Title Page


Map: The World of the Seven Wonders

I.         Prelude in Rome: The Dead Man Who Wasn’t

II.        Something to Do with Diana (The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus)

III.       The Widows of Halicarnassus (The Mausoleum)

IV.        O Tempora! O Mores! Olympiad! (The Statue of Zeus at Olympia)

V.         Interlude in Corinth: The Witch’s Curse

VI.        The Monumental Gaul (The Colossus of Rhodes)

VII.       Styx and Stones (The Walls and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon)

VIII.      The Return of the Mummy (The Great Pyramid of Egypt)

IX.        They Do It with Mirrors (The Pharos Lighthouse)

X.         Epilogue in Alexandria: The Eighth Wonder


Author’s Note: In Search of the Seven Wonders

Also by Steven Saylor

About the Author


With a favorable wind, Apollonius and his disciple Damis arrived in Rhodes. As they approached the Colossus, Damis exclaimed, “Teacher, could anything be greater than that?” To which Apollonius replied, “Yes, a man who loves wisdom in a sound and innocent spirit.”




Prelude in Rome:


“Now that you’re dead, Antipater, what do you plan to do with yourself?”

My father laughed at his own joke. He knew perfectly well what Antipater was planning to do, but he couldn’t resist a paradoxical turn of phrase. Puzzles were my father’s passion—and solving them his profession. He called himself Finder, because men hired him to find the truth.

Not surprisingly, old Antipater answered with a poem made up on the spot; for yes, the Antipater of whom I speak was the Antipater of Sidon—one of the most celebrated poets in the world, famed not only for the elegance of his verses but for the almost magical way he could produce them impromptu, as if drawn from the aether. His poem was in Greek, of course:

“I died on my birthday, so I must leave Rome.

Now your son has his birthday—is it time to leave home?”

Antipater’s question, like my father’s, was merely rhetorical. For days the old poet and I had been making preparations to leave Rome together on this day. He gave me a smile. “It does seem unfair, my boy, that your birthday should be overshadowed by my funeral.”

I resisted the urge to correct him. Despite his lingering habit of addressing me as a boy, I was in fact a man, and had been so for exactly a year, since I put on my manly toga when I turned seventeen. “What better way to celebrate my birthday, Teacher, than to set out on a journey such as most people can only dream of?”

“Well put!” Antipater squeezed my shoulder. “It’s not every young man who can look forward to seeing with his own eyes the greatest monuments ever built by mankind, and in the company of mankind’s greatest poet.” Antipater had never been modest. Now that he was dead, I suppose he had no reason to be.

“And it’s not every man who has the privilege of gazing upon his own funeral stele,” my father said, indicating with a wave of his hand the object of which he spoke.

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