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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites


  The island of Rhodes emerged from the sea, according to Pindar (01. 7.54-76), to be the portion of the sun god, whose cult continued throughout antiquity more prominent there than elsewhere. Three grandsons of Helios and the nymph Rhodos, daughter of Aphrodite, were the eponymous heroes of the three ancient cities, Ialysos and Kameiros on the W coast and Lindos on the E. Its size, 80 km N to S and about half as much E to W, and its situation, "near the headland of broad Asia" (01. 7.18), with Crete about 140 km away to the SW, have always given Rhodes a peculiar importance among the islands. The many legends, supported by the archaeological finds, mainly from the cemeteries, suggest that in prehistoric times it was both a stepping-stone and in itself an important center, having connections with Minoan Crete, the Argolid and the Greek mainland, Phoenicia and Egypt. The Telchines, fabulous craftsmen, came from Crete by way of Cyprus; Kadmos stopped at Rhodes on his way from Phoenicia to Thebes, Danaos on his way from Egypt to Argos; Thepolemos son of Herakles came from Argos, and led the Rhodian contingent of nine ships to Troy.
   For Homer Rhodes was already old in story (Il. 2.653-670), with three notable cities, "Lindos, Ielyssos and shining Kameiros" (the epithet is arginoeis in our text, but one wonders whether in fact Homer said argiloeis, with reference to the clay used for pottery). As Hope-Simpson and Lazenby convincingly show, the Homeric Catalogue of Ships has reference to the late Mycenaean period, and there is no good reason to make an exception of the lines on Rhodes. The sites of all three cities were occupied in Mycenaean times; though in each case the acropolis has been obliterated, the cemeteries below, with their tombs containing pottery and jewelry, have provided evidence. The major site seems to be Ialysos, where the chamber tombs are very numerous. Lindos was relatively modest.
   In course of time the Dorians arrived in large numbers, and took over the island and its neighbors; after a comparatively obscure period, Lindos, Kameiros, and Ialysos attained cultural and commercial prosperity, and a renown for seamanship embodied in the saying, "Ten Rhodians, ten ships". The Rhodians founded important and widespread colonies, notably Gela in Sicily (in cooperation with Cretans) early in the 7th c. (Thuc. 6.4.3-4, who says that the part of the city first fortified is called Lindioi). Together with Kos, Knidos, and Hahikarnassos, the three cities formed a confederation called the Dorian Hexapolis (Hdt. 1.144).
   The archaic culture of Rhodes is best represented by the plentiful pottery. The island produced fine work in the Geometric style (particularly in the later phase, i.e., in the 8th c.), found notably at Ialysos, Kameiros, and a cemetery at an inland site called Exochi. Certain E Greek fabrics of the 7th c. in orientalizing style have commonly been called Rhodian, or "Camiran"--vases of the "Wild Goat Style", so called from the friezes which run round them, and flat plates with animal figures and occasionally human scenes, such as the plate in the British Museum, on which Hektor and Menelaos fight over the body of Euphorbos. The lively Fikellura style, which followed in the 6th c., is named after a place in Rhodes, though it is spread over the S part of the E Greek area. Recent authorities are more cautious about the indiscriminate use of the name "Rhodian" (Samos must have been equally important), but undoubtedly Rhodes played a major part in the production and distribution of archaic E Greek pottery, besides importing Corinthian and other contemporary wares. A group of 6th c. cups which do indeed seem to belong to Rhodes in particular are known as Vroulian from their principal place of discovery. As the 6th c. proceeded, local wares at Rhodes as elsewhere succumbed to Attic competition.

   Among archaic sites, Vroulia at the S end of the island is of peculiar interest. The name is modern, and the ancient name is unknown. A wall about 300 m long with a stone sole slightly over one m thick, no doubt originally surmounted by an upper structure of unbaked brick, encloses a coastal strip of land to the SW. Except for a section at the W end, the wall is perfectly straight, and against its inner face was built a continuous row of simple houses, consisting at most of a couple of rooms with a little court in front. At a distance of about 25 m was a second row of houses running parallel. The main gate was probably at the point where the wall changes direction; and nearby is a walled area containing two altars, and an adjacent enclosure which may be an agora. Pottery dates all these structures not much later than 700 B.C. Vroulia was only a little town, no doubt subordinate to one of the major cities, presumably Lindos, but its rectilinear planning represents the first tentative steps, taken at a remarkably early date, which were to lead to the sophisticated methods of Hippodamos, notably in Rhodes itself.

