Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is the final wonder I will be discussing in this series on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Hanging Gardens are perhaps the most enchanting of the bunch because it is the only member of the seven wonders whose location is not entirely known.

What we do know about the Hanging Gardens is that they were an important feature of ancient Babylon and a great source of pride to the people of the city. They are believed to have been built by King Nebuchadnezzar II in 600 BC, and according to legend, the King built them for his Median wife, Queen Amytis, when she expressed feeling homesick for the green hills and valleys of where she grew up.

The gardens are thought to have been impressively engineered, with an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and, vines. Upon completion, it is said to have resembled a large green mountain constructed of mud bricks.

Some speculate that they once stood in the ancient city of Babylon near present-day Hillah, Babil province, in Iraq. A Babylonian priest named Berossus wrote about them in 290 BC, but there are no extant Babylonian texts which mention the gardens, and no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon.

Since there is no hard evidence that the Gardens ever existed, some believe they are simply a myth that has persisted for thousands of years. If it did in fact ever exist, it would have been destroyed after the first century AD. Some think the stories of the gardens may have been confused with another well-documented garden that the Assyrian king Sennacherib (704–681 BC) built in his capital city of Nineveh on the River Tigris, near the modern city of Mosul. Unfortunately this is a mystery lost to time, but it’s always fun to imagine the grandness that this once important site could have been to behold.

Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World: The Great Pyramid Of Egypt

One of the greatest and methodical man made structures ever, The Great Pyramid’s of Egypt are truly a wonder of the ancient, and now modern world. The 450 foot high, 756 foot long on all four sides structure is one of the heaviest of the wonders. Composed of 2,300,000 bricks, each of which is averaging two and a half tons, placed methodically makes up the colossal structure. They are located in Giza, Egypt near the Sphinx. The biggest of the Pyramids is the Khafre Pyramid which was for Pharaoh Khufu’s son.

These pyramids are used as burial chambers for Kings and Queens in the BC era. Not only were these pyramids built to show power of each royal family, but also a way for these families to bury their most prized possessions when they pass.  With gold, money, and other possessions buried, it was understood that grave robbers would take their chances in entering these tombs and raiding them for all their worth. These pyramids have traps and loopholes to confuse grave robbers and trap them in the depths of the chambers.

what confuses many to this day is how such heavy slabs were lifted to create a pyramid without modern day technology or machinery. Thousands of slaves would work around the clock constructing levy systems which manually lifted these massive slabs perfectly into position. Thousands died due to heat, and physical damage on the body.

Even though some of the smaller pyramids have not passed the test of time, the main, giant structures still remain in tact, not as sturdy or beautiful as before, but still impressive.

For more on ancient history, please visit Matthew D. McGrath’s Official Website.

Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World: The Statue of Zeus

It is only fitting that the King of Gods, Zeus had a monumental structure in Peloponnesus, which is Modern Greece. The statue itself consisted of Ivory and was also gold-plated, which is expected for such a sacred being. The Statue of Zeus stood at an astonishing 40-feet and was located on the western coast of Greece. The Temple of Olympia is where the statue was and was in the location of the very first Olympic games.

The shrine to Zeus here was simple in the early years, but as time went by and the games increased in importance, it became obvious that a new, larger temple, one worthy of the King of the gods, was needed. Between 470 and 460 B.C., construction on a new temple was started. The designer was Libon of Elis and his masterpiece, The Temple of Zeus, was completed in 456 B.C..

To put the Statue of Zeus into perspective, the statue was about twice the size of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. The photo above is a depiction of what researchers believed the Temple looked like. Although pictures existed, many were destroyed or on coins which were hard to make out.

Unfortunately, it was damaged in an earthquake in 170 B.C. and repaired. It mater burned down in 425 A.D. and is still in ruins in the ancient city of Peloponnesus. For more on the seven ancient wonders of the world and history, please visit Matthew D. McGrath‘s official website.

Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World: The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Goddess Artemis of Ephesus

Continuing on our venture to cover the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World, the next stop is The Temple of Artemis. Located in Ephesus, which is present day Turkey, this temple is dedicated to the Goddess, Artemis. Historian believe the temple was built around 800 B.C. near the mashy waters of the Ephesus River.

Artemis, also known as Diana is known as the goddess of fertility and life. In pictures and sculptures she is often draped with eggs and/or multiple breasts to exemplify her symbol as the goddess of fertility. Even though the temple is not much of a landmark today, when it was first constructed and in its peak, the temple was a symbol of pride and was dealt with great respect. While the temple was standing, the city of Ephesus became a major port for trade and a hub for great architecture. With such great architecture and trade going in and out of Ephesus, the temple eventually lost its glory and started to deteriorate due to the lack of maintenance done.

Since the growth or trade in Ephesus as explained by UN Museum, “This temple didn’t last long. According to one story in 550 B.C., King Croesus of Lydia conquered Ephesus and the other Greek cities of Asia Minor and during the fighting, the temple was destroyed. An archeological examination of the site, however, suggests that a major flood hit the temple site at about the same time and may have been the actual cause of the destruction. In either case, the victorious Croesus proved himself a gracious new ruler by contributing generously to the building of a replacement temple.”

Despite the lack in popularity of the once majestic temple, it will always be noted as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

For more history information and news, please visit Matthew D McGrath‘s official website.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

In continuing with the series on the seven wonders of the ancient world, todays post will cover the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Originally built in the city of Halicarnassus which was the capital city of a small kingdom located on the Mediterranean coast of Asia minor (Modern day Turkey) today the city is called Bodrum with a current population of approximately 36000 people.

Back in the year of 377BC the ruler of the kingdom was Hecatomnus of Mylasea died and left control to his son Mausolus. Hecatomnus was a local Satrap to the Persian Empire was particularly ambitious and had taken control of several of the neighboring districts and city states, during the tenure of his son Mausolus he extended this kingdom even further so that most of southwestern Asia minor (including the Island of Rhodes) was under the jurisdiction of Halicarnassus.

Mausolus was a descendent of the local land, but he spoke Greek and admired the Greek way of life and Government, all the cities he founded in his Kingdom would be modeled on Greek design and encouraged a Greek style democracy. For Twenty four (24) years Mausolus and his queen Artemisia ruled over the kingdom.

In the year 353BC Mausolus died, leaving his queen Artemisia to rule the Kingdom alone, Artemisia’s rule would be very short as she only lived for Two years after her husband’s death. Following the death of Mausolus, Artemisia commissioned a building project to pay homage to her beloved husband and to signify their enduring unending love for each other, Queen Artemisia spared no expense in the project as she recruited the most talented artists and craftsmen that money could buy at that time, she was even able to recruit the famed Scopas, the man who supervised the Temple of Artemis located in Ephesus (modern day Turkey) Asia Minor.

Soon after construction on the tomb started, the people of Rhodes got word that King Mausolus had died, so they dispatched ships and solders to invade Halicarnassus, Queen Artemisia would find herself having to make bold war time decisions. When the ships from Rhodes arrived the queen ordered her ships to hide in an undisclosed harbor, when Rhodes solders embarked on Halicarnassus the queens ships towed the Rhodes ships out to sea and returned them to Rhodes with an invasion force aboard them, as the revolt of Rhodes would be quickly subdued.

As building the tomb resumed, the queen passed away, the laborers stayed and finished the job because of the fame that was afforded them for a project of this magnitude. The tomb overlooked the city Halicarnassus for seventeen (17) centuries  even remaining untouched when Alexander the great invaded in 334BC, it wasn’t until an earthquake knocked over the tomb in the late 1300s AD. As late as 1404AD the base of the tomb was still in tact, but by that time the city was occupied by the crusaders who had little if any interest or respect in the local history or structures of the past.

When (In 1494AD) the crusader decided to fortify the Bodrum Castle they used materials from the tomb, much of the tomb was used in building of the Bodrum Castle.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you will return, as I continue this theme on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as I write on the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.