Archive for November, 2011

Finding Homes of Ancient Hominids From Their Teeth


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


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.


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).

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

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.”


“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.”



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.”


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.


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.


5 Bold Claims of Alien Life

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

5 Bold Claims of Alien Life Staff


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)

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; ©!!!)


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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)

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

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)


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

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

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.

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

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


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

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

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.


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

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

Temple of Artemis

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

Temple of Artemis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and others.

Coordinates37°56′59″N 27°21′50″E

Model of Temple of Artemis, Miniatürk Park, Istanbul, Turkey

The Temple of Artemis (Greek: Ἀρτεμίσιον, or Artemision), also known less precisely as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to a goddess Greeks identified as Artemis and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was situated at Ephesus (near the modern town of Selçuk in present-dayTurkey), and was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction in 401.Only foundations and sculptural fragments of the latest of the temples at the site remain.

The first sanctuary (temenos) antedated the Ionic immigration by many years, and dates to the Bronze AgeCallimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, attributed it to theAmazons. In the 7th century the old temple was destroyed by a flood. Its reconstruction began around 550 BC, under the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes, at the expense of Croesus of Lydia: the project took 10 years to complete, only to be destroyed in an act of arson by a young arsonist seeking fame named Herostratus. It was later rebuilt.

Antipater of Sidon, who compiled the list of the Seven Wonders, describes the finished temple :

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 thehanging 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”.


Synthesizing Artemis of Ephesus: an 18th-centuryengraving of a Roman marble copy of a Greek replica of a lost Geometric period xoanon.

Location and history

The Temple of Artemis was located near the ancient city of Ephesus, about 50 km south from the modern port city of İzmir, in Turkey. Today the site lies on the edge of the modern town of Selçuk.

Earliest phase

The sacred site (temenos) at Ephesus was far older than the Artemision itself. Pausanias was certain that it antedated the Ionic immigration by many years, being older even than the oracular shrine of Apollo at Didyma. He said that the pre-Ionic inhabitants of the city were Leleges and LydiansCallimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, attributed the earliest temenos at Ephesus to theAmazons, whose worship he imagines already centered upon an image (bretas) of Artemis, their patron goddess.

Modern archaeology cannot confirm Pausanias’ Amazons, but his account of the site’s antiquity seems well-founded. Before World War I, site excavations by David George Hogarth identified three successive temple buildings. Re-excavations in 1987-88 confirmed that the site was occupied as early as the Bronze Age, with a sequence of pottery finds that extend forward to Middle Geometric times, when the clay-floored peripteral temple was constructed, in the second half of the 8th century BC.The peripteral temple at Ephesus offers the earliest example of a peripteral type on the coast of Asia Minor, and perhaps the earliest Greek temple surrounded by colonnades anywhere.

The Temple of Artemis, as imagined in this hand-coloured engraving by Martin Heemskerck(1498 – 1574), has the “old-fashioned” look ofSanta Maria Novella in Florence and other Italianquattrocento churches of the previous generation.

In the 7th century, a flooddestroyed the temple, depositing over half a meter of sand and flotsam over a floor of hard-packed clay. Among the flood debris were the remains of a carved ivory plaque of a griffin and the Tree of Life, apparently North Syrian, and a number of drilled tear-shaped amber drops of elliptical cross-section. These probably once dressed a wooden effigy (xoanon) of the Lady of Ephesus, which must have been destroyed or recovered from the flood. Bammer notes that though the site was prone to flooding, and raised by silt deposits about two metres between the eighth and 6th centuries, and a further 2.4 m between the sixth and the fourth, its continued use “indicates that maintaining the identity of the actual location played an important role in the sacred organization”

Second phase

The new temple was sponsored at least in part by Croesus, who founded Lydia‘s empire and was overlord of Ephesus, and was designed and constructed from around 550 BC by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes. It was some 377′ long and 180′ wide, supposedly the first Greek temple built of marble. Its peripteral columns stood some 40 feet high, in double rows that formed a wide ceremonial passage around the cella that housed the goddess’ cult image. Thirty-six of these columns were, according to Pliny, decorated by carvings in relief. A new ebony or blackened grapewood cult statue was sculpted by Endoios,and a naiskos to house it was erected east of the open-air altar.

A rich foundation deposit from this era yielded more than a thousand items, including what may be the earliest coins made from the silver-gold alloy electrum. Fragments of bas-relief on the lowest drums of the temple, preserved in the British Museum, show that the enriched columns of the later temple, of which a few survive (illustration, below right) were versions of this earlier feature. Pliny the Elder, seemingly unaware of the ancient continuity of the sacred site, claims that the new temple’s architects chose to build it on marshy ground as a precaution against earthquakes. The temple became an important attraction, visited by merchants, kings, and sightseers, many of whom paid homage to Artemis in the form of jewelry and various goods. It also offered sanctuary to those fleeing persecution or punishment, a tradition linked in myth to the Amazons who twice fled there seeking the goddess’ protection from punishment, firstly by Dionysus and later, by Heracles.

