An island off the SW corner of Turkey and one of the largest in the Aegean Sea, measuring some forty-five miles long by twenty miles wide (72 by 32 kilometers). Its capital city also is called Rhodes. A ship on which Paul was traveling came from Cos to Rhodes near the close of the apostle’s third missionary journey in the spring of 56 C.E.—Acts 21:1.
Rhodes, because of its strategic location and good harbors, was prominent as a trading center early in its history. However, it appears that in time the city of Rhodes itself became more noted as a cultural center.
The Colossus of Rhodes, a bronze statue of the sun-god Helios, stood near the harbor of the city of Rhodes. Considered one of the “seven wonders of the ancient world,” it is said to have been some seventy cubits (c. 102 feet [31 meters]) high. Though it was not standing in Paul’s day, having been toppled by an earthquake in the third century B.C.E., enormous fragments of the Colossus did exist well into the Common Era. The idea that the statue straddled the entrance to the harbor with ships sailing between its legs cannot be verified.