Project Launched to Revive the Colossus of Rhodes, Wonder of the Ancient World
A multinational team of professionals has launched an ambitious ‘Colossus of Rhodes Project’ to revive the tallest statue of the Hellenistic period. The planned 150-meter tall colossus would house a cutting edge museum containing thousands of ancient artifacts.
A Statue to Honor Victory
The Colossus of Rhodes was the last of the seven wonders to be completed, it was a statue built to thank the gods for victory over an invading enemy.
In 357 BC, the Greek island of Rhodes was conquered by Mausolus of Halicarnassus but fell into Persian hands in 340 BC and was finally captured by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. In the late fourth century BC, Rhodes allied with Ptolemy I of Egypt against their common enemy, Antigonus I Monophthalmus of Macedonia. In 305 BC, Antigonus sent his son Demetrius to capture and punish the city of Rhodes for its alliance with Egypt. He attacked the island with 40,000 men but a relief force of ships sent by Ptolemy arrived in 304 BC, and Antigonus’ army abandoned the siege, leaving behind most of their siege equipment. To celebrate their victory, the Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to build a huge statue, to their sun god, Helios, called the Colossus of Rhodes. The Colossus was said to have been fashioned from the melted down bronze weapons of the defeated invaders.
The statue stood for only 56 years until the island of Rhodes was hit by an earthquake in 226 BC, destroying much of the city and causing the statue to break off at the knees and topple over into pieces. The statue would go untouched for 900 years or until the Arab invasion of Rhodes in 654 AD. The remains are said to have been melted down to be used as coins, tools, and weapons.
The Colossus of Rhodes, depicted in this hand-colored engraving, was built about 280 BC. Standing 30 meters (100 feet) high, it was built to guard the entrance to the harbor at Rhodes. The ancient Greeks and Romans considered it to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Public Domain
2,200-Year-Old Statue to be Revived Again
A team of professionals, including architect Ari A. Palla, archaeologist Christos Giannas and public relations-marketing professional Dionisis Mpotsas from Greece, civil engineer Enrique Fernández Menendez and economist Matilda Palla from Spain, architect Ombretta Iannone from Italy, and civil engineer Eral Dupi from the United Kingdom, is now planning to revive the Colossus as part of a European initiative.
“The aim of the project is not to propose a copy of the original, bronze, 40 meters high structure, but to arouse the same emotions that visitors felt, more than 2200 years ago,” the project team writes on their website. “This 150 meters-high structure is born to be a museum, a cultural center, a library but, most of all, must regain its original function: a giant lighthouse, a point of reference for boats in the night, which project a light that can be seen more than 56 km away in open sea, even from the coasts of Turkey… Its “skin” will be covered with solar panels, providing 100% autonomy: The God of Sun which lives only thanks to solar energy.”
Planned reconstruction of the Colossus of Rhodes on the Island of Rhodes, Greece ( Colossus of Rhodes Project )
Putting Rhodes Back on the Map
One of the highlights of the impressive structure will be a museum that houses thousands of ancient artifacts, that until now, have been gathering dust in museums and archives on the island of Rhodes.
The primary aim of the project is to put Rhodes “back on the map”, to provide a massive boost to tourism, and in the process provide new job opportunities and a growth to both the local and national economy. Projections anticipate a revenue growth of over 2 billion euros and an increase to the number of visitors by 150%. Moreover, the project team writes,
“It will become a great example for all young people in Europe who suffer from the consequences of the economic crisis.”
An impressive video showing both the outside and inside of the planned Colossus is below.
Featured image: Engraving of the Colossus of Rhodes. Paul K / Flickr
By: April Holloway