The Colossus Of Rhodes Only Stood For 54 Years

Grace Higgins | August 13th, 2020

One of the wonders from the ancient world called the Colossus of Rhodes stood for only 54 years before it collapsed. However, its legacy has lasted much longer and is even talked about today. You could compare it to an ancient Lady Liberty that would guard the port entrance. The Colossus of Rhodes stood at the entrance of Mandraki harbor. It watched over everyone who passed into the city and was a symbol of Rhodes’s victory against their enemies.

After the leader Antigonus I Monophthalmus from the Cyprus islands tried to invade Rhodes but failed. The people of Rhodes decided they should honor their god Helios. So they built a 150-foot tall statue, claiming that was the best way to honor him. The Greek sculptor Chares started to make the statue in 292 B.C. and it took over twelve years. Workers used the iron and bronze abandoned by their enemies to forge the outer shell of the statue. And the structure would gradually get taller, as they went along they filled it with stones.

They even had to design new ways to construct that high, eventually making dirt hills up. It would have resembled a strange sort of anthill. Upon completion, they removed the dirt and the statue stood up proudly. Unfortunately, to this day we have no idea where the Colossus was standing exactly. Ancient scripts place it at different points of the Mandraki harbor. However, all of the accounts say the statue of Helios itself was 108 feet tall and it was on top of a 49-foot tall marble pedestal. So that means it was a gigantic statue over 157 feet tall.

It was built to stand for generations, but sadly the Colossus of Rhodes only stood for roughly 54 years. In 226 B.C. Rhodes was hit by a terrible earthquake that destroyed large parts of the city and harbor. The worst part? The statue of Helios had snapped by the knees and fallen onto the land. There were talks of rebuilding it, which would have been amazing to see. However, the Oracle of Delphi (their priests of the time) stated that they must have offended Helios. She convinced the people not to rebuild the statue.

Though broken, the Colossus of Rhodes lay there for over 800 years and people did travel to see the statue. People were stunned by the size even though it was broken. Until the year 693, when the Muslim caliph Muawiyah stormed Rhodes and captured the island. He supposedly melted the statue down and sold it to a merchant who needed 900 camels to take it away.

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