Discover the Colossus of Rhodes from Greece

27/03/2021

     The Colossus of Rhodes was, in Greek Mythology, a Giant statue in honor of the God and Titan of the Sun Helium. In fact, this work existed and was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world.


The Colossus of Rhodes:  

     The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Titan god of the Sun of Greek Mythology, Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, on the island of the same name, by Carés de Lindos in 280 BC, it was built to commemorate the victory of Rhodes against the Macedonian ruler Antigone Monophthalmos, whose son, Demetrius I, unsuccessfully, besieged Rhodes in 305 BC. According to most contemporary descriptions, the Colossus was approximately 70 cubits, or 33 meters, approximately the height of the Statue of Liberty (from the feet to the crown), which made it one of the tallest statues in the ancient world.

     The monument was destroyed during a 226 B.C. earthquake and was never rebuilt. In 2015, preliminary plans were announced on the construction of a new Colossus in the port of Rhodes, although the actual location of the original remains uncertain.

The Siege of Rhodes:

     At the end of the fourth century BC, Rhodes, an ally of Ptolemy I of Egypt, prevented a massive invasion staged by his common enemy, Antigono Monophthalm. In 304 B.C., a rescue force from ships sent by Ptolemy was sent to aid Rhodes, which forced the withdrawal of the troops of the Macedonian king Demetrius, son of Antigonus, who had promoted a long siege to the island in an attempt to conquer it. Demetrius was the son of General Antigonus, who inherited from Alexander a part of the Seleucid Empire. The material used in the sculpture was found from the foundry of the armaments that the Macedonians abandoned there.

     To celebrate his victory, the people of Rhodes sold the equipment back to 300 talents and decided to use the money to build a colossal statues of their patron god, Helios. The construction was left to the direction of Carés, a native of Lindos in Rhodes, who had previously worked with large-scale statues. His teacher, the sculptor Lísipo, had built a 22 meter high bronze statue of Zeus in Tarento.


Construction:

     According to ancient reports, which differ to some degree, construction began in 292 B.C. and elements a structure with iron bars to tie brass plates, which were fixed to form the skin of the statue. The interior of the structure, which was on a 15-meter-high white marble pedestal near the entrance to Mandraki harbor, was then filled with stone blocks as construction progressed. Other sources put the Colossus on a breakwater in the port. According to most contemporary descriptions, the statue itself was about 70 cubits, or 33 meters high.

Much of the iron and bronze was reinforced from the various weapons that Demetrius' army left behind. The upper portions were built using a large clay ramp. During construction, workers accumulated mounds of earth on the sides of the colossus. Upon completion, all land was removed. After twelve years, in 280 B.C., the statue was completed. Preserved in Greek anthologies of poetry, this is what is believed to be the text dedicated to the Colossus.

"For you, O Sun, the Dorian people of Rhodes erected this bronze statue that reaches Olympus, when they pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas, but also in lands that they light the beautiful torch of freedom and independence. To the descendants of Hercules belongs the dominion over the sea and the land. "

Undoing:

     The statue stood for 54 years until Rhodes was hit by an earthquake in 226 B.C., when damage was also done to large portions of the city, including the port and commercial buildings, which were destroyed. The statue had its knees broken and fell to the ground. Ptolemy III offered to pay for the reconstruction of the statue, but the Delphic oracle made the rhodiums fear that they had deferred Helios and they refused to rebuild the monument.

     The remains ignored on the ground as described by Strabo (xiv.2.5) for more than 800 years and, even broken, they were so impressive that many traveled just to see them. Pliny the Elder observed that the person incorporated his fingers around the drooping thumb and that each of his fingers was larger than most statues.