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Colossus of Rhodes

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The Colossus of Rhodes, as depicted in an

The Colossus of Rhodes, as depicted in an artist’s impression of 1880. 



Posted  Sunday, December 8  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

The design, posture and dimensions of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor are based on what the Colossus was thought by engineers in the late 19th century to have looked like.

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Rhodes, Greece-The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek Titan Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name, by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over the ruler of Cyprus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, whose son unsuccessfully besieged Rhodes in 305 BC.

Construction
The construction began in 292 BC. Ancient accounts, which differ to some degree, describe the structure as being built with iron tie bars to which brass plates were fixed to form the skin. The interior of the structure, which stood on a 15 meter (50 foot) high white marble pedestal near the Mandraki harbor entrance, was then filled with stone blocks as construction progressed. Other sources place the Colossus on a breakwater in the harbor.

The statue itself forged from the various weapons Demetrius’s army left behind, and the abandoned second siege tower may have been used for scaffolding around the lower levels during construction. Upper portions were built with the use of a large earthen ramp. During the building, workers would pile mounds of dirt on the sides of the colossus. Upon completion all of the dirt was removed and the colossus was left to stand alone. After twelve years, in 280 BC, the statue was completed.

The base pedestal was at least 60 feet (18 m) in diameter and either circular or octagonal. The feet were carved in stone and covered with thin bronze plates riveted together. Eight forged iron bars set in a radiating horizontal position formed the ankles and turned up to follow the lines of the legs while becoming progressively smaller.

Individually cast curved bronze plates 60 inches (1,500 mm) square with turned in edges were joined together by rivets through holes formed during casting to form a series of rings. The lower plates were 1 inch (25 mm) in thickness to the knee and 3/4 inch thick from knee to abdomen, while the upper plates were 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick except where additional strength was required at joints such as the shoulder, neck, etc. The legs would need to be filled at least to the knees with stones for stability.

Destruction
The statue stood for 56 years until Rhodes was hit by the 226 BC Rhodes earthquake, when significant damage was also done to large portions of the city, including the harbor and commercial buildings, which were destroyed. The statue snapped at the knees and fell over on to the land. Ptolemy III offered to pay for the reconstruction of the statue, but the oracle of Delphi made the Rhodians afraid that they had offended Helios, and they declined to rebuild it.

The design, posture and dimensions of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor are based on what the Colossus was thought by engineers in the late 19th century to have looked like.