First the Temple of Artemis, Now the Colossus of Rhodes

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I had no idea that my closing thoughts on plans to rebuild the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus would turn out to be somewhat prophetic.

“Will it signal a new trend in not simply preserving old temples and landmarks, but actually rebuilding them to their former glory? Could we see a new Delphi or Colossus of Rhodes? An embracing of our pre-Christian heritage slipped through the side-door as “tourism”, “art”, and “culture”.”

It seems that on Monday, The Guardian reported that plans are underway to rebuild the Colossus of Rhodes.

Head of the Colossus of Rhodes, photo: The Roman Mysteries.

“It may not straddle the port as its predecessor once did, but in terms of sheer luminosity and eye-catching height the new Colossus of Rhodes will not disappoint. Nor will it fall short of the symbolism that once imbued the ancient monument. Twenty-three centuries after craftsmen carved the legendary statue that has inspired legions of painters, poets, playwrights and politicians, a new world wonder, built in the spirit of the original Colossus, is about to be born on the Aegean island.”

The new colossus will bigger than the original, will be partially constructed from melted-down weapons from around the world to represent peace, and will be a “light sculpture” designed by German artist Gert Hof.

“We are talking about a highly, highly innovative light sculpture, one that will stand between 60 and 100 metres tall so that people can physically enter it,” said Dr Dimitris Koutoulas, who is heading the project in Greece. “Although we are still at the drawing board stage, Gert Hof’s plan is to make it the world’s largest light installation, a structure that has never before been seen in any place of the world.”

The original Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was sculpted by Chares of Lindos, and represented Helios, god/personification of the sun. It was toppled in 226 BCE by an earthquake. It certainly seems like an inspired idea to honor the sun with a sculpture of light. Yet another possible pilgrimage place for a resurgent Paganism?

So that’s two ancient wonders that are getting rebuilt. What’s next? A new statue of Zeus at Olympia? A new Lighthouse of Alexandria? Looks like the New Seven Wonders of the World might have some of their thunder stolen by the original wonders.