The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and some modern structures they may have inspired.

Statue of Liberty

I crawl like an ant in mourning
Over the weedy acres of your brow
To mend the immense skull-plates and clear
The bald, white tumuli of your eyes.
– Sylvia Plath “Colossus” 1959

From what I have seen, for at least the past 500 years songs, films, plays, novels, poems, oil paintings, and monuments reflect the Sun. In all likelihood, it is the continuation of a much older tradition.

As the Western Roman Empire fell (313-376 AD), and Europe entered the so-called “Dark Ages,” literacy became a distinguishing mark of the elite. For those who didn’t obtain a formal education, weights and measures may have provided another type of literacy; a language that apprentice stonemasons would have learned and understood whether or not they could read written words. You don’t need to be able to read to learn and understand a symbolic or mathematical language, especially if you have a deck of cards which can serve as a symbolic key.
Marseille Tarot 17th century deck

stonemasonry, freemasonry, art, and business

Stonemasonry links to Freemasonry are often described as “indirect” or “debatable,” and the modern masonic group called Knights Templar (formed 1737) is usually said to be “unrelated” to medieval warriors who were called Knights Templar. But from everything I’ve seen, these so-called “indirect” links are not so indirect, and the so called “unrelated” groups are not so unrelated.

Remember how The Beatles’ original formation was called “The Quarrymen”? John, Paul, and George were not actual quarrymen; the name was a reference to stonemasonry and the Sun sacrifice (Sun as heavy, Sun as stone). Their second name Silver Beatles, and final name, Beatles, are also Sun references: Sun as metal, Sun as silver, Sun as drummer, Sun as insect, and Sun as “bugged.” And the ever-present masturbation entendre. So it looks to me like the Sun sacrifice is a direct link between stonemasonry, freemasonry, business, finance, and art.

The Beatles 1969
The Beatles 1969 with a Rolls Royce (features a “winged victory” Nike goddess hood ornament) in front, and a wood pile in back.

Artists need to be financed in order to survive, and in order to be known, they need the media: radio, television, and newspapers. Mass communications media is supported by advertisements, including “native” advertising, sponsorships, and product placement. Communications organizations and their advertisers are financed and overseen by investors: therefore, artists, art, and financiers are intimately connected. This is the most obvious contemporary link between art and commerce, and clearly, it is a strong one.

Stonemasonry and Freemasonry also provide another clue about the importance of the numbers 3 and 7. I have read that ancient stonemasons required a seven year apprenticeship, while modern stonemasons require a three year apprenticeship. Similarly, though there are different types of masonic lodges, there always seem to be three levels of initiation.

It’s clear that the group behind the Game considers itself to be intellectually, culturally, and financially elite. They are elite because they are connected to all who are financially and politically powerful, and they are elite because behind some of this power lies guarded secrets. There are obviously rules to the Game, but I don’t know who knows them. There is clearly a strong strong sense of tradition which leans heavily on the idea of a classical education, with an emphasis on the Western canon and its reflection of Roman, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Egyptian culture, art, literature, and architecture.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Pyramid at Giza and SphinxWhen I went to school in the 1970s, one element of the canon that every schoolchild had to learn about was The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I believe that these Seven Wonders are woven into the Game, and that certain newer monuments reflect them, just as the Moon reflects the Sun.

All but one of these “wonders” is gone or ruined, surviving only through ancient texts, more recent conjectures, or images cast into ancient coins.
Ancient Coin: Zeus at Olympia
The coin connection is the first connection between the Seven Wonders, the Sun, and the Game, since many types of modern currency – at least United States currency – symbolically evoke relationships in the Game.

These Seven Wonders are: The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the The Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Recently, the Republic of Palau put illustrations of the Seven Wonders on contemporary coins. I’ve used those coins to illustrate this article (clicking on the thumbnail will bring up a larger image).

Following is a brief description of each “wonder” and some connections – you might even say “twins” – that I have noticed:

1. Palau coin: The Pyramids of GizaThe Great Pyramid of Giza. Twin: Washington Monument. Built 2584-2561 AD in Egypt, at 4,500 years old, the Great Pyramid is the oldest of the Ancient Wonders, and the only one still standing.

