The Colossus of Rhodes

Contributor: Roxann Penny. Lesson ID: 12876

Did you know there is a poem on the Statue of Liberty called, "The New Colossus"? What was the "old" Colossus? It was an amazing statue in Greece that may someday "come back to life"! Get to know him!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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This ancient statue was taller than the Statue of Liberty! What was the name of this ancient wonder?

  • What was the Colossus of Rhodes?

The Colossus of Rhodes was a spectacularly large statue erected in the harbor of the Greek Island of Rhodes around 280 BC. It is believed that the statue was built to represent the Greek sun god, Helios, and that it stood over 110 feet tall, on top of a 50-foot platform.

The statue was designed by Greek sculptor Chares of Lindos and built by the citizens of Rhodes to celebrate their victory in their lengthy fight against the successors of Alexander the Great — in particular, Macedonian leader Demetrius Poliorcetes in 305 BC. It was said that the armor and weapons left behind by the Macedonian soldiers were sold, and the money was used to create the statue.

Although there is limited information about the Colossus, it is estimated that the statue took twelve years to complete. For 56 years, the Colossus stood at the entrance of the harbor at Rhodes before it was destroyed by an earthquake. This magnificent statue has served as the inspiration for many other notable statues and monuments, including the Statue of Liberty, which is located in New York City harbor in the United States.

Take a closer look at the images below depicting the Colossus of Rhodes. Observe the different interpretations of the statue's form, then discuss with your parent or teacher why this statue makes it on the list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World:

Coloso de Rodas

Image by Ancient History Encyclopedia, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Colossus of Rhodes

Image by Ferdinand Knab, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the public domain.

Watch the following video presentation for a brief look at this impressive structure. As you view the video, think about the Statue of Liberty, located in the harbor in New York City.

  • What similarities do you see between the statue of Colossus and the statue of Liberty?
  • Do you think the statue of Colossus was an inspiration for the design and placement of the Statue of Liberty?
  • Discuss your response with your parent or teacher, then watch The Destruction of the Great Colossus, by The Museum of Unnatural Mystery:

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Simply being large isn't enough to be considered an ancient wonder. A structure or monument also has to inspire and create a lasting impression on the minds and imaginations of people for generations. The statue of Colossus of Rhodes rises far above this threshold, and today it remains one of the most awe-inspiring works of art in the world.

Continue to the Got It? section to summarize what you have learned about this monumental statute.

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