The Colossus of Rhodes

After the death of Alexander the Great, the state was partitioned by his major generals. One of them, Antigonus, asked for help from the Rhodians to fight the other generals, with whom he disagreed. But they refused because they wanted to keep peace with everyone. That was the reason they got angry with Antigonus and asked Demetrius to act against the Rhodians.

So Demetrius arrayed all his forces in front of the harbor and the soldiers of Rhodes barricaded themselves behind the strong walls of the city. He began a stubborn siege of Rhodes by Demetrius, Rhodes supported with supplies, military and moral support of the other generals. The siege lasted one year (305 BC – 304 BC) and Demetrius finally lost the conquest of Rhodes. The Rhodians to the end of the siege, honored him by making statues and made donations to the fighters who helped them, repaired the damages that had been caused to the island.

But they wanted to honor the gods who protected them and the most brilliant tribute was the statue that was made to honor the Sun God, the Colossus of Rhodes. Has been constructed with 300 talents and they sold the equipment of Demetrius and it was built by Harris Lindios, a pupil of Lysippus and its construction lasted 12 years (305 BC – 292 BC). It was a bronze statue on a pedestal made of white marble and had a height of 33 meters. The statue was hollow internally, while the frame was made of iron bars, so the workers filled in the blanks with heavy stones to give stability to the statue. The outside was covered with bronze sheets.

The famous statue was in its place only 66 years, collapsed after the earthquake of 227/26 BC and the Rhodians didn’t set it up again for fear of an oracle. Although the statue was cluttered for around 100 years after the earthquake, has never ceased to be considered one of the brightest projects and was included in the 7 most famous wonders of the universe.

Nine hundred years after the fall of the Colossus, in 653 AD, Rhodes was conquered by the Arabs, who sold the pieces of the statue as metal. It is said that they used 900 camels to transport the debris of the Colossus in Syria.

The Colossus of Rhodes was built in honor of the God of Sun, protector of the island and symbolized the independence, honor and bravery of the people. Although this work was known throughout Greece, its exact location is not sure. One version claims that the statue was erected in the harbor with its feet to catch both ends of the port, based on an inscription saying that it was not placed over the sea and on the mainland. The other version claims that the statue could not be located near the sea, so stood in the courtyard of the temple, where later the Palace of Grand Masters was built.

In conclusion, nothing was saved by Colossus in Rhodes, but its legend was maintained and continued through the centuries. Perhaps, it was the largest statue, its size was that big that very few could keep their arms in the thumb.

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