Mausoleum At Halicarnassus – History, And Facts


Mausoleum At Halicarnassus - History, And Facts

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus came into existence between 353 and 350 B.C. The Mausoleum was built for Mausolus and his sister-wife Artemisia II of Caria. Though this structure is one of the wonders of the ancient world, only parts of it remain. Successive earthquakes led to its destruction, Moreover, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is the only surviving wonder of the ancient world.

Why Was The Mausoleum A Wonder Of The Ancient World?

The specialty of the mausoleum was its aesthetic structure. The four sides of the mausoleum were ornamented with sculptural reliefs. Four Greek sculptors named Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas, and Timotheus were the masterminds of these reliefs. Antipater of Sidon, mesmerized by its aesthetic beauty, declared it as one of the wonders of the world.

The History Behind The Construction Of The Mausoleum

It is very much evident that Mausolus had planned this tomb way ahead of his death. Even Artemisia left no stone unturned to complete the construction well after Mausolus’ death. She spared no expense in the construction of the mausoleum. Hundreds of craftsmen put in all their efforts to complete this mesmerizing beauty.

A hill that overlooked the city was the home of the mausoleum. The tomb sat on a platform enclosed in a courtyard. The walls of this platform bore statues and carvings of various gods and goddesses. The quadriga on the roof bore images of four horses pulling a chariot. The mausoleum was nothing but a feat of the Greek artistry.

Mausoleum At Halicarnassus - History, And Facts
Mausoleum At Halicarnassus – History, And Facts

A Look Inside The Mausoleum At Halicarnassus

The mausoleum was an eclectic mix of Egyptian, Greek, and Eastern cultures. A rectangular podium made of Anatolian and Pentelic marble was its key feature. The pyramidal roof bearing the statue of Mausolus enhanced its beauty.

Modern excavations have revealed various details about the dimension of the mausoleum. The podium or base measured about 38 x 32 meters. 36 Ionic columns and a 24 stepped pyramid also remain in the structure. Archaeologists have declared that the overall dimension of the structure was about 38 x 26 meters. Archaeologists have also stated that a 2-meter wall once surrounded the whole structure.

Excavations have also unearthed a fragment of a chariot wheel, most likely from the roof statue. This suggests that the wheel could have been 2 meters in diameter. Excavations have revealed several sacrificial remains of oxen, sheep, and lamb near the podium. This suggests that the building acted as a hero-cult. Alternatively, it could also denote a gift for the ruler’s journey to his next life.

Mausoleum At Halicarnassus - History, And Facts
Mausoleum At Halicarnassus – History, And Facts

The End And ruins Of The Mausoleum

The exact cause and circumstance of this audacious building coming to an end are unknown. In the 12th century, while writing his commentary on the Iliad, Eustathius commented that ‘it was a wonder.’ This led Fergusson to conclude that earthquakes were the cause of its end. The knights used many stones from the ruins to build their castle at Bodrum. Many bas-reliefs, used for decoration purposes, were also discovered. The site of the mausoleum today is only an earth pit with a few stones lying around. If in its previous glory, it would have been the greatest pyramid after the Pyramid of Giza.

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