Friday, July 29, 2011

The Road Goes Ever On



By Marten Heemskerk
This morn I awoke to a delightful discovery: I was no longer laid under by illness. "Hence," said I, "we shall journey thither, to mighty Alexandria!"  Polly and I immediately dismantled our lodging and left to seek suitable transportation.  We eventually located a camel merchant who agreed to loan us one of his mounts for the next few days, providing we agreed to leave my precious trowel behind as collateral.  I am not too proud a man to admit that I shed a few tears during our painful farewell.  Polly did not seem pleased with this arrangement, however, and kept yowling that he wanted his own camel—one with less body odor.

"Nonsense!" I replied.  "This is the smell of adventure!"

--

The city of Alexandria was rendered celebrated owing to its possession of a wonder of the ancient world—a magnificent lighthouse beyond compare. The rest of the wonders are were as follows:

I: Great Pyramid of Egypt
Constructed: 2584-2561 B.C.
Destroyed: Still Extant
Location: Giza Plateau, Egypt

II: Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Constructed: ca. 600 B.C.
Destroyed:  After 100 B.C., by earthquake
Location: Al Hillah, Iraq

III: Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Constructed: 466-456 B.C. (Temple); 435 B.C. (Statue)
Destroyed:  5th-6th centuries, by fire
Location: Olympia, Greece

IV: Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Constructed: ca. 550 B.C.
Destroyed:  356 B.C. (Herostratus, arson); again in 262 (Goths)
Location: Izmir Province, Turkey

V: Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Constructed: 351 B.C.
Destroyed: Before 1494, by flood, earthquake, and crusaders
Location: Bodrum, Turkey

VI: Colossus of Rhodes
Constructed: 292-280 B.C.
Destroyed:  226 B.C., earthquake
Location: Rhodes, Greece

VII: Lighthouse of Alexandria
Constructed: ca. 280 B.C.
Destroyed:  1303-1480, earthquake
Location: Alexandria, Egypt

* This list is the generally accepted version compiled by Antipater of Sidon in ca. 140 B.C.

Of the seven, only one of these marvels has survived into modernity, the rest having been destroyed by earthquake and fire.  Fire also consumed the renowned Library of Alexandria, another magnificent achievement of the ancient world.  Soon, we shall see what became of both the lighthouse and the library, for their stories have not yet ended.

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