First thing first, I’m going to announce you that on this post and the next 6 posts are going to be occupied with these ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’ topic. It’ll not going to be long-winded, because I’m trying to make it concise, compact and tangible as possible.
Every day, people from around the world come to visit New York either by land, water or air transportation. Those who came to New York by water transportation will be greeted by the well-known huge female which is a gift from French, with its peculiar pose; lifting a torch, carrying books and wearing a crown. Indeed that’s the renowned Statue of Liberty, but some people called it the ‘Modern Colossus’ which is located near the Harbour. Some of the people don’t know that the word colossus itself reflects to another eminent statue which is called ‘The Colossus of Rhodes’, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The statue was used to be located in the Island of Rhodes (now modern Greece), off the south-western tip of Asia Minor where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean, which was a cardinal economic centre in the ancient World. The island was used to be conquered by Mausolus of Halicarnassus in 357 BC before it fell into Persian hands in 340 BC and finally being crumpled by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Lamentably, Alexander died young due to a certain fever, as the results, his generals, Ptolemy, Antigous and Seleucus, were fighting over his throne. However, the Rhodians were supporting Ptolemy in this fight which provoked Antiguous’s resentment by sending his son Dementrius in 305 BC to punish the city of Rhodes, or in other words, declaring a war.
The war was long and painful; over 40.000 men were sent in to the war, more than the population of the city of Rhodes itself. Dementrius sent a certain siege tower that was equipped with consummate and advanced armaments like for example catapults, water tanks to avoid flame throwers and some other equipment that are meant to be protecting the soldiers. After Ptolemy succeeded to tumble the second siege tower called the Helepolis, a massive structure with approximately 150ft high and weigh 160 tons, Demetrius withdrew quickly, leaving the great siege tower where it was. He signed a peace treaty and called his siege a victory as Rhodes agreed to remain neutral in his war against Ptolemy.
To celebrate their victory and freedom, the Rhodians agreed to build a colossal statue of their patron God, Helios. They melted bronze from those siege towers left by Dementrius for the scaffolding cardinal material. The architect of this great construction was Chares of Lindos, a Rhodian sculptor who was a patriot and fought in defence of the city. Chares had been involved with large scale statues before. The statue was one hundred and ten feet high and stood upon a fifty-foot pedestal near the harbour entrance perhaps on a breakwater. Some says that the statue’s leg pose straddled among the harbour entrance so that ships can pass though below, but some also says the statue was located near the harbour, standing alone gallantly, more like in a common pose manner for a Greek God’s sculpture. Approximately this statue was finished built for 12 years, and some people said that Chares, the architect, did not have the chance to see his own masterpiece, some says due to suicide (however we could not make sure since we don’t have the bold averment about this true existence of this statue).
When the statue was finished, it was dedicated with a poem:
To you, o Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus, when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom and independence. For to the descendants of Herakles belongs dominion over sea and land.
The Colossus stood gallantly at the harbour entrance for some fifty-six years. Each morning the sun must have caught its polished bronze surface and made the god’s figure shine. Then, unfortunately, an earthquake hit Rhodes in 226 BC and the statue collapsed. Huge pieces of the figure lay along the harbour for centuries. King Ptolemy III did offered a pay for its re-construction, however, the Rhodians refused because they say that it might because of God Helios’s indignation that he sent an earthquake and razed down the statue.
In the 7th Century, Arabians conquered Rhodes and took away all those statue debris and sell them in small pieces. Some says that it ‘employed’ 900 camels to carry all those remains!