Antipater of Sidon and Philo of Byzantium are the two most famous writers of travelogues credited (blamed?) with coming up with the earliest lists of the Seven Wonders of the World. Others were quick to jump into the mix and offer up their own lists, but these are the two dead old guys who tend to get mentioned most often.
The pretty-much definitive list of the Seven Wonders of the Classical/Ancient World goes as follows:
- The Colossus of Rhodes
- The Great Pyramid of Giza
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria
- The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- Zeus' Statue at Olympia
Of all of these Seven Wonders, only the Great Pyramid of Giza still stands. It'll be here to watch the rise and fall of Humanspace Empires most likely.
Right now we know of Three Interior Chambers within the Great Pyramid. A lot of people speculate that there are others, so far undiscovered. Just like the tunnels that are supposedly beneath the Sphinx. The Great Pyramid is the only one to contain both ascending and descending passageways. It has an unfinished Subterranean Chamber. The place fairly screams with potential as the site of some serious dungeoncrawling.
Would a high-powered Pharaoh-Lich build a pyramid? Probably. But they wouldn't leave the surrounding necropolis empty or deserted, would they? Imagine the pomp and ritual of competing undead dynasties carrying on their antiquated rites out in the desert. Would these dessicated potentates withdraw from ruling over the living, or would they try to preserve their power for centuries as tyrants, despots or enlightened god-kings?
|Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Dutch artist Martin Heemskerck.|
The Hanging Gardens were either a poetic fantasy that has persisted over centuries, or a truly amazing technological marvel that ought to get a lot of people to re-think the engineering capabilities of Classical Cultures from Antiquity...and what that implies for builders of pseudo-ancient dungeons. Piranesi isn't the only model we can work from, and we're rather intrigued with the idea of running a Roofcrawl through a place based off of the Hanging Gardens...
The Lighthouse of Alexandria is cool, we like lighthouses and all, but really, why wouldn't you include the Library of Alexandria in this list? Oh. It's not an architectural marvel, not a monument. Okay. Maybe it should have been, and then it might not have burned. Or not. At least the Library of Alexandria has been rebuilt.
Lighthouses like the Pharos at Alexandria deserve some consideration, especially from those who are looking to further expand the Seas of O'SR Adventure Path with loads of islands, atolls, and other hazards to navigation. What kinds and sorts of lighthouses will players encounter out upon the Seas of O'SR?
|The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, thanks to Wikimedia|
|Artemis of Ephesus|
What stuff lies beneath the older temples and cathedrals of your setting? What secrets lie beneath the marble walls of the currently active holy places within your world(s)? Have these sites switched hands like Hagia Sophia, or have they ever been re-built over their own ruins, or were they deliberately set-up to take advantage of some peculiar quirk of the prevailing ley-lines, interplanar geometries or some pre-existing site saturated with divine energies? Or were some of these temples erected over terrible things that have been shackled, chained, barred and locked away within the ecclessiastical vaults below like demonic parodies of Edmond Dantes or Barker's Rawhed Rex? Cthulhu isn't the only preternatural being with delusions of godhood wallowing about in the primordial slime.
Things could get...complicated...digging about in the basements and sub-levels of old temples...
As a bonus, with the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, you get
|Statue of Zeus at Olympos|
Zeus' Statue at Olympos had to have been truly awe-inspiring. People are still talking about it, and the thing has been destroyed for quite a long while. The thing was over 40 feet tall, making it very close in overall size to Athena's statue in Nashville. They found Phidias' workshop in the 1950s and people have recreated most of his techniques. Like iron chisels and hammers, the basic tools employed haven't really changed a whole lot. There are new tools, but the same old tools that Phidias used are still in use today. It makes one wonder what things might be like in a setting where clerically-indentured or hired sculptors are prevailed upon to build huge 40' tall mega statues of the various gods. How would Michelangelo have fared in such a trade? What would become of those artisans who botched a job, or offended the priests? Would competing sects vie for the most accurate or 'doctrinally correct' depiction of their deity? Would the gods themselves get involved?
Could get interesting...even...wonder-full.
It was one of those things that just needed to be written at the moment.
Here are a few more links to Wonders that you might find interesting or helpful in developing a few Wonders of Your Own World
- Athena in Nashville, really
- The site of the 'World's Leading Wonder Authority.'
- The Un-Museum has a page on Wonders of the World that includes a tour of the 7 sites plus a few extra.
- The Official New 7 Wonders of the World.
- The Travel Channel has some nice stuff on the Seven Wonders of the World (both old and new).
And Sanne Smit made this wonderful photo of the reconstructed Zeus at The Hermitage public domain, so you can use it too:
|You can find the file HERE|