What are the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

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The Great Pyramid of Giza

There is not one definitive Seven Wonders of the World list but here are the most commonly considered Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

All over the world there are ancient landmarks, awe inspiring buildings, natural phenomena and strange happenings that can be considered wonders of the world. With hundreds of amazing and spectacular sights around the world that could be considered a wonder it is hard to put together just one Seven Wonders of the World list.

Because of this, many alternative Seven Wonders of the World lists have emerged, looking at different time periods and types of phenomena. The most popular wonders of the world list include the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the Seven Wonders of the Underwater World (link soon) and the Seven Wonders of the Modern World (link soon).

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

In the 4th Century BC many Seven Wonders of the World lists were created by explorers to give Hellenistic travellers information and access to the amazing man-made sights around the world. The most prominent Seven Ancient Wonders of the World list and the one that is most commonly referred to today is the one that was created by Antipater of Sidon.

So, who was Antipater of Sidon?

Antipater of Sidon was an Ancient Greek poet and writer who lived in the 2nd century B.C. As a lover of the monuments of the Greek world, he decided to put them to paper in his list of the “Seven Wonders of the Ancient World”. This list was meant to represent the extent of the Greek Empire, and prompt awe and intimidation to outsiders.

Here are the seven ancient wonders of the world:

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza – This is the only ancient wonder on this list that still exists today. Sitting in Giza, Egypt, the pyramid is believed to have been constructed as the tomb of the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh Khufu and took around 20 years to complete.
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon – A 75 foot high multi-levelled gardens, built by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of the Babylonians, for his wife Amytis of Media. Apparently built between 605-562 BC and destroyed by an earthquake after the 1st century BC there is no actual evidence that they existed and many believe they are a myth.
  3. Statue of Zeus at Olympia – This was a 43 foot tall statue built by the Greeks in worship of Zeus and was built between 466-456 BC. Although destroyed in the great fire of Lauseion on AD 475, the workshop it was made in has been discovered as have moulds from the statue, coins depicting it and much documentation from the time.
  4. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus – Taking 120 years to build in total, the magnificent temple was built and burned down three times. The Lydian’s, Persians and Greeks all had a hand in building the temple before its final destruction by a mob in AD 391, led by St John Chrysostom.
  5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus – Standing 150 feet tall this grand tomb was built for the Persian Satrap Mausolus. The original tomb stood near Selcuk in Turkey and was destroyed by a flood in AD 1494. This building is attributed with the first use of the word Mausoleum.
  6. Colossus of Rhodes – 110 foot tall statue of Helios, God of the Sun, built in Rhodes, Greece between 292-280 BC and by Chares of Lindos. The statue only stood for 56 years and was destroyed in 226 BC by an earthquake.
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria – Between 380-440 feet tall this lighthouse was one of the tallest buildings in the world for centuries. It was built in 280 BC, Egypt and was finally destroyed completely in 1480 AD by an earthquake.

Other Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Although these seven constructions are generally considered the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World there are more recent lists that look at other structures, including ones that still exist today. One of the criticisms of this list is that it looks at a very small area of the world, across what is now southern Italy, Greece, Egypt and Turkey.

Other Seven Wonders of the Ancient World lists have considered structures such as the Colosseum in Rome, Stonehenge in England, the Great Wall of China and Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem etc. With so many historic landmarks throughout the world it is hard to put down just Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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