Archive for November, 2011

Finding Homes of Ancient Hominids From Their Teeth

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, on November 29, 2011 by 2eyeswatching

Finding Homes of Ancient Hominids From Their Teeth

Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation
Date: 23 November 2011 Time: 09:42 PM ET

A high-tech analysis known as laser ablation is used to measure isotope ratios of strontium found in tooth enamel, which can aid in identifying specific landscape conditions where ancient hominids grew up.
CREDIT: Sandi Copeland, University of Colorado Denver

View full size image

This Research in Action article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

An accent may tell you where someone’s from, but what if they can no longer speak? Researchers are analyzing the chemical make up of ancient human teeth to pinpoint where individuals grew up and how they moved around.

A high-tech analysis known as laser ablation is used to measure isotope ratios of strontium found in tooth enamel. Strontium is a naturally occurring element found in rocks and soils, and is absorbed by plants and animals. Since unique strontium signals are tied to specific geological substrates — like granite, basalt, quartzite, sandstone and others — they can help identify specific landscape conditions where ancient hominids grew up.

This image shows an ancient human, or australopithecine, tooth that was sampled using laser ablation. A series of tiny horizontal grooves left by the laser are visible towards the right side of the tooth crown. Traditionally, scientists measure strontium isotope ratios in a substance such as tooth enamel by drilling off a small chunk of tooth — maybe the size of half a peppercorn — dissolving it in acid, and chemically removing most of the dissolved material, except for the strontium.

“You end up with a solution that has basically just the strontium from the sample in some acid,” said Sandi Copeland, visiting assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, who also is affiliated with the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “You put that solution through the multi-collector mass spectrometer, which tells you the relative proportions of atoms with specific weights ­­— that is, the different strontium isotopes in the sample, which have slightly different weights.”

The laser is a newer way to measure samples, and no lab chemistry is necessary. The laser itself is attached to the mass spectrometer.

“You put your sample, a tooth, into a small chamber,” Copeland said. “On your computer monitor, you can see an extreme close-up of the sample, so you navigate to where you want to shoot the laser beam. You turn on the laser and watch as it moves across the sample leaving a small furrow that is about the width of a human hair and less than one millimeter long. It takes about 90 seconds. The material that is being vaporized by the laser is taken into the mass spectrometer and again, the mass spec measures atoms or molecules of specific weights.”

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the Research in Action archive.

Nature Under Glass: Gallery of Victorian Microscope Slides

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, on November 29, 2011 by 2eyeswatching

Nature Under Glass: Gallery of Victorian Microscope Slides

Wynne Parry, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 03 November 2011 Time: 11:00 AM ET
In Awe of the Natural World

In Awe of the Natural World

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesIn the mid- to late-19th century, science gripped the public imagination. Literacy rates were rising, feeding demand for books. Theories, put forward in books like Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, about how the natural world came to be fascinated readers. Museums and exhibitions promoted interest in science and devices like the microscope. Microscopes became cheaper, and a popular form of entertainment. Viewers peered through them at specimens they’d collected themselves or slides prepared professionally. The image above shows an ocean-dwelling diatom — a single-celled alga surrounded by a glass-like cell wall.

Under Glass

Under Glass

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesThe microscope slide containing the diatom indicates it was collected in Maryland and made by someone identified only as “FM,” according to the slide’s owner Howard Lynk, an antique slide collector who displays some of his collection on his website, Victorian Microscope Slides. He owns hundreds of slides from the 1830s to around the end of the century. A few are displayed within this gallery.

Simple Bone

 Simple Bone

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesTo the naked eye, this sample looks like what it is, a sliver of bone from a porpoise’s vertebrae. But, techniques commonly employed by Victorian microscopists, transform it.

 Manipulating Light

Manipulating Light

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesSpecial filters used in the microscope transform the pale porpoise bone into the vibrant colors seen above. Polarizing filters eliminate certain wavelengths of light based on the direction in which they vibrate, and, when positioned correctly, they reveal special properties of the specimen, related to how the substance refracts, or bends, the light waves that enter it. This produces what’s known as interference colors. An additional filter, made of the mineral selenite, further alters the behavior of light and changes the colors that the viewer sees.

 Colorless Crystals

Colorless Crystals

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesLike the porpoise bone, the ammonia sulfate crystals on this slide don’t look like much to the naked eye.

 A Different View

A Different View

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesBut crossed polarizing filters (called a Polariscope) reveal an entirely different sight.

Moon Through the Microscope

Moon Through the Microscope

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesA slide mounter and optician J.B. Dancer perfected the process for miniaturizing photos for microscope slides in the early 1850s. These slides depicted famous people, art, buildings, landmarks and, as shown above, the moon. This slide’s maker is known only as ‘E.M.’

 A New Way of Seeing

A New Way of Seeing

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesA revolution in visual communication took place in the 19th century. Images — like book illustrations, panoramas and illusions — became more plentiful and popular. New technologies explored how we see, like the stereoscope, which recreates three-dimensional vision, and sights once available to only a few, like the view through a microscope or telescope, became widely available. Photography was invented in the first part of the century, then applied more to scientific subjects as time progressed, and the scientific study of the eye became important, according to Bernard Lightman, a professor of humanities at York University in Canada and author of the book Victorian Popularizers of Science (University Of Chicago Press, 2010). “People start to think more about the process of seeing, and what does that tell us about the natural world,” Lightman said.
The Slide Evolves

The Slide Evolves

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesIn 1839, the Microscopical Society of London recommended two standard sizes for glass slides, and these quickly caught on. In earlier times, specimens were often mounted on sliders made of bone, ivory and hardwood. The sliders shown above are made of mahogany and shown with the viewer used to magnify them.

 A Microscope for the Masses

A Microscope for the Masses

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesThis microscope was manufactured in 1856 by Smith & Beck, London. Up until the 1850s, a microscope was an instrument only the wealthy could afford. Around 1850, there was a concerted effort to manufacture a useful but relatively inexpensive microscope. Many people at the time believed that educating the general population would bring a greater appreciation of “God’s Creation”, and thus a more positive and beneficial society. The model shown above was one affordable for the burgeoning middle class, according to Lynk.