   To proceed to times for which we have more solid historical evidence, in the latter part of the 6th c. and the early years of the 5th Rhodes was subject to the Persians. After that the three cities were members of the Delian League, until finally they broke with Athens (Thuc. 8.44), resumed their Dorian connection, and combined in 408 B.C. to found a federal city at the N tip of the island, calling it simply Rhodos. Lindos, Ialysos, and Kameiros were inevitably reduced and subordinate, but by no means derelict. In the 4th c. and the Hellenistic period Rhodes became one of the great cities of the ancient world, preeminent in commerce and culture, in spite of vicissitudes consequent upon its choice of alliances in the great conflicts of the age. It triumphantly withstood a furious attack by Demetrios the Besieger in 305 B.C., vividly described by Diodoros (20.81-88, 91-100), and quickly rose again, with assistance from many sympathetic cities and kings, after the most disastrous of several earthquakes in 227 B.C. For a time it held control of an extensive area on the mainland opposite, the so-called Rhodian Peraea. In the middle of the 2d c. it incurred the displeasure of Rome, which, by developing Delos as a major commercial center, struck a severe blow at Rhodian trade. But though its commerce and naval power were much curtailed, Rhodes continued to be a main center of art and literature, philosophy and rhetorical training (Cicero and many other distinguished Romans studied there). In the Civil War after Caesar's death, the island was ravaged and the city thoroughly pillaged by Cassius; but Strabo still found it a city of unparalleled beauty (14.2.5, 652). The island suffered disastrous earthquakes again in A.D. 345 and 515, and the great city was reduced to the comparatively small mediaeval town which was eventually taken over by the Knights of St. John, and won fresh glory by its heroic resistance to the Turks.
   The new capital was built on a new site, roughly triangular with the apex at the extreme N tip of the island, measuring about 3,000 m N to S and a little less E to W. The harbors were on the E side--the main harbor in the middle, a smaller one to the N, and a more open roadstead to the SE. The moles which protect the natural bays are ancient in origin. There was also a small harbor, now silted up, on the W coast towards the N. From the region of the E harbors the ground rises theater-like SW towards a plateau about 90 m high. This was the acropolis or upper town of ancient Rhodes, though it was never a fortified citadel. The city walls were famous for their strength and beauty. Very little has survived--the Knights no doubt used the material to build the tremendous fortifications of their much smaller town; but sections of the foundation or socle here and there, mostly Hellenistic, are enough to determine the general course. The wall followed the coast on two sides of the triangle; on the base, to the S, it took an irregular line in search of defensible contours.
   According to Strabo (14.2.9, 654), "the city was founded by the same architect who founded Peiraeus", i.e., Hippodamos of Miletos. The famous town-planner must have been very old by 408 B.C., but that is not a sufficient reason for denying him the credit. The plan of Rhodes as we know it is precisely what one has come to recognize as Hippodamian. Its general scheme has been drawn by Kondis, Bradford, and Konstantinopoulos. Excavation has necessarily been sporadic and largely fortuitous, since the mediaeval and modern city covers much of the area; but many sections of streets with their adjoining buildings have been uncovered at diverse points, revealing that the basic plan was a rectangular grid orientated very nearly N to S and E to W. Remains of underground drains and water-channels of various types have been found, and many of these fit into the same pattern. Once the grid had been determined, it became clear that some of the streets of the mediaeval town, including the famous Street of the Knights, follow the course of ancient predecessors; and that important stretches of the great walls built by Grand Masters Pierre d'Aubusson and Emery d'Amboise are based upon the lines of ancient streets. In addition, air photography has revealed features which one would hardly notice at ground level, especially in the SW region of the acropolis. We are told by the rhetorician Aristeides (43.6) that this part of the town was laid out in a spacious park-like manner; it is now largely rural in aspect, but the air photographs show that terraces, field boundaries, and lanes follow a rectilinear scheme which conforms with the ancient grid.
   It is fair to assume that this master plan is the one conceived by Hippodamos in 408 B.C. There is no trace of any which is earlier and divergent. Admittedly the remains are mostly Hellenistic; but here and there they take us back to the 1st c. of the city. We can imagine that the Hippodamian method of nemesis or careful allocation of sites was applied from the beginning; but the process of building was a long one, punctuated by destruction, by siege and earthquake.
   Some of the most important elements in the plan cannot now be securely placed. The agora, according to Bradford, probably extended W from the great harbor. A street which has been discovered, lined with colonnades in the Roman period, may have led into it from the S. The theater was somewhere near the wall on the inland side (cf. Diod. Sic. 20.98.6, 8).
   The Colossus, a huge bronze statue of Helios, set up to commemorate the successful resistance to Demetrios, did not of course bestride the harbor mouth; and Maryon has shown that it could hardly have been constructed at the end of a mole, and more probably stood in the city center.
   The most visible ancient monument in the lower city is the foundation of a Temple of Aphrodite, built in the 3d c. B.C. just W of the great harbor; of the superstructure only a few fragments survive. A little to the W are slight remains of a Shrine of Dionysos, incorporated in the foundations of a chapel (Clara Rhodos I 46; cf. Lucian Amores 8). To the N, in the neighborhood of the smaller (N) harbor, remains of ship-sheds have recently been further investigated.
   The ancient buildings most worth seeing are away to the SW, finely placed on the E brow of the acropolis. Towards the N end are the foundations of the Temple of Zeus and Athena. Some distance farther S is the Temenos of Pythian Apollo, a rectangular enclosure, with a massive retaining wall on the E, where a broad flight of steps gives access. Within the enclosure is a Doric temple, built of limestone, in the 2d c. B.C.; several of the columns on the E facade have been reerected. Just below this point to the E is the N end of the great stadium, built into the hillside and extending over 183 m to its semicircular S end. Adjoining the stadium on the N is a small theater, which has been reconstructed, and to the E are remains which may belong to a gymnasium.
   Beyond the S cross wall lie the extensive cemeteries. Southeast of the city are remains of an ancient (probably late Hellenistic) bridge, crossing a ravine. Not far from the park of Rodini is the most impressive of a number of rock-cut tombs, fancifully known as the Tomb of the Ptolemies, with a main chamber and an antechamber and a facade of half-columns.
   When one reflects on the glories of the ancient city, the extant remains seem meager and disappointing, all the more so in comparison with the splendid medieaval walls and houses. Even the known temples are not particularly grand. Apparently it was the general harmonious effect which impressed ancient writers. Aristeides (43.6) says that with all its varied splendors--walls, temples, works of sculpture, and painting--the city was like a single great house: Lucian (Amores 8) compares its beauty to that of Helios himself.

   Outside the capital the most spectacular development took place at Lindos, in the famous Shrine of Athena Lindia. The acropolis of Lindos falls in precipitous cliffs, undercut in places, to the sea on the E. Towards the N is the main harbor; to the S is the inlet where St. Paul is said to have landed. The Shrine of Athena on the summit of the acropolis was founded by Danaos, according to legend. The extant temple had at least two shadowy predecessors; the tyrant-sage Kleoboulos is said to have built a temple in the 6th c. B.C., and a rock-cut stairway probably belongs to this phase. The great architectural development of the site took place in the 4th c. B.C., though some elements may be later; precise dating is disputed. The 4th c. temple, built after a disastrous fire which is recorded in the inscription known as the "Lindian temple-chronicle", is modest in size and appearance compared with its setting, both natural and architectural. It is a rather narrow building, nearly 22 x 8 m, orientated NE and SW, with its SE side close to the cliff edge. It had a porch of four Doric columns at either end, and like the other buildings of the shrine, it was constructed of a local limestone. Some of the terracottas found on the site may give an idea of the cult statue. Not far from the NW corner of the temple have been found traces of what may be an altar; Athena Lindia was traditionally worshiped with fireless sacrifices. According to the scholia in Pindar, Gorgon, historian of Rhodes, said that the magnificent ode (Ol. 7) in honor of Diagoras, greatest of boxers, was inscribed in letters of gold in the Temple of Lindian Athena, but one might expect this monument to be set up rather at Diagoras' native town Ialysos. The temple-chronicle gives a list of notable offerings in the shrine.
   The so-called propylaia are in fact a complex consisting of colonnades bordering three sides of the court in front of the temple, with rooms on the NW side (another small colonnade was added later on the SW side adjoining the temple); and an outer colonnade facing down the hill to the NE, with projecting temple-like wings at either end. A broad stair leads on down to another stoa, of great length (about 87 m) similarly facing outwards and downwards, and making a short return at either end. This was the latest element in the grand scheme. Portions of stoa, propylaia, and temple have been not very effectively or securely restored.
   The great stoa opened onto a spacious terrace, reached from below by a stairway in the middle. In late Hellenistic times the terrace was extended to about double its original width, by means of vaulted substructures, and the stair was rebuilt in narrower form. Lower down the slope, to the NE, was a temple of Roman date, built on a podium, about 9 x 16 m, with a porch of four columns facing back up the hill. The shrine is assigned by some to a hero called Psithyros (Whisperer), known from an inscription, but by Dyggve to a deified emperor, possibly Diocletian.
   Remains of the ancient wall of the acropolis are slight, Hellenistic in date, and mainly on the N. The whole site was eventually enclosed within the great fortifications of the Knights. At the foot of the stairway which leads up to the entrance on the N is a large Hellenistic rock-cut relief representing the elegant up-curving prow of a ship; a projecting platform carried a statue of one Agesandros, dedicated by himself.
   A small theater, about 28 m in diameter, holding about 2,000, was built into the SW slope of the hill; the middle section of the seats, cut into the rock, is best preserved. Nearby are remains of a rectangular court with Doric colonnades, possibly associated with the cult of Dionysos.
   A fine model made under the direction of Dyggve and installed in the National Museum at Copenhagen gives a vivid impression of the appearance of the acropolis in Hellenistic times.

   The city of Lindos stretched inland and W, a good deal farther than the present town. Of the scanty remains outside the acropolis the most remarkable are the monumental tombs. One of these, situated to the W of the town on Mt. Krana, is the family mausoleum of Archokrates (late 2d c. B.C.), a chamber cut into the rock with a two storied facade whose lower element is adorned with Doric columns. On the N, on the farther side of the main harbor, is a circular structure 9 m in diameter, popularly known, without any good reason, as the Tomb of Kleoboulos. It has not yet been fully studied, and while Dyggve places it in the 2d c. B.C., Kondis thinks it may prove to be a good deal earlier. In the Middle Ages it was used as a church.

