Building both on Monuments - The Really Big Ones and Even the Losers Get Lucky
What happens to the losers when they are really huge? I’ve always been fascinated by the Seven Wonders of the World - even before wasting enormous portions of my life playing Civilization I-V. Did you know that of the Seven, only one still stands today? Only the Great Pyramid can still be seen in the modern world. What happened to the other six? Well, most were destroyed by earthquakes or other natural issues. But shouldn’t they still be “visible” even in ruins? Nope!
I think the best example is the Tomb of Mausolus. Though at one time the most magnificent tomb in the world, in the end, it was dismantled and used to build castle walls. The stones can still be seen today as “bricks” in the massive walls. Worse yet, the statues were burned to make quicklime for the mortar of those castle walls. That’s just insulting and embarrassing. The Colossus of Rhodes was originally built (depending on who you believe) either from the equipment left behind after a failed attack on Rhodes or from the profits from the sale of that equipment. That’s where they got all that bronze. So the Colossus is both born from a loser and later (only 56 years later) becomes a loser itself when it collapsed. But they left the “corpse” there for hundreds of years until a conqueror sold the bronze as a war prize.
So - Where are the ruined monuments in your world? Were they carried off as trophies like the statue of Zeus? Are they possibly mythical, as some believe the Hanging Gardens to be? (I’m in the camp that they simply weren’t Nebuchadnezzar, but instead Sennacherib, but that’s not the point of this post.) Were the pieces and parts used for another project, perhaps one equally as impressive or maybe pathetically not so? The number of castles that no longer exist because the locals treated them as quarries is countless.
OK - for the gold farmers - Why should you care? Well, the statue of Zeus was ivory and gold - HUGE wealth. In a fantasy world, it seems most likely that projects of this size would have used magic. That magic would still be left behind. Think about massive religious magical artifacts - something powerful enough to have a massive temple built around it. Even in ruins, that magic should still be there. Even if it is not - Did the guards have magic of their own that might still be there, in use or not? We all know ruins can be valuable, especially those that were set up for important (monumental) but not practical purposes.