 New Technology

New Technology

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesSome slides, like the one above, reflected scientific developments of the time. Around the mid- to late-1850s, techniques were developed to dye specific structures within a preserved sample of once-living tissue. Similar approaches are still used today. Developed about the same time, a device called a microtome made it possible to cut much thinner sections of a specimen. Above, an ornately covered slide containing a section of human tongue.

 A Taste for Science

A Taste for Science

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesRed dye fills the tiny blood vessels of this tongue tissue. The large, roundish structure in the center of image is a projection on the surface of the tongue known as a fungiform papilla. These projections hold the taste buds, which are not visible in this image. The feather-like projections to the side are filiform papillae.
A Little Greenery

A Little Greenery

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesFerns were another fad among Victorians. The craze was called “Pteridomania” or Fern Fever. Above, a Victorian-era fern leaf under a microscope. The slide gives no specific information about this fern, although its maker, J.W. Bond, was one of the pioneering early slide mounters, according to Lynk.

 The Cover Up

The Cover Up

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesSlide makers first used decorative paper covers on microscope slides — like the green and gold cover on this fern specimen — to hold the cover slip in place on the slide. Over time, the covers became more decorative, with patterns unique to their makers.
Insecticide

Insecticide

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesSlide makers prepared insects like these by using potassium hydroxide to remove their innards, while leaving the hard outer shell, called an exoskeleton, intact. These remains were imbedded in Canadian balsam, which is basically tree sap. Later slide mounters devised a way to preserve the entire insect, including its innards by mounting it within a well on the slide, according to Lynk.

 Fuzzy, But Not Warm

Fuzzy, But Not Warm

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesA closer look at a preserved moth larva, mounted by Frederic Enock, a prominent maker of insect slides.

 Microscopic Arrangements

Microscopic Arrangements

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesSome slides allowed their makers the opportunity to show off their skills by carefully selecting tiny elements and composing them into images or geometric designs. The arrangement above contains brightly colored butterfly scales, circular diatoms and bits from a type of sea cucumber.

 A Show of Skill

A Show of Skill

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesThe circular pattern of the arrangement within this slide is visible to the naked eye. Mounters assembled these types of slide while looking through a microscope with help from tools, such as boar bristles and cat’s whiskers, according to Lynk.
Skeletal Snowflake

Skeletal Snowflake

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesThis arrangement is made up of the tiny hard structures found inside sponges. Called spicules, these are a sponge’s structural elements, not unlike bones in a skeleton.
A Morbid Sight

A Morbid Sight

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesThis slide, shown both front and back, contains beard hairs taken from Thomas Beaufort, who died roughly four centuries before the slide was made. Lynk’s research revealed that Beaufort was half-brother to King Henry IV and was made Duke of Exeter in 1410. He died in 1427, and was buried at a church in the town of Bury St. Edmund’s in England, according to West Suffolk, a book about the history of the western division of the county, published in 1907. On Feb. 20, 1772, laborers found Beaufort’s lead coffin and sold it for 15 shillings. His body, which had been embalmed and was perfectly preserved, according to the book, was mutilated — with his arms cut off at the elbows and skull sawed to pieces before he was reburied.
A Closer Look

A Closer Look

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesThe maker of this slide, C.M. Topping, had connections to the Royal College of Surgeons, where some of Beaufort’s body parts were reportedly preserved.

 Bits of Ancient Egypt

Bits of Ancient Egypt

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesVictorians were also fascinated by Egyptian mummies. They were collected avidly and even unwrapped at events. Not surprisingly, mummies also found their way under the microscope. These slides contain, from left to right, a thin slice of mummy bone, a piece of cloth from a mummy, a slice of wood from a mummy’s coffin and a fragment of an Egyptian pyramid.
Mummy's Coffin

Mummy’s Coffin

Credit: Howard Lynk, Victorian Microscope SlidesA view through the microscope showing wood from a mummy’s coffin. Slides like these may seem bizarre, but they are most likely authentic, according to Lynk. Recognized slide mounters of the era made slides for the academic and medical community as well as for the public, and had personal connections to museums and societies that would have given them access to unusual specimens. “All of my research would suggest that there was very little, if any, fraud of that kind,” he wrote to LiveScience in an email.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Posted in WORLD'S HISTORY on November 29, 2011 by 2eyeswatching

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and others.
File:Hanging Gardens of Babylon.gif
A copy of a bas relief from the reign of Sennacherib, depicting sacred gardens thought similar to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon location

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered to be one of the greatest Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one of the Wonders which may in fact have been legendary. They were purportedly built in the ancient city-state of Babylon, near present-day Al HillahBabil, in Iraq. They are sometimes called the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis(in reference to the legendary Queen Semiramis).

http://www.7wonders.org/wonders/asia/iraq/babylon/hanging-gardens.aspx#

The gardens were supposedly built by the Neo-Babylonian Empire kingNebuchadnezzar II around 601 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his homesick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland. The gardens were said to have been destroyed by several earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.

 

day_main.jpg (55869 bytes)

night_main.jpg (52327 bytes)

A computer generated image of the Gardens during the day and at night

http://www.worldwander.com/iraq/gardens.htm

The lush Hanging Gardens are extensively documented by Greek historianssuch as Strabo and Diodorus Siculus. Through the ages, the location may have been confused with gardens that existed at Nineveh, since tablets from there clearly show gardens. Writings on these tablets describe the possible use of something similar to an Archimedes screw as a process of raising the water to the required height. Nebuchadnezzar II is also reported to have used massive slabs of stone, which was unheard of in Babylon, to prevent the water from eroding the ground.

hanging gardens

Greek references

Gardens of Semiramis, 20th century interpretation

“Babylon, too, lies in a plain; and the circuit of its wall is three hundred and eighty-five stadia. The thickness of its wall is thirty-two feet; the height thereof between the towers is fifty cubits; that of the towers is sixty cubits; the passage on top of the wall is such that four-horse chariots can easily pass one another; and it is on this account that this and the hanging garden are called one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The garden isquadrangular in shape, and each side is four plethra in length. It consists ofarched vaults, which are situated, one after another, on checkered, cube-like foundations. The checkered foundations, which are hollowed out, are covered so deep with earth that they admit of the largest of trees, having been constructed of baked brick and asphalt — the foundations themselves and the vaults and the arches. The ascent to the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway; and alongside these stairs there were screws, through which the water was continually conducted up into the garden from the Euphrates by those appointed for this purpose. For the river, a stadium in width, flows through the middle of the city; and the garden is on the bank of the river.”

