|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES
 WHEN Perdiccas died, Antigonus ("the one-eyed") was
named his successor, and became governor of all the
Eastern province. He no sooner heard that Cassander
had murdered Alexander's family, than he marched
westward, intending to avenge the crime.
On his way, Antigonus passed through Syria, the land
governed by Seleucus, and asked that ruler how he had
spent the money of the kingdom. Seleucus, who had a
bad conscience, instead of answering, ran away to
Egypt, where he became a friend of Ptolemy.
Then, fearing that they would not be able to fight
against Antigonus successfully, these two generals
persuaded Cassander, ruler of Macedon, and
Lysimachus, ruler of Thrace, to join them.
For several years the war was kept up between the four
allies on one side, and Antigonus and his son
Demetrius on the other. The field of battle was
principally in Asia Minor. The fighting continued
until the generals became weary of warfare, and
concluded to make peace.
A treaty was then signed, settling the claims of all
parties, and providing that all the Greek cities should
have their freedom. This done, each went back to his
own province; but it soon became evident that the peace
would not last, for Cassander did not keep his promise
to make the Greek states free.
When Cassander's wrongdoing became known, the generals
called upon Demetrius to bring him to terms. The
 Athenians were so pleased when they heard of this, that
they received Demetrius with great joy.
Demetrius was such a good general that he soon managed
to defeat Cassander at Thermopylæ; and when he came
back to Athens in triumph, the happy people gave him
the title of "The Preserver," called a month by his
name, lodged him in the Parthenon, and worshiped him as
a god. Some time after this, Demetrius conquered
Ptolemy, who had shown that he would not abide by the
treaty either. This victory was so great, that
Demetrius' soldiers said he deserved a reward, and
named him King of Syria.
When the other generals heard that Demetrius and his
father had accepted the title of kings, they too put on
royal crowns. Then, as each was still jealous of the
rest, and wished to obtain more land for himself, war
soon broke out among them once more.
Demetrius, who had been very lucky in all his wars, now
planned to take the Island of Rhodes from Ptolemy, King
of Egypt. It proved, however, a far more difficult
thing than he had expected, and after besieging the
principal city for a whole year, he gave up the
But he had invented so many machines to try to subdue
the city of Rhodes, that every one thought he deserved
much credit, and they therefore gave him the title of
Poliorcetes ("the city taker").
Peace was agreed upon, and Demetrius retreated, giving
up to the Rhodians all the mighty war engines he had
brought with him. These were sold for three hundred
talents (something over three hundred thousand
 dollars), and the money thus obtained was used in
erecting a colossal statue in honor of Apollo (or
Helios), the patron god of the island.
This marvelous brazen statue, which was so fine that it
was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world,
represented the sun god, with his head surrounded by
rays, and with his feet resting one on each side of the
entrance of the port.
We are told that the Colossus of Rhodes, as this
statue was generally called, was so tall that ships
under full sail easily passed under its spreading legs
in and out of the harbor.
It stood there for about sixty years, when it was
overthrown by an earthquake. After lying in ruins for
a long time, the brass was sold as old metal. It was
carried off on the backs of camels, and we are told
that nine hundred of these animals were required for
Thus vanished one of the much talked of wonders of the
ancient world. The others were Diana's Temple at
Ephesus, the Tomb of Mausolus (which was so fine that
any handsome tomb is sometimes called a mausoleum), the
Pharos or Lighthouse of Alexandria or Messina, the
Walls and Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Labyrinth of
Crete, and the Pyramids of Egypt. To these is often
added the Parthenon at Athens, which, as you have seen,
was decorated by the carvings of Phidias.
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