Colossus of Rhodes
Overview
 
The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue
Statue
A statue is a sculpture in the round representing a person or persons, an animal, an idea or an event, normally full-length, as opposed to a bust, and at least close to life-size, or larger...

 of the Greek Titan
Titan (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age....

 Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

, erected in the city of Rhodes on the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 island of Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 by Chares of Lindos
Chares of Lindos
Chares of Lindos was a Greek sculptor born on the island of Rhodes. He was a pupil of Lysippus....

 between 292 and 280 BC. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Seven Wonders of the World refers to remarkable constructions of classical antiquity listed by various authors in guidebooks popular among the ancient Hellenic tourists, particularly in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC...

. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes' victory over the ruler of Cyprus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus , son of Philip from Elimeia, was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. During his early life he served under Philip II, and he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death, declaring himself king in 306 BC and...

, who unsuccessfully besieged Rhodes in 305 BC. Before its destruction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 meters (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.
Alexander the Great died at the early age of 32 in 323 BC without having had time to put into place any plans for his succession.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue
Statue
A statue is a sculpture in the round representing a person or persons, an animal, an idea or an event, normally full-length, as opposed to a bust, and at least close to life-size, or larger...

 of the Greek Titan
Titan (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age....

 Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

, erected in the city of Rhodes on the Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 island of Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 by Chares of Lindos
Chares of Lindos
Chares of Lindos was a Greek sculptor born on the island of Rhodes. He was a pupil of Lysippus....

 between 292 and 280 BC. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Seven Wonders of the World refers to remarkable constructions of classical antiquity listed by various authors in guidebooks popular among the ancient Hellenic tourists, particularly in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC...

. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes' victory over the ruler of Cyprus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus , son of Philip from Elimeia, was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. During his early life he served under Philip II, and he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death, declaring himself king in 306 BC and...

, who unsuccessfully besieged Rhodes in 305 BC. Before its destruction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 meters (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.

Siege of Rhodes

Alexander the Great died at the early age of 32 in 323 BC without having had time to put into place any plans for his succession. Fighting broke out among his generals, the Diadochi
Diadochi
The Diadochi were the rival generals, family and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for the control of Alexander's empire after his death in 323 BC...

, with four of them eventually dividing up much of his empire in the Mediterranean area. During the fighting, Rhodes had sided with Ptolemy, and when Ptolemy eventually took control of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Rhodes and Ptolemaic Egypt formed an alliance which controlled much of the trade in the eastern Mediterranean.

Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus
Antigonus I Monophthalmus , son of Philip from Elimeia, was a Macedonian nobleman, general, and satrap under Alexander the Great. During his early life he served under Philip II, and he was a major figure in the Wars of the Diadochi after Alexander's death, declaring himself king in 306 BC and...

 was upset by this turn of events. In 305 BC he had his son Demetrius Poliorcetes, also a general, invade Rhodes with an army of 40,000; however, the city was well defended, and Demetrius—whose name "Poliorcetes" signifies the "besieger of cities"—had to start construction of a number of massive siege towers in order to gain access to the walls. The first was mounted on six ships, but these capsized in a storm before they could be used. He tried again with a larger, land-based tower named Helepolis
Helepolis
Helepolis was an ancient siege engine invented by Polyidus of Thessaly and improved by Demetrius I of Macedon and Epimachus of Athens for the unsuccessful siege of Rhodes, based on an earlier, less massive design used against Salamis...

, but the Rhodian defenders stopped this by flooding the land in front of the walls so that the rolling tower could not move.

In 304 BC a relief force of ships sent by Ptolemy arrived, and Demetrius's army abandoned the siege, leaving most of their siege equipment. To celebrate their victory, the Rhodians sold the equipment left behind for 300 talents and decided to use the money to build a colossal statue of their patron god, Helios
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

. Construction was left to the direction of Chares
Chares of Lindos
Chares of Lindos was a Greek sculptor born on the island of Rhodes. He was a pupil of Lysippus....

, a native of Lindos in Rhodes, who had been involved with large-scale statues before. His teacher, the sculptor Lysippos
Lysippos
Lysippos was a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC. Together with Scopas and Praxiteles, he is considered one of the three greatest sculptors of the Classical Greek era, bringing transition into the Hellenistic period. Problems confront the study of Lysippos because of the difficulty of...

, had constructed a 22 meter (70 ft) high bronze statue of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 at Tarentum
Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

.

Construction

Ancient accounts, which differ to some degree, describe the structure as being built with iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 tie bars to which brass plates were fixed to form the skin. The interior of the structure, which stood on a 15-meter- (50-foot-) high white marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 pedestal
Pedestal
Pedestal is a term generally applied to the support of a statue or a vase....

 near the Mandraki harbor entrance, was then filled with stone blocks as construction progressed. Other sources place the Colossus on a breakwater in the harbor. The statue itself was over 30 meters (107 ft) tall. Much of the iron and bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 was reforged
Forging
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: '"cold," "warm," or "hot" forging. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to 580 metric tons...

 from the various weapons Demetrius's army left behind, and the abandoned second siege tower was used for scaffolding around the lower levels during construction. Upper portions were built with the use of a large earthen ramp. During the building, workers would pile mounds of dirt on the sides of the colossus. Upon completion all of the dirt was removed and the colossus was left to stand alone. After twelve years, in 280 BC, the statue was completed. Preserved in Greek anthologies of poetry is what is believed to be the genuine dedication text for the Colossus.

