: Eth. Ῥόδιος
), one of the chief islands of the Aegean, or more properly of that part of the Aegean which is called the Carpathian sea, about 9 or 10 miles from the coast of Caria.
In the earliest times it is said to have borne the names of Ophiussa (Steph. B. sub voce Ῥόδος
), Stadia, Telchinis (Strab. xvi. p.653
), Asteria, Aethraea, Trinacria, Corymbia, Poieessa, Atabyria, Macaria, and Oloëssa. (Plin. Nat. 5.36
It extends from south to north, and is 920 stadia in circumference (Strab. xiv. p.605
), or, according to Pliny, 125
Roman miles, though others reduced it to 103.
The island is traversed from north to south by a chain of mountains, the highest point of which was called Atabyris or Atabyrion, and the towns were all situated on the coast. Mount Atabyris is 4560 feet above the level of the sea, and on the top of it stood a temple of Zeus Atabyrius. Rhodes was believed to have at one time risen out of the sea, and the Telchines, its most ancient inhabitants, are said to have immigrated from Crete. (Pind. O. 7.23
, &c.; Plin. Nat. 2.87
; Aristid. Orat.
xliii. p. 653, ed. Dind.; Strab. l.c.; Diod. 5.55
.) The Telchines, about. whom many fabulous stories are related, are said to have been nine in number, and their sister Halia or Amphitrite became by Poseidon the mother of six sons and one daughter, Rhodos, from which in the end the island received the name it still bears. Others, however, with better reason, derive the name Rhodus from π̔όδον, a
rose, for the rose appears as a symbol on coins of the island, so that Rhodus would be “the island of Roses.” (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 602; Sestini, Num. Vet.
These most ancient and fabulous Telchines are said to have perished or been driven from the island during an inundation, and Helios then created a new race of inhabitants, who were called after him Heliadae; they were seven in number, and became ancestors of seven tribes, which partly peopled Rhodus itself and partly emigrated to Lesbos, Cos, Caria, and Egypt. The Heliadae are said to have greatly distinguished themselves by the progress they made in the sciences of astronomy and navigation. (Pind. l.c.
160, &c.; Diod. 5.56
; Conon, Narrat.
47; Strab. xiv. p.654
After this various immigrations from foreign countries are mentioned: Egyptians under Danaus, Phoenicians under Cadmus, Thessalians and Carians, are each said to have furnished their contingent to the population of Rhodes. Whatever we may think of these alleged immigrations, they can have but little affected the national character of the Rhodians, which in fact did not become fixed until a branch of the Doric race took possession of the island, after which event the Doric character of its inhabitants became thoroughly established. Some Dorians or Heracleidae appear to have been settled there as early as the Trojan War, for the Heracleid Tlepolemus is described as having sailed to Troy with nine ships. (Il. 2.653
; Diod. 4.58
; Apollod. 2.8.2
After the Trojan War Aethaemenes, a Heracleid from Argos, led other settlers to Rhodus. (Strab. xiv. p 653; Diod. 15.59
; Apollod. 3.2.1
; comp. Thuc. 7.57
; Aristid. Orat.
xliv. p. 839.)
After this time the Rhodians quietly developed the resources of their island, and rose to great prosperity and affluence.
The three most ancient towns of the island were LINDUS, IALYSUS, and CAMIRUS, which were believed to have been founded by three grandsons of the Heliad Ochimus bearing the same names, or, according to others, by the Heracleid Tlepolemus. (Diod. 4.58
These three towns, together with Cos, Cnidus, and Halicarnassus, formed what was called the Doric hexapolis, which had its common sanctuary on the Triopian headland on the coast of Caria, Apollo being the tutelary deity of the confederation. (Hdt. 1.144
The rapid progress made by the Rhodian towns at a comparatively early period is sufficiently attested by their colonies in the distant countries of the west. Thus they founded settlements in the Balearic islands, Rhode on the coast of Spain, Parthenope, Salapia, Siris, and Sybaris in Italy, and Gela in [p. 2.714]
Sicily; while the countries nearer home were not neglected, for Soli in Cilicia, and Gagae and Corydalla in Lycia, were likewise Rhodian colonies.
But notwithstanding this early application to navigation and commerce, for which Rhodes is so admirably situated between the three ancient continents, the Rhodians were not ranked with the great maritime powers of Greece. Herodotus speaks of them only as forming a part of the Doric confederacy, nor does Thucydides mention their island more frequently. The Rhodians, in fact, did not attain to any political eminence among the states of Greece until about B.C. 408, when the three ancient towns conjointly built the city of Rhodes at the northern extremity of the island, and raised it to the rank of a capital. During the first period of the Peloponnesian War the towns of Rhodes paid tribute to Athens, and were reluctantly compelled to serve against Syracuse and Gela in Sicily (Thuc. 7.57
); but in B.C. 412 they joined the Peloponnesians.
