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Seven Wonders of Ancient World/Colossus of Rhodes

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Have you ever wish to celabrated in style some important events of your life? Perhaps some prize won or a bachelor’s degree,a goal achieved that required a lot of effort or the birth of your son or maybe an unexpected win to the lottery. I am confident that each of us would celebrate for some happy and wonderful success in our lives and it is just what the inhabitants of Rhodes did  when they wanted to celebrate an awesome victory! The city of Rhodes in 305 b.C. was besieged by Demetrius I of Macedon,son of a successor of Alexander the Great. However the city was heavily defended by large stone walls and weren’t enough 40.000 men to prevail over the inhabitants of Rhodes!

After about a year the siege ended with the withdrawal of Demetrius,also caused by intervention of Politemus that with his fleet managed to prevail over last attacks of invaders! What did the Rhodians do to celebrate such important victory? They think just to celebrate by starting to build a statue that would go down in history as one of the seven wonders of ancient world,namely “Colossus of Rhodes”! However we cannot exclude that they  celebrated by getting drunk and maybe they would not be wrong,after all fighiting and winning for their own freedom is an achievement  that deserves great celebrations!

The statue was built in honor of th god Helios,the patron god of Rhodes city. He was Titan of solar star,son of the Titans Theia and Hyperion. Chares of Lindos was commissioned to build such huge statue also because he was already expert in building these colossal works of which he had learned main techniques from his famous master Lysippos. The inhabitants of Rhodes adroitly exploited the siege tower, left by Demetrius, as a scaffold to start the work to build the statue. It took 12 long years to complete such huge work the height of which reached to something like 32 meters! The historians of the time asserted that the structure of statue was made up by stones with iron girders inserted inside,to which were hooked several bronze plates that served as outer coating. 

statue of Helios
Possible appearence of Colossus of Rhodes

Even this wonder of ancient world had no good fortune since it remained standing just for 67 years as long as a powerful earthquake that occured in 226 b.C. made it collapse breaking it into several parts. Even when it fell hopelessly Pliny the Elder descibed the statue in a rather flattering way since he wrote…“even if it is on the ground it is still a wonderful sight”

Ptolemy III.pharaoh of Egypt,offered to finance recostruction of Colossus but the Rodhians rejected fearing the wrath of god Helios and judging rebuild as a serious offense toward the god.

What was the end of statue remains? Pieces of Colossus were take away by Arab which in 653 b.C. conquered Rhodes and they were sold to a jew of Emesa,a city of a today eastern Syria. Even Colussus of Rhodes therefore had not been built to be long-lasting and to braved the centuries as it was intended of Rhodians.

Lately starting in the 2000s have been put foward several projects which aimed at rebuilding to colossal statue but none of them has been succesful; it was thought indeed to rebuild the work much higher than the original one even between 60 and 100 meters but then nothing ever came of it! Perhaps it may be due to wrath of god Helios ,which doesn’t accept affront of useless recostruction,that Colossus of Rhodes will be forever buried in the fog of a remote and glorious past.  

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