Today I want to talk to you about The Colossus in Rhodes and a little on the history of what it was all about.
Firstly – Something to Know!
First of all I want to make you aware of something, as when the summer comes and the island is flooded with tourists, questions have been asked about the Colossus which have made me laugh a little (although not in a belittling way).
The Colossus is advertised a lot here on the island of Rhodes. You will see it in books, leaflets and information guides. Hey, you can also buy small statues of the Colossus from various shops and other outlets.
With this in mind, people do drive around looking to actually see the Colossus itself. I mean why not right? People have stopped me in the street asking where it is and the best way to get there.
The simple answer to this is ‘you can’t’.
The Colossus, although a massive part of history and culture here, was actually destroyed by an earthquake. It cracked at the knees and fell in 226 BC.
Of course, I hope this does not put you off visiting Rhodes, but it is something not all people are aware of. So, i’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news for some people!
The statue of The Colossus took 12 years to commission and build. It was 32 meters in height and it was said to have been stood at the entrance to the main harbor in Rhodes Town (more coming in a while on the location).
It was commissioned by Chares of Lindos and was completed in 282 BC and depicted the Sun God Helios. At the time of the earthquake that destroyed it, The Colossus was only standing for a short period of 66 years.
The statue was made from Iron and the skin from bronze. To make the framework safe, rocks were included as part of the structure. This added stability to The Colossus.
Why Was It Constructed?
If you remember on the ‘Classical Antiquity Period‘ section of this website, I mentioned Dimitros Poliorkitis (the Besieger). He was the son of Antigonos (The King of Syria) and he was dispatched by his father to seize Rhodes in 305 BC.
After the Rhodians defeated The Besieger, he and his army fled leaving all of their belongings behind. With the money raised from this equipment, the decision was made that with the finances, a statue would be commissioned and erected thanking the god Helios for their successful conquest!
Some weapons that were left behind by The Besieger were also utilized, and became part of the materials used to construct the statue.
Chares of Lindos was given the responsibility for this project and from 304 to 292 BC he fashioned and completed the statue.
The Location Of The Colossus
Now, this is a subject that raises questions and discussions (sometimes heated too) as it has become a matter of opinion over the centuries.
Even though it was one of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World, there is no clear evidence as to wear it actually stood or indeed what it truly looked like.
Some people believe it was stood at the main entrance to the harbor (as I said above) and the arriving and departing boats would sail underneath The Colossus between its legs.
Other believe that it stood on normal land located in the vicinity of where the Palace Of The Grand Masters is situated (inside the Rhodes Medieval City).
After The Earthquake
The earthquake took place in 226 BC and it brought the Colossus down in pieces. Unfortunately it lay there for a long time (centuries) and the Rhodian people did not want it rebuilt as they felt its destruction was that of a curse. They also felt they had insulted Helios.
Many years later in 653 AD one scenario mentions that all the remaining pieces were stolen and sold to a Jewish trader by the Arabs of Moab.
It has also been told that invaders from Syria took the pieces and used the materials to make other commodities.
Check Out This Amazing Colossus Video
I think you can see The Colossus is somewhat of a mystery. Conflicting stories of where it stood and even what it looked like. Even after its destruction there are different stories about what happened to its remaining pieces.
One thing for sure, it still stands tall when it comes to the Greek culture and tradition. Later on it is documented that the Rhodian people were also called Colossians after the destruction of the statue simply because of the legend of The Colossus.
There is also talk these days of a new Colossus being built. It is all hearsay as it stands now, and as of this moment there is no evidence to support it being constructed.
If it goes ahead, it is said that it will cost in excess of 280 Million Dollars and will stand at 5 times the height of the original Colossus.
Check the video above for more!
I will keep you updated if I hear anything 🙂
I would love any thoughts you have on this. Do you think The Colossus should remain a thing of the past? Do you think it should be rebuilt?
Just drop me a comment below and I will get back to you!