Destruction by Herostratus

The “Croesus” Temple was destroyed on July 21, 356 BC, probably very soon after its completion, in a vainglorious act of arson: oneHerostratus set fire to the roof-beams, seeking fame at any cost, thus the term herostratic fame.

A man was found to plan the burning of the temple of Ephesian Diana so that through the destruction of this most beautiful building his name might be spread through the whole world.

The Ephesians, outraged, sentenced Herostratus to death and forbade anyone from mentioning his name, under pain of death. However,Theopompus later noted the name. The burning supposedly coincided with the birth of Alexander the GreatPlutarch remarked that Artemis was too preoccupied with Alexander’s delivery to save her burning temple.

Third phase

The Ephesians tactfully refused Alexander’s offer to pay for the temple’s rebuilding, and eventually rebuilt it after his death, at their own expense. Work started in 323 BC and continued for many years. The third temple was larger than the second; 450′ long by 225′ wide and 60 feet high, with more than 127 columns. Athenagoras of Athens names Endoeus, a pupil of Daedalus, as sculptor of Artemis’ main cult image.Pausanias (c. 2nd century AD) reports another image and altar in the Temple, dedicated to Artemis Protothronia (Artemis “of the first seat”) and a gallery of images above this altar, including an ancient figure of Nyx (the primordial goddess of Night) by the sculptor Rhoecus (6th century BC). Pliny describes images of Amazons, the legendary founders of Ephesus and Ephesian Artemis’ original proteges, carved byScopas. Literary sources describe the temple’s adornment by paintings, gilded columns of gold and silver, and religious works of renowned Greek sculptors PolyclitusPheidiasCresilas, and Phradmon.

File:Column drum Ephesus.JPG

Drum from the base of a column from the fourth-century rebuilding (British Museum)

This reconstruction survived some 600 years, and appears multiple times in early Christianaccounts of Ephesus. According to the New Testament, the appearance of the first Christian missionary in Ephesus caused locals to fear for the temple’s dishonor.The 2nd-century Acts of John includes an apocryphal tale of the temple’s destruction: the apostle John prayed publicly in the Temple of Artemis, exorcising its demons and “of a sudden the altar of Artemis split in many pieces… and half the temple fell down,” instantly converting the Ephesians, who wept, prayed or took flight. Against this, a Roman edict of 162 AD acknowledges the importance of Artemesion, the annual Ephesian festival to Artemis, and officially extends it from a few holy days over March–April to a whole month, “one of the largest and most magnificent religious festivals in Ephesus’ liturgical calendar”.

In 268 AD, the Temple was destroyed or damaged in a raid by the Goths, an East Germanic tribe. in the time of emperor Gallienus: “Respa, Veduc and Thuruar, leaders of the Goths, took ship and sailed across the strait of the Hellespont to Asia. There they laid waste many populous cities and set fire to the renowned temple of Diana at Ephesus,” reported Jordanes inGetica.

Thereafter it may have been rebuilt, or repaired but this is uncertain, as its later history is highly unclear and the torching of the temple by the Goths may have brought it to a final end. At least some of the stones from the temple were used in construction of other buildings.Some of the columns in Hagia Sophia originally belonged to the temple of Artemis, and the Parastaseis syntomoi chronikai records the re-use of several statues and other decorative elements throughoutConstantinople.

The main primary sources for the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus are Pliny the Elder‘s Natural History XXXVI.xxi.95, Pomponius Mela i:17, and Plutarch‘s Life of Alexander III.5 (referencing the burning of the Artemiseum).

Rediscovery of the Temple

File:Ac artemisephesus.jpg

The site of the temple today.

After sixty years of searching, the site of the temple was rediscovered in 1869 by an expedition led by John Turtle Wood and sponsored by the British Museum. These excavations continued until 1874. A few further fragments of sculpture were found during the 1904-06 excavations directed by David George Hogarth. The recovered sculptured fragments of the 4th-century rebuilding and a few from the earlier temple, which had been used in the rubble fill for the rebuilding, were assembled and displayed in the “Ephesus Room” of the British Museum.

View across the site of the Temple of Artemis. Photo © Amy Keus.

Today the site of the temple, which lies just outside Selçuk, is marked by a single column constructed of dissociated fragments discovered on the site.

Cult and influence

The archaic temeton beneath the later Temples clearly housed some form of “Great Goddess” but nothing is known of her cult. The literary accounts that describe it as “Amazonian” refer to the later founder-myths of Greek emigres who developed the cult and temple of Artemis Ephesia. The wealth and splendour of temple and city were taken as evidence of Artemis Ephesia’s power, and were the basis for her local and international prestige: despite the successive traumas of Temple destruction, each rebuilding – a gift and honour to the goddess – brought further prosperity.

