RODOS (Ancient city) DODEKANISSOS
The city of the Rhodians lies on the eastern promontory of Rhodes; and it is so far superior to all others in harbors and roads and walls and improvements in general that I am unable to speak of any other city as equal to it, or even as almost equal to it, much less superior to it. It is remarkable also for its good order, and for its careful attention to the administration of affairs of state in general; and in particular to that of naval affairs, whereby it held the mastery of the sea for a long time and overthrew the business of piracy, and became a friend to the Romans and to all kings who favoured both the Romans and the Greeks. Consequently it not only has remained autonomous. but also has been adorned with many votive offerings, which for the most part are to be found in the Dionysium and the gymnasium, but partly in other places. The best of these are, first, the Colossus of Helius, of which the author of the iambic verse says,
seven times ten cubits in height, the work of Chares the Lindian;
but it now lies on the ground, having been thrown down by an earthquake and broken at the knees. In accordance with a certain oracle, the people did not raise it again. This, then, is the most excellent of the votive offerings (at any rate, it is by common agreement one of the Seven Wonders); and there are also the paintings of Protogenes, his Ialysus and also his Satyr, the latter standing by a pillar, on top of which stood a male partridge. And at this partridge, as would be natural, the people were so agape when the picture had only recently been set up, that they would behold him with wonder but overlook the Satyr, although the latter was a very great success. But the partridge-breeders were still more amazed, bringing their tame partridges and placing them opposite the painted partridge; for their partridges would make their call to the painting and attract a mob of people. But when Protogenes saw that the main part of the work had become subordinate, he begged those who were in charge of the sacred precinct to permit him to go there and efface the partridge, and so he did. The Rhodians are concerned for the people in general, although their rule is not democratic; still, they wish to take care of their multitude of poor people. Accordingly, the people are supplied with provisions and the needy are supported by the well-to-do, by a certain ancestral custom; and there are certain liturgies that supply provisions, so that at the same time the poor man receives his sustenance and the city does not run short of useful men, and in particular for the manning of the fleets. As for the roadsteads, some of them were kept hidden and forbidden to the people in general; and death was the penalty for any person who spied on them or passed inside them. And here too, as in Massalia and Cyzicus, everything relating to the architects, the manufacture of instruments of war, and the stores of arms and everything else are objects of exceptional care, and even more so than anywhere else.
This extract is from: The Geography of Strabo (ed. H. L. Jones, 1924), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited Feb 2003 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
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