Numbered limited edition Lighthouse collectible from Harbour Lights. Each lighthouse comes
with a certificate of authenticity and a brief history of the lighthouse.
(7.5" x 6")
Embroiled in a war of rivalries, ancient Greeks on the island of Rhodes were constantly defending their paradise from Macedonian siege. In 305 BC, an unsuccessful invasion led to a windfall for Rhodes, a wealth of military equipment was left behind. After selling the valuable arsenal, leaders decided to use the money to commission the sculptor Chares of Lyndus to build a colossal statue at the harbor entrance.
Starting with an immense marble base, the feet and ankles were affixed first. Then, laborers worked their way up, casting the outer skin in bronze and reinforcing the monument with an iron framework and heavy stones placed inside. After 12 years of unimaginable work, the colossal monument was complete and graced the harbor in the year 282 BC. At a height of over 100 feet (the equivalent to a 10-story building), Colossus was more than a masterpiece; it was a Wonder of the Ancient World.
A mammoth tribute to the sun god Helios, Colossus became the symbol of unity for the inhabitants of the beautiful Mediterranean seas. This gigantic, awe-inspiring statue stood at Rhodes, greeting mariners who traversed the indigo waters in search of commerce.
Historic descriptions of Colossus are varied and differing in design. Explorers to the area gave their personal accounts, recording their interpretations in diaries and letters. Mosaics and drawings of Colossus were also created throughout history, however, they were subject to the artist’s imagination. No official record of the actual placement and appearance of Colossus exists, but descriptions handed down from generation to generation give modern architects the essence of its majesty and grandeur.
A popular interpretation has the statue straddling the harbor entrance, with a raised arm holding a blazing fire overhead. Although modern architects doubt that the statue could have spanned the large harbor, it is almost impossible to reconstruct how Rhodes would have looked in ancient times. The romantic interpretation prevails, with a welcoming statue overlooking the incoming ships from its vantage point over the harbor.
Standing proudly for nearly 60 years, Colossus was an honored achievement. But a devastating earthquake would destroy the pride of Rhodes, breaking it at the knee and sending it crashing. As an offer of friendship, the great Ptolemy III Eurgetes of Egypt offered to cover the restoration costs, but an oracle forbade the resurrection.
The broken statue lay ruined for almost a millennium. Citizen Pliny wrote, “Few people can make their arms meet round the thumb.” In AD 654 , the Arabs invaded Rhodes. They broke apart the remaining pieces of Colossus and sold the remnants to a man in Syria. Reportedly, it took 900 camel loads to deliver the scraps.
Since the rise and fall of Colossus, artists have been inspired by the idea of such an immense effigy. French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi was greatly influenced by Colossus and the ancient technique of repoussé. In his famous work, the Statue of Liberty, thin sheets of copper were hammered from the inside into negative molds created from plaster or clay. Then, the metal skin was hung from an internal support framework, just like the ancient Greeks utilized in the building of Colossus.
With its incredible history and classic Greek profile, Colossus of Rhodes is one of mankind’s greatest achievements, inspiring artists and architects to build higher, farther and bigger. Like Colossus reaching for the sky, mankind is limited only to its imagination.