Islands off Caria, Rhodes. c. 205-190 BC

Islands off Caria, Rhodes. c. 205-190 BC


AR Drachm, 2.84g (14.5mm, 12h). Gorgos, magistrate. Head of Helios facing slightly right / Rose with bud to right; ΓΟΡΓΟΣ above, bow-in-bow case to left.

Pedigree: From the Douglas O. Rosenberg Collection, purchased from Harlan J. Berk, 26 February 1993

References: Ashton 288; HGC 6, 1453

Grade: Beautifully toned. EF (gk1235)

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The image of Helios is often seen on the coinage of Rhodes. An enormous status of Helios, called the Colossus of Rhodes, was erected on the island starting in 292 BC and finished by 282 BC. It is said to have been approximately equivalent in size to the Statue of Liberty. The statue was built by the sculptor Chares of Lindo who was born in Rhodes. Chares was the student of Lysander who was also a known respected artist. The statue was built to commemorate a victorious battle won by Rhodes over the Macedonians in 305 BC. It was one of the seven wonders of the world.

Disaster struck in c. 237/6 BC when a massive earthquake hit the prosperous city, toppling the gigantic statuary. Being that Rhodes was such an important trading city and generally well respected among the Greeks, some of the neighboring city states offered support in rebuilding the piece. This offer was always rejected by the people because of the fear of having somehow offended their patron god. Instead, the destruction lay on the ground for hundreds of years. People would come from all around the Greek world to visit the once largest statue ever known.

There have been discussions to rebuild the statue of Colossus of Rhodes however nothing has happened to this day. Most recent discussions were in 2015.