Chares Of Lindos – A Rhodian Sculptor

Chares Of Lindos

If you have had a look around this website, you will have seen the name Chares in various places. Chares Of Lindos (Χάρης ὁ Λίνδιος in Greek) to be exact. Do you know why? Have you any idea who Chares was and what he achieved? Maybe you do, you just don’t know that you do 🙂

Even if you have never visited Rhodes in Greece before, I think it is safe to say that most people around the world have heard of The Colossus Of Rhodes. Do you agree?

This statue was built and completed in 282 BC. It stood for a period of 66 years before an earthquake hit the island and the statue came down. It was destroyed in 226 BC.

Chares of Lindos was the Greek sculptor behind the construction of The Colossus – One Of The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World.

Briefly About The Colossus

I have already set aside a section with a lot of information about The Colossus, but I will mention it again briefly here simply due to its importance.

The Colossus was a huge statue that stood at 32 meters in height. It was a depiction of The Sun God Helios. It was made of bronze and was said to have stood at the entrance to Mandraki Harbor in Rhodes Town. The exact construction site for The Colossus has been questioned though.

The statue was built in honor for the victory over the Macedonian forces in 305 BC. Dimitros Poliorkitis, also known as The Besieger, was sent to Rhodes by his father, The King Of Syria to overpower the island.

The Rhodians were able to defeat these forces however, and The Colossus was built as thanks to Helios for their victory.

Watch The Video For More On Chares And His Amazing Colossus

Chares Himself

Although the life of Chares in fine detail is hard to come by, it is known that he was born on the island of Rhodes. He was also a student of one of the Classical Greek era Sculptors named Lysippos.

As mentioned above, Chares was responsible for the building of The Colossus Of Rhodes which is said to be the pinnacle of his achievements. But how did things turn out for him in the end?

As time has passed, of course several myths have come to light as to what happened to Chares.

It is said that he did not live to see the completion of his finest work at all.

  • One of these myths goes on to say that, during the end phase of the building of The Colossus, an error in its construction was highlighted to him. Because of this, he felt a great shame and possible humiliation. This caused him to take his own life. A little drastic in my opinion, but is it true?
  • Another myth goes on to detail the arrangements and fees for building The Colossus. Originally the statue was to be designed to stand at 15 meters tall. Chares quoted the cost of the work to the Rhodian people for this to be put in place. When asked how much it would be to build the statue at 30 meters in height, he simply doubled the price. Double the height, double the price! Unfortunately, Chares went on to construct the Statue at 30 plus meters, but he did not consider the price of the materials to build it to the quoted scale. The scale that was agreed to double the height of the statue, required a lot more money than simply doubling the price. 8 times more money in fact. This led him to face bankruptcy and he took his own life.

My Thoughts

It is very clear the Chares was an educated and clever individual. But was he someone to take his own life due to imperfections in his work or a miscalculation?

I would like to think not.

Like I say, over time things start to become myth. Evidence fades away and we are left with legends and tales.

Whatever is said though, his talent cannot be taken away from him. He created work that will be remembered long into the future. He created one of The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World.

What are your opinions on Chares and his creation?

I would love to know what you think. Just leave me a comment below.

Thanks

Click From Below To Learn More About Some Important Historical Figures In Rhodes

 

Chris Towers
Hi there, I am Chris and I live on The Island Of Rhodes In Greece. I am more than happy to assist you in anyway possible if you are looking for information or help on this amazing Greek Island.

Feel free to leave me a message if you have any questions or need advice!

Hey, maybe you have visited this beautiful place yourself and you have something you want to share?

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

22 comments on “Chares Of Lindos – A Rhodian Sculptor

  1. Ray Brocklesby

    What a fascinating article. I had never really understood the background to the Colossus and how or why it was built. You are very fortunate to live on such a beautiful island and to have access to these historical pieces. Thanks for writing this informative piece and I look forward to reading more in the future.

    One final point, I had not realised that the sculptor was financially involved in the production of the piece and was responsible for any overspends. Am I the only one who did not realise this? Maybe other readers can give their opinions.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hey Ray and thanks for reading.

      Yes I am fortunate to live here, and I do not take it for granted. With history such as this, it is really hard not to appreciate it all. It is a wonderful place.

      As for The Colossus and its creator, I also was not aware in the beginning with his actual hands on involvement. It was only some years ago when I learned from one of my Greek friends here how involved Chares was.

      I hope more people will pass by and leave their thoughts too. Maybe we are not the only ones to have never knew this information previously.

      Thanks for getting in touch Ray. I really appreciate your visit.

      Chris

  2. aladin

    History is very interesting. I never heard of the Chares of Lindos before, not even in my studies about the ancient Greek world. 

    Despite the fact that they say he took his own life, I think that his work is a marvel and will remain a marvel for many years to come. 

    Nice article.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thanks Aladin, and I agree with you.

      The Colossus Of Rhodes will be remembered for a long time to come, and so will the name of its creator.

      He really did do something magnificent and it is a shame it was destroyed. To create one of The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World is certainly an achievement. 

      No matter what became of Chares in the end, he did something special during his lifetime.

      Thanks and it is great to hear from you.

      Chris

  3. Norman

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this extremely informative post.

    I appreciate how you include the pragmatic, financial aspect of the building of The Colossus in your article. It helped me relate better by reminding me that, aside from the different technical challenges, you still had to have funding, and the pressures related to this critical aspect were just as real and consequential as they are today.

    Thanks again, and all the best,

    Norman

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thank Norman, yeah I mean money makes the world go round as the famous saying goes.

      Also I guess we can say, money is the root of all evil.

      There were cost factors in making The Colossus which could only have put a lot of pressure on Chares and the people involved in the construction. I suppose monetary issues could cause him to take his own life, as people indeed do today! What do you think?

      This giant structure for sure had its issues during development, only for it to be lost to an earthquake years on. Such a shame.

      Thanks for reading Norman. Much appreciated.

      Chris

  4. The mythology of Greece has always fascinated me. I had never known the details about Chares of Lindos himself, but the Colossus of Rhodes is one of the worlds great works.

    We certainly can’t underestimate the wisdom of people in ancient times. I sometimes feel they were way more advanced than we are (Pythagoras, Plato, Socrates to name a few). And those ancient architects tell how much people were actually intelligent back then.

    It is my true desire to visit those places to tap into the history!

    Thank you for the very interesting article!

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thanks for your interest and for your comment Kyoko. It is really nice to hear from you.

      I agree with you, long before the advance in technology that we know today, these people were really doing something. Intelligent beyond belief, but also strong.

      For sure, people today are also intelligent. Although many things now have been computerized, it takes a genius to make them work sometimes. I cannot take it away from them.

      There is something special and classical about the old days though. Yes there was not the technology around, but the structures they built were simply beautiful. As for The Colossus, well, words are not needed really.

      All hand made with determination and sweat, never to be forgotten. That is something to be proud of.

      Thanks Kyoko.

      Chris

  5. Jasmine

    This was a very interesting read. Greek history has always been fascinating to me and I haven’t heard of Chares of lindos before.

    What also amazes me is how history seems to always have more than one story to tell when it comes to events in the past.

    Do you have your own myth of what led to him wanting to end his own life?

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thanks Jasmine.

      A lot of people of course know about The Colossus Of Rhodes, but when it comes to the man behind the construction, the name Chares can often be overlooked. Like you, some people have never heard of him at all.

      So, I am happy you passed by and learned a little something 🙂

      As for his demise, I am not sure what to believe. I just struggle to understand how someone with so much talent and  a gift would take their own life for a flaw in their work. But that is not unknown even today is it? You never really no somebody I suppose.

      Thanks Jasmine. I appreciate your visit.

      Chris

  6. asmithxu

    Hey Chris! I have heard a little bit about the Colossus, but I didn’t really know the history of it so I checked out your explanation. 

    It seems like the history of the Colossus and Lindos was tragic all around. It is such a shame that Chares of Lindos did not get to see the completion of his work. 

    It is interesting how details from the past become so muddled and mixed up.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Yes I will agree that Lindos has seen its tough times in the past, and building of The Colossus was not without its issues either.

      Over time, stories can conflict. Did Chares commit suicide? Did he see the completion of his work or not? I guess that is what makes history so fascinating, the element of doubt. 

      I would like to think he did not take his own life, and he was able to lay his eyes on what would be his best work. Lots of literature says he did, but lots of literature also says ‘it is said he took his own life’. It does not give me the impression that it is all 100% fact.

      Thanks, great to hear from you. I appreciate your comment.

