Today I want to talk to you about some prehistory facts of Rhodes in brief that you may not be aware of. Of course the history of Rhodes dates back centuries and there is a lot of detail when it comes to realizing actually how much history is here.
Here though I just want to go through the different periods and settlements in the early days! So many people visit the island of Rhodes and leave again without being aware of any of the history that it holds. Do not be one of them!
It is actually documented that the island was inhabited as far back as the stone age. We can safely say it is a long time ago can’t we?
Naturally when we talk about Greek history it is surrounded by myth. Some we believe and some we don’t, but I think this adds to the excitement of the days and years past.
The island was initially occupied by the Telchines and these were said to have amazing powers of magic and were an unusual race.
Aside from this they were also very clever and had a high skill when it came to crafting objects from metal. Have you ever heard of the Poseidon’s Trident? It is pictured here (see above) and the Telchines made it! They also made the first statues of the Olympian Gods out of Bronze!
The Telchines indeed left their mark on the history on Rhodes all them centuries ago and it is said that the island at this time was named Telchina!
It is not one hundred percent when the Carians fit into our history. I suppose we could out it as another myth!
What we do know is that they were from Caria in Southwest Anatolia. For those who do not know, Anatolia is the most western part of Asia also known as Asian Minor! Most of the inhabitants of Asian Minor are Turkish speaking.
If you ever look out from the north-west coast of Rhodes you can clearly see Turkey and just how close it is!
The Carians are said to be the first actual habitants of Rhodes.
This race of people had there wealth from shipping. Located along the coastal line of Lebanon and Syria they were gifted in the way of ship building. Of course, we are talking centuries ago here, so when it comes to the ships, I am talking about the great old ships with the heads of sea gods peering over the bow!
The Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon led the way and were the most authoritative throughout the land. Later Sidon would subside and Tyre would lead the rest of the way until the arrival of Alexander The Great in 334 BC. He asked for the submission of the city which duly happened peacefully.
The Minoan Civilization
This civilization originated from Crete and some of the other islands in the Aegean!
They emerged and blossomed for around 2000 years from 3600 until 1400 BC.
They inhabited Rhodes for many centuries in peace and also constructed their own settlements. They were also traders and were a dab hand with pottery. Actually the name Minoan is attributed to King Minos and it was offered to illustrate the pottery of that age!
They are also documented as being great farmers and they developed tools from wood to aid their work! As the Bronze Age came to pass, they upgraded these tools and used leather to strap the wooden handles.
They raised goats and other farm animals too and also grew their own foods such as wheat and other crops!
I think it is safe to say they were a very organized and skilled race of that time.
The Greek Achaeans
Following the Minoans came the Achaeans from the Greek mainland.
The Greek Achaeans had molded and developed an extremely dominant and forceful presence on the island come 1400 BC and this became well-known and its impact traveled far.
Centuries later the Dorians came to make their mark on the island.
They took over Rhodes and the three most famous towns on the island began to take shape. They accomplished rebuilding these towns which are still known andstanding today. They are namely Kamiros, Lindos and Ialyssos.
During this time period a new city was planned and constructed by a famous architect of that time.
His name was Hippodamus and he was from Miletus (an ancient Greek City) and he put into place the plans and the work for this town which is now known as The City of Rhodes!
Now I have tried to keep it as simple as I can. It is not always easy when you look at the history involved. Of course this is not all, and there is more coming.
What amazes me, is all these people from generations ago were able to build what they built and live how they lived. Long before technology and ‘how to’ guides. They were skilled at what they did and I will always have a respect for that.
What are your thoughts?
If you have any questions, or you feel I could mention something else then just let me know! Leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can! I would love to hear from you.
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Hello Chris, Wow so interesting to learn all that!
I often wonder how people first got the ideas that built their own civilization? How did people realize to use what they have as medicine or shelter building?
It is very exciting. And of course reading about historical places is an adventure in itself.
Great article, in peace and gratitude
Hello Ariel, thanks for passing by.
I have to agree with you too, no matter how many times I go and frequent these ancient ruins of prehistoric times, it fascinates me how they managed to piece it all together back in the day.
No technology available like we have today, every stone would have needed to be carried, careful plans to discover how things work. They really were quite remarkable people.