To give some perspective to that time frame, the Great Pyramid has been around for less than half the amount of time that my daughter’s tribes, the Yurok and Karuk have had a continuous civilization on the banks of the Klamath River in northwest California (based on radio carbon dating of fire pits). So the Great Pyramid is still pretty young.

The Great Pyramid is reflected by the pyramid atop the Washington Monument, and of course, by the pyramid on the American dollar bill.

Palau coin: Hanging Gardens of Babylon2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Twin: The Sun King. Constructed around 600 BC, the location of the Hanging Gardens has never been definitively identified, but they were probably located in present day Iraq. No one knows what they were like, exactly, but the idea of “hanging” is elemental to the Sun sacrifice (the Sun as Hanged Man); as is the idea of “gardens” in that they provide food, flowers, etc, and the Sun is seen as a “plant” or “fruit.”

Palau coin: The Temple of Artemis3. The Temple of Artemis/Diana at Ephesus; Father: Zeus/Jupiter; Twin: Apollo/The Sun King. Built in 356 BC, The Temple of Artemis was a Greek temple dedicated to the Greek deity, Artemis, equivalent of Diana, virgin goddess, goddess of childbirth, of the forest and hills, of the moon, or archery, and of the hunt. She is associated with the deer, bear, and cypress. Bears and deer are both Sun symbols, and there is a small island called Cypress Island in the San Juan archipelago in Puget Sound. Artemis is the daughter of Zeus (who lives on Mt. Olympus and is known to throw thunderbolts) and Leto, and the twin of Apollo.

Palau coin: The Statue of Zeus at Olympia4. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia. Twins: The Lincoln Memorial; Zeus statue at the Hermitage museum; Central Pacific #60 train engine “Jupiter”. The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was sculpted around 435 BC in ivory plates and gold panels over a wooden framework. Zeus’ Roman equivalent is Jupiter, which was also the name of the Central Pacific Railroad #60 coal-burning engine which carried Leland Stanford to the Golden Spike ceremony in 1869.

Central Pacific Railroad: Jupiter Engine #06

Jupiter at Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Jupiter (Hermitage Museum)
Zeus at Olympia was crowned in sculpted olive sprays, and sat on a cedarwood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold, and precious stones. The statue survived for nearly 1000 years until its loss in the 5th century. The connection to the Game is evident, first because it’s Zeus, and also because the statue was located in Olympia (the Greek Olympia), and Zeus’ mythical home is Mount Olympus (the Greek Mount Olympus).

In his right hand, Zeus held a small sculpture of Nike, goddess of Victory (Victoria being her Roman equivalent), and in his left, a septre topped with an eagle. The goddess Nike is often represented by a laurel. Laurel wreaths represent victory (for example, in the Olympic Games), and you often see them associated with the Sun. Since 1928, all Olympic medals feature a picture of Nike holding a palm frond in her right hand, and a laurel in her left hand. Similarly, the final, ceremonial railroad tie in the transcontinental railroad was made of California Bay Laurel, also commonly called Pepperwood.

There is something about the statue of Zeus which reminds me of the Lincoln memorial statue in Washington D.C. While the Lincoln memorial statue is more modern, free of goddess statues and scepters and so forth, one interesting thing about it is the position of President’s hands, feet and fingers. His right hand is placed with fingers forward and pointing down, thumb forward, and his right foot is forward, as if about to take a step. The fingers on his left hand are curved backwards, with thumb placed outside his pointer finger in a circular shape, a shape which is sometimes used to represent the Eye of Horus, except that Lincoln’s hand is mostly closed, and his thumb is covering his fingers, which are pointed backward. Lincoln’s left foot is further back than his right foot, as well. This is the opposite of Zeus/Jupiter’s stance, at least as he is represented at the Heritage.

Lincoln Memorial, Wsahington D.C.

Palau coin: The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus5. Tomb of Mausolus. Twins: The Masonic House of the Temple of the Scottish Rite, Washington DC and the Sun sacrifice. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (now in Turkey). By 1402, the Mausoleum lay in ruins. This Mausoleum was built by Mausolus wife (and sister) Artemisia after his death. (I can’t help but notice the similarity of his name to German word for “mouse” – “Maus”)

Mausolus decided to build a new capital; a city as safe from capture as it was magnificent to be seen. He chose the city of Halicarnassus. If Mausolus’ ships blocked a small channel, they could keep all enemy warships out. His workmen deepened the city’s harbor and used the dredged sand to make protecting breakwaters in front of the channel. On one side of the harbor they built a massive fortified palace for Mausolus, positioned to have clear views out to sea and inland to the hills — places from where enemies could attack.

