Seven wonders of the world

The most famous monuments of the ancient world are the Egyptian pyramids at El Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Olympic Zeus statue, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis, the Pharos lighthouse, the Colossus of Rhodes.

Compiling a list of the most famous poets, philosophers, military leaders, great kings, as well as monuments of architecture and art is a traditional "small" genre of Greek Hellenistic poetry and a kind of exercise in rhetoric. The very choice of the number was sanctified by the most ancient ideas about its completeness, completeness and perfection, the number 7 was considered the sacred number of the god Apollo (Seven against Thebes, Seven wise men, etc.).

Like collections of sayings of famous sages, collections of anecdotes and stories about curiosities, works on the Seven Wonders of the World were popular in ancient times and included descriptions of the most grandiose, most magnificent, or in a technical sense, the most amazing buildings and monuments of art. That is why they were called miracles, while many genuine masterpieces of ancient architecture and art are missing from the list - the Acropolis in Athens with the creation of Phidias - the statue of Athena Parthenos, the famous statue of Aphrodite of Cnidus by Praxiteles, etc.

Mentions of the Seven Wonders appear in the writings of Greek authors beginning in the Hellenistic era. It was necessary to know them already at school, scientists and poets wrote about them. In the text of one Egyptian papyrus, which was a kind of study guide, the names of famous legislators, painters, sculptors, architects, inventors, obligatory for memorization, are mentioned, then the largest islands, mountains and rivers and, finally, the seven wonders of the world. The "selection" of miracles took place gradually, and some miracles replaced others. A complete listing of them is given in his epigram by Antipater of Sidon (3rd century BC):

I have seen your walls, Babylon, on which there is roomy

And chariots; I saw Zeus in Olympia, Miracle of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the colossus of Helios

And the pyramids are the deeds of many and hard labors;

I know Mavsol's huge tomb. But I just saw

I am the palace of Artemis, which lifted the roof to the clouds, Everything else faded before him; outside Olympus

The sun sees no beauty equal to it anywhere.

The description of Antipater follows the work of Philo of Alexandria (orator of the 4th century AD or the famous mechanic of the 3rd century BC) "On the Seven Miracles." Probably, after the construction of the Alexandria lighthouse, this miracle of engineering replaces the walls of Babylon in the list (as Pliny the Elder mentions it as a wonder of the world in his Natural History). In a number of works, instead of hanging gardens, the walls of Babylon reappeared, and the lighthouse on about. Pharos was replaced by the Library of Alexandria; The list was also supplemented by the Pergamon Altar of Zeus, the Palace of Cyrus in Persepolis, the "singing" statues of Memnon near the Egyptian Thebes and Thebes themselves, the Temple of Zeus in Cyzicus, the statue of Asclepius in Epidaurus, Athena Parthenos by Phidias on the Athenian Acropolis, in Roman times - the Colosseum and the Capitol. Subsequently, the list in various combinations was also supplemented by the Temple of Solomon, Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, the Temple of Sophia in Constantinople, etc.

The first mention of all the Seven Miracles in Russia is found in Simeon of Polotsk, who is familiar with their description from some Byzantine source. In modern Europe, they became widely known after the publication of the book by Fischer von Erlach (1656-1723) "Outline on the History of Architecture", which also contains the first known reconstructions of the famous monuments of ancient architecture.

Egyptian pyramids at El Giza.

EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS, tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs. The largest of them - the pyramids of Cheops, Khafre and Mikerin in El-Giza in ancient times were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The erection of the pyramid, in which the Greeks and Romans already saw a monument to the unprecedented pride of kings and cruelty that condemned the entire people of Egypt to senseless construction, was the most important cult act and was supposed to express, apparently, the mystical identity of the country and its ruler. The population of the country worked on the construction of the tomb in the part of the year free from agricultural work. A number of texts testify to the attention and care that the kings themselves (albeit of a later time) devoted to the construction of their tomb and its builders. It is also known about the special cult honors that turned out to be the pyramid itself.

The pyramids are built on the left - western bank of the Nile (West is the kingdom of the dead) and towered over the entire city of the dead - countless tombs, pyramids, temples.

The largest of the three is the pyramid of Cheops (architect Khemiun, 27th century BC). Its height was originally 147 m, and the length of the side of the base - 232 m. For its construction, it took 2 million 300 thousand huge stone blocks, the average weight of which is 2.5 tons. The slabs were not fastened with mortar, only an extremely precise fit holds them. In ancient times, the pyramids were lined with polished slabs of white limestone, their tops were covered with copper slabs, sparkling in the sun (only the pyramid of Cheops preserved the limestone cladding; the Arabs used the covering of other pyramids in the construction of the White Mosque in Cairo).

