Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

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While the ancient world left little written record, the evidence that we do have depicts it as far more advanced and culturally rich than many would expect. From the Phoenicians in Mesopotamia to the Mayans in Central America, technological advancements and complex theories drove the ancient civilizations ahead. Great thinkers from that period like Socrates (other great thinkers) left huge marks on the literary world. Great scientists like Copernicus (other great scientists) developed theories that provided the foundations for more modern thought. Juxtaposing their technology with our own, we find their accomplishments truly amazing. Their buildings, remarkably built without cranes, bulldozers, or assembly lines, rival our greatest and create great wonder among our culture. Chief among their architectural feats, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World remind us constantly of the ancient cultures’ splendors and advancements. These landmarks, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria or the Walls of Babylon according to the list, left evidence of the magnificence of the ancient world. Understanding the history of the whole group as well as the history of the individual places creates a gratitude and reverence for our ancient ancestors.

Herodotus created the first list of wonders in the fifth century BC but gained little notoriety for the feat and inspired few subsequent lists. His written record, a list mirroring that above with the exception of substituting the Pharos of Alexandria for the Lighthouse, was destroyed with the exception of references in the burning o...

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...s. To do this, they commissioned Phidias, chief sculptor behind the Parthenon, to build a statue paying homage to this god, Zeus. Using an innovative method designed by Phidias himself, he built a wooden skeleton in the intended shape of the statue and ordered workers to adorn it (Woods and Woods, Seven Wonders 56-57). Sheets of iron and gold were cut and fashioned to cover the wooden structure. Looming over the Temple of Zeus, the statue rose 40 feet into the air and was a massive 22 feet wide. Zeus’s Statue features him sitting on a magnificent throne, with his head brushing the ceiling. The ancient historian Strabo criticized the proportions of the statue, claiming that Phidias “depicted Zeus seated, but with the head almost touching the ceiling, so that we have the impression that if Zeus moved to stand up he would unroof the temple . . .” (Unnatural Museum).
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