Episode 1 Artemis, Mausoleum and Zeus – Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, The first cranes were used to construct the world’s largest marble temple. It was supported by a forest of fluted columns, 60 feet high. How were the ancients able to achieve such detail while working on an such enormous scale? Using simple techniques they overcame the most difficult problems. Solid marble lintels weighing 40 tons were lowered with hair’s breath precision. The wealthiest city in Asia Minor and the largest port in the agean. Artemis was a mother goddess. King Croesus financed the building of a temple in B.C. Chersiphron was the architect chosen to build it. Ensuring a supply of enormous blocks of marble was a big challenge. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – The influence of Greek art and architecture spread into Persia, the enemy of Greece. At the western tip of the Persian empire lay the once great city of Halicarnassus. At first it appears an unlikely site for a world wonder, but in the 4th century B.C. this was the capital of a powerful sea empire. The most extraordinary building every constructed, it stood the height of a 14 story building, and was covered with statues it has left the word mausoleum. Its style has been copied all over the world from Washington D.C. to the shrine of remembrance in Melbourne, Australia. Statue of Zeus at Olympia – An ingenious technique was used to create the finest sculpture of all time, the giant statue of Zeus, lifelike in every detail. How was it possible to create a statue of ivory taller than a 4 story building? The sculpture who created it used a secret recipe to shape the ivory. But how did he achieve such realism? The originality of it’s design has inspired artists and sculptors to copy it throughout the centuries.
Episode 2 Pyramid, Gardens, Rhodes and Lighthouse – Great Pyramid of Giza – The rough appearance of the great pyramid masks the precision of its construction. It’s limestone casing was stripped away centuries ago to rebuild Cairo, but the pyramid remains the most accurately built stone structure on earth. It covers 13 acres the equivalent of 9 football fields, yet each of it’s side is accurate to within inches. The ancient Egyptians set out the base like a compass. With only geometry and rope to help them it is baffling how they created a perfect square. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon – Built high above ground displaying their color in a middle of a desert. Exotic and mysterious they have enchanted through the ages, standing upon an arid plain how were the Babylonians able to conceive them. The ancient gardeners had a great knowledge of horticulture but what plants were they able to grow in the hanging gardens? The hanging gardens adorned the most spectacular city on earth, Babylon. Although the royal gardens were constructed 2000 years after the Great Pyramid they have vanished without trace. Fragments of the ancient city survives, but the hanging gardens have been lost forever. Some scholars doubt whether they could have existed at all. How was it possible to built terrace gardens in an area without building stone? Collosus of Rhodes, The balance of power in the middle east would change and with it the fortunes of babylon. Babylon would be conquered by Alexander the Great who incorporated into the Greek empire. After his death in 323 B.C. the empire was divided up amongst his generals. The Island of Rhodes was attacked by Antigones of Asia Minor for allying with Ptolemy of Egypt and defeated him. Against all odds the Rhodians defeated Antigones and his huge fleet and celebrated by building a giant bronze statue of their savior, the sun god Helios. Lighthouse of Alexandria – The last of the seven ancient wonders was built in Alexandria. The city was the worlds first metropolis and its world wonder the first skyscraper. Known as the Pharos, it was a lighthouse standing over 400 feet high. Lighthouses had been built around the mediteranean from as early as the 7th century B.C. But the pharos was more than a beacon it had another function. It expresses the power, control and prestige of the Ptolemic dynasty. The Pharos, a lighthouse, was the world’s first skyscraper standing over 400 feet high. How were the ancients able to build so high without modern equipment? The Pharos blasted it’s golden light 50 miles out to sea. What mechanism could cast a beam so far? For centuries the secrets of its construction lay hidden beneath the sea, now a marine archeologist and his team are recovering its remains from the sea floor to discover how the pharos once stood.