In contrast to the pyramids, the colossus was the shortest lived of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Completed in 282 B.C. after taking 12 years to build, the Colossus of Rhodes was felled by an earthquake that snapped the statue off at the knees a mere 56 years later.
The towering figure—made of stone and iron with an outer skin of bronze—represented the Greek sun god Helios, the island’s patron god. It looked out from Mandráki Harbor on the Mediterranean island of Ródos (Rhodes), although it is no longer believed to have straddled the harbor entrance as often shown in illustrations.
The Colossus stood about 110 feet (33 meters) tall, making it the tallest known statue of the ancient world. It was erected to celebrate the unification of the island’s three city-states, which successfully resisted a long siege by the Antigonids of Macedonia.