   At Ialysos in the NW, in contrast with the extensive and highly productive cemeteries on the lower ground towards Trianda, structural remains of the city are scanty. On the summit plateau of the hill of Phileremos, the ancient acropolis, adjacent to the church of the monastery, are the foundations and column fragments of the Temple of Athena and Zeus Polieus, a Doric structure of the 4th c. B.C.; vestiges of a 6th c. temple and an older shrine have been found. The most impressive ancient monument on the site is a late 4th c. fountain-house built into the hillside lower down the slope to the S, one of the best examples of its type. A facade of Doric columns in limestone, now partly reconstructed, stood in front of a parapet consisting of two courses of slabs set between rectangular pilasters, behind which was the water basin.

   Several km down the coast to the SW, towards the border of the territory of Kameiros, was a deme of Ialysos named Kastanioi. Here, near a place now called Tholos (a corruption of Theologos), are the ruins of the Temple of Apollo Erethimios, a Doric structure with two columns in antis, and of a theater nearby. The shrine is identified by inscriptions, and the title is derived from the placename Erethima. The temple was probably built at the end of the 5th c., but the cult existed much earlier and continued into Roman times.

   At Kameiros are more extensive and imposing remains, which show evidence of impressive planning in the Hellenistic period. Here again we have a theater-like site, with the ground rising to E and W; to the S the hill forms an acropolis or upper town, which does not seem to have been fortified as a citadel. In the middle of the lower town is a large open area partially bordered by colonnades, which may have been an agora, or perhaps a sacred temenos; on the W side are the remains of a Doric temple, of which some columns have been reerected. On the E is a retaining wall, behind which at a higher level runs a principal street. To the N of this area is a large semicircular exedra, and to the E of this a broad low flight of steps leading up to a smaller enclosure containing a number of altars, obviously an important sacrificial area, from which the same street could be reached by another flight of steps at the S end of its E side. The main street ran S in the direction of the acropolis, with cross-streets joining it, and the blocks thus formed were occupied by houses, some of which had colonnaded courts. Along the N brow of the acropolis hill a Doric colonnade of great length was built in the 3d c. B.C., forming an impressive background to the town as seen from the N. The excavators reerected a few of the columns to show the effect, only to have them flattened again by a storm. Behind the stoa, to the S, are the ruins of a Temple of Athena, an archaic shrine rebuilt in Hellenistic times. The city also has notable remains of cisterns, aqueducts, and drains. To the S stretch the principal cemeteries from which the treasures of the earlier periods have been retrieved.

  Looking in this direction one sees the peak of Mt. Atabyrion, the highest point on the island (1,233 m), where as on many summits Zeus was worshiped. Parts of a walled precinct have survived, but it is not clear whether or not the confused remains within prove the existence of an ancient temple. Many dedications to the god have been found, including small bronze bulls. The name of the mountain seems to be of Semitic origin, being the Greek form of the Palestinian Tabor. The cult of Zeus Atabyrios was of immemorial antiquity, founded, according to the story told by Apollodoros (Bibl. 3.2) and Diodoros (5.59), by Althaimenes, who, fleeing from Crete to avoid parricide, landed in Rhodes at a place which he named Kretinia. He established the shrine on the neighboring mountain top, from which he could survey the islands and see in the distance his native land. Polybios reports (9.27.7) that on the summit of the acropolis of Akragas (which was founded by Gela), "was established a Shrine of Athena and of Zeus Atabyrios, as among the Rhodians"; this suggests but does not prove that Athena too had a cult on the mountain. Appian (12.26) shows that in Hellenistic times Zeus Atabyrios had a more accessible shrine near the city wall; but the dedications prove that even then some devotees still climbed where Althaimenes stood.

The Archaeological Museum at Rhodes, now in process of reorganization, houses finds from the various sites on the island, as well as some from neighboring islands, though some of the material from the earlier excavations went to the British and other museums, and some sculpture from Lindos is at Istanbul and Copenhagen. The exhibits include archaic kouroi, fine funerary reliefs, a head of Zeus from Atabyrion, a head of Helios, the "Aphrodite of Rhodes" (a crouching figure less than life size) and another Hellenistic Aphrodite; Mycenaean jewelry; pottery ranging from Mycenaean through Geometric and orientalizing (notably the "Rhodian" fabrics, of course) to Attic black-figure and red-figure; mosaics (more can be seen in the restored Palace of the Grand Masters); and missiles used in the great sieges. Situated at the corner of Museum Square and the Street of the Knights, the museum itself is a "museum piece", since it is one of the finest and most interesting mediaeval buildings of Rhodes, the hospital in which the Order of St. John performed its original humane and merciful task.

