the colossus of rhodes

where the colossus never stood: the entrance to the rhodes harbor.
where the colossus never stood: the entrance to the rhodes harbor.

it’s a romantic notion, but despite what we’ve read in history books or in george r.r. martin’s a feast for crows, there was never a colossus of rhodes that straddled the entrance to the harbor of rhodes. instead, the colossus – a bronze statue of helios, the sun god, which reportedly stood 98 feet tall – probably stood alongside the harbor. construction begun in 292 bc, and the colossus stood until the earthquake of 226 bc, when it collapsed, and the pieces were stolen or sold off.

the statues at the mouth of the harbor are, instead, a stag (a symbol of rhodes) and a deer. originally, the pairing was of a stag and a wolf, the symbol of rome, but when the greeks took possession of rhodes from the italians, they replaced it with a deer. when we took our harbor cruise, however, the guide on the boat told us all about the colossus of rhodes straddling the harbor mouth. the tour operator also told us that if we were even “one percent” dissatisfied with the cruise, we could have double our money back. and while it was a nice enough cruise around the harbor, we didn’t go as far out as promised, and the underwater show of their diver feeding the fish (which we could see through the glass panels in the hull) went on a little long – but when we expressed our one percent to the tour operator, he howled about how everyone else was happy, what was our problem? in other words, it was the colossal b.s. of rhodes.

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the real colossus of rhodes – these ships are enormous; and a tugboat, because i like tugboats.

back where i left off …

the next day, we went to lindos, a town on rhodes. the town had been controlled at one point or another by greeks, romans, byzantines, the knights of st. john, and the ottomans, as well as the italians and then the greeks again in modern times. the acropolis of lindos contains both the temple of artemis lindia – which has been rebuilt using modern construction materials(!) – as well as the fortress that the knights of st. john built to defend against the ottomans.


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the view below, and the view above.
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portico columns, 200 bc, and the view to the harbor.
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the temple of artemis lindia, dating back to 300 bc, and i have no idea what this says.

one of the notable sights on the way up is a relief of a rhodian trireme warship carved into the rock, which served as the base of a statue honoring hagesandros, who won a great naval battle for lindos, which was carved by the famous sculptor pythokritos … our guide explained the statue and its history in detail, but i was fiddling with my camera, so i have nothing more than that.

next: the colossus of rhodes.