The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Tomb of Mausolus) was a tomb built between 353-350 BC at Halicarnassus for Mausolus, in the Persian Empire a satraps, as well as his sister wife Artemisia II of Caria. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Pythius of Priene and Satyros.
The Mausoleum was nearly 148 ft in height, and the 4 sides were decorated with sculptural reliefs, each created by one of four Greek sculptors– Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus. The mausoleum’s finished structure was considered to be such a decorative victory that assumer of Sidon identified it as one of his 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. It was destroyed by consecutive earthquakes from the 12th-15th century.
Artemisia spared no expense in building the tomb and sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of that time which included Scopas, the man who had supervised the rebuilding of the Temple of Artemis which is at Ephesus. Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas and Timotheus were the famous sculptors, as well as hundreds of other craftsmen.
The tomb was boosted on a hill overlooking the city. The whole structure sat in an enclosed lawn. At the center of the lawn was a stone platform on which the tomb sat. A staircase belted by stone lions led to the top of the platform. It bore along with its outer walls many statues of gods and goddesses. At each corner, stone warriors seated on the horseback guarded the tomb. At the center of the platform, the marble tomb rose as a square tapering block to the one-third of the Mausoleum’s 148ft height and this section was covered with bas-reliefs showing the action scenes, including the battle of the beast with the lapiths and Greeks in combat with the Amazons, a race of warrior women.
The Modern historians have pointed, two years would not be enough to decorate and build such an absurd building. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus featured a temple. Also, it was in the Greek-dominated-area of Halicarnassus, which in 353 BC was controlled by the Achaemenid Empire. It was built by Satyros and Pytheus who wrote a commentary about it which is now lost, according to the Roman architect Vitruvius. Pausanias adds that the Romans considered the Mausoleum as one of the great wonders of the world. It was for that reason that they called all their elegant tombs mausolea, after it.
This monument was ranked the 7th wonder of the world by the ancients because of its size.
Discovery and Removal:
In the 19th century, a British envoy obtained several of the statues from the Bodrum Castle; these now found in the British Museum. In 1852 the British Museum sent the archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton to research for more remaining of the Mausoleum. Although it was a difficult a job, Newton analysed the surrounding area through tunnels. He was able to locate some walls, staircases, and finally 3 of the corners of the foundation. This knowledge helped him to determine which plots of land he needed to buy.
Newton then scrapes the site and found sections of the reliefs that designed the wall of the building and portions of the stepped roof. Also discovered was a broken stone automobile wheel some 6 ft 7 inches in diameter, which came from the sculpture on the Mausoleum’s roof. Lastly, he found the statues of Mausolus and Artemisia that had stood at the apex of the building. In October 1857 Newton carried blocks of the marble from the site by HMS Supply as well as landed them in Malta. The blocks were used for the construction of a new dock in Malta for the Royal Navy. Today this dock is known as Dock No. 1 in Cospicua, but the building blocks are hidden from the view and was submerged in Dockyard Creek in the Grand Harbour.
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