Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
tributaroy tomb is the result of the most unusual ritual of the
ruler marring his own sister.The story goes as.....In 377 B.C.,there
was a city called Halicarnassus and it was the capitol of a small
kingdom along the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor. The ruler of
this capitol was Hecatomnus of Mylasa who in tnat very year died
and left control of the kingdom to his son, Mausolus. But before
he died he had in ambition taken control of several of the neighboring
cities and districts. All that and much more territory he bequethed
to his son Mausolus on his deathbed, and in turn Mausolus extended
the territory even further so that it finally included most of southwestern
Mausolus, with his
queen Artemisia, ruled over Halicarnassus and the surrounding territory
for 24 years. Mausolus, admired the Greek way of life and philosophy
so,he founded many cities of Greek design along the coast and encouraged
Greek democratic traditions. They led an extremely happy and fulfilled
existence.Then tragedy struck and in 353 B.C. Mausolus died, leaving
his queen Artemisia, who was also his sister (It was the custom
in Caria for rulers to marry their own sisters), broken-hearted.
The queen was immensely
attached to her king and on his death was grief ridden. As a tribute
to him, she decided to build him the most splendid tomb in the known
world. It became a structure so famous that Mausolus's name is now
associated with all stately tombs through our modern word mausoleum.
The building was also so beautiful and unique it became one of the
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. So famous was this structure
that the word mausoleum came to be applied to any monumental tomb
that no expense was to be spared in the building of the tomb. She
wanted the tomb to be one of a very different kind and one that
shall be a fitting the strature of the fame of her great king.She
sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of the
time- Scopas, the man who had supervised the rebuilding of the Temple
to Artemis at Ephesus. Other famous sculptors such as Bryaxis, Leochares
and Timotheus joined him as well as hundreds of other craftsmen.
GREAT STRUCTURE OF THE TOMB:
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 itself sat. A staircase, flanked by stone lions,
led to the top of this platform. Along the outer wall of this were
many statues depicting gods and goddess. At each corner stone warriors,
mounted on horseback, guarded the tomb.
Marble was the stone
used for the tomb which was at the center of the platform .The structure
rose as a square, tapering block to about one-third of the Mausoleum's
140 foot height. This section was covered with relief sculpture
showing action scenes from Greek mythology or history.
On top of this section
of the tomb 36 slim columns, 9 per side, rose for another third
of the height. Standing in between each column was another statue.
Behind the columns was a solid block that carried the weight of
the tomb's massive roof.
The roof, which
comprised most of the final third of the height, was in the form
of a stepped pyramid. Perched on top was the tomb's penultimate
work of sculpture: Four massive horses pulling a chariot in which
images of Mausolus and Artemisia rode.
HARDSHIPS FACED BY THE QUEEN DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TOMB:
Soon after construction
of the tomb started Artemisia found herself in a crisis. Rhodes,
an island in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Asia Minor, had been
conquered by Mausolus. When the Rhodians heard of his death they
rebelled and sent a fleet of ships to capture the city of Halicarnassus.
Knowing that the Rhodian fleet was on the way, Artemisa hid her
own ships at a secret location at the east end of the city's harbor.
After troops from the Rhodian fleet disembarked to attack, Artemisia's
fleet made a surprise raid, captured the Rhodian fleet, and towed
it out to sea.
Artemisa put her
own soldiers on the invading ships and sailed them back to Rhodes.
Fooled into thinking that the returning ships were their own victorious
navy, the Rhodians failed to put up a defense and the city was easily
captured quelling the rebellion.
END OF THE QUEEN AND THE SUNSEQUENT BURIAL:
Artemisa lived for
only two years after the death of her husband. Both would be buried
in the yet unfinished tomb. The craftsmen who were commissioned
to built the grave decided to stay and finish the work after their
patron died considering that it was at once a memorial of their
own fame and of the sculptor's art.
FATE OF THIS MONUMENT OF LOVE:-ITS DEMISE!
The Mausoleum overlooked
the city of Halicarnassus for many centuries. It was untouched when
the city fell to Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. and still undamaged
after attacks by pirates in 62 and 58 B.C.. It stood above the city
ruins for some 17 centuries. Then a series of earthquakes shattered
the columns and sent the stone chariot crashing to the ground. By
1404 A.D. only the very base of the Mausoleum was still recognizable.
Crusaders, who had
occupied the city from the thirteen century onward, recycled the
broken stone into their own buildings. In 1522 rumors of a Turkish
invasion caused Crusaders to strengthen the castle at Halicarnassus
(which was by then known as Bodrum) and much of the remaining portions
of the tomb was broken up and used within the castle walls. Indeed
sections of polished marble from the tomb can still be seen there
At this time a party
of knights entered the base of the monument and discovered the room
containing a great coffin. The party, deciding it was too late to
open it that day, returned the next morning to find the tomb, and
any treasure it may have contained, plundered. The bodies of Mausolus
and Artemisia were missing too. The Knights claimed that Moslem
villagers were responsible for the theft, but it is more likely
that some of the Crusaders themselves plundered the graves.
much of the remaining sculpture of the Mausoleum into lime for plaster
the Knights removed several of the best works and mounted them in
the Bodrum castle. There they stayed for three centuries. At that
time the British ambassador obtained several of the statutes from
the castle, which now reside in the British Museum.
EXCAVATION BY CHARLES THOMAS NEWTON:
In 1846 the Museum
sent the archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton to search for
more remains of the Mausoleum. He had a difficult job. He didn't
know the exact location of the tomb and the cost of buying up all
the small parcels of land in the area to look for it would have
been astronomical. Instead Newton studied the accounts of ancient
writers like Pliny to obtain the approximate size and location of
the memorial, then bought a plot of land in the most likely location.
Digging down, Newton explored the surrounding area through tunnels
he dug under the surrounding plots. He was able to locate some walls,
a staircase, and finally three of the corners of the foundation.
With this knowledge, Newton was able to figure out which plots of
land he needed to buy.
Newton then excavated
the site and found sections of the reliefs that decorated the wall
of the building and portions of the stepped roof. Also a broken
stone chariot wheel, some seven feet in diameter, from the sculpture
on the roof was discovered. Finally, he found the statues of Mausolus
and Artemisia that had stood at the pinnacle of the building.
Today these works
of art stand in the Mausoleum Room at the British Museum. There
the images of Mausolus and his queen forever watch over the few
broken remains of the beautiful tomb she built for him. Only crumbling
fragments remain of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus on the coast
of Asia Minor,to show that It was raised to the memory of King Mausolus
of Caria by his devoted Queen, Artemisia.