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Although most people know that a list exists of the
Seven World Wonders, only few can name them. The list of the Seven
Wonders of the Ancient World was originally compiled around
the second century BC. The first reference to the idea is found
in History of Herodotus as long ago as the 5th century BC. Decades
later, Greek historians wrote about the greatest monuments at the
time. Callimachus of Cyrene (305BC-240BC), Chief Librarian of the
Alexandria Mouseion, wrote "A Collection of Wonders around
the World". All we know about the collection is its title,
for it was destroyed with the Alexandria Library.
The final list of the Seven Wonders was compiled during the Middle
Ages. The list comprised the seven most impressive monuments of
the Ancient World, some of which barely survived to the Middle Ages.
Others did not even co-exist. Among the oldest references to the
canonical list are the engravings by the Dutch artist Maerten van
Heemskerck (1498-1574), and Johann Fischer von Erlach's History
Today, archaeological evidence reveals some of the mysteries that
surrounded the history of the Wonders for centuries. For their builders,
the Seven Wonders were a celebration of religion, mythology, art,
power, and science. For us, they reflect the ability of humans to
change the surrounding landscape by building massive yet beautiful
structures, one of which stood the test of time to this very day.