One of the largest statues of antiquity and our time rises near the pyramid of Khafre - a figure of a lying sphinx carved from a rock with portrait features of the Pharaoh Khafre himself.

The great pyramids were surrounded by a number of small tombs of the wives of the pharaohs and their entourage. Such complexes necessarily included the sanctuaries of Upper and Lower Egypt, large courtyards for the feast of Cheb-su, memorial temples, whose servants were supposed to support the cult of the deceased king. The space around the pyramid, surrounded by steles, was connected through a long covered passage to the temple on the banks of the Nile, where the body of the pharaoh was greeted and burial ceremonies began.

All pyramids are precisely oriented to the cardinal points, which testifies to the high level of astronomical knowledge of the ancient Egyptians, the calculation of the angles of inclination of the faces is absolutely flawless. In the pyramid of Cheops, the angle of inclination is such that the height of the pyramid is equal to the radius of an imaginary circle into which the base of the pyramid is inscribed.

A remarkable engineering find of the ancient architects and builders was the construction of five unloading chambers in the thickness of the masonry above the burial chamber, with the help of which it was possible to remove and evenly distribute the colossal load on its floors. In addition to the chambers, there are other voids in the pyramid - corridors, passages and galleries, the entrances to which were carefully walled up and camouflaged. Nevertheless, the burials in the pyramids were looted, apparently rather soon after the burial of the pharaohs. The thieves were well aware of all the traps, so they most likely were associated either with the builders or with the priests who carried out the burials.

The buildings in El-Giza, with their grandeur and apparent uselessness, amazed the imagination already in antiquity, which is best conveyed by the Arabic proverb: "Everything in the world is afraid of time, but time is afraid of pyramids."

Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

THE HANGING GARDENS OF SEMIRAMIS, the gardens in the palace of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 BC), which he ordered to be laid out for his beloved wife, the Median princess; traditionally ranked among the Seven Wonders of the World. The first mentions of the wonderful gardens were preserved in the "History" of Herodotus, who probably visited Babylon and left us the most complete description of it. Perhaps, with an eye to the "father of history", the hanging gardens in the Hellenistic era were placed on the list of the greatest and most famous structures.

Already in the time of Herodotus, the construction of the hanging gardens was attributed to the legendary conqueror of all Asia - the Assyrian queen Shamurmat (in the Greek pronunciation - Semiramis). The gardens were located on a wide four-tiered tower. The platforms of the terraces were made of stone slabs covered with a layer of reeds and filled with asphalt. Then there were gaskets of two rows of bricks held together with plaster and lead slabs, which did not let water into the lower floors of the garden. All this complex structure was covered with a thick layer of fertile soil, which allowed planting the largest trees here. The tiers were raised by ledges connected by wide staircases with slabs of pink and white colors. Every day, thousands of slaves pumped water from deep wells to the top into numerous canals, from where it flowed to the lower terraces. The murmur of water, shadow and coolness among the trees (taken from distant Media) seemed like a miracle. At the base, the structure rested on columns and ceilings forming vaults. It was in these halls of the palace in the lower tier of the garden that Alexander the Great, the conqueror of Babylon and Asia, died.

After the desolation of Babylon (the heirs of Alexander no longer returned to this capital of their great predecessor), the flood destroyed the walls of the palace, the water softened poorly burnt clay, the terraces settled, the vaults and support columns collapsed. The only trace of the once grandiose monument of engineering thought at the present time is the network of intersecting trenches discovered by Robert Koldewey in 1898 near the Iraqi city of Hille (90 km from Baghdad), in the sections of which traces of dilapidated masonry are still visible.

Statue of Olympian Zeus.

ZEUS THE OLYMPIC STATUE, a famous statue of the king of gods and men by the great Greek sculptor Phidias; one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The statue was placed in the cult center of the Olympic sanctuary - the Temple of Zeus, in the sacred grove of Altisa.

When the artist Panin asked how Phidias intended to represent the supreme god, the master replied: “... Just as Zeus is represented by Homer in the following verses of the Iliad:

Rivers, and Zeus shakes his eyebrows in the black banner:

Quickly the fragrant hair rose up at Kronid

Near the immortal head; and the many-hill Olympus shook ”.

Phidias executed the statue in the chryso-elephantine technique: the exposed parts of the body were lined with ivory plates, the robes were cast in gold, and the base of the sculpture was wooden. The height of the statue reached approx. 17 m high. If God "rose", his height would be much higher than the height of the temple itself. Travelers who saw Zeus in Olympia call the combination of power and mercy, wisdom and kindness in his face amazing. In his hand, the thunderer was holding a statue of Nika (a symbol of victory). The richest throne of Zeus was also made of gold and ivory. The back, armrests and foot were decorated with ivory reliefs, golden images of the gods and goddesses of Olympus. The lower walls of the throne were covered with drawings of Panan, his legs - with images of dancing Nick. Zeus's feet, shod in golden sandals, rested on a bench decorated with golden lions.