R. E. Wycherley, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Sep 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains 52 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


  The most easterly island of the Aegaean, or, more specifically, of the Carpathian Sea, lying off the southern coast of Caria, due south of the promontory of Cynossema (Cape Aloupo), at the distance of about twelve geographical miles. Its length, from northeast to southwest, is about forty-five miles; its greatest breadth about twenty to twenty-five. In early times it was called Aethraea and Ophiussa, and several other names. There are various mythological stories about its origin and peopling. Its Hellenic colonization is ascribed to Tlepolemus, the son of Heracles, before the Trojan War, and after that war to Althaemenes. Homer mentions the three Dorian settlements in Rhodes--namely, Lindus, Ialysus, and Camirus; and these cities, with Cos, Cnidus, and Halicarnassus, formed the Dorian Hexapolis, which was established, from a period of unknown antiquity, in the southwest corner of Asia Minor. Rhodes soon became a great maritime State, or rather confederacy, the island being parcelled out between the three cities above mentioned. The Rhodians made distant voyages and founded numerous colonies.
  At the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, Rhodes was one of those Dorian maritime States which were subject to Athens; but in the twentieth year of the war, B.C. 412, it joined the Spartan alliance, and the oligarchical party, which had been depressed, and their leaders, the Eratidae, expelled, recovered their former power under Dorieus. In 408 the new capital, called Rhodus, was built, and peopled from the three ancient cities of Ialysus, Lindus, and Camirus. At the Macedonian conquest the Rhodians submitted to Alexander, but upon his death expelled the Macedonian garrison. In the ensuing wars they formed an alliance with Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, and their city, Rhodes, successfully endured a most famous siege by the forces of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who at length, in admiration of the valour of the besieged, presented them with the engines he had used against the city, from the sale of which they defrayed the cost of the celebrated Colossus. At length they came into connection with the Romans, whose alliance they joined, with Attalus, king of Pergamus, in the war against Philip III. of Macedon. In the ensuing war with Antiochus the Rhodians gave the Romans great aid with their fleet; and in the subsequent partition of the Syrian possessions of Asia Minor, they were rewarded by the supremacy of Southern Caria, where they had had settlements from an early period. A temporary interruption of their alliance with Rome was caused by their espousing the cause of Perseus, for which they were severely punished (B.C. 168); but they recovered the favour of Rome by the important naval aid they rendered in the Mithridatic War. In the Civil Wars they took part with Caesar, and suffered in consequence from Cassius, but were afterwards compensated for their losses by the favour of Antonius. They were at length deprived of their independence by Claudius; and their prosperity received its final blow from an earthquake, which laid the city of Rhodes in ruins, in the reign of Antoninus Pius, A.D. 155.

This text is cited Sep 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

The Catholic Encyclopedia


  A titular metropolitan of the Cyclades. It is an island opposite to Lycia and Caria, from which it is separated by a narrow arm of the sea. It has an area of about 564 sq. miles, is well watered by many streams and the river Candura, and is very rich in fruits of all kinds. The climate is so genial that the sun shines ever there, as recorded in a proverb already known to Pliny.
  The island, inhabited first by the Carians and then by the Phoenicians (about 1300 B.C.) who settled several colonies there, was occupied about 800 B.C. by the Dorian Greeks. In 408 B.C. the inhabitants of the three chief towns, Lindus, Ialysus, and Camirus founded the city of Rhodes, from which the island took its name. This town, built on the side of a hill, had a very fine port. On the breakwater, which separated the interior from the exterior port, was the famous bronze statue, the Colossus of Rhodes, 105 feet high, which cost 300 talants. Constructed (280) from the machines of war which Demetrius Poliorcetes had to abandon after his defeat before the town, it was thrown down by an earthquake in 203 B.C.; its ruins were sold in the seventh century by Caliph Moaviah to a Jew from Emesus, who loaded them on 900 camels.
  After the death of Alexander the Great and the expulsion of the Macedonian garrison (323 B.C.) the island, owing to its navy manned by the best mariners in the world, became the rival of Carthage and Alexandria. Allied with the Romans, and more or less under their protectorate, Rhodes became a centre of art and science; its school of rhetoric was frequented by many Romans, including Cato, Cicero, Caesar, and Pompey. Ravaged by Cassius in 43 B.C. it remained nominally independent till A.D. 44, when it was incorporated with the Roman Empire by Claudius, becoming under Diocletian the capital of the Isles or of the Cyclades, which it long remained. St. Paul stopped there on his way from Miletus to Jerusalem; he may even have made converts there.
  If we except some ancient inscriptions supposed to be Christian, there is no trace of Christianity until the third century, when Bishop Euphranon is said to have opposed the Encratites. Euphrosynus assisted at the Council of Nicaea (325). As the religious metropolitan of the Cyclades, Rhodes had eleven suffragan sees towards the middle of the seventh century; at the beginning of the tenth century, it had only ten; at the close of the fifteenth, only one, which has since disappeared. Rhodes is still a Greek metropolitan depending on the Patriarchate of Constantinople. On 15 August, 1310, under the leadership of Grand Master Foulques de Villaret, the Knights of St. John captured the island in spite of the Greek emperor, Andronicus II, and for more than two centuries, thanks to their fleet, were a solid bulwark between Christendom and Islam.
  From 1328 to 1546 Rhodes was a Latin metropolitan, having for suffragans the sees of Melos, Nicaria, Carpathos, Chios, Tinos, and Mycone. After the death of Marco Cattaneo, the last residential archbishop, Rhodes became a mere titular bishopric, while Naxos inherited its metropolitan rights. On 3 March 1797 it became again a titular archbishopric but the title was thenceforth attached to the See of Malta. Its suffragans are Carpathos, Leros, Melos, Samos, and Tenedos.
  The most striking feature of the city, in addition to a series of medieval towers and fortifications, is the Street of the Knights, which still preserves their blason and the date of the erection of each house or palace; several of the mosques are former churches.

S. Vailhe, ed.
Transcribed by: Douglas J. Potter
This extract is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


  Rhodus (Rhodos: Eth. Rhodios: Rhodes), one of the chief islands of the Aegean, or more properly of that part of the Aegean which is called the Carpathian sea, about 9 or 10 miles from the coast of Caria. In the earliest times it is said to have borne the names of Ophiussa (Steph. B. s. v. Rhodos), Stadia, Telchinis (Strab. xvi. p. 653), Asteria, Aethraea, Trinacria, Corymbia, Poieessa, Atabyria, Macaria, and Oloessa. (Plin. v. 36.) It extends from south to north, and is 920 stadia in circumference (Strab. xiv. p. 605), or, according to Pliny, 125 Roman miles, though others reduced it to 103. The island is traversed from north to south by a chain of mountains, the highest point of which was called Atabyris or Atabyrion, and the towns were all situated on the coast. Mount Atabyris is 4560 feet above the level of the sea, and on the top of it stood a temple of Zeus Atabyrius. Rhodes was believed to have at one time risen out of the sea, and the Telchines, its most ancient inhabitants, are said to have immigrated from Crete. (Pind. Olymp. vii. 23, &c.; Plin. ii. 87; Aristid. Orat. xliii. p. 653, ed. Dind.; Strab. l. c.; Diod. v. 55.) The Telchines, about. whom many fabulous stories are related, are said to have been nine in number, and their sister Halia or Amphitrite became by Poseidon the mother of six sons and one daughter, Rhodos, from which in the end the island received the name it still bears. Others, however, with better reason, derive the name Rhodus from podon, a rose, for the rose appears as a symbol on coins of the island, so that Rhodus would be the island of Roses. (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 602; Sestini, Num. Vet. p. 382.) These most ancient and fabulous Telchines are said to have perished or been driven from the island during an inundation, and Helios then created a new race of inhabitants, who were called after him Heliadae; they were seven in number, and became ancestors of seven tribes, which partly peopled Rhodus itself and partly emigrated to Lesbos, Cos, Caria, and Egypt. The Heliadae are said to have greatly distinguished themselves by the progress they made in the sciences of astronomy and navigation. (Pind. l. c. 160, &c.; Diod. v. 56; Conon, Narrat. 47; Strab. xiv. p. 654.) After this various immigrations from foreign countries are mentioned: Egyptians under Danaus, Phoenicians under Cadmus, Thessalians and Carians, are each said to have furnished their contingent to the population of Rhodes. Whatever we may think of these alleged immigrations, they can have but little affected the national character of the Rhodians, which in fact did not become fixed until a branch of the Doric race took possession of the island, after which event the Doric character of its inhabitants became thoroughly established. Some Dorians or Heracleidae appear to have been settled there as early as the Trojan War, for the Heracleid Tlepolemus is described as having sailed to Troy with nine ships. (Il. ii. 653; Diod. iv. 58, v. 59; Apollod. ii. 8. § 2.) After the Trojan War Aethaemenes, a Heracleid from Argos, led other settlers to Rhodus. (Strab. xiv. p 653; Diod. xv. 59; Apollod. iii. 2. § 1; comp. Thuc. vii. 57 ; Aristid. Orat. xliv. p. 839.) After this time the Rhodians quietly developed the resources of their island, and rose to great prosperity and affluence.
  The three most ancient towns of the island were Lindus, Ialysus, and Camirus, which were believed to have been founded by three grandsons of the Heliad Ochimus bearing the same names, or, according to others, by the Heracleid Tlepolemus. (Diod. iv. 58, v. 57.) These three towns, together with Cos, Cnidus, and Halicarnassus, formed what was called the Doric hexapolis, which had its common sanctuary on the Triopian headland on the coast of Caria, Apollo being the tutelary deity of the confederation. (Herod. i. 144.) The rapid progress made by the Rhodian towns at a comparatively early period is sufficiently attested by their colonies in the distant countries of the west. Thus they founded settlements in the Balearic islands, Rhode on the coast of Spain, Parthenope, Salapia, Siris, and Sybaris in Italy, and Gela in Sicily; while the countries nearer home were not neglected, for Soli in Cilicia, and Gagae and Corydalla in Lycia, were likewise Rhodian colonies. But notwithstanding this early application to navigation and commerce, for which Rhodes is so admirably situated between the three ancient continents, the Rhodians were not ranked with the great maritime powers of Greece. Herodotus speaks of them only as forming a part of the Doric confederacy, nor does Thucydides mention their island more frequently. The Rhodians, in fact, did not attain to any political eminence among the states of Greece until about B.C. 408, when the three ancient towns conjointly built the city of Rhodes at the northern extremity of the island, and raised it to the rank of a capital. During the first period of the Peloponnesian War the towns of Rhodes paid tribute to Athens, and were reluctantly compelled to serve against Syracuse and Gela in Sicily (Thuc. vii. 57); but in B.C. 412 they joined the Peloponnesians. The popular party being favourable to Athens, soon afterwards attempted a reaction, but it was crushed (Diod. xiii. 38, 45). In B.C. 396, however, when Conon appeared with his fleet in the waters of Rhodes, the Rhodians again embraced the cause of Athens (Diod. xiv. 79; Paus. vi. 7. § 6); but the democracy which was now established was ill managed, and did not last long; and as early as B.C. 390, the exiled aristocrats, with the assistance of Sparta, recovered their former ascendancy. (Aristot. Polit. v. 4. 