Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Colossus of Rhodes one of the seven Wonders of the ancient world

The Colossus once guarded the harbor to the island of Rhodes. It stood for nearly a century and was one of the ancient wonders of the world. At a 110 feet high was as high as the statue of Liberty, build over 2000 years later. The story of the colossus began in 305 bc when a powerful enemy fleet began a year long siege of the island of Rhodes. The attackers far outnumbered the small islands population but against all odds the island has defeated them. To celebrate their surprising victory, the rhodians decided to build a giant bronze statue of their sun god Helios. A local sculpture Chares of lindos was given the challenge of building a statue nearly twice as tall any ever built. Construction took twelve long years of hard labor and two hundred tons of bronze. Early representations of Colossus show the statue astride the harbor, as shown in the picture. Because a statue with this size had never been build before Chares at every stage of construction was taking a step further into the unknown. He decided to build a wooden frame over which he would hang beaten bronze panels. Starting at the feet and working upwards, the colossus was supported by a mount of earth, as it grew over 100 feet high. The island of Rhodes was known for its bronze work, which was a major export, but because the colossus was so large the entire casting bit could only make one small section at a time. Hundred of pieces where cast and carried up the growing mountain to be attached to the wooden frame work and stones where dropped down inside to give stability. Colossus stood tall for nearly 60 years but in 224 bc occurred one natural force that colossus could not withstand, a massive earthquake destroyed colossus laying his pieces to the ground. The people of Rhodes consulted an oracle which warned that the rebuilt of Colossus would bring them misfortune, so the giant statue layed in pieces for over a thousand years until finally the bronze was sold for scrap.

1 comment:

  1. It would have been an amazing sight even now, if it still stood. Imagine, something like the Statue of Liberty, just as large, and was constructed many centuries ago. That's pretty amazing, when you think about it; how architecture back then managed to construct such a giant.