The Colossus of Rhodes - one of the seven wonders of the ancient world - was a 110 foot tall statue standing on a 50 foot pedestal. Unlike most statues from the time the Colossus of Rhodes was not solid, but rather a framework built of iron overlaid with a skin of bronze. Stones were added later to stablize the oversized behemoth. The pedestal upon which the colossus stood was made from white marble.
The Colossus was said to have been erected, straddling the entrance of the Mandraki harbor in the city of Rhodes, however this is unlikely. Given the width of the harbor mouth and the height of the statue, it would have appeared ridiculous. Recent studies have suggested that it was erected either on the eastern promontory of the harbor or further inland.
The colossus' construction was commissioned by Rhodian sculptor Chares of Lindos. Construction began sometime after 304 B.C. (estimates put the ground breaking somewhere around 294 B.C, and taking 12 years to complete) to celebrate a peace agreement with the Antagonids of Macedonia. The Antagonids tried unsuccessfully to besiege the city in order to break the Rhodian alliance with Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt. When the siege was lifted, the Antagonids left behind an unbelievable amount of military equipment, which Rhodes sold. They then used the money to build the colossus in honor of the sun god, Helios.
The Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in 226 B.C., a measly 56 years after it was built, in an earthquake. The statue broke at the knee, and toppled into the city, where it lay broken for nearly a millenium. It was said by Pliny the Elder, "Even lying on the ground, it is a marvel."
Ptolemy III Eurgetes immediately offered to cover any restoration costs for the toppled statue. However, his gracious offer was declined due to a warning from an oracle who opposed the resurrection of the statue.
In 654 A.D. when Arabs invaded Rhodes, they disassembled the remains of the colossus and sold them to a Syrian. The Colossus' remains were transported back to Syria on the backs of 900 camels.
Dedicatory inscription of the Colossus:
To you, O Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom.