Though centuries away from modern technology, the ancient world succeeded spectacularly in constructing some of the most magnificent architectural and artistic wonders ever created.
Of the Seven Wonders described by historians of antiquity, only the Great Pyramid of Egypt still stands, a gigantic stone monument used about 4500 years ago to house the dead body of the pharaoh Khufu, who was considered to be a descendant of the sun-god, Re.
Much after the time of the Great Pyramid, in the sixth, fifth, and fourth centuries B.C., the ancient world saw the construction of five additional marvels of architecture and engineering — the beautiful Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the huge gold and ivory Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the overpowering marble Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the ornate Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, and the giant Lighthouse of Alexandria. Each was an achievement of breathtaking beauty; each was a symbol of a society's ability to gather together great human and material resources for a single triumphant accomplishment.
Last of the Seven Wonders was the Colossus of Rhodes, a beautiful and awe-inspiring bronze statue completed in 292 B.C. as a tribute to the Greek sun-god, Helios, whom the people of Rhodes wished to honor after they had successfully defeated an attacking Macedonian army.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World dramatically protrays the many unique methods employed by thousands of men, over a period of decades, to create these splendid works. And in depicting this selection of superb architectural achievements, author Robert Silverberg skilfully and vividly brings to life seven of the most glorious epochs of ancient history.
This enjoyable children's book covers the famed Seven Wonders as well as providing some background about the list itself. Who came up with it? Why seven? Was it constant once compiled?
Silverberg sensibly tells the stories of the Wonders in chronological order of their building, starting with Khufu's pyramid and ending with the lighthouse of Alexandria (not the Colossus as the blurb implies). In many cases, conflicting descriptions and histories are given, reflecting the state of cooontemporary knowledge about the ancient times. I particularly like the way Silverberg presents the uncertaintly of historical thought – so often books, especially those for children, shy away from disagreements.
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