How Colossal Was The Colossus of Rhodes?

Colossus of Rhodes by the numbers

Grant Piper

--

(Public domain)

For sixty years, the world was witness to one of the greatest accomplishments of ancient times. A giant bronze statue of the god Helios stood guarding the entrance to the main harbor on the island of Rhodes. The statue was truly massive and was the largest statue in the world at the time. The statue’s impressive size earned it a spot on the list of the Seven Wonder of the Ancient World.

That begs the question, how big was the Colossus of Rhodes?

The dimensions

The statue itself stood on a massive marble base that was erected at the breakwater of the harbor itself. The base measured 59 feet in diameter and stood 49 feet tall. The statue itself was supposedly 70 cubits in height which would make it 105 feet tall by modern measurements.

The height of the statue itself made it the tallest statue in the world at the time. In fact, if you do not account for the base, the Statue of Liberty is 151 feet tall from feet to the tip of the torch. That means that the Colossus was just 46 feet shorter than one of the most famous statues of the modern world.

Together, the entire statue stood 156 feet from base to top.

Fast Facts

Statue casting: Bronze

Base material: Marble

Height of base: 49'

Diameter of base: 59'

Height of statue: 105'

Total height: 156'

Building the statue

Painting of the Colossus of Rhodes (Public domain)

In 305 BCE, the Macedonian kingdom led by Antigonus I Monophthalmus laid siege to the island of Rhodes. The siege lasted a year but in the end the Macedonians failed to capture the important island fortress. When the Macedonians beat a hasty retreat in 304 BCE they left behind large caches of weapons and siege equipment.

Elated at their turn of fortune, the people of Rhodes gathered up the left over equipment and decided to use it to construct a statue to their patron god…

--

--

Grant Piper

Professional writer. Amateur historian. Husband, father, Christian.