Colossus (Gr. koλoσσδς), a statue of gigantic size. Such statues were often erected in ancient times, and many still remain in existence, especially among the ruins of Thebes in Egypt. The most celebrated colossus of ancient or modern time was that at Rhodes. This city had been besieged by Demetrius Poliorcetes, king of Macedon; but, assisted by Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt, the citizens repulsed their enemies. TO express their gratitude to their noble friends, and to their tutelary deity, they erected a brazen statue to Apollo. Chares of Lindus, the pupil of Lysippus, commenced the work; but having expended the whole amount intrusted to him before it was half completed, he committed suicide, and it was finished by Laches. The statue was 105 ft. high, and hollow, with a winding staircase that ascended to the head. After standing 56 years, it was overthrown by an earthquake in 224 B. C, and lay nine centuries on the ground, and then was sold to a Jew by the Saracens, who had captured Rhodes, after the middle of the 7th century. It is said to have required 900 camels to remove the metal, and from this statement it has been calculated that its weight was 720,000 lbs. According to Pliny, Rhodes had 100 colossi of inferior size.
The researches of Cesnola in Cyprus have discovered many colossi in that island. Phidias erected several colossi. His Minerva in the Parthenon was 39 ft. high, composed of gold and ivory. Upon the shield was sculptured the battle of the Athenians and Amazons; on the buskins the battle of the centaurs and Lapi-tha3; on the pedestal, the birth and history of Pandora. He likewise erected for the Eleans a statue of Jupiter 60 ft. high. Lysippus, in the time of Alexander the Great, constructed at Tarentum a colossal statue, 60 ft. high, which Fabius, on the capture of that city during the second Punic war, was anxious to remove to Rome, but was prevented by its weight. The earliest colossus at Rome was that of Jupiter Capitoli-nus, in bronze, erected by Spurius Carvilius after his victory over the Samnites; but colossal statues soon became common. Those particularly remarkable were that of Jupiter in bronze upon the capitol; one in bronze of Apollo, at the Palatine library; another in bronze of Augustus, in the forum Augusti; a marble statue of Nero, said to have been 120 ft. high, placed in the vestibule of the golden house, afterward supplied with a new head by Yespasian, and converted into an Apollo; and a gilt bronze statue of Domitlan as the deity of the sun, in the forum. - There are two statues which belong to recent art deserving the name of colossal.
One is the statue of San Carlo Borromeo, at Arona, near the S. extremity of Lago Maggiore, erected in 1697. It stands on a hill. Its pedestal is 40 ft. in height, and the statue itself 66 ft. The head, hands, and feet are cast in bronze; the rest of the figure is formed by laying sheets of hammered copper upon a pillar of masonry. The statue may be entered and ascended; there is sufficient room for three persons inside of the head, and for one person inside of the nose. The other is that of Bavaria, at Munich, in bronze, 61 1/2 ft. high, with a pedestal of 28 1/2 ft.; it was designed by Schwanthaler, and completed in 1850.