On land, the workmen also built walls and watchtowers, a Greek–style theatre and a temple to Ares — the Greek god of war. (wikipedia)

The ever-watchful war mentality associated with this tomb reminds me of the way The Sun is surrounded, controlled, and watched as an “enemy.” Also, the Sun is said to be “dead.” (The dead live in mausoleums.)

The Masonic House of the Temple of the Scottish Rite, Washington, DC, reflects the design of the Mausoleum. It was built in the early 20th century.

Masonic Temple of Scottish Rite, Washington D.C.
Masonic Temple of Scottish Rite, Washington D.C.

Palau coin: The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus6. The Colossus of Rhodes. Twin: Statue of Liberty; The Sun King. The Colossus was a statue of Helios, the Greek Sun God. It was erected in 280 BC. and stood a mere 55 years before being destroyed in an earthquake. The Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 meters (98 feet) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.

Colossus of Rhodes

Helios was described as a handsome god crowned with the shining aureole of the Sun, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day to earth-circling Oceanus and through the world-ocean returned to the East at night. In the Homeric hymn to Helios, Helios is said to drive a golden chariot drawn by steeds (HH 31.14–15); and Pindar speaks of Helios’s “fire-darting steeds” (Olympian Ode 7.71). Still later, the horses were given fiery names: Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon.

As time passed, Helios was increasingly identified with the god of light, Apollo. However… they were also often viewed as two distinct gods (Helios was a Titan, whereas Apollo was an Olympian). The equivalent of Helios in Roman mythology was Sol, specifically Sol Invictus. (wikipedia)

Medieval imaginations envisioned the Colossus standing straddled over the harbor. He is associated with “the torch of freedom” and so is often shown holding a torch which looks like fire in a bowl. This is a connection to the Olympic torch, and possibly also to the idea of a holy grail (which is a cup). “A relief in a nearby temple shows Helios standing with one hand shielding his eyes (as if saluting).” In a sense, Helios is associated not just with the Sun King, but with fire (via his firey chariot) and with water (because he travels under water at night). The sea god, Poseidon/Neptune, is also connected to the Sun King.

Though it has been said that it would have been physically impossible for the statue have been built straddling the harbor, that stance is still the most common depiction of the Colossus, and the stance is often mirrored in media (probably for a few reasons).

The Big Lebowski - Busby Berkley bowling legs
Still from the Big Lebowski

As far as I’m concerned, the most striking thing about the Colossus of Rhodes, aside from the fact that he is associated with the Sun and with Apollo (twin of Artemis), is how much, in depictions, he looks like a male version of the Statue of Liberty.

Palau coin: Lighthouse of Alexandria7. The Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos of Alexandria). Twins: George Washington Masonic National Memorial near Washington D.C. and the Sun King. The Lighthouse of Alexandria was a tower built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 BC and was between 393 and 450 ft (120 and 137 m) tall. It was one of the tallest man-made structures on Earth for many centuries, was badly damaged by three earthquakes between 956 and 1323, then left as a ruin.

Lighthouse at Alexandria

Pharos was a small island just off the coast of the Nile Delta’s western edge. In 332 BC when Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria on an isthmus opposite to Pharos, he caused the island to be united to the coast by a mole more than three-quarters of a mile long (1260 m/4,100+ feet) called the Heptastadion (“seven stadia” — a stadium was a Greek unit of length measuring approximately 180 m). (wikipedia)

I think that the lighthouse is connected to the Sun because it is a light surrounded by water, and because it serves as a guidepost. Because even though everyone around the Sun King tends to beat him down and put him down that only disguises the truth: everyone emulates him.

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia is said to be inspired by the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The Washington Masonic Memorial is located in ALEXANDRIA, Virginia near KING street… and remember… Seattle is in KING County, Washington.

Twins, twins, twins. Everywhere twins.

George Washington Masonic National Memorial

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