This is one of the reasons I never get tired of appreciating history.
This is a beautiful look at into the history of Rhodes. That for me is one of the big motivations into wanting to visit a location.
My husband and I love to explore places with historical significance and see the multiple influences that went into what makes it up today.
Did the Dorians preserve any of the previous cultures in their restorations and creations of those cities there now?
I like to see what others chose to keep and preserve as part of their architecture and construction. I find it fascinating.
Thank you for the beautiful insights. We are still in our planning phases for our trip.
If you love to explore and take in the history and sites of different places, then you will not be disappointed should you get to Rhodes.
There are thousand of years of history here, so lots to get your teeth into.
When it comes to answering your question on The Dorians, it is a hard one to give you exact details.
The Dorians were forced away from their homes in the Peloponnese back in 1100 BC and they went on to settle all around Greece in places such as Crete, Kos and Rhodes.
There was a second coming of Dorians in 8 BC and over time they came together with the Ionian people. From here they went on to share ideas and they influenced each other when it came to issues such as architecture.
With this being so long ago, it is difficult to pin down exact facts.
I hope this helps you out a little though.
Hi Chris and thank you for writing this article.
I had no idea that Rhodes had so much history. I had never actually heard of the Telchines before. I wish I had some magic powers now!
It is amazing to think that every civilization had their own style of architecture and style of building and many of those ancient techniques have survived to modern day.
Thank you for sharing. I was just wondering if you marvel at a style of ancient ruin more than another?
Hi Glenys and thanks once again for getting in contact. As always, it is nice to hear from you.
There are literally thousands of years of history here yes. Rhodes is packed full with historical sites, and over the years more has been uncovered with the excavations that have taken place. There seems to be no limit to it all.
I personally love some of the prehistorical sites and The Ancient City Of Kamiros is a fine example of this. If you see the ancient ruins here they really will blow your mind.
When it comes to appreciating the different styles of architecture, I have to say I am a lover of what The Knights Of Saint John created here, and what the Italian Forces were able to refurbish during their occupation of the the island.
If you see The Palace Of The Grand Masters, Kritinia and Monolithos Castles and The Medieval City Of Rhodes, these places are quite amazing.
Thanks Glenys. Come back soon 🙂
Thank you Chris for this great post on The Island of Rhodes.
It seems that the history is rich in detailed information and reminds me of the books that I have read on Greek mythology.
Scenes from Jason and The Argonauts come to mind as well as The Aztecs and Toltec’s from Tula, Mexico area of central America.
Amazing times with great historical facts. Thank you.
It would be nice to visit your island, perhaps sometime in the future.
Thank you Xavier, I am happy the information here reminds you of your previous reading and interest.
There is a lot of history here in Rhodes yes, and it should not be missed if you ever visit the island.
Let me know if you plan to come, and I will get as much of the important details to you as I can 🙂
Hi Chris, what an amazing full history the Island of Rhodes has, and it is incredible what the ancient people were able to build without the internet and how to’s. What brilliant minds.
Of course I know the Trident from the Little Mermaid, it is interesting to see the photo that you shared.
Thanks for sharing.
Hello Tara and welcome back once again. Thanks for leaving your thoughts on this.
Yes, they certainly had a special skill in the old days. All of the abilities to do what they did and achieve what they achieved.
As technology has come along in the more recent years, I also say that brilliant minds have been able to create this. However, it has also allowed a lot of us to become lazy, what do you think?
As much as computers are important in every day life now, they do a lot of the work for us. We simply sit and let machines do maybe 80% of the workload.
None of this in the old days!
Thanks Tara, nice to hear from you again!
Hey, Chris what an amazing job to search down all this history.
I’ve seen movies about the Trident and Poseidon. Rhodes has really got some good history to learn about and very interesting.
I wonder whatever happened to all the Dorians?
Thank you Fred, yes it is a lot of work to dig up all of the history and the facts and figures. I have enjoyed doing it though.
As for The Dorians, the story is vast and far too much for me to detail here.
If you check out the link here for The Dorian Invasion, it will offer you a lot more information.
I hope you find this beneficial!
Thanks for the information about the people who lived on the island of Rhodes. We can understand a lot about the modern people by knowing how they became what they are.
