What is Colossus of Rhodes How statue built and destruction

Colossus of Rhodes

One of the “Seven Wonders of Antiquity” and the ancient forerunner of the Statue of Liberty, the Colossus of Rhodes remains an intriguing mystery.

If you’ve never heard of the Colossus of Rhodes, you’ve come to the right place. The Colossus of Rhodes is a statue that was built on the Greek island of Rhodes between 292 and 280 BC The statue was a representation of the Greek titan Helios and was made to commemorate his victory over the ruler of Cyprus in 305 BC

At 32 meters tall, equivalent to a ten-story building, the Colossus of Rhodes was one of the tallest statues in the ancient world. It stood for just 56 years until it was destroyed by an earthquake .

When they defeated the ruler of Cyprus, they left behind much of their equipment. In effect, the Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to build the Colossus of Rhodes. Let’s check out everything about this monument, in this article!

What is known about the Colossus of Rhodes?

The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue representing the Greek sun god Helios. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was erected by Carés of Lindos in 280 BC Its construction was an act of glory to commemorate the successful defeat of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes, who had attacked Rhodes for a year.

Literary references, including Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, describe the statue as standing at the harbor entrance. Ships sailed between the legs of the statue.

However, modern analysis proves this theory to be impossible. It was impossible to build the statue over the entrance with available technology. Had the statue been right at the entrance, it would have permanently blocked the entrance when it fell. Furthermore, we know that the statue fell to earth.

The original statue is thought to have been 100 feet tall and was badly damaged during a 226 BC earthquake. Ptolemy III offered to finance the rebuilding; however, the oracle at Delphi warned against rebuilding.

The remains of the statue were still impressive, and many traveled to Rhodes to see it. Unfortunately, the statue was completely destroyed in 653 when an Arab force captured Rhodes.

How was the statue built?

Carés de Lindos, disciple of Lysippus, created the Colossus of Rhodes, taking twelve years to complete it at the cost of 300 talents of gold – the equivalent today of several million dollars.

However, how Carés de Lindos created the Colossus with sections of cast or hammered bronze remains a mystery. Iron supports were probably employed for internal reinforcement, but even so, the statue was short-lived, eventually collapsing due to an earthquake.

Where the Colossus was also remains a question. Medieval artists portray him at the entrance to the port of Rhodes, one foot at the end of each breakwater.

Furthermore, the Tower of Saint Nicholas at the mouth of Mandraki harbor may indicate the base and position of the statue there. Alternatively, the acropolis of Rhodes has also been proposed as a possible site.

It is said that the face of the colossus of Rhodes was that of Alexander the Great, but it is impossible to confirm or refute this. However, the theory is unlikely.

Who financed the construction of the Colossus of Rhodes?

Financing has been quite original. In short, the money was raised from the sale of military equipment abandoned on the ground by Demetrios Poliorcete who, with 40,000 soldiers, led the attack on the island’s capital.

It should be known that during the 4th century BC Rhodes experienced great economic growth. She allied with King Ptolemy Soter I of Egypt. In 305 BC the Antogonids of Macedonia; who were rivals of the Ptolemies, attacked the island, but without success. It was from this battle that the military equipment that was used to finance the colossus was recovered.

There is no doubt that other funding had to be found, but it is not known in what proportion it was or who contributed. Often, in this case, it is the people who come together to build the monument that will guarantee the aura of the city.

How did the destruction of the statue occur?

Sadly, the Colossus of Rhodes is the shortest-lived wonder of the ancient world: just 60 years, almost. It must be said that the shape of the statue, its gigantism for the time and the means used for its construction contributed to make it ephemeral.

A 30m statue representing a character is inevitably more fragile than the pyramid of Cheops, whose form is the most stable of existing forms.

The colossus of Rhodes was destroyed during a large-scale earthquake in 226 BC Broken at the knees, it gave way and collapsed. The pieces remained in place for 800 years, it is not known why, but it is said that in 654 AD the Arabs, who invaded Rhodes, sold the bronze to a Syrian merchant. In fact, it is said that it took 900 camels to transport the metal, and since then nothing remains of the statue.

13 Facts about the Colossus of Rhodes

1. The Rhodians also used brass and iron from equipment left behind to build the statue.

2.The Statue of Liberty has been referred to as the ‘Modern Colossus’. The Colossus of Rhodes was approximately 32 meters high and the Statue of Liberty is 46.9 meters.

3. The Colossus of Rhodes stood on a 15 meter high white marble pedestal.

4. There is a plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty that is inscribed with a sonnet called ‘The New Colossus’. It was written by Emma Lazarus and includes the following reference to the Colossus of Rhodes: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame.”

5. Both the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty were built as symbols of freedom.

6. Both the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty were built in busy harbors .

7. Construction of the Colossus of Rhodes took 12 years to complete.

Other interesting facts

8. Some historians believe that the statue depicted Helios naked or half-naked with a cloak. Some accounts suggest that he wore a crown and that his hand was in the air.

9. The statue was built with an iron frame. On top of that, they used brass plates to create Helium’s skin and outer structure.

10. Some historians believe that Hélio was built with one foot on each side of the harbor. However, if the statue had been built with the legs of Helios over the harbor, the harbor would have had to be closed for the 12 years of construction.

11. Carés de Lindos was the architect of the Colossus of Rhodes. His teacher was Lysippus, a sculptor who had already created a 18 m tall statue of Zeus.

12. Ptolemy III, the king of Egypt offered to pay for the rebuilding of the Colossus. The Rhodians refused. They believed that the god Helios himself got angry with the statue and caused the earthquake that destroyed it.

13. Finally, the Rhodians were conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century AD The Arabs dismantled what was left of the Colossus and sold it for scrap metal.

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