The Colossus of Rhodes is a statue that was built between 292 and 280 BC on the Greek island of Rhodes. The statue, which depicted the Greek Titan Helios, was intended to commemorate their victory over the ruler of Cyprus in 305 BC. The Colossus of Rhodes was one of the world’s tallest statues, standing 98.4 feet tall. It only lasted 56 years before being destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC. When the ruler of Cyprus was defeated, he left much of his equipment behind. The Rhodians used the proceeds from the sale of the equipment to construct the Colossus of Rhodes.
The Rhodians also used brass and iron from the abandoned equipment to construct the statue.
The Colossus of Rhodes was supported by a 50-foot-tall white marble pedestal.
Inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, there is a plaque inscribed with the sonnet ‘The New Colossus.’ Emma Lazarus wrote it, and it includes the following reference to the Colossus of Rhodes: ‘Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame.’
The Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty were both built as symbols of liberty.
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.
According to some historians, Helios was built with one foot on each side of the harbour. Others have disputed this theory, claiming that he was 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 duration of the 12-year construction period.
When it fell, it would have also blocked the harbour.
The Colossus of Rhodes was designed by Charles of Lindos. Lysippus, a sculptor who had previously created a 60-foot-tall statue of Zeus, was his teacher.
The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed by an earthquake in 226 BC, but pieces of the statue remained for centuries.
Egypt’s King Ptolemy III offered to pay for the reconstruction of the Colossus. The Rhodians were adamantly opposed. They believed that Helios was enraged by the statue and was responsible for the earthquake that destroyed it.
The Arabs conquered the Rhodians in the seventh century A.D. What remained of the Colossus was dismantled and sold as scrap metal by the Arabs.
According to reports, it took approximately 900 camels to transport all of the scrap metal.