The popular party being favourable to Athens, soon afterwards attempted a reaction, but it was crushed (Diod. 13.38
). In B.C. 396, however, when Conon appeared with his fleet in the waters of Rhodes, the Rhodians again embraced the cause of Athens (Diod. 14.79
; Paus. 6.7.6
); but the democracy which was now established was ill managed, and did not last long; and as early as B.C. 390, the exiled aristocrats, with the assistance of Sparta, recovered their former ascendancy. (Aristot. Pol. 5.4. 2
; Xenoph. Hellen.
4.8.20, &c.; Diod. 14.97
The fear of Sparta's growing power once more threw Rhodes into the hands of the Athenians, but soon after the battle of Leuctra a change again took place; at least the Thebans, in B.C. 364, were zealously engaged in sowing discord for the purpose of drawing Rhodes, Chios, and Byzantium over to their own side. During the Social War, from B.C. 357 to 355, the Rhodians were arrayed against Athens, being instigated by the dynast of Caria and his successor Artemisia.
But as they became alarmed by the growing power of the Carian dynasty, they solicited the protection of Athens through the eloquence of Demosthenes. (Demos. de Libert. Rhodior.
) The form of government throughout this period was oligarchical, which accounts for the insolent conduct of Hegesilochus, as described in Athenaeus (x. p. 444). Rhodes furnished Darius, the last king of Persia, with one of his bravest and ablest generals in the person of Memnon, who, if he had had the sole direction of affairs, might have checked the victorious career of Alexander, and saved the Persian empire.
But as it was, Rhodes, like the rest of Greece, lost its independence, and received a Macedonian garrison (Curt. 4.5
The expulsion of this garrison after the death of Alexander was the beginning of a glorious epoch in the history of Rhodes; for during the wars against the successors of Alexander, and especially during the memorable siege of the city of Rhodes by Demetrius Poliorcetes, the Rhodians gained the highest esteem and regard from all the surrounding princes and nations. During the period which then followed, down to the overthrow of the Macedonian monarchy, Rhodus, which kept up friendly relations with Rome, acted a very prominent part, and extended its dominion over a portion of the opposite coasts of Carlia and Lycia--a territory which is hence often called the Περαία τῶν Ῥοδίων
]--and over several of the neighbouring islands, such as Casus, Carpathus, Telos, and Chalce.
After the defeat of Perseus the Romans deprived the Rhodians of a great amount of territory and power, under the pretext that they had supported Macedonia; but the anger of Rome was propitiated, and in the war against Mithridates the Rhodians defended themselves manfully against the Pontian king. During the civil war between Caesar and Pompey they sided with the former, and their adherence to him led them, after his death, to resist Cassius; but the republican, after defeating them in a naval engagement, entered the city of Rhodes by force, and having put to death the leaders of the hostile party, carried off all the public property, even the offerings and ornaments of the temples (Appian, App. BC 4.72
; Plut. Brut. 30
; D. C. 47.32
This calamity in B.C. 42 broke the power of the Rhodians, but it still remained one of the great seats of learning. Tiberius, before his accession to the imperial throne, resided at Rhodes for several years.
The emperor Claudius deprived it of all political independence (D. C. 60.24
); but although he afterwards restored its liberty, it was at all times a very precarious possession, being taken away and given back as circumstances or the caprices of the emperors suggested (Tac. Ann. 12.58
; comp. Suet. Vesp.
8; Eutrop. 7.13
In the arrangements of Constantine, Rhodus, like other islands, belonged to the Provincia Insularum, of which it was the metropolis (Hierocles, p. 685, &c.). During the middle ages it continued to enjoy a considerable degree of prosperity, and was the last place in Western Asia that yielded to the Mohammedans.
The great prosperity which the Rhodians enjoyed during the best period of their history was owing in the first place to their extensive navigation and commerce, and in the second to their political institutions.
In respect to the former they were particularly favoured by the situation of their island, and during the Macedonian and Roman periods no Greek state could rival them in the extent and organisation of their commerce; their sailors were regarded as the best, and their laws relating to navigation were thought models worthy of being adopted by the Romans.
The form of government of the Rhodians was indeed founded upon a popular basis, but their democracy was tempered by an admixture of oligarchy. Such at least we find it during the Macedonian period, at a time when the ancient Doric institutions had given way to a form of government more suited to the actual circumstances. (Strab. xii. p.575
, xiv. p. 652; Cic. de Re Publ. 1.31
; Dion Chrys. Orat.
xxxi.; Aristid. Orat.
xliv. p. 831.)
