To show off the financial power of Rhodes. It is one of the wonders of the ancient world, even though the statue only lasted for 50 years before collapsing due to an earthquake. It is like the statue of liberty (though the colossus was much bigger.) It represents positive things about the roman empire, like freedom to the S.P.Q.R. (Senate and the people of rome.) It could symbolize courage in battle, and was an imposing image to anyone entering the bay or rhodes. It might have scared off enemies of the state. There were many different things the statue could have stood for.