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Colossus of Rhodes - Artistic Interpretation

Ferdinand Knab, a 19th-century German painter, created artistic images of some of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This illustration depicts a Knab engraving of the Colossus of Rhodes.

Like many other artists who have created illustrations of the colossal statue guarding the harbor of Rhodes, Knab has the Colossus straddle the harbor. That, however, is not the way historical records of the statue describe it. Rather, like the Statue of Liberty—which was inspired by the Colossus of Rhodes—the real statue had both feet positioned together.

The people of Rhodes commissioned this statue depicting Helios, the Greek sun god, to commemorate their amazing victory over Demetrius, a heavily-armed would-be invader of Rhodes who was defeated in battle (despite his 200 warships and 40,000 troops).

After his defeat, in 305 BC, Demetrius left behind much of his war armament and weapons. The Rhodians were able to use those materials to cover the costs of the new statue—designed by Chares of Lindos and created in 280 BC—which paid homage to Helios.

The real statue, which stood for little more than a half-century, was destroyed during an earthquake in 226 BC. Once the tallest statue in the world, it was never rebuilt.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 08, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Sep 01, 2017


Media Credits

Nineteenth-century engraving by Ferdinand Knab (1834-1902), depicting his interpretation of the Colossus of Rhodes.

 

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