In 280 BC, Chares of Lindos, erected a huge Statue of the famous Greek Titan Helious in the famous city of Rhodes on Rhodes Island. This spectacular statue was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but like all the other spectacular wonders of the ancient world, this statue was also destroyed. It was totally destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC. It was the tallest of Ancient World statues.
History of the Statue
This statue was built to commemorate the victory of the Rhodians when Antigonus’s army abandoned the siege and left, leaving behind their siege equipment. The equipment was sold and the money utilized in building this colossal statue of Helious, their God. The statue was constructed by Chares who was known for his expertise in the erection of such colossal statues. It took 12 long years to complete construction of this huge statue.
This magnificent statue stood at a height of 110 feet on a pedestal of 50 foot and was located near the harbor entrance. The feet had thin bronze plates covering and were carved in stone. The ankles were formed by 8 iron bars that were set in a horizontal radiating position. As per historians, the figure was semi nude or nude and had a cloak over its left shoulder or arm. Many believe that the statue had a spiked crown, which wonderfully shaded its eyes and protected it from the sun. On its right hand, the statue held a torch. There are several accounts which describe the use of earthen mounds which helped in construction. It was difficult to reach the top part of the statue so these mounds might have been used to reach the upper section of the statue.
A lot is often talked about the posture of the statue. There are several old illustrations which show that one foot of the statue is one both side of this harbor and there are ships passing just under it. The conquering limbs were on either side of the side.
The statue charmed travelers for more than 56 years until it was hit by a huge earthquake, which devastated the region and cause damage to large parts of the city. It is said that the statue fell on to the land as its knees snapped due to the earthquake. Ptolemy III was eager to have the statue reconstructed but the Rhodians were scared and they believed that they had angered Helious and hence the statue was never reconstructed. However in the 7th century AD, the Rhodians were taken over by the Arabs who completely dismantled this statue and took over whatever was left. This was later sold as scrap metal. It took more than 700 camels to carry all scrap metal – such was the make of this marvelous statue.
The Statue of Liberty is often closely associated with The Colossus of Rhodes as both these statues are about freedom. The Statue of Liberty is referred to as ‘Modern Colossus’ which has some similarity in posture too.