Monday, January 11, 2010

Colossus of Rhodes

History, measurements, engineering and development time

The colossus of Rhodes was built after the happy ending of the siege of Rhodes by Demetrius I Poliorketes powerful opponent of 304/303 BC. From a historical perspective would be without the support of the Greek ruler of Egypt, the Ptolemies, the victory in the intrigues of the successors of Alexander the Great scarcely have come about. The Rhodian even saw it differently and erected several monuments in the city, which held the event for posterity and celebrated. The most powerful of them was the colossal statue of Helios, which was placed in the main sanctuary of the city, the Helios temple and consecrated.

The Rhodes believed that the sun god Helios, patron god of their city-state, they had saved in a miraculous way from being conquered by Demetrius I Poliorketes. It was Helios, who had instructed the Rhodes to take at night concealing a gap between the wall and the nine major siege engine Helepolis to. When advancing the siege machine the next morning, she fell into this ditch and closed with its tower an already battered breach in the wall. Demetrius then gave up the siege of Rhodes town and left his entire siege equipment the Rhodians. Proceeds of which (300 talents of silver = 7880 kg) were used to finance the Colossus of Rhodes statue.

From the ancient text sources, it is clear that the Colossus of Rhodes was made of cast bronze. Sculptor and director of the Bronzegusswerkstatt was Chares of Lindos, a pupil of Lysippos of Sicyon. 12 years development time for the 70 yards (30-35 meters, delivered accurate yardstick unknown) high statue. The Bronzetechnic, was used after the molding workshop, to be restored today. Recent discoveries in Rhodes, however, make it probable that the figure was cast in the vicinity of their site in large pieces.

Confusion is the seemingly extensive tradition of casting the statue of Philo of Byzantium. He claimed that they had cast the figure at the site floor for floor meet. After completion of the first floor you would have hidden them from the outside under an earth lavine and then poured out the second floor and so on. Inside the figure we have used from the beginning, iron pilings and rocks to stabilize and raised with. According to the method of Philo incurred shall be such a huge mountain. The reason for the unusual cast method was that it did not carry large items could have been. 500 Talents ore (13 tons) and 300 talents (about 8 tons of iron) were used. The building had swallowed so much raw material that the then known kupfer threatened to dry up.

The text of Philo of Byzantium, is probably the early attempt to reconstruct never written down and thus lost in antiquity casting the giant figure. Though not a craftsman, is mixed with the author correct the false. So very well could be transported large castings in antiquity, they were lighter than the huge marble parts that were used in temple construction. The bronze in the floor is technically possible. However, the archaeologically proven technique for Rhodes speaks against that here was used. Furthermore, it would overburden the huge mountain have left clear traces in Rhodes, on which one is not pushed in eighty years of archaeological excavations in the city.

The Colossus of Rhodes is frequently mentioned in ancient literature, like an example of excessive size and grandeur. In this context include the following anecdote: "The Rhodes, the first a medium-high, about 18 m high statue of Chares ordered and the prices that their mission was built on the ultimate size. Chares realized too late that he had held eight times the need to demand double the price and went bankrupt in the contract, which drove him to suicide. "

An ancient depiction or description of the Colossus of Rhodes does not exist. One can only guess that Helios was depicted as standing, naked young man with long curly hair and halo. It is very likely that his head was shaped after the model of the designs of the city-state of Rhodes, which since the late 5th Century. BC, Rhodes has been characterized.

The ancient written sources make to the site of the Helios Colossus of Rhodes, not even a hint, perhaps because he was the ancient authors, of course. From the historical perspective it can be for us, but clearly the Potential: The monumental votive offering, which the Rhodian ever placed their God, only in the main sanctuary of the city-state, have been the Helios sanctuary. Such dedications are also in the shrines of other Greek city-states tradition.

However, the location of the Helios Shrine of Rhodes was hitherto unknown. Various suggestions were made: at the Mole St. Nicholas (W. Hoepfner, see below)) on the Acropolis (19.-century, in place of the mediaeval Grand Master's palace on the slopes of the Acropolis (in the meantime, already discarded). What is new is the proposal of U. Vedder, who has figured out that the appointment of temple and shrine above the stadium terrace of Rhodes as a sanctuary and temple of Apollo Pythius is untenable. Above the stadium where games were carried out annually in honor of Helios, is therefore, in reality the long sought Helios sanctuary. Although the site is excavated in 1938 and reconstructed as an archaeological park, but has not yet been studied extensively. It remains to be seen whether it can be detected in the ruins of the site where the remains of the Colossus of Rhodes.

