Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 21, 2013
What the Temple of Artemis may have looked like

What the Temple of Artemis may have looked like

July 21, 356 BC: In what becomes a time (dis)honored tradition, a man attempts to become famous by destroying something of value. There were Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – a list of seven overwhelming manmade structures. The Great Pyramid at Giza, built by the Egyptians 2584-2561 BC is the only one surviving to the present time. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built 605-562 BC by the Babylonians and the several tiers reached 75 feet in height. The Greeks erected the Statue of Zeus at Olympia in 435 BC, the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus in 351 BC, and the Colossus of Rhodes from 292-280 BC. The Lighthouse at Alexandria was built by the Hellenistic Egyptians around 260 BC and remained the tallest manmade structure for Centuries at 383-440 feet.

The Seventh Wonder was the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus built by the Lydians, Persians, and Greeks and completed around 550 BC. Dedicated to the Greek goddess of the hunt (Roman equivalent is Diana), it took 120 years to build. Antipater of Sidon, originator of the list of the Seven Wonders, felt it was the most beautiful. It was built in what is currently Turkey over the site of previous temples dating from the Bronze Age.

Like most temples of the era, it had a rectangular base and the building itself was made of marble. Marble steps surrounded the base and led to a high terrace which measured 260 x 430 feet with 127 columns measuring 60 feet in height laid in a pattern across the base. The columns were topped with Ionic circulars and had carved circular sides. The temple housed many precious works of art. A young man seeking fame at any cost burnt the temple to the ground.

The Hanging Gardens were destroyed by earthquake some time after the 1st century BC. The 40 foot tall statue of Zeus was destroyed, presumably by earthquake, in the 5th or 6th Centuries AD. The mausoleum was dismantled in 1494 by European Crusaders but had already been badly damaged by quakes. Both the Colossus and Lighthouse were toppled by earthquakes. The Temple of Artemis was destroyed by arson, rebuilt by Alexander the Great and then again destroyed by Goths in 409 AD.

“I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.'”– Antipater, Greek Anthology IX.58

“Indeed, wretched the man whose fame makes his misfortunes famous.” – Lucius Accius Telephus

“Love of fame is the last thing even the wise give up.” – Publius Cornelius Tacitus

“The drying up a single tear has more – Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore.” – Lord Byron

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Beginning in the year 2000, a new list of Seven Wonders of the World was undertaken. Between 2000 and 2007, nominees and votes were taken. The poll conducted by Zogby International was said to be the largest on record. The seven winners were: the Taj Mahal in Agra, India; Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico; Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Coliseum in Rome, Italy; Great Wall of China in China; Machu Picchu in Cuzco Region, Peru; and Petra in Ma’an Governorate, Jordan.  The other 13 finalists were: Acropolis of Athens, Alhambra, Angkor Wat, Eiffel Tower, Hagia Sophia, Kiyomizu-dera, Moai, Neuscwanstein, Red Square, Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge, Sydney Opera House, and Timbuktu. There are many other lists of Seven Wonders, as well.

Also on this day: Brrrrrrr – In 1983, the coldest recorded temperature is captured at Vostok Station.
Wild Bill Hickok – In 1865, the first shoot out in the wild west took place.
Constitutional – In 1997, the USS Constitution goes back out to sea.

One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on July 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    The “young man” succeeded in only burning one wall on one side of the building- the pillars and floors had been dismantled and used elsewhere.

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