Closer look at the column. Photo © Ari Bronstein

Artemis’ shrines, temples and festivals (Artemisia) could be found throughout the Greek world, but Ephesian Artemis was unique. The Ephesians considered her theirs, and resented any foreign claims to her protection. Once Persia ousted and replaced their Lydian overlordCroesus, the Ephesians played down his contribution to the Temple’s restoration. On the whole, the Persians dealt fairly with Ephesus, but removed some religious artifacts from Artemis’ Temple to Sardis and brought Persian priests into her Ephesian cult; this was not forgiven.When Alexander conquered the Persians, his offer to finance the Temple’s second rebuilding was politely but firmly refused. Ephesian Artemis lent her city’s diplomacy a powerful religious edge.

Temple of Artemis

Under Hellenic rule, and later, under Roman rule, the Ephesian Artemisia festival was increasingly promoted as a key element in the pan-Hellenic festival circuit. It was part of a definitively Greek political and cultural identity, essential to the economic life of the region, and an excellent opportunity for young, unmarried Greeks of both sexes to seek out marriage partners. Games, contests and theatrical performances were held in the goddess’ name, and Pliny describes her procession as a magnificent crowd-puller; one of Apelles‘ best paintings showed the goddess’ image, carried through the streets and surrounded by maidens. In the Roman Imperial era, the emperorCommodus lent his name to the festival games, and might have sponsored them.

Ephesian Artemis

Beautiful Artemis Statue

Cult statue from Ephesus called the “Beautiful Artemis” (1st cent AD).
Photo Creative Commons License Julian Fong

From the Greek point of view Ephesian Artemis is a distinctive form of their goddess Artemis. In Greek cult and myth, Artemis is the twin ofApollo, a virgin huntress who supplanted the Titan Selene as goddess of the Moon. At Ephesus, a goddess whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was venerated in an archaic, certainly pre-Hellenic cult imagethat was carved of wood and kept decorated with jewelry. Robert Fleischer identified as decorations of the primitive xoanon the changeable features that since Minucius Felix and Jerome‘s Christian attacks on pagan popular religion had been read as many breasts or “eggs” — denoting her fertility (others interpret the objects to represent the testicles of sacrificed bulls that would have been strung on the image, with similar meaning). Most similar to Near-Eastern and Egyptian deities, and least similar to Greek ones, her body and legs are enclosed within a tapering pillar-like term, from which her feet protrude. On the coins minted at Ephesus, the apparently many-breasted goddess wears a mural crown (like a city’s walls), an attribute of Cybele (see polos). On the coins she rests either arm on a staff formed of entwined serpents or of a stack of ouroboroi, the eternal serpent with its tail in its mouth. Something the Lady of Ephesus had in common with Cybele was that each was served by temple slave-women, or hierodules (hiero“holy”, doule “female slave”), under the direction of a priestess who inherited her role, attended by a college of eunuch priests called “Megabyzoi” and also by young virgins (korai).

File:Fontana di Diana Efesina-Tivoli, Villa d'Este.jpg

Traditional many-breasted interpretation in a 16th-century fountain of Diana EfesinaVilla d’Este

The “eggs” or “breasts” of the Lady of Ephesus, it now appears, must be the iconographic descendants of the amber gourd-shaped drops, elliptical in cross-section and drilled for hanging, that were rediscovered in the excavations of 1987-88; they remained in situ where the ancient wooden cult figure of the Lady of Ephesus had been caught by an 8th-century flood (see History below). This form of breast-jewelry, then, had already been developed by the Geometric Period. A hypothesis offered by Gerard Seiterle, that the objects in Classical representations represented bulls’ scrotal sacs cannot be maintained.

A votive inscription mentioned by Florence Mary Bennett, which dates probably from about the 3rd century BC, associates Ephesian Artemis with Crete: “To the Healer of diseases, to Apollo, Giver of Light to mortals, Eutyches has set up in votive offering [a statue of] the Cretan Lady of Ephesus, the Light-Bearer.”

The Greek habits of syncretism assimilated all foreign gods under some form of the Olympian pantheon familiar to them— in interpretatio graeca— and it is clear that at Ephesus, the identification with Artemis that the Ionian settlers made of the “Lady of Ephesus” was slender. The Christian approach was at variance with the tolerant syncretistic approach of pagans to gods who were not theirs. A Christian inscription at Ephesus suggests why so little remains at the site:

“Destroying the delusive image of the demon Artemis, Demeas has erected this symbol of Truth, the God that drives away idols, and the Cross of priests, deathless and victorious sign of Christ.”

File:Artemis Efes Museum.JPG

The Lady of Ephesus, 1st century AD (Ephesus Archaeological Museum)

The assertion that the Ephesians thought that their cult image had fallen from the sky, though it was a familiar origin-myth at other sites, is only known at Ephesus from Acts 19:35:

“What man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter?”

Lynn LiDonnici observes that modern scholars are likely to be more concerned with origins of the Lady of Ephesus and her iconology than her adherents were at any point in time, and are prone to creating a synthetic account of the Lady of Ephesus by drawing together documentation that ranges over more than a millennium in its origins, creating a falsified, unitary picture, as of an unchanging icon.



