Alexander the Great’s conquest of much of the Western world in the 4th century BC gave Hellenistic travelers: English Language Proficiency Essay, UOM, UK

University University of Malaya (UOM)
Subject English Language Proficiency

Alexander the Great’s conquest of much of the Western world in the 4th century BC gave Hellenistic travelers access to the civilizations of the Egyptians. Persians, and Babylonians.” Impressed and captivated by the landmarks and marvels of the various lands, these travelers began to list what they saw to remember them.

Instead of “wonders”, the ancient Greeks spoke of “thematic” (0Eduara), which means “sights”. in other words “things to be seen”. Later, the word “wonder” 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 of seven “wonders” including six of the present list.

I have gazed on the walls of impregnable Babylon along which chariots may race, and on the Zeus by the banks of the Alpheus, I have seen the hanging gardens and the Colossus of the Helios, the great man-made mountains of the lofty pyramids, and the gigantic tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the others were placed in the shade, for the sun himself, has never looked upon its equal outside Olympus.

Another ancient writer, who, perhaps dubiously, identified himself as Philo of Byzantium, wrote a short account entitled The Seven Sights of the World. The surviving manuscript is incomplete, missing its last pages. Still, from the preamble text, we can conclude that the list of seven sights exactly matches Antipater’s.

Earlier and later lists by the historian Herodotus and the poet Callimachus of Cyrene, housed at the Museum of Alexandria, survive only as references. The Colossus of Rhodes was the last of the seven to be completed after 280 BC and the first to be destroyed by an earthquake in 226/225 BC. As such, all seven wonders existed simultaneously for less than 60 years.

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