The Hellenistic Period
- The Years of Prosperity.
This beautiful city, grate the island itself, came under the
influence, sometimes of one or other, of the two great Greek
powers, Athens and Sparta, until Macedonians intentions in
era became clear to all the peoples of the ancient Greek
world. The Rhodians lost no time in siding with the
Macedonians, and even went as far as allowing them to set up
a garrison in their city.
Later, during the siege of Tyre, they helped Alexander the
Great to conquer it.
When Alexander's empire fell to pieces, Rhodes developed
close trade and political relations with the
Ptolemy Dynasty of Egypt; something which Antigonus, the
King of Syria, did not favor because he foresaw
an inevitable alliance between Rhodes and Egypt in the war
which he intended to declare against the latter.
Thus, in the summer of 305 BC, he sent his son, the famous
Demetrius Poliorketes (the "besieger"), to capture the town
of Rhodes. Despite their attackers numerical superiority,
the Rhodians managed to resist capture for a whole year, and
to force Demetrius to raise his siege. The great general
departed from Rhodes in embarrassed haste, leaving behind
his famous siege machines. These were later sold by the
Rhodians, and from the proceeds they built an immense bronze
statue of Helios. the famed Colossus. Following the
destruction of Tyre, a serious trade rival of Rhodes, the
island reached unprecedented heights.
The failure of Demetrius to take possession of the island
marked the beginning of a new era for Rhodes, during which
trade and maritime activities reached their highest peaks,
excelling any other state. The Rhodians, wanting to show
correct maritime conduct, put into effect the so-called
"International Maritime Law of the Rhodians", a code of Law
which is one of the most important early legal documents in
the world and based on that is written the modern
International Maritime Law. Of this maritime law, Emperor
Antonius was prompted to write with admiration: "I may rule
the world, but the Rodian's Law rules the seas".