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Colossus of Rhodes Facts

Has your teacher asked you to find out about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Are you doing a class project on Ancient Greece? Or maybe you just love gigantic statues…

Well, it doesn’t matter why you’re here.

What matters is that you’re going to leave here with 11 facts about the Colossus of Rhodes in your pocket. (10 just wasn’t enough…)

Colossus of Rhodes Facts for Kids

  • The Colossus of Rhodes was an enormous statue of the Greek sun god, Helios, located in Rhodes, Greece.
  • The statue was built in 280 BC to celebrate victory over Cyprus. 25 years earlier, the ruler of Cyprus had tried to capture Rhodes with his armies but failed. The Colossus of Rhodes was a symbol of strength and freedom in Rhodes.
  • It is reported that the statue was 33 meters tall, which is nearly the same height as the Statue of Liberty in the United States of America. In fact, the Statue of Liberty is sometimes called The New Colossus.
  • Unfortunately, the Colossus collapsed during the earthquake of 226 BC, which means it was only standing for 54 years. It was never reconstructed, however, there are rumors that a new Colossus may be built at Rhodes Harbour at some point in the future.
  • After it collapsed, the ruler of Egypt Ptolemy III offered to pay for the statue to be rebuilt. The people of Rhodes did not accept the offer because the Delphic Oracle told them they had offended the god Helios. So the statue lay in ruins on the ground for over 800 years.
  • The statue was made of bronze, so it would have been very heavy. Modern historians don’t believe the reports that it straddled the mouth of the harbor, with one foot on one side and the other foot on the other side, because the top half would have been too heavy for the separate legs to support it.
  • Another reason historians don’t believe the legs were separate is that the harbor would have had to have been closed for the 12 years of construction. The ancient Rhodians did not have the technology to work in the harbor itself.
  • In the 7th century, Rhodes was conquered by the Arabs. The Colossus was taken apart and the Arabs sold the pieces as scrap metal.
  • Historians believe that 900 camels were used to carry away all the scrap metal.
  • Charles of Lindos was the architect of the Colossus of Rhodes. His teacher was Lysippus, a sculptor who had previously created a 60-foot tall statue of Zeus.
  • We do not know what the statue looked like. But historians believe the head would have had curly hair surrounded by evenly spaced spikes of bronze or silver flame. This is the sort of image found on contemporary Rhodian coins.

Colossus-of-Rhodes-2

Question: Which ancient god was the statue of?
Answer: Helios.

Question: In what year was it constructed?
Answer: 280 BC.

Question: Who offered to pay for the reconstruction of the ancient statue?
Answer: Ptolemy III.

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Facts for Kids video

Question: What was the statue made of?
Answer: Bronze.

Question: Who conquered the Rhodians in the 7th century?
Answer: Arabs.