What’s Fact & What’s Fiction?
The world I created within the pages of Isle of Shadows is fictional in one sense – all the people and events sprang from my imagination. But in another sense it is very real. I tried to remain faithful to the setting of the island of Rhodes, and to the cultural details of dress, food, holidays, society and class, and history.
A community of Jewish people did live on Rhodes, and continued to thrive there for many centuries. Hetaera lived and worked in Hellenistic society, and a few of them did indeed rise to prominence as Tessa did in Isle of Shadows. Rhodes existed as a democracy long after other Greek city-states had given up on the notion, and strategoi competed for positions of influence.
If you’re wondering about the character of Simeon, the answer is yes, I did that intentionally. I got to thinking, What if…? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, re-read chapter 38, and then compare Luke 2:25-35. Hmmm….
And lastly, the earthquake that toppled the Colossus is a historical fact. You can read more about the statue and the earthquake below.
Please visit my Travel Journal from my days in Rhodes! You’ll get a feel for the island and see some of the places where scenes in the book were set.
History of the Statue of Helios
The Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes was built by Chares of Lindos, beginning in 290 BC. The statue reportedly took twelve years to build and was erected by creating an iron framework, filling it with stone, and then overlaying it with plates of bronze “skin.” During construction, builders moved piles of dirt to surround the statue, building up the dirt ramps as the statue grew. When the Colossus was complete, the dirt was removed and the statue towered over the harbor. It stood approximately 110 feet high. (The Statue of Liberty, at about 120 feet, was patterned after the Colossus; the New York statue’s base is much higher, however.) The Colossus remained upright for only fifty-six years, until broken at the knees by an earthquake. Though Ptolemy III of Egypt offered funds for its rebuilding, the people of Rhodes declined, believing they had offended Helios by building it. They chose to allow the god’s likeness to remain beside the sea. And there it lay for nine hundred years. Empires rose and fell around the fallen Colossus until, history tells us, a traveling Arab salesman purchased the bronze remains as scrap and had them transported to his home on the backs of nine hundred camels.