Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

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 which pales in comparison to the temple that is the last of the wonders I will list.

Ruins of the Great Wall of China, Badaling, Un-reconstructed wallThe Great Wall of China can easily be excluded as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World list comes from the Mediterranean area and the wall was probably not known to Antipater of Sidon or Philo of Byzantium.

Hagia Sofia, Mosque, Church, Museum, Istanbul, TurkeyThe Hagia Sophia in Istanbul is from a later period, so would not be included.

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 a piece of one at the British Museum.Mausoleum of Halikcarnassus - Statue in British Museum - Seven Wonders of the Ancient WorldThis 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 was 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.

23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” ESV

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.

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 :-).

Here is the complete list all together.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Lighthouse of Alexandria
  4. Colossus of Rhodes
  5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  6. Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  7. 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.


This post is based on a post from eight years ago. There are several additions and parts have been rewritten.

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Culture, History, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

  1. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

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