Jul 21, 2014

Paul, Rhodes, and the Colossus-ians

Near the end of Paul's third missionary journey, Luke mentions the city of Rhodes (Acts 21:1). I found the following statement interesting on a variety of levels.

"Next day they sailed and passing Cape Triopium where Cnidus is situated and spotting the islands of Tylos and Nisyros to the southwest and Syria in the opposite direction arrived at Rhodes, the capital of the island of the same name. Founded toward the end of the fifth century BCE at the crossroad of the east and the west the island had a well-known maritime history. It was famous for the Colossus which was the work of the sculptor Chares of Lindos. In antiquity the statue was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The fame of the Colossus led some people in the Middle Ages to think that Colossians to whom Paul had written were the inhabitants of Rhodes. At the time of Paul's visit the Colossus was already pieces lying buried where it had crashed in about 227 BCE. This was a gigantic bronze statue of Helios. It was some 40 m high and 250 tons,  standing on the mole or the hill overlooking the harbour where the Costello stands today. A Rhodian tradition places it where St Paul's gate is now. The statue commemorated the defeat of the seige of Demetrius Poliorcetes who failed to capture the city, his nickname 'Poliorcetes' standing for 'Besieger of Cities.' The bronze statue showed the god naked and wearing a gold crown of rays with his arms stretched in front. It is said that it could be seen from a distance of some 100 km." 

Fatih Cimok, Journeys of Paul: From Tarsus to the Ends of the Earth (Istanbul: A Turizm Yayinlari, 2004), 200. 

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