Rhodes (modern Greek: Ródhos), a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, 12 miles (19 km) off the coast of Asiatic Turkey. About 45 miles (72 km) long and 20 miles (32 km) wide, it is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands. The area is 545 square miles (1,412 km2). The highest point, located in the mountainous interior, is Mount Attáviros, 3,986 feet (1,215 m).
In the coastal areas barley, tobacco, cotton, figs, olives, and grapes are grown. At the island's northeast end is the city of Rhodes, capital of the Dodecanese Islands. Here the chief occupations are food processing and shipping. Many tourists visit the island to study the remains of early civilizations and view the colorful scenery, especially the roses from which Rhodes took its name.
Rhodes was colonized about 1000 B.C. by Dorian Greeks, who established three citystates here. After the cities formed a federation in 407 B.C. and founded the city of Rhodes as capital, the island grew in wealth, power, and culture. Among the works of art produced here were the Colossus and the group. As the Roman Empire grew, Rhodes declined in commercial importance, but the island's cultural reputation persisted through the early Christian Era. A school of rhetoric, at which Julius Caesar studied, was here.
Rhodes was part of the Byzantine Empire for most of the Middle Ages. It was seized in 1309 by the Knights Hospitalers of St. John, whose buildings still stand. It later became a center for piracy. Rhodes passed to the Ottoman Empire in 1522, to Italy in 1912, and to Greece in 1947.
Population: the city, about 40,000; the island, about 70,000.