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The biggest island of the Dodecanese, in both size and population, is Rhodos. According to the Myth about its creation, it emerged from the sea in order to be given to the god Helios (Sun) as a present. So, Helios became its protector god, who blessed it to have the eternal grace of his golden rays and gave it, as a symbol, his sacred flower – the Rose.
Rhodos is believed to have been first inhabited during prehistory, by a so-called “pre-hellenic” tribe, the mythical Telchines and later by the Mycenaeans and Achaeans. Finally, in about the 9th c. B.C., the Dorians dominated the island, and founded three prosperous city-states: Ialyssos, Lindos and Camiros, giving Rhodes its characteristic dorian style, it preserved throughout the ancient era.
In 408 B.C., the three city-states decided to unify, thus settling a new capital, Rhodos City, under the leadership of Dorieus, a politician and Olympic winner, son of the famous Diagoras. Since then, the history of the new City has been the history of the whole island as well.
Although Rhodos, due to its strategic geographical position, had always been remarkably prosperous, especially through the development of its commercial flee and the settling of numerous colonies all over the Mediterranean, it was only after withstanding the siege by Demetrios ‘Poliorketes’, that it was recognized as a powerful democratic state among the Greek monarchies. The money raised by selling the turrets and machines Demetrios abandoned, was used to fund the construction of the Colossus of Rhodos, one of the ‘Seven Wonders’ of the Greek antiquity.
The City developed into a major naval power as well as the main commercial and banking centre of Eastern Mediterranean. Letters and Arts flourished. But Rome’s rising and the new order, brought by the famous ‘Pax Romana’, would not allow the existence of any other centre of power within the Empire. So, in 42 B.C.