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Pliny: Natural History

nulli profuturo, praeterea fatigasse regni vires, ut tamen laus maior artificis esset.

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XX. Legitur et pensilis hortus, immo vero totum oppidum Aegyptiae Thebae, exercitus armatos subter1 educere solitis regibus nullo oppidanorum sentiente; etiamnum hoc minus mirum quam quod flumine medium oppidum interfluente. quae si fuissent, non dubium est Homerum dicturum fuisse, cum centum portas ibi praedicaret.

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XXI. Graecae magnificentiae vera admiratio exstat templum Ephesiae Dianae cxx2 annis factum a tota Asia. in solo id palustri fecere, ne terrae motus sentiret aut hiatus timeret, rursus ne in lubrico atque instabili fundamenta tantae molis locarentur, calcatis ea substravere carbonibus, dein velleribus lanae. universo templo longitudo est ccccxxv pedum, latitudo ccxxv,3 columnae cxxvii a singulis regibus factae lx pedum altitudine, ex iis xxxvi caelatae, una a Scopa. operi praefuit Chersiphron architectus. 96summa miraculi epistylia tantae molis attolli potuisse;

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Book XXXVI

furthermore the resources of a kingdom; and the result, after all, was more honour for the designer than for the sponsor.a

XX. We read also of a hanging garden, and,The hanging town, Thebes. more than this, of a whole hanging town, Thebes in Egypt. The kings used to lead forth their armies in full array beneath it without being detected by any of the inhabitants. Even so, this is less remarkable than would have been the case had a river flowed through the middle of the town.b If any of this had been true, Homer would certainly have mentioned it when he spoke so emphatically of the hundred gates at Thebes.Il. ix, 381.

XXI. Of grandeur as conceived by the GreeksThe Temple of Diana at Ephesus. a realc and remarkable example still survives, namely the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, the building of which occupied all Asia Minor for 120 years. It was built on marshy soil so that it might not be subject to earthquakes or be threatened by subsidences. On the other hand, to ensure that the foundations of so massive a building would not be laid on shifting, unstable ground, they were underpinned with a layer of closely trodden charcoal, and then with another of sheepskins with their fleeces unshorn. The length of the temple overall is 425 feet, and its breadth 225 feet. There are 127 columns, each constructed by a different king and 60 feet in height. Of these, 36 were carved with reliefs, one of them by Scopas. The architect in charge of the work was Chersiphron. The crowning marvel was his success

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938