The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Hallicarnassus was the capital of a small kingdom in Asia Minor. In 377BC its ruler Hecatomnus of Mylasa died and his son Mauselus came to power. During his rule he expanded the territory his father had conquered as a Persian satrap till it included most of SW Asia Minor.

After ruling for 24 years Mausoleus died and left the throne to his sister-queen Artemisia. Brokenhearted she decided to build him the most glorious tomb in the world. Amongst the artists she hired for this was Scopas, who had been responsible for the rebuilding of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.

Built on a hill and surrounded by a wall the actual tomb sat in the middle of a courtyard. It was a large structure made out of marble, its lower walls showing battles with centaurs and amazons. Atop this was a large block of marble surrounded by columns carrying the roof. On top of this was a golden statue of Mausolus and Artemisia driving a chariot.

Artemisia died two years later, before the tomb was finished, but the artisans seemed to have continued their work and when Alexander came in 334BC it was still untouched.

The monument stood for some 1,700 years until it was leveled by earthquakes, and by 1404AD only the base was still there. Crusaders used the tomb's stones to build their castle at Bodrum, as the town was now known. They discovered a great coffin, but when they opened it the next morning the treasure and bodies were gone. Who plundered the grave remains unknown.

Some of the statues were incorporated in the castle where the English found them 300 years later and took them, like so much else, to the British Museum.

Excavations in the 1840s found more sculpture, including the chariot and the statues. They too were taken to England.