mesoavhammu.gif

http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id14.html

“The Garden was 100 feet (30 m) long by 100 ft wide and built up in tiers so that it resembled a theatre. Vaults had been constructed under the ascending terraces which carried the entire weight of the planted garden; the uppermost vault, which was seventy-five feet high, was the highest part of the garden, which, at this point, was on the same level as the city walls. The roofs of the vaults which supported the garden were constructed of stone beams some sixteen feet long, and over these were laid first a layer of reeds set in thick tar, then two courses of baked brick bonded by cement, and finally a covering of lead to prevent the moisture in the soil penetrating the roof. On top of this roof enough topsoil was heaped to allow the biggest trees to take root. The earth was levelled off and thickly planted with every kind of tree. And since the galleries projected one beyond the other, where they were sunlit, they contained conduits for the water which was raised by pumps in great abundance from the river, though no one outside could see it being done.”

mesoavhammu.gif

http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id14.html

hgpaar.jpg

http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id14.html

Other references

Scriptores Rerum Alexandrii Magni

A 16th-century hand-coloured engraving of the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” by Dutch artist Martin Heemskerck, with the Tower of Babelin the background.

“And then there were the Hanging Gardens. Paracleisos going up to the top is like climbing a mountain. Each terrace rises up from the last like the syrinx, the pipes of pan, which are made of several tubes of unequal length. This gives the appearance of a theater. It was flanked by perfectly constructed walls twenty-six feet thick. The galleries were roofed with stone balconies. Above these there was the first of a bed ofreeds with a great quantity of bitumen, then a double layer of baked bricks set in gypsum, then over that a covering of lead so that moisture from the soil heaped above it would not seep through. The earth was deep enough to contain the roots of the many varieties of trees which fascinated the beholder with their great size and their beauty. There was also a passage which had pipes leading up to the highest level and machinery for raising water through which great quantities of water were drawn from the river, with none of the process being visible from the outside.”
mesoavhammu.gif
http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id14.html

Controversy

There is some controversy as to whether the Hanging Gardens were an actual creation or a poetic creation owing to the lack of documentation of them in the chronicles of Babylonian history. In ancient writings the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were first described byBerossus, a Babylonian priest who lived in the late 4th century BC, although his books are known only from quotations by later authors (e.g.,Flavius Josephus). These accounts were later elaborated on by Greek historians.

hanginggardens.jpg

http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id14.html

A more recent theory proposes that the gardens were actually constructed under the orders of Sennacherib, who took the throne of Assyria in 705 BC, reigning until 681 BC. During new studies of the location of Nineveh (Located on the eastern bank of the Tigris in ancient Assyria) his gardens were placed close to the entrance of his palace, on the bank of the river Tigris. It is possible that in the intervening centuries, the two sites became confused, and the hanging gardens were attributed to Babylon.

hgofbabylona.jpg

http://joseph_berrigan.tripod.com/ancientbabylon/id14.html

5 Bold Claims of Alien Life

Posted in THE UNIVERSE & SPACE SCIENCE on November 29, 2011 by 2eyeswatching

5 Bold Claims of Alien Life

SPACE.com Staff

Introduction

Filaments in the Orgueil meteorite, seen under a scanning electron microscope, could be evidence of extraterrestrial bacteria, claims NASA scientist Richard Hoover.

Credit: Hoover/Journal of Cosmology

For as long as we can remember, humans have wondered if we are alone in the universe. While individuals and conspiracy theorists often come forward with new “proof” of alien visitations, even scientists have claimed to find evidence for extraterrestrial life. Here are our top five scientific claims for aliens.

Microbes in Meteorites

These features in the Orgueil meteorite, seen under heavy magnification, could be evidence for life, or just random mineral formations.

Credit: Hoover/Journal of Cosmology

NASA scientist Richard Hoover published a paper March 4, 2011, claiming to have found fossil evidence for cyanobacteria in carbonaceous meteorites from outer space. Hoover observed slices of meteorites through scanning electron microscopes, and identified filaments and structures that he said resemble the tiny single-celled algae.

Reaction from some scientists was skeptical, in part because the study was published in the questionable Journal of Cosmology. Other researchers said the study was conducted thoroughly, but it was too soon to say for sure whether the claim would hold up.

Viking Lander Results

A model of the Viking Lander.

Credit: NASA

In 1976 NASA’s two Viking landers touched down on the surface of Mars. The probes conducted a host of biological experiments, including collecting samples of Martian soil to test for organic compounds – the building blocks of life – and biosignatures that could indicate the presence of microorganisms.

The landers found little evidence for organics, but the onboard Labeled Release experiment found a reactive agent in the surface material of Mars that produced increased carbon dioxide. Gilbert Levin, an engineer who designed Labeled Release, concluded that this activity was triggered by living microorganisms lurking in the Martian soil. However, that interpretation has not been widely accepted by the scientific community.

More recent research has also called into question Viking’s negative results in searching for organic compounds. A study published in December 2010 in the Journal of Geophysical Research suggested that these compounds were present on Mars, but they were just destroyed by other chemicals before Viking could detect them.

Arthur C. Clarke’s Bushes on Mars

Arthur C. Clarke

Credit: NASA

Science fiction author Sir Arthur C. Clarke, famous for penning the novel “2001: A Space Odyssey,” made headlines in the year 2001 when he claimed that recently returned photos from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor showed evidence of trees and bushes on Mars.

Most scientists scoffed at the claim, but the writer stood by his belief.

“I’m quite serious when I say have a really good look at these new Mars images,” Clarke said at the time. “Something is actually moving and changing with the seasons that suggests, at least, vegetation.”

Clarke died in 2008 in Sri Lanka.

