The Colossus of Rhodes

The building of giant sculptures has a long and awe-inspiring history, leaving us with a permanent record of man’s efforts to immortalize himself or to pay homage to his gods or his country in stone or metal sculptures.

The Colossus of Rhodes, which paid tribute to the Greek god, Helios, soared 105 feet and stood guard in the harbor on the Greek island of Rhodes. It was erected over the entry of the harbor of the city, with the right foot on one side, and the left on the other. The largest ships could pass between the legs without lowering their masts. It was justifiably classed as one of the Seven Wonders of The World.

Work on the great bronze statue, by the sculptor Chares, a pupil of Lysippus, was begun in 292 B.C., and this unmistakable landmark and guide to shipping took more than 12 years to complete. But tragically, it’s very size turned out to be it’s downfall.

The island of Rhodes was ravaged by an earthquake in 224 B.C., and the huge statue toppled and was smashed to pieces. The massive fragments lay where they had fallen for almost 900 years until, in A.D. 672, the chunks of bronze were finally sold for scrap and carted away by buyers to be melted down.


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