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Rhodes is a major island off the southwestern coast of Asia Minor (Turkey), approximately 46 miles / 75 kilometers long and 18 miles / 29 kilometers wide. Populated by Dorians (an early-history Greek people) before 1000 BC, the island's location made it a major point on the ancient trade route through The Mediterranean Sea and The Aegean Sea. Its importance continued for many centuries, with both the Greeks (see Ancient Empires - Greece) and Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome) capitalizing on its strategic location. Rhodes was famous for the "Colossus of Rhodes," one of the "Seven Wonders" of the ancient world - a 100 foot brass statue of the pagan sun god "Helios" which stood at the harbor entrance. Constructed about 290 BC, the idol was toppled by an earthquake about 225 BC.

The Aegean Sea

In the time of the New Testament, the apostle Paul visited Rhodes during at least 2 of his missionary journeys (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey):

"And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail. When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo. And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. And when our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey; and they all, with wives and children, brought us on our way till we were outside the city; and kneeling down on the beach we prayed and bade one another farewell. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home."

"When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais; and we greeted the brethren and stayed with them for one day. On the morrow we departed and came to Caesarea; and we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him." (Acts 21:1-8 RSV)

Fact Finder: What small island northwest of Rhodes was the place where the Book of Revelation was written?
See The Island Of Patmos

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