First Edition Oxford:Oxford University ]

The Greek category was not "Wonders" but "theamata", which translates closer to "must-sees". The seven as we know them could only have been seen after the 280's BC, when the Colossus of Rhodes was completed. Earlier lists included things like the Walls of Babylon. The list is at its core, a celebration of Greek accomplishments. Only two of the final seven were non-Greek. Interestingly enough, since the Colossus of Rhodes fell down after a mere 50 years (it fell in a massive earthquake in 226 BC), few historians could have seen it standing (Philo amongst them), and as a result; the exact form of the statue is unknown- but it is believed to have looked much like the Statue of Liberty.

Antipater's first list replaced the Lighthouse of Alexandria with the Ishtar Gate. Of these wonders, the only one that has survived to the present day is the Great Pyramid of Giza. The existence of the Hanging Gardens has not been proven, though theories abound. Records and archaeology confirm that the other five wonders used to exist. The Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were destroyed by fire, while the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Colossus, and tomb of Maussollos were destroyed by earthquakes. There are sculptures from the tomb of Maussollos and the Temple of Artemis in the British Museum in London.

Other reading include:"The Seven Wonders of the World, a History of Modern Imagination" written by John & Elizabeth Romer in 1995 and"The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" edited by Peter Clayton and Martin Price in 1988

See also

* Wonders of the World, about similar lists made throughout the ages.
* Eighth Wonder of the World, about attempted additions to the famous ancient list.

Further reading

* D'Epiro, Peter, and Mary Desmond Pinkowish, "What Are the Seven Wonders of the World? and 100 Other Great Cultural Lists". Anchor. December 1, 1998. ISBN 0-385-49062-3

External links

* [ The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World] — an in-depth look from a professor of civil engineering at the American University in Dubai
* [ Image of the Seven Wonder locations]
* [ Seven Wonders of the Ancient World]
* [ Video about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World] , a virtual satellite tour made with Google Earth [02:34]
* Parkin, Tim, [ "Researching Ancient Wonders: A Research Guide"] , from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. - a collection of books and Internet resources with in-depth information on seven ancient wonders.
* [ Google Maps 7 Ancient Wonders of the World]
* [,,2030611,00.html "Eternal wonder of humanity's first great achievements"] , by Jonathan Glancey in "The Guardian", March 10, 2007
* [ Seven Wonders Suite for Orchestra] — A symphonic suite inspired by the seven ancient monuments by UK composer Stuart Mitchell - The Prague Symphony Orchestra


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