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 depiction of the Greek Titan Helios and was meant to celebrate their victory over the ruler of Cyprus in 305 BC. At 98.4 feet high, the Colossus of Rhodes was one of the tallest statues of the ancient world. It only stood for 56 years until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC. When the ruler of Cyprus was defeated they left behind much of their equipment. The Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to build the Colossus of Rhodes.
Interesting Colossus of Rhodes Facts:
The Rhodians also used brass and iron from the equipment left behind to build the statue.
The Statue of Liberty has been referred to as the ‘Modern Colossus’. The Colossus of Rhodes was approximately 98.4 feet tall and Statue of Liberty stands at 111 feet, 6 inches, from her heel to the top her head.
The Colossus of Rhodes stood on a 50 foot high white marble pedestal.
There is a plaque inside the pedestal of 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.’
Both the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty were built as symbols to freedom.
Both the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty were built in busy harbours.
Construction of the Colossus of Rhodes took 12 years to complete.
Some historians believe that the statue depicted Helios as either being nude or semi-nude with a robe. Some accounts suggest he wore a crown and that this hand was up in the air.
The statue was built with an iron frame work. Over this they used brass plates to create the skin and outer structure of Helios.
Some historians believe that Helios was built with one foot on either side of the harbour. Others have discounted this theory and believe that he stood in a more Greek Pose. If the statue had been built with Helios’ legs straddling the harbour, the harbour would have had to be closed for the 12 years of construction. It would also have blocked the harbour when it fell.
Charles of Lindos was the architect of the Colossus of Rhodes. His teacher was Lysippus, a sculptor who had previously created a 60 foot tall statue of Zeus.
The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC, but pieces of the statue lay where it fell for centuries afterwards.
Ptolemy III, the king of Egypt offered to pay for the Colossus’ reconstruction. The Rhodians refused. They believed that Helios himself was angered by the statue and caused the earthquake that destroyed it.
The Rhodians were conquered by the Arabs in the 7th century A.D. The Arabs dismantled what was left of the Colossus and sold it as scrap metal.
It was reported that it took approximately 900 camels to carry away all the scrap metal.