Colossus of Rhodes

Built in celebration of the locals’ victory after a particularly difficult battle against the mighty Besieger Dimitrios. The statue, dedicated to the Sun God, was the work of the famous Lindian sculptor, Chares.

Photo: William Creswell (Colossus of Rhodes c.1778)

It took 12 years (from 304 to 292BC) to complete and was considered a structural and artistic masterpiece. Its exact location and form is something that has been argued over for centuries. One inscription tells us that it stood some 31m and most historians have the gigantic statue straddling the entrance to the town’s main Mandrake harbour although others argue that it would have been placed further inland. The Colossus stood for sixty years, falling to a devastating earthquake in 226BC. Here the local tales step in again. Legend has it that Helios had never liked the statue and forbade any attempt at its restoration. The Rhodians, fearing the wrath of the gods, made no attempt to rebuild it and the Colossus lay in ruins for 900 years until Arab pirates seized Rhodes in 653.

It is said that they hauled the broken pieces off for sale to a Jewish merchant and the Colossus was lost forever!

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