Possible construction method

Modern engineers have put forward a plausible hypothesis for the statue construction, based on the technology of those days (which was not based on the modern principles of earthquake engineering
Earthquake engineering
Earthquake engineering is the scientific field concerned with protecting society, the natural and the man-made environment from earthquakes by limiting the seismic risk to socio-economically acceptable levels...

), and the accounts of Philo and Pliny who both saw and described the remains.

The base pedestal was at least 60 feet (18.3 m) in diameter and either circular or octagonal. The feet were carved in stone and covered with thin bronze plates riveted together. Eight forged iron bars set in a radiating horizontal position formed the ankles and turned up to follow the lines of the legs while becoming progressively smaller. Individually cast curved bronze plates 60 inches (1,524 mm) square with turned in edges were joined together by rivets through holes formed during casting to form a series of rings. The lower plates were 1 inches (25.4 mm) in thickness to the knee and 3/4 inch thick from knee to abdomen, while the upper plates were 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick except where additional strength was required at joints such as the shoulder, neck, etc. The legs would need to be filled at least to the knees with stones for stability. Accounts described earthen mounds used to aid construction; however, to reach the top of the statue would have required a mound 300 feet (91.4 m) in diameter, which exceeded the available land area, so modern engineers have proposed that the abandoned siege towers stripped down would have made efficient scaffolding.

A computer simulation of this construction indicated that an earthquake would have caused a cascading failure
Cascading failure
A cascading failure is a failure in a system of interconnected parts in which the failure of a part can trigger the failure of successive parts.- Cascading failure in power transmission :...

 of the rivets, causing the statue to break up at the joints while still standing instead of breaking after falling to the ground, as described in second hand accounts. The arms would have been first to separate, followed by the legs. The knees were less likely to break and the ankles' survival would have depended on the quality of the workmanship.

Destruction

The statue stood for 56 years until Rhodes was hit by the 226 BC Rhodes earthquake
226 BC Rhodes earthquake
The Rhodes earthquake of 226 BC, which affected the island of Rhodes, Greece, is famous for having toppled the large statue known as the Colossus of Rhodes. Following the earthquake, the statue lay in place for nearly 8 centuries before being sold off by invaders...

, when significant damage was also done to large portions of the city, including the harbor and commercial buildings, which were destroyed. The statue snapped at the knees and fell over on to the land. Ptolemy III offered to pay for the reconstruction of the statue, but the oracle of Delphi
Pythia
The Pythia , commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. The Delphic oracle was established in the 8th century BC...

 made the Rhodians afraid that they had offended Helios, and they declined to rebuild it.

The remains lay on the ground as described by Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 (xiv.2.5) for over 800 years, and even broken, they were so impressive that many traveled to see them. Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 remarked that few people could wrap their arms around the fallen thumb and that each of its fingers was larger than most statues.

In 654, an Arab force under Muslim caliph Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I was the first Caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. After the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims, Muawiyah's family converted to Islam. Muawiyah is brother-in-law to Muhammad who married his sister Ramlah bint Abi-Sufyan in 1AH...

 captured Rhodes, and according to the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor
Theophanes the Confessor
Saint Theophanes Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy, who became a monk and chronicler. He is venerated on March 12 in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church .-Biography:Theophanes was born in Constantinople of wealthy and noble iconodule parents: Isaac,...

, the remains were sold to a "Jewish merchant of Edessa
Edessa, Mesopotamia
Edessa is the Greek name of an Aramaic town in northern Mesopotamia, as refounded by Seleucus I Nicator. For the modern history of the city, see Şanlıurfa.-Names:...

". The buyer had the statue broken down, and transported the bronze scrap on the backs of 900 camels to his home. Theophanes is the sole source of this story to which all other sources can be traced. The stereotypical Arab destruction and the purported sale to a Jew possibly originated as a powerful metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 for Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the destruction of a great and awesome statue, and would have been understood by any 7th century monk as evidence for the coming apocalypse.
The same story is recorded by Barhebraeus, writing in Syriac in the 13th century in Edessa (see E.A. Wallis Budge, The Chronography of Gregory Abu'l-Faraj, vol I, p. 98, APA - Philo Press, Amsterdam, 1932): (After the Arab pillage of Rhodes) "And a great number of men hauled on strong ropes which were tied round the brass Colossus which was in the city and pulled it down. And they weighed from it three thousand loads of Corinthian brass, and they sold it to a certain Jew from Emesa" (the Syrian city of Homs).

