Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World



The ancient seven wonders of the world showcases the biggest, grandest, most extravagant, most exquisite, most beautiful and most famous structures that the people of the past have ever achieved. They are man-made mountains, gardens and monoliths that rival in magnificence and grandeur with that of Mother Nature’s own designs. They are the symbol of the ancient empire’s glory and power and the scale of their construction is unimaginable! Today we will explore their incredible dimensions, how they were built, for what purpose and investigate some unexplained mysteries that some of these structure hold. We’ll also use length conversion tools to understand the monstrosity of the task that were before them and how they were able to overcome it.

1. The Walls of Babylon – the first historian to write about the magnificent walls of Babylon was the 5th century B.C. Greek Scribe Herodotus of Halicarnassus. But while his accounts regarding the dimensions of the city and the walls was an exaggeration the walls and the city itself was indeed extravagant and beautiful. The most puzzling yet attractive feature of this wall are the deep blue colored bricks used in building it. Scientists lately found out that the 8,400 square meter clay brick wall were baked with cobalt at a precise temperature to get just the right kind of blue color to it. Quite impressive for a 4,000 year old civilization engineering!



2. Phidia’s Statue of Zeus in Olympia – this 4th century B.C. statue created by Phidia stood 12 meters (43 feet) tall was carved from marble stone overlaid with flawless ivory and hammered gold. Recently archeologists created a 1/16th scale model of this statue using computer technology and length conversion tools. The result was amazing! Had the temple and the statue of Zeus survived to this day it would have been a magnificent site to look at.



3. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon – the only remnants of this man-made mountain are the stories of it lingering like the echoes, but the ruins of Babylon (modern day Iraq) shows no trace of this fabled garden. According to legends king Nebuchadnezzar from 6th century B.C. had the garden built to lift up the spirit of her sad wife from Media. This is because she came from the mountainous region of Zargos and she was used to seeing vast meadows, forest, lakes and flower beds. The garden is supposedly the size of a football stadium and had terraces that rose up to some 300 – 400 feet with complex irrigation system.



4. The Colossus of Rhodes – before the New York Statue of Liberty was erected in 1886 there was the Greek version of it from a much older date – the Colossus of Rhodes. About 2,300 years ago Demetrius Poliorcetes, King of Rhodes had Chares of Lindos build a statue of the sun god Helios (their patron god) which was more than 100 feet tall standing on a pedestal of another 30 feet in elevation. Much like New York today the Colossus of Rhodes greeted ancient sea farers as they enter the port of Rhodes and it was as majestic as the Statue of Liberty today. The Greeks used a very different system of measurement in their day and the equivalent of 1 feet back then would have been 1 pous which is approximately 308.2 millimeters. That’s some length conversion there!



5. The Pyramids of Egypt – of all the seven ancient wonders of the world none was as imposing and revered to the level of worshiping deities as the Pyramids of Egypt. It is an amalgamation of the knowledge of the universe yet its true purpose has yet to be revealed. In fact there is no other structure on Earth built so perfectly as the Pyramids of the Giza plateau. It’s base has 757 feet on each side and it only deviated on one side by no more than 2 centimeters, it stands at 481 feet and was built without any mortar or plaster but rather a perfectly cut lime stone blocks weighing 2 tons at least were stacked on top of each other. The architects of the Pyramids had the stone blocks cut so that they would fit so precisely in an interlocking position that no adhesive is required to keep them in place. As many as 50 mathematical facts can be found within the dimensions of the Great Pyramid of Khufu and thousands of astronomical data as well geometrical data are embedded in it as well. For instance you can get the ratio of Pi (π) by summing up the total of the perimeter (3028 feet) of the base divided by twice the height (962 feet), which is equal to 3.147609147…an equation exclusive to circular and spherical objects only, yet can be found within the dimensions of the pyramids. 



6. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus – Queen Artemisia ordered the construction of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus to serve as the grand tomb of her husband King Maussolus, satrap of Caria, who ruled between 377 B.C. to 353 B.C. It was the grandest monument in Greece at that time but was destroyed in 1522 A.D. when the Knights of St John of Rhodes invaded the area. It stood about 41 – 45 (134.48 feet – 147.6 feet) meters high and was adorned by hundreds of statues in all 4 corners of the temple mound. Constructed with a brick foundation and overlaid with white Proconnessian marble, this monument was instantly considered a hall of famer in the ancient wonders of the world.



7. The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus – The temple of Artemis or otherwise known as the Temple of Diana who is the Greek’s fertility goddess was not only a beautiful site to see, but also is believed to be older than the Greek civilization itself. And if Callimachus’ poem is dated correctly then that means that the temple has already existed since the late Bronze Age, which was around 1700 B.C.E. The Greeks also mentioned that it has been destroyed many times before by earthquakes, floods and social upheaval; and finally in 356 B.C.E. it was burned down to the ground by a commoner in search of fame by committing arson. The foolish man is known as Herostratus – forever shamed and damned for his idiotic acts.


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