Mars Canals

(Left) This 1894 map of Mars was prepared by Eugene Antoniadi and redrawn by Lowell Hess. (Right) A Hubble Space Telescope photo of Mars shows the modern view of our neighboring planet.

Credit: Tom Ruen, Eugene Antoniadi, Lowell Hess, Roy A. Gallant, HST, NASA

The idea that Mars was traversed by a complex network of canals was first put forward in 1877 by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, and later popularized by astronomer Percival Lowell. Lowell made intricate drawings of what he took to be canals based on observations he made at his observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.

The idea gained relatively wide acceptance until the early 20th century, when astronomical observations improved and higher-resolution imaging revealed the “canals” to be optical illusions and geologic formations.

Allan Hills Meteorite

Meteorite-Based Debate Over Martian Life Is Far from Over

Credit: NASA

When scientists announced in 1996 that they’d discovered evidence of fossilized microbial life in a meteorite from Mars, it was a huge event. President Bill Clinton make a national address about the discovery, which seemed to herald the news that we are not alone.

Subsequent analysis of the research, on a meteorite called Allan Hills 84001 (ALH 84001), produced controversy, with many experts asserting that the fossils could have been created by non-living processes.

The evidence is still debated, and the space rock remains a topic of ongoing research.



Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Posted in WORLD'S HISTORY on November 28, 2011 by 2eyeswatching

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and others.

Scale model of the Mausoleum at MiniatürkIstanbul.

The Mausoleum site in ruins, as it is today.

This lion is among the few free-standing sculptures from the Mausoleum at the British Museum.

The design of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbournewas inspired by that of the Mausoleum.

The Masonic House of the Temple of the Scottish Rite, Washington, DC, John Russell Pope, architect, 1911–15, another scholarly version.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus (in GreekΜαυσωλεῖον τῆς Ἁλικαρνασσοῦ) was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus(present BodrumTurkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, andArtemisia II of Caria, his wife and sister. The structure was designed by the Greekarchitects Satyros and Pythius of Priene.

The so-called Maussolus (British Museum)http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

The Mausoleum stood approximately 45 m (148 ft) in height, and each of the four sides was adorned with sculptural reliefs created by each one of four Greeksculptors — LeocharesBryaxisScopas of Paros and Timotheus. The finished structure was considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that Antipater of Sidonidentified it as one of his Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The word mausoleum has now come to be used generically for any grand tomb.

The Mausoleum (design M. Larrinaga; ©!!!)http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

Conquest

In 623 BC, Halicarnassus was the capital of a small regional kingdom in the coast ofAsia Minor. In 377 BC the ruler of the region, Hecatomnus of Milas, died and left the control of the kingdom to his son, Mausolus. Hecatomnus, a local satrap under the Persians, took control of several of the neighboring cities and districts. After Artemisia and Mausolus, he had several other daughters and sons: Ada (adopted mother of Alexander the Great), Idrieus and Pixodarus. Mausolus extended its territory as far as the southwest coast of Anatolia. Artemisia and Mausolus ruled from Halicarnassus over the surrounding territory for twenty-four years. Mausolus, although descended from local people, spoke Greek and admired the Greek way of life and government. He founded many cities of Greek design along the coast and encouraged Greek democratic traditions

Today, the remains of this once grandiose monument offer a sad sight.The site did suffer already in Antiquity, but in the Middle Ages, the ruin was still impressive. However, the proud tower was ultimately destroyed by the Rhodian knights in 1522. As a result, stones of the monument can today be found in the castle of Bodrum.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

Halicarnassus

Mausolus decided to build a new capital; a city as safe from capture as it was magnificent to be seen. He chose the city of Halicarnassus. If Mausolus’ ships blocked a small channel, they could keep all enemy warships out. His workmen deepened the city’s harbor and used the dragged sand to make protectingbreakwaters in front of the channel. On land they paved streets andsquares, and built houses for ordinary citizens. And on one side of the harbor they built a massive fortified palace for Mausolus, positioned to have clear views out to sea and inland to the hills — places from where enemies could attack.

These are the remains of the funeral chamber of the mausoleum. The building was designed by the famous architects Satyrus and Pytheos, who were inspired by traditional Anatolian and Greek architecture (cf. the Monument of the Nereids in Xanthus) and later wrote a book on the monument they had created. This book was known to Roman authors like Pliny the Elder, who offers a brief description.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

On land, the workmen also built walls and watchtowers, a Greek–style theatre and atemple to Ares — the Greek god of war.

Artemisia and Mausolus spent huge amounts of tax money to embellish the city. They commissioned statues, temples and buildings of gleaming marble. On a hill overlooking the city Artemisia planned to place a resting place for her body, and her husband’s, after their death. It would be a tomb that would forever show how rich they were.

They made brilliant reliefs of an Amazonomachy, i.e. a battle between Greek warriors and Amazons. Here you can see a man and a woman fighting over a dead Amazon.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

In 353 BC Mausolus died, leaving Artemisia to rule alone. As a tribute to him, she decided to build him a tomb so famous that Mausolus’s name is now the eponym for all stately tombs, in the word mausoleum. The construction was also so beautiful and unique it became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Artemisia lived for only two years after the death of her husband. The urns with their ashes were placed in the yet unfinished tomb. As a form of sacrifice ritual the bodies of a large number of dead animals were placed on the stairs leading to the tomb, and then the stairs were filled with stones and rubble, sealing the access. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the craftsmen decided to stay and finish the work after the death of their patron “considering that it was at once a memorial of his own fame and of the sculptor’s art.”

Construction of the Mausoleum

Artemisia spared no expense in building the tomb. She sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of the time. These included Scopas, the man who had supervised the rebuilding of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The famous sculptors were (in the Vitruvius order) Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas and Timotheus, as well as hundreds of other craftsmen.

Another part of the Amazonomachy. As these blocks were not found in situ, but in the castle of Bodrum, we can not identify the artist. These reliefs are now in the British Museum.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

The tomb was erected on a hill overlooking the city. The whole structure sat in an enclosed courtyard. At the center of the courtyard was a stone platform on which the tomb sat. A stairway flanked by stone lions led to the top of the platform, which bore along its outer walls many statues of gods and goddess. At each corner, stone warriors mounted on horseback guarded the tomb. At the center of the platform, the marble tomb rose as a square tapering block to one-third of the Mausoleum’s 45 m (148 ft) height. This section was covered with bas-reliefs showing action scenes, including the battle of the centaurs with the lapiths and Greeks in combat with theAmazons, a race of warrior women.

