Hand-colored 16th century engraving of the Colossus of Rhodes by Martin Heemskerk.

The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was a 110-foot-tall statue that stood at the entrance of the harbor at Rhodes. It was built in 282 BCE and was a representation of Helios, the Greek sun god. It was destroyed by an earthquake 56 years later, in 226 BCE. [1]

The statue was built to commemorate the victory of Rhodes over the invading forces of Demetrios Poliorketes (Besieger of Many Cities), son of Antigonus. Rhodes was aided in its defense by Ptolemy, a former general of Alexander the Great. Since Ptolemy associated with the sun god (Helios to the Greeks; Ra to the Egyptians), the portrayal of the sun god in the Colossus's form was an especially remarkable tribute to the general.

See also


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