Colossus of Rhodes

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

Colossus of Rhodes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and others. Rhodos Rodos Map
Drawing of Colossus of Rhodes, illustrated in the Grolier Society’s 1911 Book of Knowledge..
The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek Titan Helios, erected in the city ofRhodes on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos between 292 and 280 BC. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over the ruler of Cyprus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who unsuccessfully besieged Rhodes in 305 BC. Before its destruction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 meters (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.

Siege of Rhodes

Main article: Siege of Rhodes
File:Colossus of Rhodes.jpg
Colossus of Rhodes, imagined in a 16th-century engraving by Martin Heemskerck, part of his series of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Alexander the Great died at the early age of 32 in 323 BC without having had time to put into place any plans for his succession. Fighting broke out among his generals, the Diadochi, with four of them eventually dividing up much of his empire in the Mediterranean area. During the fighting, Rhodes had sided with Ptolemy, and when Ptolemy eventually took control of Egypt, Rhodes and Ptolemaic Egypt formed an alliance which controlled much of the trade in the eastern Mediterranean.

Antigonus I Monophthalmus was upset by this turn of events. In 305 BC he had his sonDemetrius Poliorcetes, also a general, invade Rhodes with an army of 40,000; however, the city was well defended, and Demetrius—whose name “Poliorcetes” signifies the “besieger of cities”—had to start construction of a number of massive siege towers in order to gain access to the walls. The first was mounted on six ships, but these capsized in a storm before they could be used. He tried again with a larger, land-based tower named Helepolis, but the Rhodian defenders stopped this by flooding the land in front of the walls so that the rolling tower could not move.

Stamp with image of Colossus of Rhodes

Stamp with image of Colossus of Rhodes

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In 304 BC a relief force of ships sent by Ptolemy arrived, and Demetrius’s army abandoned the siege, leaving most of their siege equipment. To celebrate their victory, the Rhodians sold the equipment left behind for 300 talentsand decided to use the money to build a colossal statue of their patron god, Helios. Construction was left to the direction of Chares, a native of Lindos in Rhodes, who had been involved with large-scale statues before. His teacher, the sculptor Lysippos, had constructed a 22 meter (70 ft) high bronze statue of Zeus at Tarentum.


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Ancient accounts, which differ to some degree, describe the structure as being built with iron tie bars to which brass plates were fixed to form the skin. The interior of the structure, which stood on a 15-meter- (50-foot-) high white marble pedestal near the Mandraki harbor entrance, was then filled with stone blocks as construction progressed.Other sources place the Colossus on a breakwater in the harbor. The statue itself was over 30 meters (107 ft) tall. Much of the iron and bronze was reforged from the various weapons Demetrius’s army left behind, and the abandoned second siege tower was used for scaffolding around the lower levels during construction. Upper portions were built with the use of a large earthen ramp. During the building, workers would pile mounds of dirt on the sides of the colossus. Upon completion all of the dirt was removed and the colossus was left to stand alone. After twelve years, in 280 BC, the statue was completed. Preserved in Greek anthologies of poetry is what is believed to be the genuine dedication text for the Colossus.

To you, o Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus, when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom and independence. For to the descendants of Herakles belongs dominion over sea and land.

Possible construction method

Modern engineers have put forward a plausible hypothesis for the statue construction, based on the technology of those days (which was not based on the modern principles of earthquake engineering), and the accounts of Philo and Pliny who both saw and described the remains.

The base pedestal was at least 60 feet (18 m) in diameter and either circular or octagonal. The feet were carved in stone and covered with thin bronze plates riveted together. Eight forged iron bars set in a radiating horizontal position formed the ankles and turned up to follow the lines of the legs while becoming progressively smaller. Individually cast curved bronze plates 60 inches (1,500 mm) square with turned in edges were joined together by rivets through holes formed during casting to form a series of rings. The lower plates were 1-inch (25 mm) in thickness to the knee and 3/4 inch thick from knee to abdomen, while the upper plates were 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick except where additional strength was required at joints such as the shoulder, neck, etc. The legs would need to be filled at least to the knees with stones for stability. Accounts described earthen mounds used to aid construction; however, to reach the top of the statue would have required a mound 300 feet (91 m) in diameter, which exceeded the available land area, so modern engineers have proposed that the abandoned siege towers stripped down would have made efficient scaffolding.

Oil painting on canvass by Salvador Dali

Oil painting on canvass by Salvador Dali

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A computer simulation of this construction indicated that an earthquake would have caused a cascading failure of the rivets, causing the statue to break up at the joints while still standing instead of breaking after falling to the ground, as described in second hand accounts. The arms would have been first to separate, followed by the legs. The knees were less likely to break and the ankles’ survival would have depended on the quality of the workmanship.


