Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a list created by the Greeks of man-made structures they found especially noteworthy or amazing. A common metaphor is to compare the list to a travel guide, but this is not entirely accurate because there was only a sixty-year period in which all the wonders were standing. Since the Greeks created the list, the range it covers is naturally limited to the part of the world they knew (the area around the Mediterranean). Great ancient structures such as the Great Wall of China that we remark upon today were unknown.

The standard version of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that has come down to us is the one recorded by Antipater of Sidon and confirmed by Philon of Byzantium, but there were and are many other versions. Some of the most popular changes include the substitution of the Walls of Babylon for the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Ishtar Gate for the Colossus of Rhodes (when the Colossus of Rhodes had not yet been built). Most historians believe the reason such lists normally had seven wonders, not six or eight, was that the number seven was thought to have magical properties.

The seven wonders of the ancient world are:

  • The Great Pyramid of Giza
  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (a ziggurat with plants covering the terraces)
  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
  • The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (a tomb for Masolus, a Persian satrap)
  • The Colossus of Rhodes (a giant statue of the Greek god of the sun, Helios)
  • The Lighthouse of Alexandria

Author: Katrina Rayment

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