In continuing with the theme of the seven wonders of the ancient world, next I will write on the “Colossus Of Rhodes”. Before I write on the wonder itself, I will first provide some information on the city of Rhodes itself. Rhodes is part of the Dodecanese Islands of the Aegean Sea just Northeast of Crete,today Rhodes has about 50,000 people.
In antiquity Rhodes has a deep rich history that could be written on for days and days, today I will start in about the 500s BC, when the Island was invaded and ruled over by the mighty Persian Empire, in 478BC the Persians were pushed out of Rhodes by forces from the Athenians, shortly after the people of Rhodes joined the Athenian league however Rhodes would remain neutral during the Peloponnesian war from 431BC to 404BC. In 340BC Rhodes would again find itself under the rule of the Persians, this time it would be short lived as in 332BC Rhodes would become part of the growing empire of Alexander the great as he was on his way to defeating and annexing the mighty Persian Empire.
Following the death of Alexander Rhodes would form an alliance with Ptolemy and Rhodo-Egyptian alliance was born as Rhodes turned into a trade super power as coins from Rhodes could be found all over the Mediterranean world. 305BC Demetrius Monophthalmus (of Cyprus) with direction from father laid siege to Rhodes, Ptolemy sent ships with relief forces to back their alliance with Rhodes, in a victory in hand the people of Rhodes were left with very valuable siege equipment left behind and sold this equipment for 300 talents which would be about 2.9million U.S Dollars in todays world.
In 292BC construction began on what would become the Colossus of Rhodes which was a statue dedicated to Helios the Greek titan-god of the sun. It was constructed of iron tie bars with brass plate covering to form its skin as it stood a total of about 98 feet high on a white marble pedestal near the Mandraki Harbor that by itself stood about 49 feet high.
The image stood as an imposing image for 54 years until Rhodes was hit by a devastating earth quake in 226BC, the earth quake snapped the statue’s knees as it fell over on to the land. Ptolemy the III offered to pay for its reconstruction, but the oracle of Delphi made the Rhodians fearful that they had angered Helios, so they declined to rebuild the image.
The image laid on the ground for 800 years, even in this state it was so impressive that many people still traveled to Rhodes to see the image, as it was said that few people could wrap their arms around its thumb. In 653AD Arab forces under Muslim Caliph Muawiyah I captured Rhodes, then cast down the image and sold off the bronze for an unknown amount of money.
The next blog post will continue this theme as I write on Mausoleum at Hallicarnassus, I hope you enjoyed this post and will read the next one.