Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (Ancient Greek: ὁ Τάφος τοῦ Μαυσσώλου, τὸ Μαυσσώλειον Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, τὸ Μαυσ (σ) ωλ (λ) εῖον τοῦ Ἁλικαρνασσοῦ, ho Táphos tou Maussôllou, TO Maussôleíon Halikarnasseús, To Mausoleion Tou Halikarnassoû = "the tomb of the Maussollos", Latin: "sepulcrum Mausoli Halicarnasense", "Mausoleum Halicarnasense") was the tomb, the mausoleum of Maussollos, the satrap (governor) of Caria from 377 to 353 BC. It is generally counted among the seven classical wonders of the world. The word "mausoleum" for tomb is derived from the name Maussollos.

Maussollos moved his residence to the city of Halicarnassus (nowadays Bodrum in Turkey). There the mausoleum became after his death in 353 BC. built by architects Pytheos and Satyros on behalf of Maussollos' widow, his sister satrap Artemisia II. The mausoleum contained the urn with the ashes of Mausollos and the tomb with the corpse of his wife-sister Artemisia.

The building had a rectangular shape. At the top of the structure stood a chariot drawn by horses that seemed to be taking off. The satrap Maussollos and his wife were depicted in the car. Four of the greatest sculptors of this period were involved in the sculpture: Skopas, Bryaxis, Leochares and Timotheos. The attribution of the remaining sculpture, which is in the British Museum in London, is uncertain and controversial.

It is known that the monument still existed at the time of Columbus' discovery of the New World. Not much later than the 15th century, the structure was destroyed by an earthquake. In 1522, the Johannieters used material from it to fortify the Peter Castle. The foundations can still be seen in Bodrum.

Conquest

In 623 a. C., Halicarnassus was the capital of a small kingdom on the coast of Asia Minor. In 377 a. C. the ruler of the region, Hecatomno de Milasa, died and left control of the kingdom to his son, Mausolo. Hecatomus, a satrap under the Persians, took control of some of the neighboring cities and districts. After Artemisia and Mausolo, he had other children: Ada, Hidrieo and Pixodaro. Mausolo extended its territory to the southwest coast of Anatolia. Artemisia and Mausolo ruled Halicarnassus and the surrounding territory for twenty-four years. Although Mausolo descended from natives there, he spoke Greek and admired the Greek lifestyle and government. He founded many cities of Greek design along the entire coast and encouraged Greek democratic traditions.

The mausoleum endured the invasions and destruction of the city by Alexander the Great, the barbarians and the Arabs, but, finally, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1404.

In 1522 the Knights of San Juan used the remains for the repair of the castle of San Pedro de Halicarnaso. At that time a series of tunnels were found, under construction that led to the sarcophagi of the late kings. The tomb was sacked by thieves and today there are no remains of it.

Parts of the sculptural group located in the highest part (a group with a four-horse carriage) and some frieze were saved, and today they can be admired in the British Museum in London.

Halicarnassus was the capital of a satrapy on the coast of Anatolia. That year the monarch, Hecatome of Milasa, died leaving his domain to his son, Mausolus. Hecatomno, a local Persian satrap, took control of several of the surrounding towns and districts. After having Mausolo and Artemisia, he had several other sons and daughters: Ada (Alexander's adopted mother), Idrieu and Pixodaro. Mausolus stretched his territory to the southwest coast of Anatolia, and with Artemisia - it was customary at Caria satraps to marry his sisters, preserving their power and wealth family - ruled the territory around Halicarnassus for 24 years. Mausolus, though descended from the local people, spoke Greek and admired the Greek way of life and government: he founded many Greek-designed cities on the coast and encouraged Greek democratic traditions.

Construction

According to tradition (Strabon, Pausanias), it was his sister and widow, Artémise II, who decided to build an exceptional monument in his honor. Nevertheless, as it reigned only two years after him, it is probable that the monument was begun during the very life of Mausolus. It was completed in 350 BC. AD, one year after the death of Artemis II. We do not know by whom it was finished, perhaps by the brother of Mausolus, perhaps by Alexander the Great, perhaps even it was never completed.

The building was designed by Satyros de Priene and Pythéos de Priene. The greatest contemporary artists were required for the construction of the Mausoleum: according to Vitruvius, Praxiteles would have participated, alongside Leochares, Bryaxis and Scopas, but this statement is doubtful. The name of Timotheos was further advanced as being that of the fourth sculptor.

He remained in good condition until the xii century and lack of maintenance, it fell into disrepair. In the High Middle Ages, it served as a quarry to build the houses around, then the ruins fell into oblivion. At the end of the Middle Ages, there remained the lower base, in poor condition, as well as the foundations of the building. In the xv century, the Hospitallers used it as a career to build the castle Saint-Pierre on the ancient acropolis of Halicarnassus, and to repair the city walls.

