Wonders of Colossus of Rhodes - One of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World
1 - The Statue that Stoned the Gaze of People
Greek mythology is full of interesting and rich lore along with different tales. One of the interesting aspects of the Greek gods was their human aspect. They fought; they made peace and indulged in all imperfections which are strictly supposed to be human.
The interesting matter is how their statues were built by old builders. For a time lacking the modern technology of the present era, their effort and art of building continues to amaze and inspire the present day folks. Their feats of statue building which are supposedly possible by today’s modern technological aids only have continued to be wonders of the world. People have spent centuries, worshipping and looking at such wonders with praise.
1.1 - Location of Island Rhodes - Home to Wonder of Colossus of Rhodes:
Located on the island of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the world lies in ruin. This is the statue of the ancient Greek god Helios. Helios was believed to be sun god who was worshipped along with the other twelve main gods of Greek by the pantheists. It was a majestic structure about 110 feet long.
The main interesting fact is that the huge statue was actually lost. It was its ruins which kept on being the source of wonder. The statue was originally built in 282 BC. It stood tall in its glory for about 56 years. The wonder of Colossus of Rhodes was, without doubt, a fascinating structure.
1.2 - Source of Wonder of People:
Following an earthquake, the statue was toppled by the shaking earth. The main glory of the original statue can be only speculated considering the fact that its legs and remaining structure after the natural disaster were among the wonders of the world. The huge chunks of the statue remained at the beaches of Rhodes Island for about 900 years. People used to form the superstitious belief that the statue was the creation of gods instead of mere mortals. They didn’t believe that we humans are wonderful beings capable of great things. It was, without doubt, one of the most amazing ancient wonders of the world.
2 - Why was the structure built in the first place?
Although the first thought which may come to a common mind is that it was built for worship; this was not the case. This monumental wonder later is known as, “Colossus of Rhodes” was built more like a celebration. For probing deeper into it, we have to go towards the blood-filled history of Rhodes.
2.1 - Rhodes under Conflict in Ancient Times:
Some say it was the geographical location. Or perhaps it was the conflicting relations of the ruler with his neighbors. The Rhodes was under siege for a year. The conflict with the enemy had proved to be very bloody and violent. Countless lives had been lost as is the case with every war. The battle was actually among the three successors of Alexander the Great. Different regions supported different successors of Alexander due to their own interests.
2.2 - Demetrius Siege:
The main enemy of Rhodes was Demetrius. He was the son of one of the successors. This battle took an insanely long time. This king attacked Rhodes with nearly 40,000 troops. He brought everything with him in his power to try and take the Rhodes Island by force. One of the most interesting reinforcements for the battle that he brought was specialized engineers who were tasked to design ways to break through the walls of Rhodes.
2.3 - Rhodes Wins and Demetrius Leaves:
Even with all of his effort, Rhodes proved to be a lead wall. The people of Rhodes were fine warriors who were willing to defend their homes until their last breath. It wasn’t easy to make them draw their last breath soon as well. They were formidable warriors. Demetrius did everything in his power, even capturing one of the strategic towers of Rhodes to bring them down. The people of Rhodes defeated him nonetheless.
Their endurance was well rewarded when they were supported by one of their supporting states. The army which was sent by their companion war group of states arrived at the right time. To escape, Demetrius left in quite a hurry. In this hurry, he also had to leave all his weapons and resources on that island. This was indeed a striking victory for Rhodes and pulverizing defeat for Demetrius.
2.4 - A Statue Construction to Thank the Greek Sun god:
To celebrate their victory, the people of Rhodes decided to pay tribute to their god. The Greek god who was worshipped there was Helios. Therefore, the people of Rhodes decided to pay tribute to him by constructing the statue wonder of Colossus of Rhodes. This statue would later become one of the ancient wonders of the world.
If the statue was to be constructed today, it would cost 5 million dollars. At that age, the currency was different. By estimate, the then currency was about 300 talents which were spent in constructing the masterpiece. Some of the most brilliant architectural minds were handed the task of this project.
Speculations are made about how the original statue looked like. This is because such construction was a masterpiece even after its collapse. The curiosity of how this majestic structure would have appeared during its time of prime is often met with sadness. Sadly the masterpiece didn’t last very long.
One interesting fact was the management of funding for this project. The weapons which Demetrius left were used to further precede the project. The weapons were all molted and their bronze and iron were used to build this structure.
3 - Collapse of Statue
The collapse of the statue was followed as an earthquake did a number on the Island of Rhodes. Later, the rebuilding option of this statue was considered. However, the people of Rhodes believed that this statue had somehow offended the gods. Furthermore, when Egyptian King wanted to fund the project again, he was humbly denied.
Right after the fall, the statue lay with its pieces on the beach, being a source of wonder for the people for about 900 years. Many writers and travelers record their experiences when they first saw this masterpiece lying around in ruins. It truly was a godly structure, perhaps the only one of its kind in that world.
3.1 - Sold into Pieces by Arab Conquerers:
Rhodes also met its demise shortly following the complete demise of this statue. Following the date of 654 CE, the Arabs conquered the island of Rhodes. They didn’t leave their spoils of war. The statue was further cut into pieces and sold to various parts of the world. The bronze and iron were of the finest quality. They were sold at high prices all over the markets of the world. Thus this ancient wonder of the world met its end.