When Alexander died in 323 B.C.E., the massive Macedonian empire collapsed as generals fought to seize the land. Rhodes had to pick a side. They chose to support Ptolemy, a friend of Alexander’s who controlled Egypt. Another general’s son named Demetrius set out to Rhodes to punish them for supporting Ptolemy. Ptolemy eventually came to rescue Rhodes and Demetrius was forced to flee, after an ambitious attempt to take Rhodes. Demetrius had abandoned a lot of siege equipment, which the Rhodians sold for 300 talents, which are worth 150 million US dollars.
So Rhodes had all this money, and with this money Rhodes decided to do something memorable. To leave a mark in the book of history, on a page made of steel. They decided to build the largest statue in the world.
After 12 years, the statue was finally was unveiled to the public. It was a bronze statue of Helios, the sun god. The statue only lasted for about 500 years, which is why we don’t know some basic information about it like where it stood or what it looked like. The most well recognized image of it however, was that the statue was the entrance to the harbor, and ships would go under the statue to get in and out of the port. This originated from the French diplomat Blaise de Vigenere in the 16th century. However studies show that the technology required of building it on the harbor was not available at the time. Rhodes also would’ve needed to close the harbor, which was indispensable to them.