Artemisia decided not to skimp on building the tomb. He sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of the time, including Escopas, who had overseen the rebuilding of the temple of Artemis in Ephesus. Other famous sculptors such as Briaxis, Leocares and Timothy joined him, as well as hundreds of other artisans.

The tomb was erected on a hill with a panoramic view of the city. The structure was in an enclosed courtyard, at the center of which was a platform with the tomb. A staircase, flanked by statues of stone lions, led to the top of the platform. Along its outer wall were many statues depicting gods and goddesses. In every corner, riding stone warriors guarded the tomb. In the center of the platform was the tomb itself. Made mostly of marble, it was a square block one-third the height of the mausoleum's 45 meters. This section was covered with relief sculptures displaying action scenes from Greek mythology and history. One part featured the Centauromachy, battlefrom the centaurs with the Lapitas, another Greeks fighting the Amazons, a race of warrior women.

At the top of this section of the tomb, thirty-six slender columns, nine per side, rose another third of the height. Standing between each column was another statue. Behind the columns was a sturdy object that carried the weight of the massive roof of the tomb. The roof, which encompassed more than the final third of the height, was a pyramid. Standing at the top was a chariot: four massive horses pulling a chariot in which images of Mausolo and Artemisia roam.

Halicarnassus

Mausolo decided to build a new capital, as difficult to capture as magnificent to behold. He chose the city of Halicarnassus: if ships blocked a small channel, they could keep all enemy ships at bay. It suited her to a warrior prince: her workers deepened the city's harbor and used the dredged sand to make protective weapons in front of the canal. On land, they set up squares, streets and houses for ordinary citizens, and on one side of the harbor built a massive fortified palace, overlooking the sea and the hills - places from which enemies would attack.

On land, they also built walls and towers guard a theater in Greek style, and a temple to Ares - the god Greek War.

Mausolo and Artemisia spent a gigantic sum of taxes to beautify the city. Bought statues, temples and buildings of marble sparkling. In the center of town Mausolo set out a plan to establish a resting place for his body after his death. She would be a tomb that would forever show how rich he and his queen were.

Death and memorial

In 353 BC Mausolus died, leaving Artemisia heartbroken. As a tribute to him, she decided to build him the most splendid tomb in the world then known. It has become such a famous structure that the name of Mausolus is today associated with all the sumptuous tombs through our modern term mausoleum. The building was also so beautiful and unique that it became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

After the tomb was built, Artemisia found herself in a crisis. Rhodes, an island in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Anatolia, had been conquered by Mausolo. When the Rhodians heard about his death they rebelled and sent a fleet of ships to capture the city of Halicarnassus. Knowing that the Rhodian fleet was on its way, Artemisia hid her own ships in a secret location at the eastern end of the city's harbor. After the troops of the Rhodian fleet landed to attack, Artemisia's fleet captured the Rhodian fleet and brought it out to sea. Artemisia placed her own soldiers on the invading ships and rowed them back to Rhodes. Thinking that your ownvictorious navy returned, Rhodes did not defend itself and was easily captured, stifling the rebellion.

Artemisia lived two years after the death of her husband. The urns with their ashes were placed in the still unfinished tomb. As a sacrifice, a large number of dead animals were placed on the stairs leading to the tomb, which was sealed with stones and debris. According to historian Pliny, artisans decided to stop work after the death of their client "considering that it was both a memorial of his own fame and the sculptor's art".

Middle Ages

The mausoleum had a panoramic view of the city of Halicarnassus for several centuries. It was intact when the city fell under Alexander in 334 BC and not yet damaged after pirate attacks in 62 and 58 BC. It remained above the ruins of the city for some 16 centuries. Then a series of earthquakes destroyed the columns and toppled the stone chariot. In 1404 only the natural base of the mausoleum was still recognizable. In the fifteenth century, the hospitaliers invaded the region and built a massive castle. When they decided to fortify it in 1494, they used the stones of the mausoleum. In 1522 rumors of a Turkish invasion caused the Crusaders reinforced the castle at Halicarnassus (then called Bodrum) and much of the rest of the tomb was dismantled and used on the castle walls. There is still polished marble from the tomb there.

At the time, a group of knights entered the base of the monument and discovered the room containing a large coffin. Deciding it was too late to open it, he returned the next morning finding the tomb and any treasure it might contain stolen. The bodies of Mausolo and Artemisia were lost as well. The knights said Muslim villagers would be the thieves, but it is equally likely that some of the crusaders themselves were. On the walls of the small museum built near the site of the mausoleum is a different description: archaeological research from the 1960s shows that before the knights arrived tomb robbers dug a tunnel under the chamber from the grave, stealing its contents. Moreover, it is more likely that Mausolus and Artemisia were cremated thus, only one urn with its ashes was placed in the tomb chamber.

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