Previously, we have talked about the reconstruction of major ancient cities and magnificent structures from antiquity. Well, this time around, we have come across animated GIFs that realistically reconstruct a bevy of ancient monuments from across the world, ranging from Greece, Egypt to Mexico. The digital reconstruction project was done by NeoMan Studios in a project for Expedia.
1) Luxor Temple, Egypt
Built from the Nubian Sandstone sourced at the famed Gebel el-Silsila quarry, the Luxor Temple was built in circa 1400 BC, near Thebes, the capital of the New Kingdom. Interestingly enough, as opposed to other comparable temples and monuments in the vicinity of the city, the ancient temple complex of Luxor was neither dedicated to any particular god nor devoted to a deified Pharaoh. Rather the monument was dedicated to the rejuvenated kingship of the ruler, thus possibly serving as the physical (or symbolic) crowing spot for the Egyptian pharaohs and leaders.
2) Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico
Rising to a significant height of 216 ft (66 m), while boasting an area of 720 by 760 feet (220 by 230 m) or 547,000 sq ft at its base (thus being equivalent of almost 10 American football fields), the Pyramid of the Sun is one of the largest monuments in Mesoamerica and the largest temple in Teotihuacán, Mexico. The massive structure was possibly constructed by circa 200 AD, composed of a core of hewed tezontle, a red coarse volcanic rock of the region. Intriguingly, while such details are known about its architectural features, historians are not quite sure about the symbolic purpose of the monument. Added to that there is no consensus in the academic word regarding the original creators of the Pyramid of the Sun.
3) Largo di Torre Argentina, Italy
Rather than a single temple, the Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome (in what constituted ancient Campus Martius) is a part of a square that comprises four Roman temples (originally) from the Republican era along with a section of Pompey’s Theater. The latter is known as the assassination spot of Julius Caesar. Of the few monuments within the perimeter of this small square, Temple B is reconstructed in the above animation. The circular structure (tholus) with its arrangement of six columns, was possibly built in circa 101 BC, under the patronage of Quintus Lutatius Catulus (a consul of the Roman Republic), after the Roman victory over the Cimbri, at the Battle of Vercellae. The temple was later converted into a church but was accidentally demolished in the early 20th century.
4) The Parthenon, Greece
Dedicated to the goddess Athena Parthenos – the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, and warfare; the imposing Parthenon in every sense is the symbolic manifestation of the apical power of Athens. Counted among the magnificent monuments of Classical Ancient Greece, the iconic structure atop the Acropolis was roughly completed in 438 BC, and boasted dimensions of 228 by 101 ft, which is almost half the size of American football field. Interestingly enough, the Parthenon was actually constructed upon an older shine (possibly the Hekatompedon), which in all probability was also dedicated to Athena. Furthermore, the construction of Parthenon in many ways reflected the upbeat mood of the Athenians in the late 5th century BC. However, the money that financed the opulent endeavor mainly came from tributes exacted from the allied city-states under Athens’ protection, rather than from the residents of Athens themselves.
5) Nohoch Mul Pyramid, Mexico
The ancient city of Coba on the Yucatan Peninsula, in what is now the present-day Mexican state of Quintana Roo, boasts the largest network of stone causeways ever found in the domains of the Mayan civilization. Possibly dating from the Late Classical Period of Mesoamerica (circa 700 – 900 AD), the site is known for its temple pyramids known as the Nohoch Mul. Among them, the Ixmoja, with its height of 42 meters (138 ft) is counted as one of the tallest monuments in the region of Yucatan. As for the city of Coba itself, the settlement probably had a population of more than 50,000 people at its peak, spread over 30 sq miles, as was typical of the numerous Maya ‘sprawls’.
6) Temple of Jupiter, Italy
The main religious structure of Pompeii arguably pertained to the Temple of Jupiter (also known as the Capitolium). Located on the northern side of the Forum, the structure was possibly built in 150 BC and dedicated to the triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. In essence, the Temple of Jupiter mirrored the ‘Romanization’ of Pompeii, a city that was previously inspired by the Greeks, in spite of the earlier years of Samnite rule. To that end, this particular complex symbolized the effect (and scope) of Roman architecture and monuments in religious and civic life, with purely Italic design motifs dominating the facades of the large structure.
In terms of volumetric dimensions, the base podium of the Temple of Jupiter alone measures around 121 x 56 x 10 ft or 68,000 cu ft. And as for the importance of the complex, the main hall that housed the statues of the gods also enclosed a lower chamber that was used for storing sacrificial offerings as well as the treasury of the city. Unfortunately, a significant part of the temple was already destroyed by the earthquake of 62 AD, and thus the smaller Temple of Jupiter Meilichios was the primary seat of religious activities, circa 79 AD (when Vesuvius erupted).
7) Hadrian’s Wall, Britain
In many ways, Hadrian’s Wall (or Vallum Aelium) marked the extent of the Roman power and influence in ancient Britain. Built in circa 122 AD, by the engineering prowess of the Roman army (to mark the occasion of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the island), the wall and its defense systems (comprising forts, outposts, and barracks) extended across a substantial 73 miles, thereby signifying one of the most famous northern frontiers of the Roman Empire from 2nd century AD to 5th century AD. According to English Heritage –
The building of Hadrian’s Wall probably began that year [122 AD], and took at least six years to complete. The original plan was for a wall of stone or turf, with a guarded gate every mile and two observation towers in between, and fronted by a wide, deep ditch. Before work was completed, 14 forts were added, followed by an earthwork known as the Vallum to the south.