Friday, July 13, 2007

Seven Wonders of the World Lighthouse of Alexandria

Lighthouse of Alexandria by German archaeologist Prof. H. ThierschA drawing of the lighthouse by German archaeologist Prof. H. Thiersch (1909), later used as an illustration in The House of Ptolemy by E. R. Bevan published by Methuen Publishing, London, 1927. Some of which is quoted below. High Resolution Image
"On the island of Pharos, the famous lighthouse, reckoned one of the wonders of the world, was built by the architect Sostratus of Cnidos, begun, no doubt, under Ptolemy I and finished early in the reign of Ptolemy II. "The material used in its construction was chiefly nummulitic limestone. The sculptural decoration as well as other accessory ornamentation was partly in marble and partly in bronze. The innumerable columns were for the most part of Aswan granite.

The lantern was formed of eight columns, surmounted by a cupola above which was raised a bronze statue (probably of Poseidon) about seven metres high. The flame was obtained by burning resinous wood. It is believed that convex mirrors made of metal were used to give a longer p96range to the light."31 This huge building has perished so utterly that we can now guess what it looked like only by incidental inscriptions in ancient books, by coins, and by the analogy of ancient remains in other places. Putting all the available material together, Professor Thiersch has made a conjectural restoration of it, which is reproduced on page 95.

The dedicatory inscription ran "Sostratus son Dexiphanes of Cnidos to the Saviour Gods on behalf of sea-farers." It is questionable who are meant by the "Saviour Gods" (Sot─ôres Theoi). That was the way in which Ptolemy I and Berenice were described officially after their deification, and one would naturally suppose that in a work of this kind, done by the king's order at Alexandria, Ptolemy I and Berenice were meant. On the other hand, "Saviour Gods" was also the way in which Castor and Pollux, the special gods of sailors, were regularly described, and it may be that the dedication was inscribed on the lighthouse before the official deification of Ptolemy I and Berenice. It may be again that there was an ambiguity which was intentional.

It is certainly remarkable that the architect was allowed by the king to dedicate a work of this kind in his own name. A story was afterwards invented to account for the dedication. Sostratus, it was said, had covered his own name (sunk, like the rest of the inscription, into the stone in huge letters of lead) with a thin layer of plaster, which looked like the stone, and had inscribed on this plaster the name of Ptolemy. He had counted on the plaster scaling off after his death." The House of Ptolemy by E. R. Bevan
Seven Wonders of the World Lighthouse of Alexandria by Martin HeemskerckA fanciful 16th century interpretation is depicted in this hand-coloured engraving of the Pharos by Martin Heemskerck.
These images are a faithful reproduction of two-dimensional works of art and thus not copyrightable in themselves in the U.S. as per Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.; the same is also true in many other countries, including Germany.The original two-dimensional works shown in these images are free content because: These images (or other media files) are in the public domain because their copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 are now in the public domain. and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.

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