Colossus of Rhodes

Welcome to the website of the Colossus of Rhodes, the symbol of the island of Rhodes and one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.

Many visitors to the island are disappointed to not see the Colossus, but its story is even more amazing than the statue itself.

The Colossus, a 100-foot-high bronze likeness of the sun god Helios that straddled Rhodes harbor, is even now only rivaled in size by the Statue of Liberty.

Greek mythology tells us Zeus custom-created Rhodes for Helios the sun god because Helios had been out of town when the rest of the gods divided up the world.

The Colossus was erected to celebrate Rhodes' greatest military victory. In 305 B.C. Syrian prince Demetrius the Besieger - in a snit over Rhodes' alliance with Egypt - attacked the island with 40,000 men and a vast array of novelty siege gadgets.

Giant catapults pelted the city with beachball-sized stones which can still be seen lying around the Old Town. But Rhodes miraculously repelled each attack until, after a year, the Syrians packed it in and went home.

Before leaving, Demetrius presented his massive siege tower to the plucky Rhodians, suggesting they sell it and use the cash to build a suitably stupendous victory statue.

It took 12 years to complete the mammoth monument of Helios. Modern postcards depict the Colossus straddling the harbor like the Jolly Green Giant, so ships entering Rhodes would have to pass rather gingerly between his legs (though scholars say that might not have been the case).

Whatever his posture, the Colossus was only on his feet for 56 years before an earthquake knocked him flat.

For almost 900 years, the Colossus sprawled on the ground in huge, hollow pieces, a source of wonder even in his ruined state.

But when some rather pragmatic Arabs overran Rhodes in 653, all they wondered was how much cash the Colossus would bring as scrap metal.

A Syrian junk dealer hauled away the bronze bits on 900 unhappy camels, and that was the last anyone saw of the Colossus.

Today, there is a replica of the statue in the town of Faliraki, Rhodes while in Mandraki Harbor, the place where it once stood is marked.

Colossus of Rhodes engraving
Rhodes Old Town

Rhodes Island

Colossus of Rhodes