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Colossus of Rhodes

Updated on August 15, 2012

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.

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Stamp with image of Colossus of RhodesEarlier depiction of The Colossus of RhodesAn artist's illustrationOil painting on canvass by Salvador DaliThe Statue of Liberty is said to have gotten its inspiration from The Colossus of Rhodes
Stamp with image of Colossus of Rhodes
Stamp with image of Colossus of Rhodes
Earlier depiction of The Colossus of Rhodes
Earlier depiction of The Colossus of Rhodes
An artist's illustration
An artist's illustration
Oil painting on canvass by Salvador Dali
Oil painting on canvass by Salvador Dali
The Statue of Liberty is said to have gotten its inspiration from The Colossus of Rhodes
The Statue of Liberty is said to have gotten its inspiration from The Colossus of Rhodes

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    • BeatsMe profile image
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      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      Hi Cressinia, thanks for sharing your vacation experience. I think that it's hard to rebuild something that no one can give an accurate description of. Even the statue's description are somewhat theoretical and so does its location. But like you've said, they have to put it somewhere nice. And I have to agree with you, tourists will definitely love to visit it even if it's not the ancient thing. :)

    • cressinia profile image

      cressinia 5 years ago

      Went to Rhodes this year on vacation, and after seeing the great job the Italians did restoring Old Town in the mid 20th century, thought why doesn't Rhodes city council rebuild the Colossus astride the old harbor (moving the dove and stag somewhere nice of course). Defo would double tourist numbers.

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      Thanks Daytripeer. I really appreciate the boost of confidence you're giving. :)

    • profile image

      daytripeer 7 years ago

      I never rush through one of your hubs; I come here when I have adequate time to read, look, and think. I am never disappointed.

    • BeatsMe profile image
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      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      lol. Actually, I didn't mean it to be a history lesson. Lessons are boring, don't ya think? They're a collection of the seven wonders of the world. Probably the first collection, if I'm not mistaken.

      Thanks for the welcome. Really appreciate it from another hubber. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      These concise history lessons are most welcome. Many thanks! :)

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      Hi Eileen, I hope you're like me. I like history when they're on TV but not when I was in school. :)

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      beats me, I don't know if like history but it was interesting to me. Thanks for sharing this

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 7 years ago

      Hi Cgull, I hope this doesn't look like another history lesson to you. I hope you find this more as an enjoyable read than history lesson. :)

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Not many are interested in History it appears in Hubpages. Good to go through them again.