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The Seven Wonders of the

Ancient World
Temple of Zeus at Olympia

In his right hand a figure of Victory made from ivory and gold. In his left
hand, his scepter inlaid with all metals, and an eagle perched on the
sceptre. The sandals of the god are made of gold, as is his robe.
Pausanias the Greek (2nd century AD)
• When the statue was completed, it barely fitted in the temple. Strabo
• ".. although the temple itself is very large, the sculptor is criticized
for not having appreciated the correct proportions. He has shown
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."

The base of the statue

was about 6.5 m (20 ft)
wide and 1.0 meter (3 ft)
high. The height of the
statue itself was 13 m
(40 ft), equivalent to a
modern 4-story building.
Temple’s History
• Olympic Games held in Zeus’ honor.
• Original temple built in 450 BC (games
started 776 BC) by the architect Libon.
• Statue of Zeus added by the Athenian
sculptor Pheidias.
• Repairs in 2nd century BC (raided by
• Roman Emperor Caligula attempted to
have it sent to Rome (1st century AD)—
• Games banned in 391 AD by Eastern
Roman Emperor Theodosius I—pagan
• Fire in 5th century AD; statue had already
been moved to Constantinople; destroyed
in severe fire in 462 AD.
Pyramid of Giza
The great pyramid of Giza is
the only surviving ancient

Built by Pharaoh Khufu, 4th

Dynasty around 2650 BC, as
a tomb.

It ranked as the tallest structure on Earth for more than 43 centuries:

145.75 m (481 ft) high (outdone in the 19th century).

The maximum error between side lengths is astonishingly less than 0.1%

The structure consists of approximately 2 million blocks

of stone, each weighing more than two tons
Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The approach to the Garden sloped

like a hillside and the several parts
of the structure rose from one
another tier on tier... On all this, the
earth had been piled... and was
thickly planted with trees of every
kind that, by their great size and
other charm, gave pleasure to the
beholder... The water machines
[raised] the water in great
abundance from the river, although
no one outside could see it.

Diodorus Siculus
Construction Details

• Built under the rule of

Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562
BC) of the Babylonian
• Built for his wife.
• Archeological evidence is slim,
as the Euphrates River is
several hundred meters away.
• Possibly an exaggeration of
Alexander the Great’s soldiers.
• Water from the river (?) was
raised up by use of the
Archimedian Screw.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
• Built in honor of the
goddess of hunting,
wild nature, and
• Earliest foundation:
7th century BC;
Wonder: 550 BC
• Temple C sponsored
by Lydian King
• Architect Theodorus
(Temple D)
• One of the artists:
Pheidias (Temple of
Zeus at Olympia)
Artemis of Ephesus

Greek Artemis/Roman Diana = Hunt

Ephesus Artemis = Fertility
Compare with Roman copy of Hellenistic Original
• Temple D, 300 ft. long, 150 ft. wide
– Destroyed July 20, 356 BC by a young Ephesian named Herostratus
– Herostratus wanted to be eternally famous (or infamous)
– Citizens of Ephesus issued a decree that anyone who spoke the name
“Herostratus” would be put to death.
– Coincidentally, Alexander of Macedon (the Great) is born the same night
(rumor has it that Artemis was at his birth, not at the temple).
• New temple contructed completely in marble (fire-safe): 425 ft. long; 225 ft.
wide: 127 columns; 60 ft. high (compare Parthenon 230 ft. long)
• Construction time: 60-120 years
• Destruction by the Goths in 262 AD: a century later the Emperor Constantine
rebuilt much of Ephesus (except the temple, he’s Xian)
• Ephesus abandoned, the statues pounded into powder for wall plaster. (Sigh)
Compare the Scale:
Parthenon vs. Temple of

Refound by the British in 1863

A single column marks the spot where

the temple once stood.
A column fragment from the British Museum:
Left to Right; Thanatos, Alcestis (?), Hermes (Guide of the Souls)
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
• Halicarnassus =
Modern Turkish city of
• Persian Satrap,
Mausollos ruled (377-
353 BC).
• Idea from Mausollos’
wife/sister Artemisia.
• Mausollos died 3 yrs.
prior, Artemisia 1 yr.
• Remained intact 1600
years until earthquake
• Crusaders of 1494-
1522 disassembled it
for a fort.
Colossus of Rhodes
• Lasted only 56 years.
• Not a statue, but a
symbol of unity.
• In 408 BC, three cities of
the island of Rhodes
came together as one
• Success in war (304 BC)
financed the colossus of
the Sun-god Helios.
– Completed 282 BC
– Earthquake in 226 BC
• Breaks at the knee
– Egypt offers to finance
rebuild; Oracle forbade
it; offer declined.
End of the Colossus
• The remains lay on the ground for
1,000 years.
• Pliny the Elder (1st century AD) “few
people can make their arms meet round the
– AD 654 the Arabs invade Rhodes.
– The scraps sold off (takes 900 camels)
and melted into coins.
• Misconceptions:
– 1. The Colossus did not straddle the
harbor (physics and engineering say
– 2. Model of the Statue of Liberty.
Other Images of the Colossus
Pharos Lighthouse of
• Practical use vs.
architectural splendor.
• Pharos, from Pharaoh’s
Island just off from
• Completed around 290 BC
• Mirror (?) light could be
seen 25/35 miles away.
• Survived earthquake in
956 AD.
• Badly damaged in 1303
and 1323 earthquakes.
• Arabs dismantled it to
make a fort in 1480.
Lighthouse Facts & Legends
• Covered in white marble.
• The total height of the building including the
foundation base was about 117 m (384 ft),
equivalent to a 40-story modern building.
• Reflecting mirror: Archimedean Death-Ray?
• Lighthouse:
– French, phare
– Spanish, faro
– Italian, faro
Pharos Images