2; Xenoph. Hellen. iv. 8. § 20, &c.; Diod. xiv. 97.) The fear of Sparta's growing power once more threw Rhodes into the hands of the Athenians, but soon after the battle of Leuctra a change again took place; at least the Thebans, in B.C. 364, were zealously engaged in sowing discord for the purpose of drawing Rhodes, Chios, and Byzantium over to their own side. During the Social War, from B.C. 357 to 355, the Rhodians were arrayed against Athens, being instigated by the dynast of Caria and his successor Artemisia. But as they became alarmed by the growing power of the Carian dynasty, they solicited the protection of Athens through the eloquence of Demosthenes. (Demos. de Libert. Rhodior.) The form of government throughout this period was oligarchical, which accounts for the insolent conduct of Hegesilochus, as described in Athenaeus (x. p. 444). Rhodes furnished Darius, the last king of Persia, with one of his bravest and ablest generals in the person of Memnon, who, if he had had the sole direction of affairs, might have checked the victorious career of Alexander, and saved the Persian empire. But as it was, Rhodes, like the rest of Greece, lost its independence, and received a Macedonian garrison (Curt. iv. 5). The expulsion of this garrison after the death of Alexander was the beginning of a glorious epoch in the history of Rhodes; for during the wars against the successors of Alexander, and especially during the memorable siege of the city of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes, the Rhodians gained the highest esteem and regard from all the surrounding princes and nations. During the period which then followed, down to the overthrow of the Macedonian monarchy, Rhodus, which kept up friendly relations with Rome, acted a very prominent part, and extended its dominion over a portion of the opposite coasts of Carlia and Lycia - a territory which is hence often called the Peraia ton Hpodion - and over several of the neighbouring islands, such as Casus, Carpathus, Telos, and Chalce. After the defeat of Perseus the Romans deprived the Rhodians of a great amount of territory and power, under the pretext that they had supported Macedonia; but the anger of Rome was propitiated, and in the war against Mithridates the Rhodians defended themselves manfully against the Pontian king. During the civil war between Caesar and Pompey they sided with the former, and their adherence to him led them, after his death, to resist Cassius; but the republican, after defeating them in a naval engagement, entered the city of Rhodes by force, and having put to death the leaders of the hostile party, carried off all the public property, even the offerings and ornaments of the temples (Appian, Bell. Civ. iv. 72; Plut. Brut. 30; Dion Cass. xlvii. 32). This calamity in B.C. 42 broke the power of the Rhodians, but it still remained one of the great seats of learning. Tiberius, before his accession to the imperial throne, resided at Rhodes for several years. The emperor Claudius deprived it of all political independence (Dion Cass. lx. 24); but although he afterwards restored its liberty, it was at all times a very precarious possession, being taken away and given back as circumstances or the caprices of the emperors suggested (Tac. Ann. xii. 58; comp. Suet. Vesp. 8; Eutrop. vii. 13). In the arrangements of Constantine, Rhodus, like other islands, belonged to the Provincia Insularum, of which it was the metropolis (Hierocles, p. 685, &c.). During the middle ages it continued to enjoy a considerable degree of prosperity, and was the last place in Western Asia that yielded to the Mohammedans.
  The great prosperity which the Rhodians enjoyed during the best period of their history was owing in the first place to their extensive navigation and commerce, and in the second to their political institutions. In respect to the former they were particularly favoured by the situation of their island, and during the Macedonian and Roman periods no Greek state could rival them in the extent and organisation of their commerce; their sailors were regarded as the best, and their laws relating to navigation were thought models worthy of being adopted by the Romans. The form of government of the Rhodians was indeed founded upon a popular basis, but their democracy was tempered by an admixture of oligarchy. Such at least we find it during the Macedonian period, at a time when the ancient Doric institutions had given way to a form of government more suited to the actual circumstances. (Strab. xii. p. 575, xiv. p. 652; Cic. de Re Publ. i. 3. 