Colossus of Rhodes

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistence. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let our watchword be order and our beacon beauty.
-Felix de Weldon

 

Felix de Weldon
Colossus of Rhodes
Bronze
Size (inches)
25 h x 16 w x 12 d
Signed and Dated 1966

The Seven Wonders of the ancient world have been singled out as being among the bridges of the past, most powerful in stimulating the modern mind to thinking about its mysteries. Of all the Seven Wonders, the Colossus of Rhodes is the greatest in appeal.

We know something about Zeus Olympia from the two bronze coins of the Emperor Hadrian, the Artemesian Ephesus, again on the basis of numismatic evidence, has been subjected to an infinity of recreation, from Vesuvius to contemporary German scholars; Mausoleum Halicarnassos also has been re-created on the basis of discovered fragments of this great tomb; the Pharos has been extremely plausibly re-created in the exhaustive works of Hirsch; the Pyramids are still in situs and have less mystery about them for being complete with the exception of their outside covering and their adjacent temples; while the Hanging Gardens in the researches of Sir Leonard Woolley and others appear in all probability to have been another ziggurat.

The Colossus is the greatest and most tantalizing of all the Seven Wonders. We know from Pliny its height and something about its construction, repeated in Philo of Byzantium. We have in Strabo a few references to its sculpture. We have the head of Helios Rhodos on the Rhodian coinage from the early fourth century until well into the Roman Era. We have a fragmentary bas-relief in the museum of the island of Rhodes, which has been described as a possible reproduction of the Colossus.

We actually know nothing about where the statue stood, although we have the medieval invention that it bestrode the harbor, nor do we know its pose or its actual appearance.

The Colossus of Rhodes, the heroic statue of Helios of Rhodos, who was both the Sun God and, to the mainland Greeks, a Rhodian version of their beloved Apollo, was a gigantic statue of a young man some 128-feet-tall. It was erected to commemorate the victory of the Rhodians over Demetrios Poliorcetes in 304 BC. We know it was the work of Chares of Lindos, a pupil of Lysippos, sculptor laureate to Alexander the Great. We know that it took approximately 12 years to build, between 292 and 280 BC, that it was thrown down by an earthquake some 60 years later, and remained on the ground until Rhodes was conquered by the Arabs some 900 years later. And that is all we really know.

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever growing insistence. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let our watchword be order and our beacon beauty.

 

Architectural Drawing of the projected model for the Colossus of Rhodes