Further information: 226 BC Rhodes earthquake

The statue stood for 56 years until Rhodes was hit by the 226 BC Rhodes earthquake, when significant damage was also done to large portions of the city, including the harbor and commercial buildings, which were destroyed. The statue snapped at the knees and fell over on to the land. Ptolemy III offered to pay for the reconstruction of the statue, but the oracle of Delphi made the Rhodians afraid that they had offended Helios, and they declined to rebuild it.

The Greek geographer Strabo in a 16th century engraving

The remains lay on the ground as described by Strabo (xiv.2.5) for over 800 years, and even broken, they were so impressive that many traveled to see them. Pliny the Elder remarked that few people could wrap their arms around the fallen thumb and that each of its fingers was larger than most statues.

Pliny the Elder or Gaius Plinius Secundus

Pliny the Elder: an imaginative 19th century portrait. No contemporary depiction of Pliny has survived.
Born 23 AD
Died August 25, 79 (aged 55–56)
Stabiae, near Pompei, Italy
Cause of death Died in the eruption that destroyed Pompeii
Body discovered By friends, under the pumice
Residence Rome, provincial locations, Misenum
Citizenship Roman
Education Rhetoric, grammar
Occupation Lawyer, author, natural philosopher,military commander,provincial governor
Notable works Natural History
Weight Corpulent in later life
Spouse None
Children None
Parents Celer and Marcella
Relatives Sister (Plinia),nephew (Pliny the Younger)

In 654, an Arab force under Muslim caliph Muawiyah I captured Rhodes, and according to the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, the remains were sold to a “Jewish merchant of Edessa“. The buyer had the statue broken down, and transported the bronze scrap on the backs of 900 camels to his home. Theophanes is the sole source of this story to which all other sources can be traced. The stereotypical Arab destruction and the purported sale to a Jew possibly originated as a powerful metaphor for Nebuchadnezzar‘s dream of the destruction of a great and awesome statue, and would have been understood by any 7th century monk as evidence for the coming apocalypse.[10] The same story is recorded by Barhebraeus, writing in Syriac in the 13th century in Edessa (see E.A. Wallis Budge, The Chronography of Gregory Abu’l-Faraj, vol I, p. 98, APA – Philo Press, Amsterdam, 1932): (After the Arab pillage of Rhodes) “And a great number of men hauled on strong ropes which were tied round the brass Colossus which was in the city and pulled it down. And they weighed from it three thousand loads of Corinthian brass, and they sold it to a certain Jew from Emesa” (the Syrian city of Homs).


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The Colossus of Rhodes depicted in 1880.

The harbor-straddling Colossus was a figment of medieval imaginations based on the dedication text’s mention of “over land and sea” twice. Many older illustrations (above) show the statue with one foot on either side of the harbor mouth with ships passing under it: “…the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land…” (“The New Colossus“, a poem engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty in 1903). Shakespeare’s Cassius in Julius Caesar(I,ii,136–38) says of Caesar:

Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves

Shakespeare alludes to the Colossus also in Troilus and Cressida (V.5) and in Henry IV, Part 1 (V.1).

While these fanciful images feed the misconception, the mechanics of the situation reveal that the Colossus could not have straddled the harbor as described in Lemprière‘s Classical Dictionary. If the completed statue straddled the harbor, the entire mouth of the harbor would have been effectively closed during the entirety of the construction; nor would the ancient Rhodians have had the means to dredge and re-open the harbor after construction. The statue fell in 224 BC: if it straddled the harbor mouth, it would have entirely blocked the harbor. Also, since the ancients would not have had the ability to remove the entire statue from the harbor, it would not have remained visible on land for the next 800 years, as discussed above. Even neglecting these objections, the statue was made of bronze, and an engineering analysis proved that it could not have been built with its legs apart without collapsing from its own weight. Many researchers have considered alternate positions for the statue which would have made it more feasible for actual construction by the ancients.

Location of the ruins

Media reports in 1989 initially suggested that large stones found on the seabed off the coast of Rhodes might have been the remains of the Colossus; however this theory was later shown to be without merit.

Another theory published in an article in 2008 by Ursula Vedder suggests that the Colossus was never in the port, but rather was part of theAcropolis of Rhodes, on a hill today named Monte Smith, which overlooks the port area. The temple on top of Monte Smith has traditionally thought to have been devoted to Apollo, but according to Vedder, it would have been a Helios sanctuary. The enormous stone foundations at the temple site, the function of which is not definitively known by modern scholars, are proposed by Vedder to have been the supporting platform of the Colossus.

Rhodes Harbour today

Statue of Liberty

The design, posture and dimensions of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor are based on what the Colossus was thought by engineers in the late 19th century to have looked like. There is a famous reference to the Colossus in the sonnet “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, written in 1883 and inscribed on a plaque located inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


There has been much debate as to whether to rebuild the Colossus. Those in favor say it would boost tourism in Rhodes greatly, but those against construction say it would cost too large an amount (over 100 million euro). This idea has been revived many times since it was first proposed in 1970 but, due to lack of funding, work has not yet started.

