The Colossus of Rhodes

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• Part 2: The Huge Statue

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An Introduction to Ancient Greece
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Part 1: The Story Behind the Statue

Long ago, the city of Rhodes was known for its giant statue, called the Colossus. This huge iron and bronze statue stood watch over the great harbor of Rhodes, a city that was one of the great trading cities of ancient times. Today, Rhodes is known as much for its Colossus as for its trade.

But the Colossus wasn't always standing watch over the harbor. Here's how it came to be:

Rhodes, an island off the coast of Asia Minor, was in an excellent position to be a trading center. Ships from the Greek lands and the Persian provinces would stop in Rhodes on their way to their destinations. Phoenicians and other who traded in the Mediterranean area would also stop in Rhodes.

In the time of Alexander the Great, Rhodes became part of Alexander's empire. But when Alexander died, the struggle over his kingdom extended to Rhodes as well. The result was a giant siege.

No matter how many times or how many men the invaders brought against Rhodes's high, sturdy walls, the walls held. Finally, the invaders gave up and went home.

The people of Rhodes were so happy that they didn't have to take orders from anybody else that they decided to build a giant statue of their favorite god, Helios, to celebrate their continued freedom.

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