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