Colossus of Rhodes

Off the coast of Greece lies the small island of Rhodes. An important port city, Rhodes was a highly desirable island controlled by various parties until it's eventual occupation by Alexander the Great in 332BC. Upon Alexander's early death, three of his generals - Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigonus - desired to gain control of Rhodes. The Rhodians placed their support behind Ptolemy, who would eventually rule Egypt. This support did not sit well with Antigonus and he subsequently ordered his son, Demetrius, to lay siege to the island in 305BC. Demetrius's army, many times bigger than the entire population of Rhodes, would have easily claimed victory if it weren't for the large walls surrounding the capital city and the forces sent by Ptolemy to assist the outnumbered Rhodians.

Under pressure from the Egyptian army sent by Ptolemy, Demetrius signed a peace treaty with the Rhodians under the condition that they would not interfere in his ongoing war with Ptolemy. The Rhodians claimed this as a major victory and erected the Colossus in celebration of the win over Demetrius. The Colossus, an over 110 foot tall depiction of the city's patron god Helios stood at the entrance to the port guarding against would-be attackers and welcoming visitors.

Appearing even taller due to the 50 foot pedestal on which it stood, Colossus was similar in size and architecture to the Statue of Liberty. Requiring twelve years to complete, the Colossus was constructed using bronze plates attached to an iron skeleton. The iron skeleton was supported by giant stone columns encased within the massive structure.

In writing "Colossus", I wanted to capture both the mystery and fear that that the statue may have instilled in any unwelcome guests as well as the awe-inspiring sensation felt by visitors who had long awaited the statue's rise above the horizon. These two distinctly different emotions, brought on by a single figure, are represented by contrasting musical sections - one static and unnerving, the other beautiful and energized. Josh does such a great job leading the journey from foreboding to enlightened in his improvisation on this track.

The Colossus was the last monument of the Wonders to be built and the first to be destroyed. Only standing for 56 years, the Colossus was destroyed by an earthquake in 226BC. Even though Ptolemy III offered to fund the reconstruction, the Rhodians refused fearing that the earthquake had been caused by Helios out of anger over the statue. The remains lay in place until, in 654AD, Rhodes was conquered by Arab forces; the remains were sold off as scrap metal. Legend tells that it took 900 camels to cart off Colossus's impressive remains.