      Chris

  7. McKenzie Durham

    Very fascinating article. I have not personally ever heard of Chares, but I have always wanted to visit Greece, so it is very cool to learn a little about it. I love how informative this article is too for just learning about him. 

    As far as his death, I could understand why he might take his own life if he lost everything. That can be devastating no matter what time period. Also a lot of great artists have been known to have some kind of mental health issues, so who knows if maybe that played into it as well.

    My other thought is that maybe, he went and asked for more money to build it, and was killed over it, and it was covered up by the idea of him taking his own life. With him going through bankruptcy, I don’t think it would be hard to convince people of that. Just my outlandish theory.

    Thank you for the read though. Your website and very interesting and I will be coming back to learn more. 🙂

    • Chris Towers Post author

      I guess you have a point here McKenzie yes. I mean, debt and humiliation can be enough for people to lose hope, and you are right, people have (and still do) take their own lives because of these issues.

      As for your outlandish theory, never say never I guess. I mean I will admit that I have never heard anything like this documented when it comes to Chares, but all of this happened centuries ago. Who knows the real truth? It may be outlandish, but it might also be outlandish enough to be true 🙂

      Thanks McKenzie, it is really nice to have you here. I am happy you enjoyed the information.

      Chris

  8. Matt's Mom

    The sculpture is amazing for sure. I am wondering if you can still see this sculpture? 

    Also you mentioned that he did not finish it. I am curious, did he design the sculpture and then have it commissioned? Or did he do most of the work, and then that is where the myths come into play?

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hi Leahrae

      No, Chares designed and had the order commissioned to build The Colossus which was said never to be 100% fully completed.

      The Colossus itself is not longer standing. It was destroyed by a huge earthquake that hit the island of Rhodes in 226 BC. 

      If you take a look at the information I made on The Colossus Of Rhodes it will offer you more information

      Thanks Leahrae.

      Chris

  9. Russell P.

    I am a big fan of ancient history. Thank you so much for this article.

    I have never done any research really on The Colossus so I was hooked as soon as I started reading. I can’t wait to dig into the rest of your site. 

    Have you ever read any of Graham Hancock’s work?

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hi Russell.

      I know a lot of people are aware of The Colossus, but there are many that do not know why it stood. There are also many who still think it is standing today despite its destruction centuries ago.

      More often than not, the name Chares goes unnoticed. The Colossus was such a huge project and it was one of the 7 Wonders Of The Ancient World. People will always talk about this as opposed to its creator.

      I just thought here it would be nice to shine a light on the master behind the work!

      I will be honest and say I have not read any of Graham Hancock’s writing. His name is not unknown to me and I have seen his books on my travels, but I have never read any. Which one do you recommend as a good introduction?

      Thanks Russell

      Chris

  10. Marios Tofarides

    Hey Chris,

    Although I have heard and read a lot about the Colossus of Rhodes, and although I live on the nearby Mediterranean island of Cyprus, I’ve never read about its sculptor, Chares the Lindian (Χάρης ο Λίνδιος in Greek) and his life. 

    Chares was a student and a good friend of Lysippus, one of the best sculptors of his era, considered equal to Praxiteles and Pheidias.

    Thanks for letting us know!

    Marios

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hi there and thanks. Greetings to you in nearby Cyprus.

      A lot of people of course know about The Colossus, but many do overlook the work that went on to create it and indeed the mastermind behind it all.

      I am happy you enjoyed the information here 🙂 It is a pleasure to share it!

      Thanks

      Chris

  11. Michael Howell

    Greco-Roman tradition has offered us some of the most lifelike sculptures. The 100-foot colossus was like the Empire State Building of sculptures.

    It is a testament to the mightiness that was the Island of Rhodes as a fortress. It was mighty — but it had its Achilles heel.

    Unfortunately, the Colossus of Rhodes was not structurally stable. Fortunately though, the tradition lives on in the form of the Statue of Liberty. New York is not prone to earthquakes, though it can receive hurricanes.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hey Michael, it is tragic that The Colossus met its demise in the earthquake. It would be so wonderful to still be able to see it in these modern times.

      It was massive, but unfortunately was not strong enough to withstand the powerful earthquake that struck all them centuries ago.

      You are right yes, The Statue Of Liberty is still there for us to see, I have seen it, but it was many years ago.

      Thanks, it is nice to hear from you.

      Chris

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