The Seven Wonders of the Medieval Mind

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The medieval mind, just like the classical mind before it, was captivated by the wondrous things people had made. For much of the thousand-year period known as the Middle Ages, most Europeans lived in small, isolated communities; travel was diffcult and often dangerous; and knowledge was confined to, and often controlled by men of the church.

The great civilizations of Greece and Rome were long gone, but even so, some of their glory was still remembered. Travellers brought back tales of an incredible civilization in the East which sparked the European imagination.

Following the third century B.C. when lists of wonders were compiled, many scholars and philosophers modified these lists to reflect their own opinions. At some point around the Middle Ages, another list appeared the medieval world's seven wonders.

The surviving list holds a particular fascination because only some of its marvels actually date from the Middle Ages.The list represents almost 4,500 years of human endeavor.

1. Stonehenge


Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometres west of Amesbury and 13 kilometres north of Salisbury. One of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. The Stonehenge is one of the seven wonders of the Medieval Mind and one of the seven wonders of the world.


2. The Colosseum


The Colosseum or Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. The Colosseum is one of the seven wonders of the Medieval Mind and one of the seven wonders of the world.


3. The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa


Alexandria, Egypt, represented a melding of cultures in the late first century A.D. Traditions of Greece and Rome overlay the city, the cult of Christianity was gaining ground, and memories of ancient Egypt's great kingdoms still lingered. It was a place where people seemed to have a talent for combining rather than destroying cultures. The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa is one of the seven wonders of the Medieval Mind and one of the seven wonders of the world.


4. The Great Wall of China


The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in China, built, rebuilt, and maintained between the 6th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from Xiongnu attacks during the rule of successive dynasties. Several walls, referred to as the Great Wall of China, were built since the 5th century. The Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the Medieval Mind and one of the seven wonders of the world.


5. The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing


The Porcelain Tower (or Porcelain Pagoda) of Nanjing, also known as Baoensi (meaning "Temple of Gratitude"), is a historical archaeological site located on the south bank of the Yangtze in Nanjing, China. It was constructed in the 15th century as a Buddhist pagoda, but was mostly destroyed in the 19th century during the course of the Taiping rebellion.

However, the tower is now under reconstruction once again. The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing is one of the seven wonders of the Medieval Mind and one of the seven wonders of the world.


6. The Hagia Sophia


Hagia Sophia is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum, in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine, architecture. It was the largest cathedral ever built in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Medieval Seville Cathedral in 1520. The Hagia Sophia is one of the seven wonders of the Medieval Mind and one of the seven wonders of the world.


7. The Leaning Tower of Pisa


The Leaning Tower of Pisa or simply The Tower of Pisa is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and it is the third structure by time in Pisa's Piazza del Duomo. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the seven wonders of the Medieval Mind and one of the seven wonders of the world.

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