The Seven Wonders of the World/The Seven Wonders

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The "seven wonders of the world" was a list of spectacular buildings and structures, compiled by Greek authors. The list that we currently use today was compiled by historians in the 6th century AD from the original Greek writings. Because all the original sources were Greek, all of the wonders in the list are located in Greece and surrounding areas by the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.

With the exception of the great pyramid all the seven wonders have been destroyed by natural disaster, predominantly fires and earthquakes.

The first surviving Greek record of the seven wonders was given by Antipater of Sidon, who wrote about them in a poem:

I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, 'Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.'

This original list includes Babylon's Ishtar Gate instead of the lighthouse at Alexandria, although later lists exclude the gate in favor of the lighthouse.

Biography: Antipater of Sidon

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Every page is going to include at least historical vignette about one of the people (or a group of people) who are associated with that wonder. Because Antipater of Sidon is the earliest surviving record of the seven wonders being listed, we will discuss him here.

Antipater of Sidon (2nd century BCE) is an ancient Greek writer and poet best known for his list of Seven Wonders of the World. He and the mathematician and engineer Philo of Byzantium (born about 280 BCE) are known as the most famous observers of the Seven Wonders. Antipater's poem describes the 7 Magnificent Wonders he had seen, the ones we call the 7 wonders even today. For the idea of 7 monuments that show the significance of mankind was so greatly treasured it was kept to family...generation to generation. Then in around AD 1500 the Renaissance in Europe became interested in ancient times, and miraculously Antipater’s poem and many other short poems or stories of Greek marvels were rediscovered. It is from these rediscovered poems and descriptions that much of our current knowledge of the seven wonders exists today.