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The fifth wonder of the world, The Mausoleum at
Halicarnassus was located on the Aegean Sea in the city of Bodrum. It was
140 feet tall and contained magnificent statues of various animals and people.
Some of these are still available to see in a museum. Many of
the wonders fit into some architectural or artistic. The word mausoleum comes
from King Mausolus, the Persian king of Caria, for whom the temple was built.
He elected the architect Pythius
to design it and hired four sculptors to embellish it: Scopas,
Bryaxis, Leochares and Timotheus.
The work began in 355 B.C.
In 377 B.C. the city of Halicarnassus was the capital
of a small kingdom along the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor. It was in that
year that the ruler of this land, Hecatomnus of Mylasa, died and left control of
the kingdom to his son, Mausolus.
Then in 353 B.C. Mausolus died, leaving his queen Artemisia. As a tribute to
him, she decided to build him the most splendid tomb in the known world.
It became a structure so famous and was also so beautiful and
unique that it became one of
the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world.
The tomb was
erected on a hill overlooking the city.
The Tomb of Mausolus, Mausoleum of Mausolus or
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at
Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian
Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, his wife and sister. The structure was
designed by the Greek architects Satyrus and Pythius. It stood approximately 45
metres (135 ft) in height, and each of the four sides was adorned with
sculptural reliefs created by each one of four Greek sculptors — Leochares,
Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus. The finished structure was considered to
be such an aesthetic triumph that Antipater of Sidon identified it as one of his
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Death and memorial of Mausolus and Artemisia
In 353 BC Mausolus died, leaving Artemisia
broken-hearted. It was the custom in Caria for rulers to be siblings; such
incestuous marriages kept the power and the wealth in the family. As a tribute
to him, she decided to build him the most splendid tomb, a structure so famous
that Mausolus's name is now the eponym for all stately tombs, in the word
mausoleum. The construction was also so beautiful and unique it became one of
the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Artemisia lived for only two years after
the death of her husband. The urns with their ashes were placed in the yet
unfinished tomb. As a form of sacrifice ritual the bodies of a large number of
dead animals were placed on the stairs leading to the tomb, then the stairs were
filled with stones and rubble, sealing the access. According to the historian
Pliny the Elder, the craftsmen decided to stay and finish the work after the
death of their patron "considering that it was at once a memorial of his own
fame and of the sculptor's art."
The construction of the Mausoleum
Artemisia spared no expense in building the tomb. She
sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of the time. These
included Scopas, the man who had supervised the rebuilding of the temple of
Artemis at Ephesus. The famous sculptors were (in the Vitruvius order) Leochares,
Bryaxis, Scopas and Timotheus, as well as hundreds of other craftsmen. The tomb
was erected on a hill overlooking the city. The whole structure sat in an
enclosed courtyard. At the center of the courtyard was a stone platform on which
the tomb sat. A stairway flanked by stone lions led to the top of the platform,
which bore along its outer walls many statues of gods and goddess. At each
corner, stone warriors mounted on horseback guarded the tomb. At the center of
the platform, the marble tomb rose as a square tapering block to one-third of
the Mausoleum's 45-meter (135 ft) height. This section was covered with
bas-reliefs showing action scenes, including the battle of the centaurs with the
lapiths and Greeks in combat with the Amazons, a race of warrior women. On the
top of this section of the tomb thirty-six slim columns, nine per side, rose for
another third of the height. Standing between each column was a statue. Behind
the columns was a solid cella-like block that carried the weight of the tomb's
massive roof. The roof, which comprised most of the final third of the height,
was pyramidal. Perched on the top was a quadriga: four massive horses pulling a
chariot in which rode images of Mausolus and Artemisia.
2400 years ago, King Mausolos who had just moved his
kingdom's capital of Caria from Mylasa to Halicarnassus (today Bodrum), decided
to build himself a monumental tomb. The project was conceived by his wife and
sister Artemisia, and the construction might have started during the king's
lifetime. The Mausoleum was completed around 350 BC, three years after Mausolos’
death, and one year after Artemisia's. It was not only one of the wonders of the
ancient world we know from
The Mausoleum was different - so different from the
Pyramid that it earned its reputation - and a spot within the list - for other
reasons. Geographically, it is closer to the Temple of Artemis. And it was the
beauty of the tomb rather than its size that fascinated its visitors for
And the beauty of the Mausoleum was not only in the structure
itself, but in the decorations and statues that adorned the outside at different
levels on the podium and the roof. These were tens of life-size as well
as under and over life-size free-standing statues of people, lions, horses, and
Vitruvius records that the architect responsible for
the Mausoleum was Pytheos, the designer of the Athena temple at Priene and that
the reliefs which the memorial was embellished were the works of the greatest
sculptors of the time such as: Bryaxis, Leochares, Scopas, and Timotheus, each
was responsible for one side of the mausoleum. The Mausoleum also holds a
special place in history as it was not dedicated to the gods of Ancient Greece.
The last written document of a visitor is the one of
Bishop Eustathius, he observes in his commentary on Homer, in the twelfth
century, that the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is a marvel. For 16 centuries, the
Mausoleum remained in good condition until it tumbled in a heavy earthquake in