Wonder why it’s a Wonder?
Back in the ancient world if you didn’t have a Wonder in your civilisation then you were basically still little more than a hunter-gather society who hadn’t got the whole crop rotation and 3 field system idea. To have a wonder was to have made it. It meant that you had the math’s and physics bods clever enough to design it without it collapsing in on itself at the opening ceremony.
It also meant that you had the military power to A. Stop anyone from invading you and ruining it plus B. Have conquered all the tribes around you and got the slaves to build the thing so your people can concentrate on farming, trading and philosophy. The wonders don’t just relate to the ancient world though, there are modern ones like going to the Moon landing or even natural ones like the Giant’s Causeway. There are ways in which you can have you only wonders in your back garden and these include everything from miniature buildings right through to a Bronze Animal Sculpture
Of the ancient ones, as you would expect, some of them have now fallen over. It’s a good idea to remember them because they generally come up in a quiz night as a tie breaker of something. We’ll start with the one still up.
- The Pyramid of Giza – The only left that’s still in one piece. You can’t miss it as it’s just on the outskirts of Cairo and there are trips to see it daily. It didn’t always look like it does now. It had sheer sides of limestone and would have gleamed. They don’t let you walk up it anymore, but it is still, and rightly so, a source of great pride to Egyptians.
- The Colossus of Rhodes – It seems that the inhabitants of Rhodes were at great pains to greet you when you entered their port by having the bronze statue of a nude man waving at you. It’s supposed to be the same height as the Statue of Liberty. Mercifully it fell over in an earthquake.
- Pharos of Alexandria – A lighthouse at the entrance to the port. This seems a lot more sensible than a nude man. As with the Colossus, earthquakes did for it, but it was still up in
1480 when it’s stone was used for other buildings.
- Mausoleum of Halicarnassus – This is the one that people forget. Again, it’s earthquakes that caused its ending. Basically, a fancy tomb for a king and his wife. The interesting bits are gone but the foundations remain.
- Temple of Artemis – Not the Musketeer! This was destroyed in an arson attack and was gone by 405AD so not up that long. The guy who did it was looking to be famous at any cost!
- Statue of Zeus – Just him sat down. We don’t really know what it was like save for descriptions and pictures on coins. Worst Roman Emperor ever Caligula ordered it destroyed.
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon – There is doubt it existed at all but as a reference just try and picture some very, very large hanging baskets and you get the idea.
Ok, commit that to memory and that pub quiz win is yours!