Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus

The Mausoleum of Maussollos, or Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a crypt which was built in the period from 353 to 350 BC in Halicarnassus, for Mausolus which is a regional simple king in Persian Empire, & Artemisia, his sister and wife. The Mausoleum was premeditated by famous architects from Greece Pythius and Satyrus. It was approximately 45 meters in its height, and all the four sides were mounted by freize formed by one of four Greek sculptor.

The completed structure was thought to be one of such an visual triumph, which Antipater of Sidon well-known it as amongst the one of his seven speculate of the World in the ancient times, basically the Mausoleum was meant to be originally honor Mausol, however it was generally used as any other grand tomb.

Mausolus decided to create a fresh capital, which is safe, magnificent and admirable when seen. Then he chose to place at Halicarnassus, the idea was to block the enemy ships from the small channel, and keep them out. He wanted to make the city which is ideal for the war prince. He employed more and more men and deepened the harbor in the city and also dragged the sand to create the backwater for protection in facade of channel.

Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus

On the other hand the land was used to build houses and paved streets and squares, most of the ordinary citizens were living on this paved land. A huge fortified palace was constructed on the other side in which Mausolus was staying, the palace enjoyed the perfect view of the sea, inland and also hills, he used to keep an eye on all these places from where the enemies could attack. Watch towers and walls were also built around the city; in the city they had a Greek technique theatre and holy place to Ares- the Greek divinity of conflict.

Lavish quantity of tax currency was spent on the building of the city, many statues, and buildings, temples which were built of marble, filled the city and made it a magnificent city. In the city center Artemisia had planned to construct a latent position for her body, and also for her husband’s, it was an idea of the grave, that would eternally describe how rich they were.

Approximately in 353 BC, King Mausolus died, separating from Artemisia very sand and heart broken. It was in the tradition in Caria amongst the rulers to be siblings; such involving incest marriages reserved the authority and the assets in the family. To pay her tribute to her husband the queen determined to build one of the most amazing tomb for her husband, a structure which became so popular that, that name is even now an eponym for royal tombs, it is commonly now called as mausoleum, The construction was so well known and beautiful that it is even now listed among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In some time after the construction of the tomb started, the queen got into some crisis. Earlier she along with her husband had captured the Rhodes Island, which is situated at the Aegean Sea, whilst the Rhodians realized about the kings death, they gathered themselves and sent a convoy of ships to arrest the metropolis of Halicarnassus. Realizing about the invasion, the queen decided to hide in her ship in a furtive location, which is situated at the east of closing stages of the city’s harbor. As the ship of Rhodians reached the Halicarnassus, in a surprise attack queen Artemisia captured the enemy soldiers and ship and in retaliation she put her own soldiers in the enemy ship and sent it back to the Rhode Island, and as it reached the island the locals, seeing their own ship returning were ready to rejoice the victory and were not prepared for any defence, and as the ship harboured on the island, they surprised the islanders with the attack, and the islanders were defence less at the moment and lost easily.

Artemisia was alive for only survived two years more following the demise of her spouse. The ashes were resting in the yet to be finished grave. As a ritual of sacrifice many dead bodies of animals was located on the stair of the tomb, the staircase was also full of stone rubble, sealing the entrée. According to a well known historian Pliny Elder, the architects and craftsmen who were busy building to tomb decided to finish the tomb even after the death of their queen, the craftsmen thought that it happened to be once the memorial of his possess fame and the art of the sculptor.

The Mausoleum unseen the metropolis of Halicarnassus for several years, it was undisturbed even while the city was captured by Alexander the Great in the year 334 BC & it was also undisturbed even after the place was attacked by the pirates in the first century BC. The best part is the tomb stayed about the ruins of the city for over sixteen centuries. However, several columns were shattered due to some natural disasters and even the bronze chariot crashed to the land during early 15th century, only the part of Mausoleum was yet recognizable.

The Knights of St John of Malta conquered the city and constructed a huge citadel which is called Bodrum Castle. While they certain to fortified the castle in 1494, they used the stones of the tomb to strengthen the castle at Halicarnassus. Most part of the Mausoleum was broken down and are used in building the fortress walls, the marbles used in the tomb could be seen even today. Well during the invasion of the knights, they entered the basement of the monument and they found a beautifully looking coffin. There are several stories of what happened later. They decided to that it was too late to open it that day, they came back the next morning to find everything missing, including tomb, all the treasure inside even the coffins of Mausolus and Artemisia. The knights however accused the villagers for theft. However, even this day on the ramparts of Mausoleum, says a diverse story. After the research conducted by the archeologists during sixties, it says even before the knights arrived in the city, the tomb was robbed by the robbers and took away all the precious items and the bodies of the king and queen are most probably cremated. Well only a vase along with their vestiges were saved in their chambers, therefore could not find their bodies inside. Before grind and burning the complete statuette of the Mausoleum into lime for swathe, they separated several of the most excellent arts and mounted them in the Bodrum Castle, where they continue for more than three hundred centuries.

In the 19th Century a British Consul secured many of the statues from the castle, which you can find in the British Museum. In the year 1852, British Museum, sent a famous archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton, for finding more remnants of the Mausileum. He however found it quiet difficult to find anything, as he did not find the precise location of the tomb, and it was quiet an expensive affair to buy the land and dig up to find more monuments. With out doing that he decided to study the ancient scripts akin to Pliny to locate the appropriate location, size and position of the memorial, he later purchased the plot of land in an appropriate location. He started dig down; Newton discover the surrounding areas as well by digging up the tunnels even under the neighboring plots. He was however able to place some ramparts, a stairway and also the foundation, and he finally purchased the land to do more research on it.

He later started excavating the position and unearthed various sections of reliefs, which were used for the decoration of the structure and section of the step roof. He also unearthed the kaput stone chariot sweep, which is approximately over 2 meter in diameter; it was fallen to the ground from the sculpture on the Mausoleum’s roof. He finally found the original statuette of Mausolus and Artemisia, which had been standing at the peak of the building structure. Later Newton carried couple of marble blocks to Malta along with him from the site and it was used during the construction of the new dock for the Royal Navy.

Today this dock is known as Dock No.1 in Cospicus, however the building blocks are hidden from the view, and it is submerged in the Dockyard Creek, which is now in the Grand Harbour. The Mausoleum was researched by a well known Prof. Kristian Jeppesen of Aarhus University, Denmark, this fellow after his research produced six volume monographs, The Maussolleion at Halikarnassos. The structure of the Mausoleum was not only known for its beauty, it was a magnificent work of art, decoration, and statues, which gave a charm outside at various point on the podium and the crown statues, of people, horses, lions, and many more animals of different scales. The four sculptors Bryaxis, Leochares, Scopas and Timotheus were all responsible for each side of the roof. The Mausoleums used to have the statues of people and animals together and it holds a special place in the history, the unique thing about the structure is that it does not have any statues of deity of ancient Greece.

When you visit the great ancient city of Halicarbassus, you can see the huge castle of Knights of Malta, which motionless stand in Bodrum, and the evidence of the usage of graceful stone and marble blocks of the Mausoleum could be seen on the walls of the castle. Even, near the castle the remains of the foundation is being found, along with some small museums. The well known structures which still remain in British Museum are pieces of statues and various slabs of the fresco displaying the clash between the Amazons and the Greeks. There are images of Mausolus and images of his queen watching over some relics of the magnificent tomb for ever, which the queen had built for her beloved husband.

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