Let’s be honest, the ‘AI imagines…’ trope is already becoming a bit tiresome. Honestly, who cares what football stadiums will look like in 50 years? Surely not that different.
But this is a good one, promise.
Today, only one survives – the Pyramids of Giza – but thanks to Midjourney, we can all get a glimpse of how these mind-bogglingly beautiful and often unfathomable creations may have looked at the time.
Of course, it has taken a lot of artistic licence – the pyramids were never in the middle of a bustling metropolis, even three thousand years ago, and it’s unlikely the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was teeming with visitors.
Nevertheless, whether you’re a history buff or not, these seven images are a joy to behold – and a fine example of the fun we can have with AI before it puts us all out of a job and takes over the New World…
Pyramids of Giza
Built as tombs for Egypt’s pharaohs, the Pyramids of Giza are formed of the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure.
Here the Great Pyramid can be seen surrounded by a pyramid complex, part of which exists today, and a bustling city. The real pyramid took almost 30 years to build, made from stones weighing up to 2.5 tonnes each – and 2.3 million were used to build it.
Colossus of Rhodes
This magnificent statue depicted the Greek sun god Helios, and stood in the harbour to the ancient Greek city of Rhodes. It was built to celebrate the city’s survival after a siege by Demetrius I of Macedon.
It took 12 years to build and was made of bronze and iron on a marble base.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
The world’s most famous lighthouse (although competition is a bit short), this famous structure soared 350 feet above Pharos island in the harbour of Alexandria on the Egyptian coast.
Built around 280 BCE, it was the creation of Sostratus of Cnidus, and a fire burned brightly from the top of its tower at night – it predating electricity by a couple of millennia.
However, it fell into ruins following a series of earthquakes between 956 and 1323 CE – but did survive a tsunami in 365 CE.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
One of two masterpieces created by the Greek sculptor Phidias, this huge statue of the god Zeus greeted visitors to a temple honouring him in the ancient city of Olympia.
The statute was almost 12 metres high and plated with gold and ivory. The original showed Zeus holding a statue of Nike in one hand and a sceptre in the other. Midjourney’s version has done away with both, and an oddly straight, pointy raised finger shows AI still sometimes has trouble with those digits.
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
This ancient wonder was actually one of two, after the first Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was burned down in an arson attack in 356 BCE.
The original was built by Croesus, king of Lydia. The second iteration was not only huge, 110 metres long and 55 metres wide, but full of magnificent world of art.
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The tomb of Mausolus, ruler of Caria, was so impressive it actually gave rise to the term ‘mausoleum’.
Built in Halicarnassus between 353 and 351 BCE by his sister and widow (ew), Artemisia, it was surrounded by 36 columns and topped by a 24-step pyramid adorned with a four-horse marble chariot.
It is thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake between the 11th and 15th centuries CE, and the stones reused in local buildings.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Let’s face it, this is the one we all really want to go to, partly because we know so little about it. Where were the gardens? Were they one thing or a collection of rooftop gardens? Were they in the royal palace of Babylon, now in southern Iraq?
However, because of the uncertainty, it means we can let our imaginations go a little bit more wild – and Midjourney has done well here, creating an almost ethereal maze of arches, columns and greenery broken up by rushing waterfalls.
Those actually aren’t as unlikely as you might think, as the gardens are thought to have been watered by a complex irrigation system fed by the Euphrates River.