Many poets, scholars and artists were born in Rhodes. It is, in fact, one of the seven cities that claim Homer’s origin. The greatest intellectual figure that emerged from this island was the tyrant of Lindos, Cleobulus, who was considered one of the seven sages of antiquity.
Ancient Rhodians had a passion for sculpture. If we consider that in 42 AD Cassius alone stole 3,000 statues and smuggled them to Rome, we would assume that on the island there were more statues than people!
The most renowned Rhodian sculptor was Chares of Lindos, who was the constructor of the Colossus. Remarkable works, such as the statue of Venus, the head of the god Helios, etc. have been kept in their hometown and are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.
Pottery was also popular in ancient times. The most famous pot of that time is the “Plate of Euphorbus”, which represents the duel between Hector and Menelaus and is now kept in the British Museum. The tradition was carried on during the Middle Ages and the artists drew many elements from Persian pottery. It has survived to this day, with the characteristic Rhodian plates that decorate the walls of traditional houses.
THE LAOCOÖN GROUP
The “Laocoön Group” is a sculpture that had a decisive influence on European art after the Renaissance. It is a work from the 2nd century BC, made by the Rhodian sculptors Polydorus, Athenodorus and Agesander. It is currently kept in the Vatican Museum. Laocoön was the Trojan priest that tried to convince his fellow countrymen not to bring Odysseus’ Trojan Horse inside Troy. The god Apollo, who was on the Greeks’ side, sent poisonous serpents to kill Laocoön and his two sons.