This part of the decoration is still in the small gallery next to the ruins of the Mausoleum. Note the superb knowledge of the way the human body moves. The man to the right is kicking forward and needs his shield to remain balanced.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

On the top of this section of the tomb thirty-six slim columns, ten per side, with each corner sharing one column between two sides; rose for another third of the height. Standing between each [pair of] column[s] was a statue. Behind the columns was a solid cella-like block that carried the weight of the tomb’s massive roof. The roof, which comprised most of the final third of the height, was pyramidal. Perched on the top was a quadriga: four massive horses pulling a chariot in which rode images of Mausolus and Artemisia.

Between the columns of the Pteron, there must have been many statues, and at the base of the pyramid, there were twenty-four lions. This one’s from theArchaeological Museum in Istanbul.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

History

Modern historians have pointed out that two years would not be enough time to decorate and build such an extravagant building. Therefore, it is believed that construction was begun by Mausolus before his death or continued by the next leaders.The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus resembled a temple and the only way to tell the difference was its slightly higher outer walls. The Mausoleum was in the Greek-dominated area of Halicarnassus, which was in 353 was controlled by the Persian Empire.

This one, made from Pentelic marble from Athens, was also among them and stood on the north side. Was it made by Bryaxis? It may be noted that there were very many lions, but this animal is the only that has survived almost completely. (It is now in the British Museum, just like the sculpture on the next pictures.) On the corners of the pyramid were statues of horsemen.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

According to the Roman architect Vitruvius, it was built by Satyros and Pytheus who wrote a treatise about it; this treatise is now lost.Pausanias adds that the Romans considered the Mausoleum one of the great wonders of the world and it was for that reason that they called all their magnificent tombs mausolea, after it. It is unknown exactly when and how the Mausoleum came to ruin, but according to Eustathius in the 12th century on his commentary of the Iliad, “it was and is a wonder”. We are therefore led to believe that the building was likely ruined, likely by an earthquake, between this period and 1402, when the Knights of St. John arrived.

This is one of the horses of the chariot

In 1846 Lord Stratford de Redcliffe obtained permission to remove bas-reliefs from the Budrum. This piece was originally part of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus but was removed by St. John’s Knights. An expedition was sent by the British government after Mr. Charles Newton discovered the site of the Mausoleum. This site was originally indicated by professor Donaldson. The expedition lasted 3 years and ended in the sending of the marbles.

A capital of a column, now in the British Museum.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

All that remained by the 19th century were the foundations and some broken sculptures. Many of the stones from the mausoleum were used by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem to fortify their castle of Bodrum. Much of the marble was burned into lime. The underground burial chamber was broken into and destroyed by grave robbers; however in 1972 there was still enough remaining to create a layout of the chambers when being excavated.

Probably, these two brilliant statues were right above the entrance in the east, between the columns of the Pteron. If this is correct, they must represent Artemisia and Maussolus, and were carved by Scopas. Yet, the identification is contested.http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

This monument was ranked the seventh wonder of the world by the ancients, not because of its size or strength but because of the beauty of its design and how it was decorated with sculpture or ornaments. The mausoleum was Halicarnassus’ principle architectural monument, standing in a dominant position on rising ground above the harbor.”

 the portrait of Maussolus http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/halicarnassus/halicarnassus_mausoleum.html

Dimensions and statues

Much of the information we have gathered about the Mausoleum and its structure have come from a Roman historian Pliny. He wrote some basic facts about the architecture and some dimensions. The building was rectangular, not square, surrounded by a colonnade of thirty-six columns. There was a pyramidal superstructure receding in twenty four steps to the summit. On top there were 4 horse chariots of marble. The building was accented with both sculptural friezes and free standing figures. “The free standing figures were arranged on 5 or 6 different levels.”We are now able to justify that Pliny’s knowledge came from a work written by the architect.

It is clear that Pliny did not grasp the design of the mausoleum fully which creates problems in recreating the structure. However he does state many facts which help the reader recreate pieces of the puzzle. Other writings by Pausanias, Strabo, and Vitruvius also help us to gather more information about the Mausoleum.These Ancient authors describe the building’s appearance and gave dimensions. According to Pliny the mausoleum was 63 ft. north and south, shorter on other fronts, 411 ft. circumference, and 25 cubics (37ft. 6 in.) in heights. It was surrounded by 36 columns.

An altar from the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos, now displayed in Bodrum Castle.

An altar from the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos, now displayed in Bodrum Castle.http://www.bodrumturkeytravel.com/history-culture/mausoleum-halicarnassus/

They called this part the pteron. Above the pteron there was a pyramid on top with 24 steps and equal in height to the lower part. The height of the whole work was 140 ft. The only other author that gives the dimensions of the Mausoleum is Hyginus a grammarian in the time of Augustus. He describes the monument as built with shining stones, 80ft high and 1340ft in circumference. He likely meant cubits which would match Pliny’s dimensions exactly but this text is largely considered corrupt and is of little importance. We learn from Vitruvius that Satyrus and Phytheus wrote a description of their work which Pliny likely read. Pliny likely wrote down these dimensions without thinking about the form of the building.

Another part left from the remains of Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum

Another part left from the remains of Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum

http://www.bodrumturkeytravel.com/history-culture/mausoleum-halicarnassus/

A number of statues were found slightly larger than life size, either 5 ft. 0 in. or 5 ft. 3 in. in length these were 20 lion statues. Another important find was the depth on the rock on which the building stood. This rock was excavated to 8 or 9 ft. deep over and are 107 by 127 ft. The sculptors on the north were created by Scopas, the ones on the north Bryaxis, on the south Timotheus and on the west Leochares. The Mausoleum was adorned with many great and beautiful sculptures. Some of these sculptures have been lost or only fragments have been found. Several of the statues’ original placements are only known through historical accounts.