In November 2008, it was announced that the Colossus of Rhodes was to be rebuilt. According to Dimitris Koutoulas, who is heading the project in Greece, rather than reproducing the original Colossus, the new structure will be a, “highly, highly innovative light sculpture, one that will stand between 60 and 100 metres tall so that people can physically enter it.” The project is expected to cost up to €200m which will be provided by international donors and the German artist Gert Hof. The new Colossus will adorn an outer pier in the harbour area of Rhodes, where it will be visible to passing ships. Koutoulas said, “Although we are still at the drawing board stage, Gert Hof’s plan is to make it the world’s largest light installation, a structure that has never before been seen in any place of the world.”


Cities That Have Vanished


Cities That Have Vanished

By Colleen Kane,
November 23, 2011

The story of the ruined city of Pompeii is one of the best-known examples of a city that suddenly ceased to exist. One moment it was a thriving metropolis, then an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 buried the city in volcanic ash. It was accidentally rediscovered in 1749 and excavated, revealing a time capsule of city life during the era of the Roman Empire.

It’s not just ancient cities that vanish, however. The following collection includes a city that disappeared just this past August. Even as the seven billion residents of Earth begin to run out of physical space to populate, there are virtual places to be abandoned – former online frontiers such as Geocities: The Deleted City.

There are many different ways a city can disappear: It can fall victim to catastrophe, become submerged by rising water or simply be zoned out of existence. In some cases, no one knows why a once-thriving city was wiped off the map.

Here are five of the most fascinating vanished cities, located across the globe:

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia, Penn., a former coal-mining town, became a victim of toxic conditions – it’s nearly empty.
Photo: Derik Moore


In 1962, a fire ignited underneath the anthracite coal-mining town of Centralia, Pa., which still burns to this day across 400 subterranean acres. This became problematic for the residents of Centralia, particularly in 1979 when the mayor/local gas station owner noticed the temperature of the gas in his underground tank had reached 172 degrees Fahrenheit. If that wasn’t enough impetus to leave town, in 1982 a 12-year-old boy fell into a 150-foot deep sinkhole that opened beneath him in his backyard. He was rescued and survived, but the steam billowing from the hole contained a lethal amount of carbon monoxide.

Congress voted to issue funds to residents for relocation, but today a few stubborn holdouts still live in Centralia. All that remains of the town are a few houses, structures and trailers, graveyards, some benches for a bus that never comes and great mounds of bulldozed buildings. State Route 61 has been rerouted because the old section, pictured here, is split and emitting smoke. Author Bill Bryson visited Centralia in the book “A Walk in the Woods,” and the abandoned town inspired the setting for the videogame and movie “Silent Hill.”

Reschensee, Italy

The advent of a lake in 1950 put Reschensee, Italy, with its 14th century church, underwater.
Photo: Adrian Michael | Creative Commons

Many lakes and reservoirs hide the remains of forgotten settlements underwater, but rarely is there as obvious a reminder as the bell tower of the 14th century church at Reschensee, or Lake Reschen, in South Tyrol, Italy. A total of 1,290 acres of land was submerged to form the lake in 1950, obliterating the villages of Graun, part of Reschen, and others.

If the example of Lake Reschen dredges up memories of other submerged settlements, it’s to be expected. Underwater towns are so common, they even have their own sub-genre in crime novels: Reservoir Noir.

Ruddock, Wagram and Frenier, Louisiana

Ruddock, Wagram and Frenier, LA were destroyed by a hurricane in 1915.

Three small towns in Louisiana comprised mostly of German immigrant cabbage farmers used to exist by the southwest edge of Lake Pontchartrain. The train delivered their groceries and the towns were so sleepy that the name of Wagram was renamed Napton. As is often the case on the Gulf Coast, however, all that changed with a hurricane. The towns’ legacy takes on a voodoo twist with the legend that their destruction was foretold. A resident named Julia Brown used to sit on her porch and sing about how when she died, she’d take everyone with her. Brown died just before the town was hit by a category 4 hurricane on Sept. 29, 1915. The townspeople were holding her funeral when the hurricane hit. The story goes that Brown’s coffin floated out into the swamp, and the three towns were destroyed in the storm.

Very little is left today, and most of it is underwater. Frenier, pictured here, is a slight blip on the map at the edge of the lake, and an old graveyard remains above water at the site of a Native American burial mound. Local Sheriff Wayne Norwood established a private museum of artifacts from the towns, which he finds when diving.

Famagusta, Cyprus

Famagusta, Cyprus never was allowed to recover once Greek Cypriot residents were evacuated following a 1975 Turkish invasion.
Photo: Julienbzh35 | Creative Commons

In the late 1960s, Famagusta, Cyprus, was a booming island tourist destination and a port city with an estimated population of 60,000 that rose to as much as 100,000 in the high season. The 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus caused a citywide evacuation, and the Greek Cypriot residents were never allowed to return. Ever since, the city of Famagusta has stood abandoned and fenced off from the rest of the island.

