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Colossus near Colosseum

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Colossus from the Colosseum
Author: National Geographic magazine, September 2014

The common name Colosseum is not derived from its “colossal size”, but from a huge building nearby (gr. kolossos) a statue of Nero depicted as Helios.

The statue was supposed to be huge and was supposed to be 30 meters high – according to the message of Pliny the Elder1. It was made of bronze and showed Nero in a gesture confirming his authority over the land and the sea. The statue was made by the Greek architect Zenodorus between 64 and 68 CE.

After the death of Nero, the statue was modified to show the Sol – solar deity. Originally, she was in Nero’s “Golden House” vestibule. Later it was moved before the Coliseum.

We do not have certain information about the statue’s subsequent fate. It disappeared or was destroyed, most likely in the 5th century CE, as a result of an earthquake or one of the sieges of Rome. Today, the only remains of the statue are the concrete blocks that once formed the foundation of its marble plinth.

  1. However, Suetonius claims that the statue was 37 meters high.

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