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Rhodus

Ῥόδος). Now Rhodos, Rhodes; the most easterly island of the Aegaean, or, more specifically, of the Carpathian Sea, lying off the southern coast of Caria, due south of the promontory of Cynossema (Cape Aloupo), at the distance of about twelve geographical miles. Its length, from northeast to southwest, is about forty-five miles; its greatest breadth about twenty to twenty-five. In early times it was called Aethraea and Ophiussa, and several other names. There are various mythological stories about its origin and peopling. Its Hellenic colonization is ascribed to Tlepolemus, the son of Heracles, before the Trojan War, and after that war to Althaemenes. Homer mentions the three Dorian settlements in Rhodes—namely, Lindus, Ialysus, and Camirus; and these cities, with Cos, Cnidus, and Halicarnassus, formed the Dorian Hexapolis, which was established, from a period of unknown antiquity, in the southwest corner of Asia Minor. Rhodes soon became a great maritime State, or rather confederacy, the island being parcelled out between the three cities above mentioned. The Rhodians made distant voyages and founded numerous colonies.

Coin of Rhodes.

At the beginning of the Peloponnesian War, Rhodes was one of those Dorian maritime States which were subject to Athens; but in the twentieth year of the war, B.C. 412, it joined the Spartan alliance, and the oligarchical party, which had been depressed, and their leaders, the Eratidae, expelled, recovered their former power under Dorieus. In 408 the new capital, called Rhodus, was built, and peopled from the three ancient cities of Ialysus, Lindus, and Camirus. At the Macedonian conquest the Rhodians submitted to Alexander, but upon his death expelled the Macedonian garrison. In the ensuing wars they formed an alliance with Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, and their city, Rhodes, successfully endured a most famous siege by the forces of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who at length, in admiration of the valour of the besieged, presented them with the engines he had used against the city, from the sale of which they defrayed the cost of the celebrated Colossus (q.v.). At length they came into connection with the Romans, whose alliance they joined, with Attalus, king of Pergamus, in the war against Philip III. of Macedon. In the ensuing war with Antiochus the Rhodians gave the Romans great aid with their fleet; and in the subsequent partition of the Syrian possessions of Asia Minor, they were rewarded by the supremacy of Southern Caria, where they had had settlements from an early period. A temporary interruption of their alliance with Rome was caused by their espousing the cause of Perseus, for which they were severely punished (B.C. 168); but they recovered the favour of Rome by the important naval aid they rendered in the Mithridatic War. In the Civil Wars they took part with Caesar, and suffered in consequence from Cassius (B.C. 42), but were afterwards compensated for their losses by the favour of Antonius. They were at length deprived of their independence by Claudius; and their prosperity received its final blow from an earthquake, which laid the city of Rhodes in ruins, in the reign of Antoninus Pius, A.D. 155. See Biliotti and Cottret, L'Île de Rhodes (1881); and Torr, Rhodes in Ancient Times (1885), which gives a good bibliography.

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