We can do this with the help of history. Giving historical information about a country is the best way to get to know the people and to keep a memory of what has been.
You are doing a great job of education with your website!
Please, tell us more about Greek mythology, I’d love that!
Thanks Arianna, I am happy you enjoy your visits here to my website. It is great to know you are learning something on each visit.
When it comes to Greek Mythology, it is such a massive subject, and it covers Greece as a whole, and not only Rhodes.
I am thinking of tackling this, but maybe I will create a different website to do this.
As and when I get things up and running I will let you know 🙂
Great stories of the ancient times you have here. Surely if God allows it, I would love to visit the island.
It seems there is so much to talk about and even see. They say history repeats itself but here seems so unique. It has never even crossed my mind that there existed several groups of people here. I only thought that perhaps it was only one tribe.
Hello Diana and thanks for your comment and thoughts.
When it comes to the history in Rhodes, it dates back centuries.
OK yes, people come here and they see some of the popular hot spots, but the underlying history is really endless.
Of course, when it comes to the ancient times, a lot of it can be thrown into question. Did it all really happen? Is it all Myth. This is what makes it all so appealing I guess.
I hope God does allow you the chance to see it for yourself!
I find it interesting that a land and culture is influenced by several different peoples. They inhabit a territory for a length of time and leave their mark and help mold the people that exist today.
Those who leave a territory, take some of what knowledge they gathered with them, thus creating links throughout the world. I did not realize that there were as many influencing cultures that have resided in Rhodes.
Which race is dominant there today? Are they multi-cultural? Which language do they speak?
Absolutely right, when you look around the island you can appreciate the past generations that have made their mark here.
All the way back to The Knights of Rhodes, the Ottoman Empire, The Italian Forces (and others), they have all left their unique style behind, and it is a pleasure to see.
Even today, there are hundreds (even thousands) of people that live here on the island that have made the journey from other parts of the globe. Including me! 🙂
Although the island has been under different rule in past years, these days the island belongs to Greece. Greek is the spoken language here. There are however other languages spoken due to the foreign people that have chosen to live here. On saying that, the Greeks really love it when people try to give their language a try.
Thanks for your interest Judith.
This is a great read as I’m a history buff.
Learning the history of the island of Rhodes is fascinating and makes me want to book a trip to see the ancient ruins first hand. What is the best time to come to see the sites?
Have you done any research as to how they were able to build such structures?
Hello Karen, nice to meet you and thanks for passing by to ask your questions.
There are so many places to see on the island, you could stay for a 2 week period and still not see everything.
If you are a history buff, there is a lot here to keep your attention. The history here dates back centuries and beyond, so when it comes to the structures and the architecture, each areas have their own unique styles.
There is a lot of influence here from the Italians and the Turkish, and of course the Medieval City that stands proud in Rhodes Town. All of them possess their own style of construction. You can read more on Rhodes Architecture here.
When it comes to talking about the best time to visit, in all honesty for me it would me May – June and from September to October. During these months it is not too hot. You can enjoy soaking up the history without it being too uncomfortable from the heat.
Just and August get a little excessive when it comes to the temperatures, and it can spoil the enjoyment when seeing the sites. There is more on The Climate Of Rhodes here if you want to take a look.
Hope this helps Karen, and let me know if you need anything else 🙂
I am so intrigued with Rhodes. You have me planning my trip already!
I had never heard of the Telchines or the Carians. What time frame was this? I would love to see the Ancient Kameiros.
It looks beautiful and so full of history. Are there a lot of other historical places as this one on Rhodes?
Hey there, thanks once again for your visit. Always great to hear from you Learaeh!
The island is full of attractions such as this. There is so much history to see that you will be amazed. Visiting The Ancient City Of Kameiros gives you a wonderful feeling of history.
The small village, although now ancient ruins, still provides you with an amazing insight as to how life was all them years ago. A must see for sure!
As for the Telchines, their presence on the island dates way way back. Some say as far back as before the island was ever named Rhodes. They were a mystifying tribe with their origins said to be from Crete and Cyprus.
The name Telchines was adopted from the Greek word ‘Thelgo’ which means “to attract’ or ‘to charm’
Thanks Leahrae, really great to hear from you.
Great post on the prehistory of Rhodes, Chris.