Famagusta is now a post-apocalyptic time capsule: Everything was left in the shops, department stores and hotels. It’s a rare example of undisturbed decay, which made it a useful model to discuss in the book “The World Without Us.” Because of development pressures, it’s unclear how long Famagusta will remain as is. The city was named on the World Monuments Fund’s “Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World” in 2008 and is one of the Global Heritage Fund’s 2010 list of a dozen sites “on the verge of vanishing.”

Chaohu and other Chinese Cities

Without notice, Chaohu, China was “cancelled” by China and divided into 3 parcels.
Photo: ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

On Aug. 22, China’s Anhui province announced the city of Chaohu was “cancelled.” That is, the buildings, infrastructure and inhabitants remained where they were on Aug. 21, but the city formerly known as Chaohu had been divided into three parts and parceled off into the nearby cities of Hefei, Wuhu and Ma’anshan. This came as rather a surprise to the residents because, as NPR noted , there had been no consultation with Chaohu’s residents and no official notice of the change. This redistribution has made the city of Hefei, now including Chao Lake, the largest by area in China.

Other cities that vanished in China include the stunning submerged ruins of the ancient Lion City, which was flooded in the 1950s. It still contains intact relics that would have been destroyed in the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976, when Chairman Mao Zedong sought to eradicate capitalist, traditional and cultural elements, had the town remained above water.

Also in China, the controversial Three Gorges Dam Project created a 370 mile-long lake that submerged more than 1,000 villages, towns, and cities, forcing more than one million people to relocate. Experts estimated that 1,300 sites of cultural and archeological importance were submerged.

Pripyat, Ukraine

The city of Pripyat, Ukraine, once had a population around 50,000, many of whom were employed at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Unfortunately, Pripyat’s proximity to the plant led to its downfall. In the days following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the entire populace fled fatal-level radiation. Residents were told the evacuation was temporary.

Twenty-five years later, now that radiation levels have decreased, tours are legal in the “Zone of Alienation.” Visitors will observe nature reclaiming the leaking buildings, with each spring flooding the buildings with melting snow. The school collapsed in 2005. Pripyat was featured in the latest “Transformers” film, and gamers will recognize the city’s rusting Ferris Wheel and other landmarks from the “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” and the “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.” videogame series.

Hashima, Japan

Hashima, Japan, otherwise known as Battleship Island and Ghost Island, is located in the Nagasaki Prefecture among more than 500 other uninhabited islands. From 1887 through 1974 it was a coal mining facility. At its most populous in 1959 there were 5,259 residents.

Coal usage giving way to the rise of petroleum use caused the facility to close in 1974, and the island has been abandoned ever since. Some buildings have collapsed, but a safer part of the island has been open to tourists since 2009. This example of industrial history has been suggested as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Roanoke Colony, North Carolina

Roanoke Colony was a colonial settlement on Roanoke Island off the coast of present-day North Carolina, which was spearheaded by Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1590, following a three-year break in contact with the settlers, Governor John White returned to Roanoke Island from England. The buildings of the settlement and all 100-plus settlers had vanished. The only clues were the word “Croatoan,” carved into a post, and “Cro” carved into a tree.

Numerous theories have been floated regarding the fate of “The Lost Colony,” including integration with the local tribes, or that the colonists perished at sea or at the hands of cannibalistic tribes or the Spanish.The Lost Colony DNA Project is underway by the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research in Williamsburg, Va., with hopes of finding descendants of lost colonists who survived.

Old Adaminaby, Australia

In 1957, the remote farming town of Adaminaby, Australia (pop. 700), had to make way for the manmade Lake Eucumbene and the hydro-electric power it would provide. Some houses were moved nearby to form the new town of Adaminaby, and some structures were drowned. The relocation wasn’t exactly welcomed, and only about 250 people resettled in the new town.

In 2007, as Australia suffered from a crippling nationwide drought and the waterline of Lake Eucumbene receded, the remains of Old Adaminaby began reappearing . For the first time in 50 years, parts of the town reemerged, including dead trees lined up along invisible streets covered by cracked mud, building foundations and the Old Six Mile Bridge.

Bodie, California

One of the more famous of the ghost towns of the American West, Bodie is a National Historic Landmark and a California state historic park. It began as a gold mining camp, until the miners moved on to more lucrative locales. The population began to decline around 1912, and it was already being called a ghost town by 1915, although there were still some residents in the 1940s.

The town gained landmark and park status in 1961 and 1962 respectively, with goods still on the store shelves. It began embodying the concept of “arrested decay” — structures are maintained as far as preventing leaks and such, but only enough so they remain standing. True to its ghost town status, Bodie is also said to be haunted.


Serjilla, Syria

The onetime farming town of Serjilla, Syria, is about 1,500 years old. Unlike so many of the other cities on this list, Serjilla did not fall victim to natural disaster or become submerged. The city most likely died a natural death of depopulation as trade routes shifted.

The country has about 800 of these ruined 5 thcentury villages, known as the Dead Cities of Syria. They were humble locales producing olives, olive oil, grapes, wine and wheat. Serjilla is one of the better-preserved examples, featuring a church and an olive press.