In front of the statue's plinth, the floor was lined with dark blue Eleusinian stone, a basin for olive oil carved into it to keep the ivory from drying out. The light that penetrated the doors of the dark temple, reflected from the smooth surface of the liquid in the pool, fell on the golden robes of Zeus and illuminated his head; it seemed to those who entered that the radiance emanated from the very face of the deity.

Perhaps at the end of the 4th century. the statue of Zeus was transported to Constantinople and installed at the capital's hippodrome, where it died during one of the fires.

Mausoleum in Halicarnassus.

MAUSOLEUM IN GALIKARNAS, the tomb of King Mavsolus of Caria (died 353 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The building originally combined the eastern step pyramid and the Greek Ionic peripter (architects Satyr and Pytheas). Like other Greek monuments from among the Seven Wonders of the World, the mausoleum was famous not only for the greatness of its architecture, but also for the collection of sculptures - the base of the pyramid, on which a Greek-type temple and another pyramid rested, were decorated with reliefs with scenes of Amazonomachy of the most famous sculptors of the 4th century. BC e. - Leochares, Scopas, Briaxis and Timofey.

The almost untouched mausoleum stood for approx. 1800 years in the middle of the deserted city until the 15th century, when it was dismantled by the crusaders, who fortified it with slabs their supporting fortress on the Aegean Sea - the castle of St. Petra (modern Bodrum in Turkey). It was within the walls of the fortress and surrounding houses that the English archaeologist C.T. Newton discovered relief slabs from the basement of the tomb (currently in the British Museum in London and the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul), statues of Mavsol and his wife Artemisia (who continued after death king, the construction of their common tomb) and a colossal chariot that crowned the entire structure.

Temple of Artemis of Ephesus.

ARTEMIS EPHESIAN TEMPLE (Artemision), one of the most famous and revered centers of pilgrimage in the ancient world; since the Hellenistic era is traditionally included in the list of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The oldest traces of the veneration of Artemis near her birthplace date back to pre-Greek times; a giant temple of the goddess was built in the 6th century. BC e. architect Khersifron from Knossos. During one of the sieges, the inhabitants of Ephesus stretched a rope from the temple to the city, thereby turning it into an inviolable sanctuary. The fame of Artemision was so great that people from all over the Greek oecumene placed their savings in it. The disciple of Socrates, the famous historian Xenophon, who deposited a large sum of money to the goddess before the campaign to Persia (described in the Anabasis), upon his return built a small temple on them as a token of gratitude to Artemis - an exact copy of the Ephesian one - in the town of Skillunt in Elis.

July 21, 356 BC e. the temple of Artemis of Ephesus, the main shrine of the Greeks of Asia Minor, was burned by Herostratus - a blasphemy was committed that shook the entire Hellenic world. Subsequently, a legend arose that Artemision burned down on the day when the future conqueror of Asia, Alexander the Great, was born. When Alexander, 25 years later, approached the city, he wished to restore the temple in all its splendor. The architect Alexandra Deinocrates, who supervised the work, kept his previous plan, only raised the building to a higher stepped base.

The entire structure was striking in its magnificence and scale, unusual for Greek architecture. The temple occupied a huge area - 110 x 55 m, the height of the Corinthian columns (there were 127 of them), which surrounded the building in a double row, was also grandiose - about 18 m; the roof of Artemision was covered with marble tiles. One of the attractions of the building were 36 columns, decorated at the base with reliefs almost human-sized. The great Greek masters took part in the decoration of such a revered place: Praxiteles sculpted reliefs for the altar in the sanctuary fence, the reliefs of the columns were performed by Scopas, Apelles placed his paintings in the temple; the art gallery of Artemision was as famous as the collection of paintings in the Athenian propylaea. The sanctuary also flourished under the Romans, sources report rich gifts to the temple of silver and gold statues and the construction of a portico along the road from the city to the sanctuary (approx. 200 m). The Acts of the Apostles mentions the indignation caused in the city by the preaching of the Apostle Paul, which interfered with the trade in silver models of the temple of the goddess, the manufacture of which was the most profitable craft here.