Posture

The harbor-straddling Colossus was a figment of medieval imaginations based on the dedication text's mention of "over land and sea" twice. Many older illustrations (above) show the statue with one foot on either side of the harbor mouth with ships passing under it: "...the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land..." ("The New Colossus
The New Colossus
"The New Colossus" is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus , written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty.- History of the poem :...

", a poem engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty in 1903).
Shakespeare's Cassius in Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar (play)
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, also known simply as Julius Caesar, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It portrays the 44 BC conspiracy against...

(I,ii,136–38) says of Caesar:
Shakespeare alludes to the Colossus also in Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. It was also described by Frederick S. Boas as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. The play ends on a very bleak note with the death of the noble Trojan Hector and destruction of the love between Troilus...

(V.5) and in Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV , and Henry V...

(V.1).

While these fanciful images feed the misconception, the mechanics of the situation reveal that the Colossus could not have straddled the harbor as described in Lemprière
John Lemprière
John Lemprière , English classical scholar, lexicographer, theologian, teacher and headmaster...

's Classical Dictionary
Lemprière's Bibliotheca Classica
The Bibliotheca Classica , or Classical Dictionary containing a full Account of all the Proper Names mentioned in Ancient Authors is the best-known work of John Lemprière, an English classical scholar. Edited by various later scholars, the dictionary long remained a readable if not absolutely...

. If the completed statue straddled the harbor, the entire mouth of the harbor would have been effectively closed during the entirety of the construction; nor would the ancient Rhodians have had the means to dredge and re-open the harbor after construction. The statue fell in 224 BC: if it straddled the harbor mouth, it would have entirely blocked the harbor. Also, since the ancients would not have had the ability to remove the entire statue from the harbor, it would not have remained visible on land for the next 800 years, as discussed above. Even neglecting these objections, the statue was made of bronze, and an engineering analysis proved that it could not have been built with its legs apart without collapsing from its own weight. Many researchers have considered alternate positions for the statue which would have made it more feasible for actual construction by the ancients.http://www.greatest-unsolved-mysteries.com/colossus-of-rhodes.html

Location of the ruins

Media reports in 1989 initially suggested that large stones found on the seabed off the coast of Rhodes might have been the remains of the Colossus; however this theory was later shown to be without merit.

Another theory published in an article in 2008 by Ursula Vedder suggests that the Colossus was never in the port, but rather was part of the Acropolis of Rhodes
Acropolis of Rhodes
The Acropolis of Rhodes is an acropolis dating from the Hellenistic period 3 kilometers from the centre of Rhodes, in the island with the same name, Greece....

, on a hill today named Monte Smith, which overlooks the port area. The temple on top of Monte Smith has traditionally thought to have been devoted to Apollo, but according to Vedder, it would have been a Helios sanctuary. The enormous stone foundations at the temple site, the function of which is not definitively known by modern scholars, are proposed by Vedder to have been the supporting platform of the Colossus.

Statue of Liberty

The design, posture and dimensions of the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

 in New York Harbor
New York Harbor
New York Harbor refers to the waterways of the estuary near the mouth of the Hudson River that empty into New York Bay. It is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Although the U.S. Board of Geographic Names does not use the term, New York Harbor has important historical, governmental,...

 are based on what the Colossus was thought by engineers in the late 19th century to have looked like. There is a famous reference to the Colossus in the sonnet
Sonnet
A sonnet is one of several forms of poetry that originate in Europe, mainly Provence and Italy. A sonnet commonly has 14 lines. The term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song" or "little sound"...

 "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus
Emma Lazarus
Lazarus began to be more interested in her Jewish ancestry after reading the George Eliot novel, Daniel Deronda, and as she heard of the Russian pogroms in the early 1880s. This led Lazarus to write articles on the subject. She also began translating the works of Jewish poets into English...

, written in 1883 and inscribed on a plaque located inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:

Rebuilding

There has been much debate as to whether to rebuild the Colossus. Those in favor say it would boost tourism in Rhodes greatly, but those against construction say it would cost too large an amount (over 100 million euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

). This idea has been revived many times since it was first proposed in 1970 but, due to lack of funding, work has not yet started.

In November 2008, it was announced that the Colossus of Rhodes was to be rebuilt. According to Dimitris Koutoulas, who is heading the project in Greece, rather than reproducing the original Colossus, the new structure will be a, "highly, highly innovative light sculpture, one that will stand between 60 and 100 metres tall so that people can physically enter it." The project is expected to cost up to €200m which will be provided by international donors and the German artist Gert Hof. The new Colossus will adorn an outer pier in the harbour area of Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

, where it will be visible to passing ships. Koutoulas said, "Although we are still at the drawing board stage, Gert Hof's plan is to make it the world's largest light installation, a structure that has never before been seen in any place of the world."

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  • In Transformers
    Transformers
    A transformer is a device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another by magnetic coupling.Transformer may also refer to:* ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, an Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablet computer manufacturer by Asus...

    animated there is a character known as Colossus Rhodes.

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