The 10 Emptiest US Cities :

Photos : Getty Images

The 10 Most Vacant Cities

It’s no secret that the U.S. housing market has seen better days. From falling home values and impaired labor mobility, to backed-up inventories and a flood of foreclosures, there are countless ways that real estate affects the economy at large.

One of the unfortunate results of a bad housing market is an increase in vacant homes, which has grown by 43.8 percent since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Homes can be vacant for a number of reasons, but are defined as both rental inventory that are unoccupied and “for rent,” as well as homes that are unoccupied and up for sale. As of the 2010 Census, there were approximately 15 million vacant housing units in the country, with an 11.4 percent gross vacancy rate nationwide.

Much like the range of diversity in home values from city to city, homeowner and rental vacancy rates vary dramatically depending on where you live. Every quarter, the Censuspublishes data on homeowner and rental vacancies in the 75 largest U.S. cities that reveal which metro areas have the highest number of empty homes. The cities listed here are ranked by according to equal-weighted rankings in both rental and homeowner vacancies, which reveal the most significant outliers in both categories relative to other major U.S. cities.

10. Kansas City, Missouri

Rental vacancy rate: 11%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 3.7%

Although the Kansas City, Mo., metropolitan area has seen rental vacancy rates drop significantly — from 17.2 percent in the second quarter of 2010 — homeowner vacancies have gone up by nearly 30 percent over the same time. Interestingly, homeowner vacancies were higher in Kansas City prior to the housing crisis, hitting 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2007.

9. Houston, Texas

Rental vacancy rate: 17.4%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 2.3%

Houston is home to the country’s second-highest rate of rental vacancies at a staggering 17.4 percent. The rate has been relatively high in the past three years, however, and has fluctuated between 18.6 percent and 13.1 percent over that time. Homeowner vacancies in the city have fared much better, currently below 2010 levels and down from the first quarter of 2011.

8. Detroit, Michigan

Rental vacancy rate: 17.2%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 2.4%

Detroit has been one of the hardest-hit cities of the recession, and remains in a poor position, with an unemployment rate at 12.9 percent. Detroit also has a 17.2 percent rental vacancy rate, the third highest in the country, but the homeowner vacancy rate is down by nearly half from 2008.

7. Dayton, Ohio

Rental vacancy rate: 10.7%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 4.7%

The homeowner vacancy rate in Dayton, Ohio, is the highest it’s been since the first quarter of 2009, when it stood at 5.6 percent. Although homeowner vacancies are at a high, rental vacancies have been down dramatically, falling from an all-time high of 26.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the Census Bureau.

6. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Rental vacancy rate: 13%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 3.9%

Although Baton Rouge, La., doesn’t have some of the most extreme vacancy rates in the country, the proportion of the city’s empty homes are relatively high for both rentals and owned homes. With rental vacancies at 13 percent, Baton Rouge is the 12th emptiest city in that category, while its 3.9 percent homeowner vacancy rate ranks it 11th among major cities.

5. Atlanta, Georgia

Rental vacancy rate: 11.8%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 5.4%

Atlanta’s homeowner vacancy rate is the fourth highest among other major U.S. cities, standing at 5.4 percent. The rate has been rising since early 2010, when it stood at just 2 percent. Rental vacancies have been much worse for Atlanta — in 2010, the rental vacancy rate never dipped below 13 percent and was as high as 14.9 percent at the beginning of the year.

4. Memphis, Tennessee

Rental vacancy rate: 13.5%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 4.0%

For both rentals and owned homes in Memphis, the proportion of vacant homes is high compared to most other major U.S. cities. With a rental vacancy rate of 13.5 percent, the city is the 11th highest in the nation, while the 4 percent homeowner vacancy rate ranks the city ninth.


3. Toledo, Ohio

Rental vacancy rate: 19.3%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 3.6%

Of the 75 largest cities in the U.S., Toledo, Ohio, has the highest rate for rental vacancies at 19.3 percent, although in the third quarter of 2010 the rate was much higher, at 24.1 percent. Toledo also has a high proportion of empty homes, at 3.6 percent, which ranks it 17th among major U.S. cities.

2. Indianapolis, Indiana

Rental vacancy rate: 13.5%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 5.2%

The capital of Indiana is also one of the emptiest major cities in the country

, according to data from the Census Bureau. The 5.2 percent home vacancy

rate in Indianapolis ranks it fifth in the country, while the 13.5 percent rental

vacancy rate places it 10th. With these levels, the city is more vacant

than nearly every other major U.S. metro area.

1. Tucson, Arizona

Rental vacancy rate: 15.9%
Homeowner vacancy rate: 6.8%

The emptiest city in the U.S. is the second largest city in Arizona: Tucson.

With rental vacancies at 15.9 percent, the city is seventh most vacant among

major cities, while the 6.8 percent homeowner vacancy rate is the highest in

the country as of the second quarter of 2011.