Remains from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

The great figures of Mausolus and Artemisia stood in the chariot at the top of the top of the pyramid. The detached equestrian groups are placed at the corners of the sub podium. The semi-colossal female heads they may have belonged to the acroteria of the two gables which may have represented the six Carian towns incorporated in Halicarnassus. Work still continues today as groups continue to excavate and research the mausoleum’s priceless pieces of art. Many modern scholars and historians discuss what it looked like. We can only hope that one day we will find the missing physical piece and written documents outlining the history of this great piece of architecture.

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in ruins, as it stands today

Later history of the Mausoleum

The Mausoleum overlooked the city of Halicarnassus for many years. It was untouched when the city fell to Alexander the Great in 334 BC and still undamaged after attacks by pirates in 62 and 58 BC. It stood above the city’s ruins for sixteen centuries. Then a series of earthquakes shattered the columns and sent the bronze chariot crashing to the ground. By 1404 AD only the very base of the Mausoleum was still recognizable.

Sculptures of King Mausollos and Artemisia

Sculptures of King Mausollos and Artemisia http://www.bodrumturkeytravel.com/history-culture/mausoleum-halicarnassus/

The Knights of St John of Malta invaded the region and built a massive castle called Bodrum Castle. When they decided to fortify it in 1494, they used the stones of the Mausoleum. In 1522 rumors of a Turkish invasion caused the Crusaders to strengthen the castle at Halicarnassus (which was by then known as Bodrum) and much of the remaining portions of the tomb were broken up and used in the castle walls. Sections of polished marble from the tomb can still be seen there today.

At this time a party of knights entered the base of the monument and discovered the room containing a great coffin. In many histories of the Mausoleum one can find the following story of what happened: The party, deciding it was too late to open it that day, returned the next morning to find the tomb, and any treasure it may have contained, plundered. The bodies of Mausolus and Artemisia were missing too. The small museum building next to the site of the Mausoleum tells the story. Research done by archeologists in the 1960s shows that long before the knights came, grave robbers had dug a tunnel under the grave chamber, stealing its contents. Also the museum states that it is most likely that Mausolus and Artemisia were cremated, so only an urn with their ashes was placed in the grave chamber. This explains why no bodies were found.

Snake altar from King Mausolus

Snake altar from King Mausolus’ tomb in Halikarnassus (ancient Bodrum) http://www.bodrumturkeytravel.com/history-culture/mausoleum-halicarnassus/

Before grinding and burning much of the remaining sculpture of the Mausoleum into lime for plaster, the Knights removed several of the best works and mounted them in the Bodrum castle. There they stayed for three centuries.

Discovery and excavation

In the 19th century a British consul obtained several of the statues from the castle, which now reside in the British Museum. In 1852 the British Museum sent the archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton to search for more remains of the Mausoleum. He had a difficult job. He didn’t know the exact location of the tomb, and the cost of buying up all the small parcels of land in the area to look for it would have been astronomical. Instead Newton studied the accounts of ancient writers like Pliny to obtain the approximate size and location of the memorial, then bought a plot of land in the most likely location. Digging down, Newton explored the surrounding area through tunnels he dug under the surrounding plots. He was able to locate some walls, a staircase, and finally three of the corners of the foundation. With this knowledge, Newton was able to determine which plots of land he needed to buy.

A part of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum

A part of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum http://www.bodrumturkeytravel.com/history-culture/mausoleum-halicarnassus/

Newton then excavated the site and found sections of the reliefs that decorated the wall of the building and portions of the stepped roof. Also discovered was a broken stone chariot wheel some 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in diameter, which came from the sculpture on the Mausoleum’s roof. Finally, he found the statues of Mausolus and Artemisia that had stood at the pinnacle of the building. In October 1857 Newton carried blocks of marble from this site by the HMS Supply and landed them in Malta. These blocks were used for the construction of a new dock in Malta for the Royal Navy. Today this dock is known at Dock No. 1 in Cospicua, but the building blocks are hidden from view, submerged in Dockyard Creek in the Grand Harbour.

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in ruins, as it stands today

From 1966 to 1977, the Mausoleum was thoroughly researched by Prof. Kristian Jeppesen of Aarhus University, Denmark. He has produced a six-volume monograph, The Maussolleion at Halikarnassos.

The beauty of the Mausoleum was not only in the structure itself, but in the decorations and statues that adorned the outside at different levels on the podium and the roof: statues of people, lions, horses, and other animals in varying scales. The four Greek sculptors who carved the statues: Bryaxis, Leochares, Scopas and Timotheus were each responsible for one side. Because the statues were of people and animals, the Mausoleum holds a special place in history, as it was not dedicated to the gods of Ancient Greece.

Remains from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Today, the massive castle of the Knights of Malta still stands in Bodrum, and the polished stone and marble blocks of the Mausoleum can be spotted built into the walls of the structure. At the site of the Mausoleum, only the foundation remains, and a small museum. Some of the surviving sculptures at the British Museum include fragments of statues and many slabs of the frieze showing the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons. There the images of Mausolus and his queen forever watch over the few broken remains of the beautiful tomb she built for him.

Modern buildings based upon the Mausoleum of Mausolus include Grant’s Tomb and 26 Broadway in New York City, Los Angeles City Hall, the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia, the spire of St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury in London, the Indiana War Memorial (and in turn Chase Tower) in Indianapolis, the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction’s headquarters, the House of the Temple in Washington D.C., the Civil Courts Building in St. Louis, and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Pittsburgh.


Coordinates37°02′16.6″N 27°25′26.6″E

Lighthouse of Alexandria

Posted in WORLD'S HISTORY on November 28, 2011 by 2eyeswatching

Lighthouse of Alexandria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and others.
Pharos of Alexandria
Lighthouse - Thiersch.gif
Drawing by archaeologist Hermann Thiersch (1909).
Location Pharos, AlexandriaEgypt
Coordinates 31°12′50.15″N29°53′08.38″ECoordinates31°12′50.15″N 29°53′08.38″E
Year first constructed c. 280 BC
Deactivated 1303/1323
Foundation Stone
Construction Masonry
Height 393–450 ft (120–140 m)
Range 47 km (29 mi)

Three-dimensional reconstruction based on a comprehensive 2006 study.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria (in Ancient Greek, ὁ Φάρος Ἀλεξανδρινóς), was a tower built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos atAlexandriaEgypt. Its purpose was to guide sailors into the harbour at night time.

