Helios and Rhodes Colossus Rhodes In another story.
One day Zeus made each of the gods the patron deity of one or another earthly land or city—all except for Helios, that is, who at the time was fulfilling his daily duty of driving his chariot across the sky. To compensate for the oversight, Zeus gave Helios dominion over the newly created island of Rhodes. Rhodes is a Greek island located off the southwestern coast of Asia Minor, in the complex of the Dodecanese islands. There, the sun god’s three grandsons — Camirus, Lindus, and Ialyssus, (Kamiros, Lindos, and Ialyssos) ruled and gave their names to the three largest cities.
This myth was the basis of the Rhodians’ worship of Helios as their national god. Still, Rhodes is called the Island of Sun.
They honored him as the subject of the huge bronze statue they erected circa 280 B.C. at the entrance to their main harbour. Called the Colossus of Rhodes, it later made the prestigious list of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is said that the huge statue Colossus broke and collapsed after a massive earthquake that hit the island of Rhodes in the ancient years.
The temple of Apollo Pythios
is located right on the northern tip of the island on the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes town. It is a Doric style temple dating back from the Hellenistic period (3rd – 2nd century BC). Excavated by the Italian School of Archaeology see Delos at Athens from 1912 -1945.
A few columns of the temple that still stands today is an indication of the original monumental size alongside with the surrounding ancient ruins on site as well, the ancient stadium of Rhodes with its’ smallish amphitheater located nearby.
The area that the ancient acropolis of Rhodes is located in is called Monte Smith and is named after an English Napoleonic admiral.
The one place in Greece where the worship of Helios was important was on Rhodes. In its founding mythology, the name of the island derives from the nymph Rhodos who bore seven sons to Helios, the patron of the island. Three grandsons of these offspring were the heroes of the three principal cities on the island: Camirus, Ialysus, and Lindus, which were named after them.
In honor of Helios, Panhellenic games, the Halieia, were held on the island every five years, and each year a chariot and four horses (quadriga) were thrown into the sea as an offering to the god.
Colossus of Rhodes
The famous bronze statue of Helios known as the Colossus of Rhodes was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. At 33 meters high, the massive standing figure of Helios dominated the harbour of the city. Built between 304 and 280 BCE, it was toppled by an earthquake in either 228 or 226 BCE. Allegedly there are some historians claiming that the Colossus of Rhodes, was either placed here in Monte Smith or in the Old Town of Rhodes rather than the entrance of Rhodes harbor as it is often portrayed.
The god Apollo was linked with the Sun from the 5th century BCE, and the association became ever stronger from the Hellenistic period, largely thanks to the influence of Greek philosophers who began to give more importance to celestial bodies. Apollo and Helios then became almost synonymous, just as Hyperion and Helios had been in the Archaic period.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Cartwright Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Surrounded by archaeological sites, his special interests include ancient ceramics, architecture, and mythology. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE.
Links to some more Greek Mythology written by Mark Cartwright