I love the mix of myth and fact. I also liked learning that the Telchines were the ones who crafted the trident that we have all become so familiar with.
It looks like Rhodes is a great place to see some ancient ruins and learn a bit about history. Coming from the United States, which is less than 300 years old, I am always fascinated by civilizations that have lasted thousands of years.
Thanks for the info!
Hi there Andy, thanks for getting in touch, I appreciate your interest.
Yeah, the trident is a symbol most people are aware of, but are not aware of the history of who made it. There is always something to learn here in Greece.
It is a great point you mention too. I know the USA does not have anywhere near history that Greece does, not yet. One day it will. Everything needs time 🙂
If you are someone who appreciates history though, you would love it here in Rhodes. There is tons to see and do, and I assure you – there is never a boring moment!
I came across your article here when doing research for possible holiday destinations and you have sure got my attention on the island of Rhodes.
I had no idea of the history and your well researched article has really got me interested.
How much of this history can be seen today and are there any particular places or points of interest to visit that still exist from those times?
Thanks again for a fascinating read,
Hi there Al, thanks so much for getting in contact with me.
To be honest, the island if flooded with history. There is so much to see and some of the architecture and attractions date back centuries.
The Ancient City Of Kameiros for example, and The Acropolis Of Lindos are fine examples of ancient structures. In my opinion they are breathtaking.
The list goes on and on, and trust me – I am working on new material to over all the of sites on The Island Of Rhodes.
Let me know if you need anything Al, if you plan your holidays here, then I am happy to help you out where I can!
That is a lot of history for just a small island. Although Greek history is full of myth, I have to say that many Greek stories would make awesome action-fantasy movies.
I didn’t know that the Telchines created Poseidon’s Trident, and the first statues of the Olympian Gods. Have you ever seen paintings of how a Telchine used to look like? Do they look very much like the average human?
Hey there Farhan, happy to see you here once more.
I have seen some sculptures and images/painting of what the Telchines are said to have looked like. A lot of it can be considered conjecture, as they date back centuries.
The same is said of The Colossus In Rhodes too. I guess centuries of history keeps some secrets from us doesn’t it? 🙂
The Telchines, although said to have a similar body to the human shape we know today, also possessed heads in the same of a dog with a long nose. They are also said to have growled like dogs too. A fully grown Telchine was believed to stand over 7 feet tall.
If you go to Google and search for Telchines, and look at the images, you will see some great shots there.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for this beautiful post about Rhodes. I am Italian and I was living in Germany many years, and I made a lot of friends from Greece. A lot of them where dreaming about Rhodes and told me to visit it as son as I can.
The prehistory facts of Rhodes are really interesting. I did not know that the Minoan Civilization originated from Crete and that it was attributed to the King Minos.
Really interesting and helpful article. Now I have even more desire to visit it!
Thank you and have a great day!
Hi Simon and thank you so much for your visit.
I also lived in Germany for some years a long time ago and the German people love Greece as a choice for their holidays. Rhodes being a very big choice for them too to be honest.
I also spent a lot of time in Italy and again I was surprised to learn just how attractive the island is to them as well!
Every year there are millions of German and Italian tourists, so make sure you are one of them soon.
I am happy you found the information here interesting and it has inspired you to pay a visit here.
If you get the chance to come let me know 🙂
Hello again Chris,
I love Greek mythology and I know what the telchines are! Awesome metallurgists, they even created the sickle for Cronus.
I’m from Malaysia and I myself am surprised as to how much I know on this lol.
You should definitely put some pictures of the teclhines, definitely could catch some eyes 😀
Hello Riaz thanks for your interest and for your comment!
Yes the Telchines absolutely were metallurgists like you say and indeed they did create the sickle for Cronus 🙂 It is nice to meet someone who knows their history.. bravo 🙂
I want to put some photos of the Telchines and at the moment I am doing some research and have a couple of friends hunting around for me for further information to share and also some visuals.
As soon as they are available naturally i will put them on the site for everyone to see 🙂
Many thanks Riaz
Hi, Chris. I love Greek mythology.
Reading your article made me want to read more Greek myths! So the Telchines…were real, or were they mythological? Were they supposed to have really made Poseidon’s trident, or did they make a replica of what his trident would have looked like?