With a height variously estimated at somewhere in-between 393 and 450 ft (120 and 140 m), it was for many centuries among the tallest man made structures on Earth. It was one of theSeven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Pharos (Salvador Dali) http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Pharos.htm

Origins

Pharos was a small island just off the coast of Alexandria. It was supposedly inhabited by people that would destroy any ship that was wrecked off of its coast. To deter this problem,Ptolemy II had the lighthouse built. It was linked to the mainland by a man made connection named the Heptastadion, which thus formed one side of the city’s harbour. The tower erected there guided mariners at night, through its fire, as well as being a landmark by day.

The Pharos on the Pharos island in Alexandria http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Pharos.htm

Construction and destruction

The lighthouse was completed in the 3rd century BC. After Alexander the Great died of a fever at age 32, Ptolemy Soter announced himself king in 305 BC, and commissioned its construction shortly thereafter. The building was finished during his son Ptolemy Philadelphos‘s reign.

The Pharos island and the Pharos according to the Natural History Museum, New York and an image today (E. Bauer: Die sieben Weltwunder, p. 130) Alexandria from Space

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Pharos.htm

Strabo reported that Sostratus had a dedication inscribed in metal letters to the “Saviour Gods”. Later Pliny the Elder wrote that Sostratus was the architect, which is disputed. In the second century AD the satirist Lucian wrote that Sostratus inscribed his name under plaster bearing the name of Ptolemy. This was so that when the plaster with Ptolemy’s name fell off, that Sostratus’s name would be visible in the stone.

The fullest description of the lighthouse comes from the Arab traveller Abou Haggag Youssef Ibn el-Andaloussi, who visited the structure in 1165 AD. His description runs:

The Pharos rises at the end of the island. The building is square, about 8.5 metres (28 ft) each side. The sea surrounds the Pharos except on the east and south sides. This platform measures, along its sides, from the tip, down to the foot of the Pharos walls, 6.5 metres (21 ft) in height. However, on the sea side, it is larger because of the construction and is steeply inclined like the side of a mountain. As the height of the platform increases towards the walls of the Pharos its width narrows until it arrives at the measurements above. … The doorway to the Pharos is high up. A ramp about 183 metres (600 ft) long used to lead up to it. This ramp rests on a series of curved arches; my companion got beneath one of the arches and stretched out his arms but he was not able to reach the sides. There are 16 of these arches, each gradually getting higher until the doorway is reached, the last one being especially high.

H. Thiersch: Pharos, Antike Islam und Occident – Ein Beitrag zur Architekturgeschichte; B. G. Teubner, Leipzig und Berlin 1909, a German book about the Pharos of Alexandria describing the possibility that it was also used as a telescope. Ibn Khordadhbeh writes in the 9th century AD that one could see even people in Constantinople looking from the telescope of the Pharos.

http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Pharos.htm

Constructed from large blocks of light-coloured stone, the tower was made up of three stages: a lower square section with a central core, a middle octagonal section, and, at the top, a circular section. At its apex was positioned a mirror which reflected sunlight during the day; a fire was lit at night. Extant Roman coins struck by the Alexandrian mint show that a statue of a triton was positioned on each of the building’s four corners. A statue of Poseidon stood atop the tower during the Roman period.The Pharos’ masonry blocks were interlocked, sealed together using molten lead, to withstand the pounding of the waves.

A 3D reconstuction of the Pharos http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Pharos.htm

There are ancient claims the light from the lighthouse could be seen from up to 29 miles (47 km) away.

A mosaic depicting the Pharos of Alexandria, from Olbia, Libya c. 4th century AD

After the Muslims took over all of Egypt, the top of the Pharos supposedly became a mosque, as the beacon was no longer in working order. The Pharos remained this way until its destruction in the 14th century.

Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

A Sperry searchlight

The lighthouse was badly damaged in the earthquake of 956, then again in 1303 and 1323. The two earthquakes in 1303 and 1323 damaged the lighthouse to the extent that the Arab traveler Ibn Battutareported no longer being able to enter the ruin. Even the stubby remnant disappeared in 1480, when the then-Sultan of Egypt, Qaitbay, built a mediæval fort on the former location of the building using some of the fallen stone.

Egyptian goddess Isis sitting on her throne before four large filament lights powered by a huge electric battery in the Temple of Denderah
 She is saluted with a small battery powered light.

Recent archaeological research

French archeologists led by Jean-Yves Empereur discovered remains of the lighthouse in late 1994 on the floor of Alexandria’s Eastern Harbour. Some of these remains were brought up and were lying at the harbour on public view at the end of 1995. A Nova program chronicled the discovery.Subsequent satellite imaging has revealed further remains. It is possible to go diving and see the ruins.

 

An ancient Egyptian goddess holding up electric filament lamps to read hieroglyphics

Significance

Pharos became the etymological origin of the word ‘lighthouse’ in Greek (φάρος), many Romance languages, such as French (phare), Italianand Spanish (faro), Romanian (far) and Portuguese (farol) and even some slavic languages like Bulgarian (far).

A royal light anointing ceremony with “a forest of points” protecting a temple at Denderah from lightning http://einhornpress.com/alexanria.aspx

In 2008 it was suggested that the Pharos was the vertical yardstick used in the first precise measurement of the size of the earth.

An ancient Egyptian illustration of a filament type of electric lamp with three bulbs and its power cord, emblazoned on a tomb wall  http://einhornpress.com/alexanria.aspx

 
Carbon arc searchlights illustrated in one of the crypts under the ancient Egyptian temple at Denderah

Pharos in culture

The Pharos of Abusir, an ancient funerary monument thought to be modelled after the Pharos at Alexandria, with which it is approximately contemporaneous

The Lighthouse remains a civic symbol of the city of Alexandria and of the Alexandria Governoratewith which the city is more or less coterminous. A stylized representation of the Lighthouse appears on the flag and seal of the Governorate and on many public services of the city, including the seal of Alexandria University.

