The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

It is a monumental grave located in the southwest of Turkey in the city of Halicarnassus (nowadays Bodrum) where lived the king of Carie named Mausole. He was also satrap1 of the king of Persia, to whom the Carie belonged.

It is very likely that Artemis, sister and woman of the satrap of Carie began the construction of this edifice in 353 BC, three years after the death of king, to honour him. The mausoleum was ended one year after the death of this woman.

With a total height of around 43 m (141 feet), it was sustained with thirty six columns and surmounted by a pyramid decorated of one quadriga2 with marble. The funeral chamber doubtless contained the graves of Mausole and Artemis. We could also observe a valuable frieze represented a fight of the Greeks against the Amazon and the Centaurs.

This monument was partly destroyed, by an earthquake, at around fourteenth century. A short time later, the knights of Malta decided to build a fortress: they used the stones of the mausoleum and in 1522, no one remained. Nowadays, we can again observe this fortress in Bodrum.

Why is this a wonder of the ancient world ?

This mausoleum was classified as a wonder because it distances itself by its beauty and its great value. Indeed, the ornaments of the sanctuary were realized by the most famous artists of its era: Satyrus and Pythius for the architecture; Scopas, Timotheos, Bryaxis and Leochares for the sculpture. The decorations and the sculptures were really magnificent. Several pieces were recover and can be seen in the British Museum of London.

Several illustrations :

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus #1 The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus #2 The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus #3
1 satrap : governor of the old Persian provinces
2 quadriga : a two-wheel chariot hitched by four horses
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