1; Dion Chrys. Orat. xxxi.; Aristid. Orat. xliv. p. 831.) The sovereign power belonged to the assembly of the people, which had the final decision of everything; but nothing was brought before it which had not previously been discussed by the senate or boule. (Polyb. xvi. 35, xxiii. 3, xxvii. 6, xxviii. 15, xxix. 5; Cic. de Re Publ. iii. 3. 5) The executive was in the hands of two magistrates called prutaneis, each of whom governed for six months in the year as eponymus. Next to these, the admirals (nauarchoi) possessed the most extensive power. Other officers are mentioned in inscriptions, but their character and functions are often very uncertain. The Rhodian constitution had its safest foundation in the character and habits of the people, who, although the vicinity of Asia had a considerable influence and created a love of splendour and luxury, yet preserved many of their ancient Doric peculiarities, such as earnestness, perseverance, valour, and patriotism, combined with an active zeal for literature, philosophy, and art. The intellectual activity maintained itself in Rhodes long after it had died away in most other parts of Greece.
  The island of Rhodes, which appears even in the earliest traditions as extremely wealthy (Hom. Il. ii. 670; Pind. Olymp. vii. 49; Philostr. Imag. ii. 27), is in many parts indeed rough and rocky, especially the coast near the city of Rhodes, and the district about Lindus, but on the whole it was extremely fertile: its wine, dried raisins and figs, were much esteemed, and its saffron, oil, marble, achate, sponges, and fish, are often spoken of. The most important productions of Rhodian industry were ships, arms, and military engines. Besides the places already mentioned, the ancients notice Ixia and Mnasyrium, two forts in the south, and a place called Achaia.
  By far the most important place was the city of Rhodus at the north-eastern extremity of the island. It was built in B.C. 408 upon a regular plan formed by the architect Hippodamus, the same who built the walls of Peiraeeus. (Strab. xiv. p. 654; Diod. xix. 45, xx. 83; Harpocrat. s. v.; Hippodameia.) It was constructed in the form of an amphitheatre rising from the coast, and was protected by strong walls and towers, while nature provided it with two excellent harbours. The acropolis rose at the southwestern extremity, and on the slope of it was the theatre. According to Strabo, Rhodus surpassed all other cities for the beauty and convenience‘ of its ports, streets, walls, and public edifices, all of which were adorned with a profusion of works of art both in painting and sculpture. The principal statues were in the temple of Dionysus and the gymnasium; but the most extraordinary statue, which is described as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was the brazen statue of Helios, commonly called the Colossus of Rhodes. It was the work of Chares of Lindus, who employed upon its execution twelve years. It cost 300 talents, and was 70 cubits in height: its gigantic size may be inferred from the fact that few men were able to encompass one of its thumbs with their arms. (Plin. xxxiv. 18; Strab. l. c.) The Colossus stood at the entrance of one of the ports, but the statement that it stood astride over the entrance, and that the largest ships could sail between its legs, is in all probability a mere fable. It was overthrown by an earthquake, 56 years after its erection, that is, in B.C. 224, or according to others a few years later. Ptolemy promised the Rhodians, among other things, 3000 talents for its restoration (Polyb. v. 89), but it is said not to have been attempted in consequence of an oracle (Strab. l. c.). Later authorities, however, speak of it as standing erect: the emperor Commodus is said to have ordered his own bust to be put upon it; and Cedrenus relates that a king of the Saracens sold the fragments to a merchant who employed upwards of 900 camels to carry them away. Notwithstanding the great splendour of the city, the number of its inhabitants does not appear to have been very great, for during the siege of Demetrius Poliorcetes no more than 6000 citizens capable of bearing arms are mentioned. (Diod. xx. 84.) But Rhodus has nevertheless produced many men of eminence in philosophy and literature, such as Panaetius, Stratocles, Andronicus, Eudemus, Hieronymus, Peisander, Simmias, and Aristides; while Poseidonius, Dionysius Thrax, and Apollonius, surnamed the Rhodian, resided in the island for a considerable tine. The present town of Rhodes contains very few remains of the ancient Greek city. (Comp. P. D. Paulsen, Descriptio Rhodi Maced. Aetate, Gottingen, 1818 ; I. Rest, Rhodus, ein Hist. Arch. Fragment, Altona, 1823; Th. Menge, Vorgeschichte von Rhodus, Coln, 1827; Rottier, Descript. des Monuments de Rhodes, Bruxelles, 1828; Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln, iii. pp. 70-113, which contains a good account of the middle-age history and the present condition of the island and city with maps and plans; Sestini, Mon. Vet. p. 91.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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