In 263, the Goths, who had burst into Asia Minor, hearing about the untold riches of the city and Artemision, plundered the sanctuary; the next blow was the prohibition of pagan cults in the Roman Empire in 391 under Theodosius I the Great. It is known, however, that the cult of Artemis continued to be sent here for another two centuries, until this place was finally abandoned after the earthquake. In 1869, as a result of excavations begun by the English archaeologist J. T. Wood in a swamp at the proposed site of the sanctuary, the base plate of the structure was discovered and numerous offerings were found in the temple. The famous reliefs of the columns of Artemision are currently in the British Museum (London).

Pharos lighthouse.

FAROSKY LIGHTHOUSE (Alexandria lighthouse), a lighthouse on the eastern bank of the island. Pharos within the boundaries of Alexandria, the Hellenistic capital of Egypt; one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The builder of this miracle of technology, the first and only lighthouse of colossal size in the entire Greek world, was Sostratus of Cnidus. On the marble wall of the building, Sostratus carved the inscription: "Sostratus, the son of Dexiphanes of Cnidus, dedicated to the gods-saviors for the sake of sailors." He covered this inscription with a thin layer of plaster with inscribed on it the glorification of King Ptolemy Soter. Over time, the fallen off plaster revealed the true name of the builder and great engineer.

In the construction of the lighthouse, the most remarkable and ingenious inventions of the Alexandrian scientists were applied. The lower floor of the three-tiered 120-meter tower had four faces facing north, east, west and south, eight faces of the second tier were oriented in the direction of the eight main winds. The third floor - the lantern was crowned with a dome with a statue of Poseidon about 7 m high. A complex system of metal mirrors intensified the light of the fire that was kindled at the top of the structure and made it possible to observe the sea space; the lighthouse itself was also a well-fortified fortress with a large military garrison. Travelers who saw the lighthouse wrote about the cunningly arranged statues that adorned the lighthouse tower: one of them always pointed with her hand at the sun all the way and put her hand down when it went down, the other beat out every hour, day and night, and the third one could find out the direction wind. The amazing structure stood until the 14th century, but even in an already heavily destroyed form, its height was approx. 30 m. At present, only the base of the lighthouse has survived, which is entirely built into a medieval fortress (now the base of the Egyptian fleet).

The Colossus of Rhodes.

KOLOSS RODOSKIY, a giant statue of Helios by the sculptor Khares on the island. Rhodes; one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It was built with money received by Rhodes after the sale of the siege machines of Demetrius I Poliorket, who tried to seize this richest Greek island in 305 BC. e.

Helios was not just a particularly revered deity on the island - he was its creator: having no place dedicated to him, the sun god carried the island in his hands from the depths of the sea. The statue of the god towered right at the entrance to the harbor of Rhodes and was visible from the neighboring islands already swimming up, the statue was approx. 35 m, that is, almost three times higher than the "Bronze Horseman" in St. Petersburg. At the base of the statue was earthenware with a metal frame, the top was trimmed with bronze sheets. To work on the image of the god directly at the place of its installation, Hares used a clever method: with the gradual rise of the sculpture, an earthen hill around it also rose; the hill was subsequently torn down, and the complete statue was revealed to the astonished inhabitants of the island. The production of the grandiose monument required 500 talents of bronze and 300 talents of iron (approx. 13 and approx. 8 tons, respectively). The colossus also gave rise to a kind of fashion for giant statues, in Rhodes already in the 2nd century. BC e. about a hundred colossal sculptures were installed.

The creation of the bronze giant lasted approx. 12 years, but he stood, however, only 56 years. In 220 BC e. during the earthquake, the statue collapsed, unable to withstand the vibrations of the soil. As Strabo writes, "the statue was lying on the ground, overthrown by an earthquake and broken at the knees." But even then, the Colossus was surprising for its size; Pliny the Elder mentions that only a few could clasp the thumb of the statue with both hands. The wreckage of the Colossus lay on the ground for over a thousand years, until, finally, they were sold by the Arabs, who captured Rhodes in 977, to a merchant who, as one of the chronicles tells, loaded them with 900 camels. At present, it is not possible to fully reconstruct the appearance of the statue. That the cult of Artemis continued to be sent here for another two centuries, until this place was finally abandoned after the earthquake. In 1869, as a result of excavations begun by the English archaeologist J. T. Wood in a swamp at the proposed site of the sanctuary, the base plate of the structure was discovered and numerous offerings were found in the temple. The famous reliefs of the columns of Artemision are currently in the British Museum (London).

Pharos lighthouse.

FAROSKY LIGHTHOUSE (Alexandria lighthouse), a lighthouse on the eastern bank of the island. Pharos within the boundaries of Alexandria, the Hellenistic capital of Egypt; one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The builder of this miracle of technology, the first and only lighthouse of colossal size in the entire Greek world, was Sostratus of Cnidus.