Historical Outline Rhodes Island
The examination of archaeological finds has shown that Rhodes was first inhabited during the Neolithic period. Later, around 1500 BC, the Minoans settled in the Ialysos area only, While the Achaeans, Who followed them, spread out over the entire island. The Dorians, under the leadership of Tlepolemos, probably setting out from Argos, colonized Rhodes around 1100 BC and founded three large and powerful cities: Lindos, Ialysos and Kameiros. These Rhodian Dorians resembled the Dorian races of the rest of Greece only as regards the dialect they used, while their general lifestyle was very similar to that of the 10 mans. They established themselves on the island and developed it into a very important military and commercial power in the Mediterranean. Around 700 BC, the three leading cities of Rhodes, together with K05 and the cities of Halicarnassus and Cnidus, on the coast of Asia Minor, formed the powerful Dorian Hexapolis and played a leading role in the area. The height of the island’s prosperity however, is identiiied with the period during which the city of Rhodes flourished, and this can be dated between the 5th and the 3rd centuries BC. This is the golden period of its history. The island first began to develop as a great naval power, and subsequently built up a vigorous economy and commerce. This eventually led to its be
the 3rd centuries BC. This is the golden period of its history. The island first began to develop as a great naval power, and subsequently built up a vigorous economy and commerce. This eventually led to its becoming an important political, religious and cultural centre of this part of the Mediterranean, in which it played a regulating and decisive role. In 480 BC, Rhodes was forced to go to war on the side of the Persians, at the naval battle of Salamis. Two years later, it became a member of the Athenian League (478 BC). A significant event in the history of the
island was the foundation of the city of Rhodes in the northeastern corner of the island (408 BC , as a re, t of the decision of the three leading Dorian citie , Ialysos, Lindos and Kameiros, to form a single, new settlement (synoecism). The plans for the new city were made by the famous town-planner of the time, Hippodamus of Miletus.
This marked the high point of the city’s history. Her power grew and spread, she minted her mm coins which circulated widely, the first precepts of maritime law were laid down, and a great impetus was given to art, literature, the theatre and athletics. The Rhodian school of rhetoric was renowned, and counted among its students many eminent Greek and Romans of the time.
island was the foundation of the city of Rhodes in the ‘ northeastern corner of the island (408 BC), as a result of the decision of the three leading Dorian cities, Ialysos, Lindos and Kameiros, to form a single, new settlement (synoecism). The plans for the new city were made by the famous town-planner of the time, Hippodamus of Miletus.
This marked the high point of the city’s history. Her power grew and spread, she minted her own coins which circulated widely, the f1rst precepts of maritime law were laid down, and a great impetus was given to art, literature, the theatre and athletics. The Rhodian school of rhetoric was renowned, and counted among its students many eminent Greek and Romans of the time.
The military power of Rhodes and the strength of its walls was such that the famous king of Macedonia, Demetrius Poliorcetes (the Besieger), was not able to capture it. After a siege which lasted a whole year (305304 BC), he was forced to retire, leaving behind him his siege machinery. The Rhodians sold the huge machines for 300 talents, which they used for the building of the famous “Colossus of Rhodes”. This was a splendid bronze statue of Helios, 31 m. high, which they erected at the entrance to their busy harbour, and which constituted one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The statue, which was made by the sculptor Chares of Lindos and which took a full twelve years to complete, has unfortunately not survived to our day. It was destroyed in the great earthquake of 227/6 BC. After the 3rd century BC., a period of decline began for Rhodes. At first the island became an ally of Rome and later (2nd century AD) came under her authority, as did the rest of Greece. Rhodes however, retained a degree of autonomy, which allowed it to remain a naval Dower.
Christianity soon spread to the island. In 57 AD, the Apostle Paul Visited Rhodes landing at the small harbour beneath the Acropolis of Lindos, which has since taken his name the little Harbour of the Apostle Paul. lThe Apostle preached the Gospel and baptized the first Rhodian Christians.
In 395 AD, when the Roman Empire was divided, Rhodes together with the other islands of the “Provincia Insularum”, became a part of the Byzantine Empire. During the Byzantine period, the island suffered many destructive pirate raids, which left it ravaged and desolate. ‘
Around the mid-7th century, it was occupied by the Saracens, in the early 9th century it was destroyed by the Arabs under the leadership of Harun al Rashid, and in 1802 its port became a Venetian trading post. Thus, during this period it regained some of its prestige as a naval and commercial power and, although it continued to constitute a target for enemy raids, and to suffer the predatory attacks of every sort of seafarers, it managed to rally and to pull itself out of its decline. In the centuries that followed, Rhodes successively came under the Crusaders. the Genoese, the Knights of the Order of Saintjohn, finally falling into the hands of the Turks. After the Fourth Crusade (1203-1204), the Franks took Constantinople and dismembered the Byzantine Empire. As a result, all the territories belonging to the Empire, Rhodes among others,were shared out among 10cal nobles, appointed by the Crusaders. Rhodes thus became a “hegemony” (sovereign state) under Leon Gavalas. Later, the Rhodian Hegemony was abolished by the Genoese who occupied the island for a period of time.
In 1306, Rhodes was sold by the Genoese to the Knights of the Order of Saint john. The Knights settled on the island in 1309, and founded an ecclesiastical state, with Latin and French as the offlcial languages, and the Grand Master of the Order as its governor. Once again Rhodes knew a period of great prosperity. The new conquerors built up a powerful military and merchant fleet, adorned the mediaeval town with magniflcent buildings and fortified it with an impregnable wall. After 213 years of rule, the Frankish state of Rhodes was overthrown by the Turks, in 1522, and became part of the Ottoman Empire. The period of Ottoman occupation lasted for nearly four hundred years, during which the island sank into darkness and oblivion. In 1912 Rhodes came under Italian rule, together with the other islands of the Dodecanese. Thirty-six years later (March 1948), under the Treaty of Paris, all the islands were incorporated into the Greek State, and since then partake of its fortunes and its struggles.
Now, with the end of its historical vicissitudes, a new period of reconstruction and progress begins for Rhodes. Today, the island constitutes one of the most flourishing parts of Greece, prospering in a number of fields, and especially in that of the sensitive tourist industry where it holds a particularly important place.