Link to Tim Richardsons main page
GNED 117
As taught by 
Prof. Tim Richardson
Toronto, Canada
Detailed Course Outline
Section Two: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
of the
During this part of the course, we will cover the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

There are several reasons why we will look at these Seven Wonders - primarily, these seven architectural constructions are the best examples of humans demonstrating an attempt to push the technology of the time to its limits - and each of these Seven Wonders contains examples of technology which we have used and refined in our modern times.

Our resources for covering this material will be

  • a video from the Discovery Channel
  • a website from University of South Florida; Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Pyramids The Hanging
Gardens of Babylon 
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia Temple of Artemis at Ephesus The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus The Colossus of Rhodes The Lighthouse at Alexandria
.on the web page  each one of these Seven Wonders is described in detail.
"Although most people know that a list exists of the Seven World Wonders, only few can name them. The list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was originally compiled around the second century BC. The first reference to the idea is found in History of Herodotus as long ago as the 5th century BC. Decades later, Greek historians wrote about the greatest monuments at the time....The final list of the Seven Wonders was compiled during the Middle Ages. The list comprised the seven most impressive monuments of the Ancient World, some of which barely survived to the Middle Ages."
if you click on the map above, you may see the web page hosted by USF which identifies
the location of each of the Seven Wonders
The Pyramids

Still today the largest stone structure in the world.
Built 2500 B.C.
2 million blocks of stone
23 years to build using shifts of 20,000 workers
perfect square, amazing mathematical accuracy
competing theories of construction
winding ramp
one long ramp
no use of iron
150 years ago, still the tallest structure on earth
another 2,000 years passed before any of the other 7 Wonders created.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon 600 B.C.

built without stone - used mud bricks
located in present day Iraq
commissioned by King Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC)
- difficult to understand how they would have made an irrigation system
- controversy about how extensive the really were

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

The height of the statue was about 40' tall or equal to a modern 4 story building.
Pheidias began working on the statue around 440 BC.
The temple within which the statue was housed was built around 450 BC.
they erected a wooden frame on which sheets of metal and ivory were placed to provide the outer covering
developed a special method to soften ivory to allow it to be clad on the frame
statue transported to a palace in Constantinople. 
destroyed by  fire in AD 462. when the statue was about 800 years old
idea of a sitting statue has carried over today, eg. Pres. Lincoln Memorial

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

built around 550 BC. 
said to be the largest marble stone temple ever constructed. 180'x360'
Biggest problem was getting the 40 ton blocks of stone from 7 miles away.
Had 127 columns, each 60 feet high
Developed a unique method of rolling stones encased in a round frame.
It was twice the size of the Parthenon 18
decorated with bronze statues sculpted by the most skilled artists of their time
The temple served as both a marketplace and a religious institution.
took 50 years to build, even with the aid of iron tools
356 B.C. burned by an arsonist

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

completed around 350 B.C.
commissioned by King Maussollos and his sister, who he took as a bride
was twice the height of any known building in the world at the time.
Considered a world wonder due to the difficulty in hoisting huge statues up to the top of the roof with innovative cranes.
idea of statues on top of modern buildings comes from this concept
the building stood for 16 centuries until it fell during an earthquake
by the 1500's, most of the stone stolen away to make other buildings
this elaborate tomb was so impressive, it gave rise to our modern word Mausoleum 

The Colossus of Rhodes

construction took 12 years and was finished in 282 B.C.
stood about 110 feet high
made of a bronze outer shell over a frame of iron and stone
located in the harbor of the Mediterranean island of Rhodes in Greece. 
There is disagreement about whether the statue had legs together, or legs spanning the harbour - the difference is significant for how it would have been designed
earthquake damaged it in 226 B.C. and nobody would repair it
Some say it inspired French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi who made The Statue of Liberty. 

The Lighthouse at Alexandria

On the ancient island of Pharos, which is now part of Alexandria in Egypt. 
It was begun by Ptolemy  around 290 BC,
total height of 384 ft, equivalent to a 40-story modern building.
The light, reflected off bronze mirrors, was said to have been seen 50 miles away
earthquakes in A.D. 956 effected it a bit, but it still stood.
earthquakes in 1303 and in 1323 damaged it severely
in the 14th Century, many stones were taken and used to build a fort
"Of the six vanished Wonders, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was the last to disappear. Therefore we have adequately accurate knowledge of its location and appearance." USF

This page could not have been built without the original hard work of the people in the
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of South Florida,
namely Professor Alaa K. Ashmawy
The seven miniature pics, and the map, on this page come from the USF page.