Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was a giant statue of the Greek god Helios. It was located in the island of Rhodes in Greece. It was 110 feet in height and was built with iron bars and bronze.
The Colossus was built as a celebration by the people of Rhodes after they have successfully resisted military invasion. The equipments left behind by their enemies were stripped down and used to build a colossal monument of their god Helios.
After construction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood for only 56 years. It was destroyed by an earthquake. However, its ruins lay on the ground for over 800 years. Even after its destruction, people still travel to see the ruins of the statue. It was said that its fingers were larger than other statues of the time. According to Pliny the Elder, ‘few people can make their arms meet round the thumb’.
Earlier depiction of the Colossus of Rhodes show that each foot was on each side of the harbor with ships passing under it. However, later analysis shows the impossibility of this type of construction. Knowledge of modern architecture and engineering will confirm that this type of structure was not possible at all. First of all, the statue couldn’t have been built with its legs apart from each other and without much support on the ground. The statue would’ve collapsed from its own weight. Second reason is because it was a shipping/commercial port; construction of the statue on this area would’ve closed the harbor making it impossible for the Rhodians to do their usual business. Third reason is it was said that when the statue fell, it fell on land making its ruins visible to the public for the next 800 years. If it was built on the harbor, it would’ve fell on water and make it impossible for the Rhodians to travel using this port.
Modern depiction of the statue is that it was standing on a pedestal. It was also said that instead of it being located in the harbor mouth, it was actually located on a hill overlooking the harbor. This latter theory sounded more plausible, and hence, we accept them as accurate, although we’ll never really know.