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The Seven Wonders of the World or the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a list of remarkable constructions of classical antiquity given by various authors in guidebooks or poems popular among ancient Hellenic tourists. Although the list, in its current form, did not stabilise until the Renaissance, the first such lists of seven wonders date from the 1st-2nd century BC. The original list inspired innumerable versions through the ages, often listing seven entries. Of the original Seven Wonders, only one—the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest of the ancient wonders—remains relatively intact. The Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis and the Statue of Zeus were all destroyed. The location and ultimate fate of the Hanging Gardens are unknown, with speculation that they may not have existed at all.
The Greek conquest of much of the known western world in the 4th century BC gave Hellenistic travellers access to the civilizations of the Egyptians, Persians, and Babylonians. Impressed and captivated by the landmarks and marvels of the various lands, these travellers began to list what they saw to remember them.
Instead of "wonders", the ancient Greeks spoke of "theamata" (θεάματα), which means "sights", in other words "things to be seen" (Τὰ ἑπτὰ θεάματα τῆς οἰκουμένης [γῆς] Tà heptà theámata tēs oikoumenēs [gēs]). Later, the word for "wonder" ("thaumata" θαύματα, "wonders") was used. Hence, the list was meant to be the Ancient World's counterpart of a travel guidebook.
The first reference to a list of seven such monuments was given by Diodorus Siculus. The epigrammist Antipater of Sidon who lived around or before 100 BC, gave a list lists seven such monuments, including six of the present list (substituting the walls of Babylon for the lighthouse):
|Name||Date of construction||Builders||Date of destruction||Cause of destruction||Modern location|
|Great Pyramid of Giza||2584–2561 BC||Egyptians||Still in existence, majority of façade gone||
Giza Necropolis, Egypt
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
|c. 600 BC (evident)||Babylonians or Assyrians||After 1st century AD||Unknown||
Hillah or Nineveh, Iraq
|Temple of Artemis at Ephesus||c. 550 BC; and again at 323 BC||Greeks, Lydians||
356 BC (by Herostratus)
AD 262 (by the Goths)
|Arson by Herostratus, plundering||Near Selçuk, Turkey
|Statue of Zeus at Olympia||466–456 BC (temple)
435 BC (statue)
|Greeks||5th–6th centuries AD||Disassembled and reassembled at Constantinople; later destroyed by fire||
|Mausoleum at Halicarnassus||351 BC||Greeks,Persians, Carians||12th–15th century AD||Earthquakes||
|Colossus of Rhodes||292–280 BC||Greeks||226 BC||226 BC Rhodes earthquake||
|Lighthouse of Alexandria||c. 280 BC||Greeks, Ptolemaic Egyptians||AD 1303–1480||1303 Crete earthquake||
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