Interesting facts about the Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes is a giant statue that was erected on the island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea. Now it is difficult to say exactly how it looked, it is only known that its height reached 33 - 36 meters, and this grandiose structure was created by the sculptor Hares, a student of the famous Lysippos. The exact date of the statue's erection is also unknown. Presumably this was in the III century BC, and work on the Colossus of Rhodes lasted for twelve years.

In 305 BC, the army of Demetrius the Great landed on Rhodes. Despite the huge army, the number of which reached 40, 000 people, and many siege weapons and battering machines, the inhabitants of Rhoss were able to defend their island, and in memory of getting rid of the enemy they decided to erect a statue of the Colossus. There is even a legend that part of the money for the construction was obtained from the sale of enemy battering equipment, which was abandoned by the fugitive warriors of Demetrius of Macedon.

It is not known when Hares completed the work, but in 281 BC a statue of the Colossus of Rhodes was already decorating the island. There are several descriptions of this structure, the most reliable of which is considered to be the testimony of the ancient Greek engineer and mathematician Philo of Byzantium. According to him, the statue was made in the form of a man who stood on a pedestal of white marble.

The construction of the statue took 8 tons of iron and 13 tons of bronze. The basis was made up of iron beams, to which bronze sheets were attached, which created the shape of the human body. The voids were filled with a mixture of clay and stones. In his hand the Colossus of Rhodes held a torch that was lit at night. Thus, the statue not only adorned the entrance to the harbor, but also served as a lighthouse.

For stability, the feet of the Colossus of Rhodes were huge, disproportionate to the body, size. Some sources even claimed that the feet were on opposite sides of the entrance to the bay. But, this was simply impossible, since the distance between the banks was about 400 meters, and the height of the statue itself was ten times less.

First, Hares made the feet of the Colossus, then climbed higher and higher, connecting new body parts with those that had been made earlier. To hide his work from prying eyes, the sculptor ordered to build an earthen rampart around it, which became higher and higher as the statue itself grew. Initially, it was assumed that the height of the monument would be about 18 meters, but then it was decided to double it.

When the work was completed, the earthen rampart was destroyed, before the eyes of the admiring inhabitants of Rhodes, a wonderful image of the Colossus appeared, which carefully peered into the distance, as if examining the ships arriving at the port. The fame of the Colossus of Rhodes spread to many countries, travelers from all over the Mediterranean came to admire it.

But the fate of the sculptor Khares, who worked on the statue for many years, was tragic. Shortly after the Colossus of Rhodes graced the island's port, Hares himself committed suicide. What prompted him to take such a step? According to one of the versions, the sculptor was broke and could not pay off the creditors, since the initially allocated money for all the work was not enough and Hares had to get into big debts. Other biographers say cracks were seen on the statue, which angered the islanders.

However, the statue of the Colossus of Rhodes itself did not last long on its pedestal. In 226 (according to other sources - in 227) BC, the island of Rhodes fell victim to a devastating earthquake. The harbor was completely destroyed. The Colossus of Rhodes could not resist the elements, the statue broke at the knees, the upper part of the monument collapsed to the ground. Thus, the Colossus of Rhodes was a landmark of the island for a short time - about 50 years.

The statue was not restored because of someone's prophecy, according to which, its restoration could cause the anger of the god Helios, to whom this structure was dedicated. The Colossus of Rhodes lay on the coast of the bay for centuries, striking eyewitnesses with its size. Pliny the Elder wrote that not every person could cover even the thumb of the Colossus. Only in 653, the Arabs, who captured the island, sold the fragments of the statue to some merchant, who melted the bronze sheets into ingots and took them out on camels. Which, by the way, took 900.

But, as it turned out quite recently, not the entire statue was melted down. Archaeologists managed to find the right hand of the Colossus at the bottom of the bay of the island of Rhodes. That's all that has survived from the grandiose structure, which was rightfully attributed to one of the wonders of the world. In recent years, there have been proposals to reconstruct the ancient statue. Moreover, its size should be much larger than the original - up to 150 meters high.