The sovereign power belonged to the assembly of the people, which had the final decision of everything; but nothing was brought before it which had not previously been discussed by the senate or βουλή.
; Cic. de Re Publ. 3.35
) The executive was in the hands of two magistrates called πρυτάνεις,
each of whom governed for six months in the year as eponymus. Next to these, the admirals (ναύαρχοι
) possessed the most extensive power. Other officers are mentioned in inscriptions, but their character and functions are often very uncertain. The Rhodian constitution had its safest foundation in the character and habits of the people, who, although the vicinity of Asia had a considerable influence and created a love of splendour and luxury, yet preserved many of their ancient Doric peculiarities, such as earnestness, perseverance, valour, and patriotism, combined with an [p. 2.715]
active zeal for literature, philosophy, and art.
The intellectual activity maintained itself in Rhodes long after it had died away in most other parts of Greece.
The island of Rhodes, which appears even in the earliest traditions as extremely wealthy (Hom. Il. 2.670
; Pind. O. 7.49
; Philostr. Imag.
2.27), is in many parts indeed rough and rocky, especially the coast near the city of Rhodes, and the district about Lindus, but on the whole it was extremely fertile: its wine, dried raisins and figs, were much esteemed, and its saffron, oil, marble, achate, sponges, and fish, are often spoken of.
The most important productions of Rhodian industry were ships, arms, and military engines. Besides the places already mentioned, the ancients notice Ixia and Mnasyrium, two forts in the south, and a place called Achaia.
By far the most important place was the city of Rhodus at the north-eastern extremity of the island.
It was built in B.C. 408 upon a regular plan formed by the architect Hippodamus, the same who built the walls of Peiraeeus. (Strab. xiv. p.654
; Diod. 19.45
; Harpocrat. s.v. Ἱπποδάμεια.
) It was constructed in the form of an amphitheatre rising from the coast, and was protected by strong walls and towers, while nature provided it with two excellent harbours.
The acropolis rose at the southwestern extremity, and on the slope of it was the theatre.
According to Strabo, Rhodus surpassed all other cities for the beauty and convenience‘ of its ports, streets, walls, and public edifices, all of which were adorned with a profusion of works of art both in painting and sculpture.
The principal statues were in the temple of Dionysus and the gymnasium; but the most extraordinary statue, which is described as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was the brazen statue of Helios, commonly called the Colossus of Rhodes.
It was the work of Chares of Lindus, who employed upon its execution twelve years.
It cost 300 talents, and was 70 cubits in height: its gigantic size may be inferred from the fact that few men were able to encompass one of its thumbs with their arms. (Plin. Nat. 34.18
; Strab. l.c.
) The Colossus stood at the entrance of one of the ports, but the statement that it stood astride over the entrance, and that the largest ships could sail between its legs, is in all probability a mere fable.
It was overthrown by an earthquake, 56 years after its erection, that is, in B.C. 224, or according to others a few years later. Ptolemy promised the Rhodians, among other things, 3000 talents for its restoration (Plb. 5.89
), but it is said not to have been attempted in consequence of an oracle (Strab. l.c.
). Later authorities, however, speak of it as standing erect: the emperor Commodus is said to have ordered his own bust to be put upon it; and Cedrenus relates that a king of the Saracens sold the fragments to a merchant who employed upwards of 900 camels to carry them away. Notwithstanding the great splendour of the city, the number of its inhabitants does not appear to have been very great, for during the siege of Demetrius Poliorcetes no more than 6000 citizens capable of bearing arms are mentioned. (Diod. 20.84
.) But Rhodus has nevertheless produced many men of eminence in philosophy and literature, such as Panaetius, Stratocles, Andronicus, Eudemus, Hieronymus, Peisander, Simmias, and Aristides; while Poseidonius, Dionysius Thrax, and Apollonius, surnamed the Rhodian, resided in the island for a considerable tine.
The present town of Rhodes contains very few remains of the ancient Greek city. (Comp. P. D. Paulsen, Descriptio Rhodi Maced. Aetate,
Göttingen, 1818 ; I. Rest, Rhodus, ein Hist. Arch. Fragment,
Altona, 1823; Th. Menge, Vorgeschichte von Rhodus,
Cöln, 1827; Rottier, Descript. des Monuments de Rhodes,
Bruxelles, 1828; Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln,
iii. pp. 70--113, which contains a good account of the middle-age history and the present condition of the island and city with maps and plans; Sestini, Mon. Vet.
|COIN OF RHODUS.|