Colossus of Rhodes

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Colossus of Rhodes, wood engraving reconstruction by Sidney Barclay, c. 1875

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 BC and was a representation of Helios, the Greek sun god. It was destroyed by an earthquake 56 years later, in 226 BC.[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.

The Colossus is referenced in the Petrarchan sonnet "The New Colossus", written by Emma Lazarus.

See also