The curvature of the earth requires that a light-house on a coast should
have a considerable elevation, otherwise its summit would not appear
above the horizon, unless the mariner were very near. To attain this
elevation, the architects usually take advantage of some hill or cliff,
or rocky eminence near the shore. There was, however, no opportunity to
do this at Pharos; for the island was, like the main land, level and
low. The requisite elevation could only be attained, therefore, by the
masonry of an edifice, and the blocks of marble necessary for the work
had to be brought from a great distance. The Alexandrian light-house was
reared in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second monarch in the
line. No pains or expense were spared in its construction. The edifice,
when completed, was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. It
was indebted for its fame, however, in some degree, undoubtedly to the
conspicuousness of its situation, rising, as it did, at the entrance of
the greatest commercial emporium of its time, and standing there, like a
pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, to attract the welcome gaze
of every wandering mariner whose ship came within its horizon, and to
awaken his gratitude by tendering him its guidance and dispelling his
fears.

[...]
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