A strong, today in the year 227 BC backdated earthquake that caused widespread destruction in the city, brought the Colossus of Rhodes to collapse, a source says that the earthquake had him bend over in the knees. The statue also survived only about 66 years and was the briefest of the Seven Wonders of the World. After this earthquake, Rhodes received financial support from all over Greece. Ptolemy III. Euergetes also gave funds to the colossus can be straightened again. The Rhodes were the bronze parts are, however, and put into circulation an oracle with the wording of what is good, this should not be moved from the spot! was the reason why. Still about 890 years, visitors could see the ruins of the sanctuary.

According to Byzantine tradition, collected in 654, finally, the Arabs under Muawiya, the ruling generals of the caliph Uthman ibn Affan and governor of Syria, a short-term as they conquered the island, the metal of the statue and it shipped to the Orient. A Jewish merchant from Edessa had removed the scrap metal at 900 camels and sold.

The Colossus of Rhodes in the art
Illustration of the legend of the Colossus of Rhodes, straddling across the harbor entrance, in The Book of Knowledge Grolier Society (1911).

The Colossus of Rhodes, after a presentation by Martin Heemskerck from the 16 Century.
Since the Renaissance, the image of straddling Colossus of Rhodes over the harbor entrance is widespread. It illustrates a legend who ruled in by the Crusaders (Castle of St. John) Rhodes of the late 14th Century, probably arises in the early humanists Grandmaster J. Fernandez de Heredia. One may assume that it is due to a learned, but incorrect interpretation of an ancient text sources. The St. John told the Christian pilgrims who went on their journey to the Holy Land in Rhodes station, that there were in Rhodes was once a huge idol that with one foot on the end of the stand-Mole St. Nicholas and the other on the End of the Mills-Mole. It was so big that ships could pass any size in his legs into the harbor. According to this legend, the Colossus of Rhodes, with his feet on the ends of the ancient piers stood about 750 meters and made a great step.

With the Christian legend of the pilgrims came to the West. Andre 1554 has published Thevet in Lyon for the first time a picture of straddling port monitor (Cosmographie de Levant). To date, the best known, however, is engraved by Philip Galle 1572 drawing of Marten van Heemskerck (Colossus Solis, from: "Octo Miracula Mundi"), which was often copied in the sequence and variations. Van Heemskerck leads the attribute of the vessel with the flame in the right hand of the colossus statistics on the screen. It is true that in the 18 Century, doubts about the veracity of the legend aloud. The architect J.B. Fischer von Erlach (the draft historic architecture, Vienna, 1721) notes for example that can be so much in a 70 cubits high statue of the step is not as specified by the wording of the legend. However, he also paints a picture in the tradition of van Heemskerck. The philologist Comte de Caylus again noted in 1752, legends and ancient traditions that do not match. The effects of the legend and their illustrations until well into the 19th Did not affect the century. Nearly all now on Rhodes Colossus-made souvenirs, go to the image of the artist in BEA Rottiers PJ Witdoeck back from 1830 (Descriptions of the monument de Rhodes). A copy of this book has the management of ancient Rhodes. In this presentation flowed rationalistic reasoning as the one that the fire pot for structural reasons in the central axis of the figure, above the head, to be adopted.

The earliest reconstruction of the Colossus' of Rhodes as quiet standing figure is published in 1939 by A. Gabriel. In modern illustrations of the Seven Wonders of the World will be happy to rely on the other hand, the reconstruction of H. Maryon from 1956. Recently, W. Hoepfner and U. Vedder do with investigations into the Colossus of Rhodes attention. Hoepfner reconstruct the Colossus of Rhodes, where today stands the Castle of St. Nicholas, the ideas of Vedder follows this article.

The words "colossal" and "Colossus" developed from the AltGr. "Κολοσσός" and it derives from the Latin words "colossus") (noun, "colossaeus, a, um (adjective). Etymologically, the word of a language comes from western Asia Minor (probably the Phrygian, see the place names Colossae / Colossae). It initially referred to a statue in human form, without size reference. The term was around 1000 BC Entrance into the Doric, which used it accordingly. Since the transfer of the word "Colossus" on the Helios of Rhodes, it was used synonymously for a giant or colossal.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia