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Mausoleum of Halicarnassus


Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Mausoleum of Halicarnassus


7 Wonders of the Ancient World > Mausoleum

One of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a giant burial structure in Halicarnassus (now Bodrum) for Mausolus, Persian client-ruler of Caria [see area Cd on Map of Asia Minor]. The mausoleum was built by Mausolus' sister-wife Artemisia*. It was a wonder because of its beauty rather than its size, partly accounted for by its renowned sculptors (Scopas, Timoltheus, Leochares, and Bryaxis).

It is unclear whether Mausolus started the monument before he died (353 B.C.) when he was implementing his building plans for Halicarnassus (357 B.C.)**, but it was completed afterwards and is regarded as a tribute by Artemisia to her husband. Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79) describes the structure as an oblong with 36 (Ionic) columns and a pyramid on top with a perimeter of about 440 feet. The sepulchral monument was built and adorned by the greatest architects and sculptors of the time with statues, marble lions, and a frieze. Between 1857 and 1859, the British Museum acquired sculptures from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, excavated by Charles Newton 1856-1859.

An earthquake caused the collapse of the mausoleum in A.D 1304.

* ["Ancient Greek Women and Art: The Material Evidence," by Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway. American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 91, No. 3. (Jul., 1987), pp. 399-409]

** ["The Maussolleion Sacrifice," by Flemming Ho̵jlund. American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 87, No. 2. (Apr., 1983), pp. 145-152.]

Google Earth Map of the Mausoleum

Also Known As: Mausoleum at Halikarnassos
After the building of the funeral monument for Artemisia's husband Mausolus, the word mausoleum came to be used for other large funeral structures.

For a beautiful photograph of the ruins, see Wonder of the Ancient World, from the About.com Guide to Honeymoons.

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