Egyptian deities presenting Hathor with an electric lamp, battery and cable

 

In architecture

Replica constructed in 2005 at theWindow of the World Cultural Park, in the Chinese cities of Changsha and Shenzhen

  • A well-preserved ancient tomb in the town of Abusir, 48 kilometres (30 mi) southwest of Alexandria, is thought to be a scaled-down model of the Alexandria Pharos. Known colloquially under various names – the Pharos of Abusir, the Abusir funerary monument and Burg al-Arab (Arab’s Tower) – it consists of a 3-story tower, approximately 20 metres (66 ft) in height, with a square base, an octagonal midsection and cylindrical upper section, like the building upon which it was apparently modelled. It dates to the reign of Ptolemy II (285–246 BC), and is therefore likely to have been built at about the same time as the Alexandria Pharos.
  • The design of minarets in many early Egyptian Islamicmosques followed a similar three-stage design to that of the Pharos, attesting to the building’s broader architectural influence.
  • A replica of the Lighthouse of Alexandria was constructed in the Window of the World Cultural Park in ShenzhenChina.


Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Posted in WORLD'S HISTORY on November 25, 2011 by 2eyeswatching

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates37°38′16.3″N 21°37′48″E

File:Statue of Zeus.jpg

A fanciful reconstruction of Phidiasstatue of Zeus, in an engraving made byPhilippe Galle in 1572, from a drawing byMaarten van Heemskerck

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was made by the Greek sculptor Phidias, circa 432 BC on the site where it was erected in the Temple of ZeusOlympia, Greece. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Description

The seated statue, some 12 meters (43 feet) tall, occupied half of the width of the aisle of the temple built to house it. “It seems that if Zeuswere to stand up,” the geographer Strabo noted early in the 1st century BC, “he would unroof the temple.” The Zeus was achryselephantine sculpture, made of ivory and gold-plated bronze. No copy in marble or bronze has survived, though there are recognizable but approximate versions on coins of nearby Elis and on Roman coins and engraved gems. A very detailed description of the sculpture and its throne was recorded by the traveler Pausanias, in the 2nd century AD. The sculpture was wreathed with shoots of olive worked in gold and seated on a magnificent throne of cedarwood, inlaid with ivorygoldebony, and precious stones. In Zeus’ right hand there was a small statue of crowned Nike, goddess of victory, also chryselephantine, and in his left hand, a sceptre inlaid with gold, on which an eagle perched.Plutarch, in his Life of the Roman general Aemilius Paulus, records that the victor over Macedon, when he beheld the statue, “was moved to his soul, as if he had seen the god in person,” while the 1st century AD Greek orator Dio Chrysostom declared that a single glimpse of the statue would make a man forget all his earthly troubles.

File:Zeus Hermitage St. Petersburg 20021009.jpg

Roman Seated Zeus, marble and bronze (restored), following the type established by Phidias (Hermitage Museum)

The date of the statue, in the third quarter of the 5th century BC, long a subject of debate, was confirmed archaeologically by the rediscovery and excavation of Phidias’ workshop.

According to a legend, when Phidias was asked what inspired him—whether he climbed Mount Olympus to see Zeus, or whether Zeus came down from Olympus so that Pheidias could see him—the artist answered that he portrayed Zeus according to Book One, verses 528 – 530 of Homer‘sIliad:

File:Forngrekiska mynt från Elis med bilder efter Fidias staty av Zeus i Olympias Zeustempel.jpg

Coin of Elis illustrating the Olympian Zeus (Nordisk familjebok)

ἦ καὶ κυανέῃσιν ἐπ’ ὀφρύσι νεῦσε Κρονίων
ἀμβρόσιαι δ’ ἄρα χαῖται ἐπερρώσαντο ἄνακτος
κρατὸς ἀπ’ ἀθανάτοιο μέγαν δ’ ἐλέλιξεν Ὄλυμπον.
He spoke, the son of Kronos, and nodded his head with the dark brows,
and the immortally anointed hair of the great god
swept from his divine head, and all Olympos was shaken.

The sculptor also was reputed to have immortalised his eromenos, Pantarkes, by carving “Pantarkes kalos” into the god’s little finger, and placing a relief of the boy crowning himself at the feet of the statue.

Loss and destruction

According to Suetonius, the Roman Emperor Caligula “gave orders that such statues of the gods as were especially famous for their sanctity or for their artistic merit, including that of Zeus at Olympia, should be brought from Greece, in order to remove their heads and put his own in their place.”Caligula was assassinated in AD 41. In Rome other interpretations were placed on the phenomenon: according to Suetonius, Caligula’s “approaching murder was foretold by many prodigies. The statue of Jupiter at Olympia, which he had ordered to be taken to pieces and moved to Rome, suddenly uttered such a peal of laughter that the scaffolding collapsed and the workmen took to their heels.”

File:Workshop of Phidias.jpg
The workshop of Phidias at Olympia
Fragments and Tools found in Phidias Workshop  http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Arts/ZeusStatue.htm

The circumstances of its eventual destruction are a source of debate: the 11th-century Byzantine historian Georgios Kedrenos recorded the tradition that it was carried off to Constantinople, where it was destroyed in the great fire of the Lauseion, in AD 475. Others argue that it perished with the temple when it burned in 425. According to Lucian of Samosata in the later 2nd century, “they have laid hands on your person at Olympia, my lord High-Thunderer, and you had not the energy to wake the dogs or call in the neighbours; surely they might have come to the rescue and caught the fellows before they had finished packing up the swag.”

Phidias’ workshop rediscovered

Perhaps the greatest discovery came in 1954–1958 with the excavation of the workshop at Olympia where Phidias created the statue. Tools, terracotta moulds and a cup inscribed “I belong to Pheidias” were found here, just where the traveler Pausanias said the Zeus was constructed. This has enabled archaeologists to re-create the techniques used to make the great work and confirm its date.

A 19th century expedition poses on the jumbled ruins of the Temple of Zeus.

Painting of Salvador Dali
The Giant Zeus Statue in the Olympia Temple http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Arts/ZeusStatue.htm