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Colossus of Rhodes as metaphor

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 @ 2:50 pm
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colossus_bw1.jpgThe theme of living between two cultures, both internally and externally, is very central to my personal and research process. It is as if having ‘one foot here and one foor there’…and I guess what is important is to be able to stand in a stable, grounded way.

When talking to Christa the other day about it, she told me that I remind her of the statue of the Colossus of Rhodes. This came up as a symbol with the ‘cards’ we were playing with on friday night as well. The Colossus, represented the God Helios and it is a vivid metaphor to reflect upon, since I am also having my feet in two lands (Greek-English). I do not like the polarity or duality of the whole thing as my aim is to reach a point of synthesis and integration. However, I can reflect on the symbols and allow them to guide me through.

The dedicatory inscription of the Colossus is as follows:

“To you, O Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom.”

colossus_new.jpgAlthough it is considered as one of the sever wonders of the world, the statue was destroyed during an earthquake in 226BC. The city was badly damaged, and the Colossus was broken at its weakest point — the knee. The Rhodians received an immediate offer from Ptolemy III Eurgetes of Egypt to cover all restoration costs for the toppled monument. However, an oracle was consulted and forbade the re-erection. Ptolemy’s offer was declined.

For almost a millennium, the statue lay broken in ruins. In AD 654, the Arabs invaded Rhodes. They disassembled the remains of the broken Colossus and sold them to a Jew from Syria. It is said that the fragments had to be transported to Syria on the backs of 900 camels.

Although we cannot be entirely sure about the shape of the statue, modern reconstructions of painting show the Colossus standing on both feet together….this is kind of hopeful….i might actually manage to find a way of actually feeling ‘at-home’ in one place or in any place after all!!! May the Gods help me…

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