The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Can you name all seven of them?
When I have asked this question over the years I get varying results.
Many people can easily identify the Great Pyramid of Giza as one of the wonders. It is the only one of the seven that is still in existence.
From there it gets interesting. Probably the second most popular right answer is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Many people have heard of this wonder, but don’t know much about it. Historians cannot even agree on how it looked or even the exact location. It is indeed a mysterious place.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria or The Pharos and the Colossus of Rhodes are sometimes identified as being part of the seven by the people that I ask. Both were large structures that were very prominent during their time. The Lighthouse of Alexandria was the last of the wonders to be built, and in some early versions is replaced by the Walls of Babylon.
After these four it becomes interesting. Not too many people can identify the last three. I get a lot of guesses such as the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis, The Great Wall of China or the Hagia Sophia. Since the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World list comes from the Mediterranean area, you can easily exclude the Great Wall of China as it was probably not known to Antipater of Sidon or Philo of Byzantium. The Hagia Sophia is from a later period and the Parthenon pales in comparison to a temple that is the last of the wonders I will list.
I have not visited the site of any of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but I was able to take a picture of part of one at the British Museum.This partial statue of a horse comes from the ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. It was part of a set of four horses pulling a chariot that was on the top of the 150 foot tall tomb of Mausolus and Artemisia II, his wife and sister. This tomb was so impressive and famous that it is where we get our word for a tomb that is above ground.
Now we are down to two. The next to last is the Statue of Zeus at Olympia. This statue of a seated Zeus is almost 40 feet tall and was carved by the sculptor Phidias. It was an impressive statue and was even featured on coins from the area. Because of this there is good evidence of what it looked like.
Now to the last of the Seven Wonders. This last one is the only one to be mentioned in the Bible. We find it mentioned in Acts 19.
Here is what Antipater of Sidon had to say about the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus.
…. when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade, for the sun himself has never looked upon its equal outside Olympus. – Antipater of Sidon
The Temple of Artemis was huge. It was 450 feet by 225 feet and was 60 feet high. It was also richly adorned with many different works of art. There are also some interesting stories associated with it, but those will have to wait for a future post. I am thinking of writing a post about each of the Seven Wonders sometime in the future.
I also found it interesting that four of the wonders were destroyed by earthquakes and two of them by fire. The solid stone pyramid has resisted the elements so far :-).
So, here is the list all in one place:
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- Lighthouse of Alexandria
- Colossus of Rhodes
- Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Now will you be able to remember them? I only can remember them as I have played the Guess the Wonders game with my students and friends for many years.