Thanks for sharing!
Hey Ebony thanks for your visit.
Well, the Telchines are said to be part of Mythology and were also said to be the first inhabitants on Rhodes.
I think we can all ask whether or not things are fact when it comes to mythology and I think this is why it has the following it does.
They were documented for making the ceremonial weapon called the Trident for Poseidon among other things as they were classed as amazing metal workers in their time. It has never been said it was a made replica!
The Telchines were also known on the Islands of Cyprus and Crete.
This looks like an awsome place to visit.
I have recently become very interested in the last few years in this type of history. It all amazes me.
You have a nice layout here and very interesting topic. Do you do any blogging on archealogical digs? I would be very interested in seeing articles of that nature.
Do you have any information on any digs from The Island of Rhodes?
Please let me know
Hi Mike thanks for your interest in my website and of course for your comment!
The history on the island of Rhodes truly is amazing and if you have gotten into this subject then this place is a must see.
I personally do not do blogging on other platforms, I stick to my work here but I do keep up to date with what is going on with regards to happenings.
One of the problems here is finance. I know for sure new digs have been started but never completed due to lack of funding. This is tragic in my opinion and anything like this should be treasured and cared for. Such a shame!
For sure I will keep you up to date when it comes to the archaeology, and should anything new develop then I will let you know.
One thing though, when it comes to the archaeological sites already here and on display, you will not be disappointed at all. Even without new digs, this place is flooded with archaeology and history that will take your breath away!
Thanks Mike! and if you need something more just let me know.
I Would love to visit Rhodes. I’m always fascinated by history and your historical research shows such a vast history.
Does the history influence the food? It would be interesting if there are various influences from say one group who introduced goats to the region, resulting in feta cheese becoming prolific in meals.
Hi Alan, do not worry you would be made welcome here anytime. There is lots to see and do here and if you are fascinated by history then this is definitely the place to be.
You can get lost in the history here. There is so much to learn and appreciate and you would not be disappointed at all!
The Food here is actually more of a Mediterranean diet. There is of course the famous Feta Cheese which accompanies a lot of dishes here along with olives and a wonderful assortment of breads and wines. of course Moussaka too which goes without saying 🙂
Do not worry again Alan, I am getting around to developing a section here which will let you know the best places to sample the amazing Greek dishes here 🙂
What I really like about history is that the technology or skills they have, is as equally as impressive as we have today like gadgets and skyscrapers.
In other words, their innovations are unique in their own ways, quite distinct back in the old days. Also, I do think that historically, they feel convenient and at ease being raised in livestock farming like Minoan civilization just as us sitting down in the office operating online as an example.
Hey Tar thanks so much for your input on this.
You are right too in my opinion. When we look back at the ancient civilizations and pay attention to what they achieved it really is quite remarkable. They were experts at what they did just as people are experts nowadays programming a computer.
Once thing I will say though (again my opinion) is that they knew how to get their hands dirty back then. Hands on was what it was all about and no opportunities to sit back in their armchairs checking progress from their office 🙂
They certainly were very skilled at what they did and unfortunately the human race today does not compare! What do you think?
Take a cellphone or Play-Station away from a 10 year old child and ask him/her to climb a tree instead, and my point will be proved 🙂
Thanks again Tar!
Really appreciate your comment!
Having booked a holiday here in the summer this is perfect. My partner and i love to travel around and see what we can find.
We will be going to see the Ancient Kameiros for sure as they look very exciting! Is there any other ruins worth visiting whilst I’m there?
Hey Lee thanks for checking in 🙂
Kameiros is the first one I have mentioned here on the site and it is really the tip of the iceberg. Rhodes is flooded with history and sites to see and you will not be short of places to go at all.
I am going to be adding all the information to my site in the next weeks. When are you planning to come? What month? Keep check here as tons more information is coming!
For sure I will always recommend the Medieval City Of Rhodes, the Acropolis Of Lindos and Kameiros. These are essential to see as part of your visit!
Also Ialysos is amazing (this is where I live) and the accompanying mountain of Filerimos and its monastery.
To list them all here would be exhausting as there are endless treasures here to witness.
If you like pop me a message and I will be happy to give you some more in depth details and information 🙂
Thanks and look forward to seeing you here!