Skip to comments.New Colossus of Rhodes will keep watch on drunken Britons
Posted on 02/27/2005 1:47:12 PM PST by wagglebee
More than two millennia after it was toppled by an earthquake, the Colossus of Rhodes - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world - is to rise again.
Instead of standing astride the venerable port of Rhodes town, however, the 100ft bronze figure will tower over the island's downmarket resort of Faliraki, infamous for the drunken antics of thousands of British tourists who go there every year.
Faliraki, about five miles south of Rhodes town, boasts a strip of bars and clubs a third of a mile long, where cut-price alcohol lures hordes of tourists on drinking binges and pub crawls.
Girls lie propped unconscious outside bars, while inside, others dance on table tops and compete in wet T-shirt contests, furthering Faliraki's reputation for promiscuity and casual sex.
Undeterred, a British-based Greek artist, Nikos Kotziamanis, has assembled a 10-strong Colossus team, including landscapers and structural engineers, who will ensure that it can stand up to the earthquakes which affect the region of Rhodes today.
"Rhodes occasionally suffers earthquakes of up to 6.5 on the Richter scale," Mr Kotziamanis said. "But we have a seismologist and are designing the new Colossus to be able to withstand much stronger shocks. The idea is that the new statue doesn't suffer the same fate as the old one."
Few details are known of the original Colossus of Rhodes, which was built by a local sculptor between 304 and 292BC and whose face was reputedly modelled on that of Alexander the Great. It was destroyed little more than half a century later.
Pliny the Elder recorded that before they were sold off, the surviving fragments attracted the awe of onlookers.
"Few men can clasp the thumb in their arms,'' he wrote, "and its fingers are larger than most statues."
Faliraki's mayor, Iannis Iatridis, said: "The Colossus was one of the wonders of the ancient world. The new statue will be the miracle of the 21st century."
Greek designers have long dreamed of rebuilding the Colossus. Permission has never been granted, however, to restore the statue to its original location, even with the support of politicians including the former prime minister, Andreas Papandreou.
According to superstition dating back thousands of years, the Delphic oracle warned islanders not to rebuild the Colossus after it was destroyed. That has not, however, scared off Mr Iatridis, who has claimed the project as his own, describing it as "the finishing touch to complete beautiful Faliraki".
"Faliraki is a very beautiful place and it's irrelevant that British people see it as a place to get drunk," he said. "What we're doing is for future generations."
Mr Kotziamanis said: "I'm sure it won't come to be seen as an icon for British drunkenness. I think they will see this in a different way. This will not be a theme-park caricature but a genuine achievement for the 21st century."
Scholars and devotees of the classical world are likely to be less enthusiastic, given Faliraki's seedier claim to contemporary fame.
Nelina Filimonos, director of the Archaeological Museum in Rhodes, said that she supported neither the statue, nor its proposed site.
"We are against this project. We know very little about the original statue and so we don't think we have enough information to build a new Colossus," she said.
"There are more important things to be done, and putting it in Faliraki is a gross distortion of history." Mr Kotziamanis plans to cast each section of the monument in his foundry, in London Docklands, before shipping them to Rhodes.
"It will be like the Statue of Liberty, which was crafted and assembled in France before being taken apart and shipped to New York," he said.
His designs resemble a male counterpart to the New York landmark, itself supposedly an echo of the Colossus, and the completed statue will bear a crown and carry a torch. Work is due to begin next month, when Mr Kotziamanis will lead a survey team to Faliraki. Once construction is under way, the £35 million project will take a further four years to complete.
Mr Iatridis said that funding would come from companies eager to be associated with the landmark. Because of Greek bureaucracy, however, ob‐taining building permits could take at least a year, he said.
I've never quite understood why something that only stood for a few decades could be considered one of the seven wonders wonders of the world.
"I've never quite understood why something that only stood for a few decades could be considered one of the seven wonders wonders of the world."
Longevity it not what makes something wonderful.
Methinks these mortals are full of themselves. Let us make them crazy before we destroy them.
This is nothing like those who completed Leonardo's bronze horse for Florence. They had his sketches to work from and that was only not finished because the material was needed for wartime.
This other thing is such a fatuous and commercial fraud, Greek politicos should move to forbid it.
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Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest -- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)
Three centuries before Christ's birth,
people celebrated 25 December, archaeologists claim
Indepedent UK | 12/25/03 | David Keys
Posted on 12/28/2003 10:32:36 PM PST by freedom44
oops, one related which wasn't added:
Magnificent Seven That Keep Mere Mortals Wondering
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 4-3-2004 | Christopher Howse
Posted on 04/02/2004 5:20:20 PM PST by blam
Preserved in Greek anthologies of poetry is what is believed to be the genuine dedication text for the Colossus.
To you, O Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus, when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom and independence. For to the descendants of Herakles belongs dominion over sea and land.
...The statue stood for 54 years until Rhodes was hit by the 226 BC earthquake, when significant damage was also done to large portions of the city, including the harbour and commercial buildings, which were destroyed. The statue snapped at the knees and fell over onto the land. Ptolemy III offered to pay for the reconstruction of the statue, but the oracle of Delphi made the Rhodians afraid that they had offended Helios, and they declined to rebuild it.
The remains lay on the ground as described by Strabo (xiv.2.5) for over 800 years, and even broken, they were so impressive that many travelled to see them. Pliny the Elder remarked that few people could wrap their arms around the fallen thumb and that each of its fingers was larger than most statues.
In 653, an Arab force under Muslim caliph Muawiyah I captured Rhodes, and according to The Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor, the statue was cast down and sold to a Jewish merchant of Edessa who loaded the bronze on 900 camels. The Arab destruction and the purported sale to a Jew possibly originated as a powerful metaphor for Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the destruction of a great statue.
The same story is recorded by Bar Hebraeus, writing in Syriac in the 13th century in Edessa: (after the Arab pillage of Rhodes) “And a great number of men hauled on strong ropes which were tied round the brass Colossus which was in the city and pulled it down. And they weighed from it three thousand loads of Corinthian brass, and they sold it to a certain Jew from Emesa” (the Syrian city of Homs). Theophanes is the sole source of this account and all other sources can be traced to him.