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Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Updated on August 15, 2012

Mausoleum of Mausolus at Halicarnassus was a tomb built for King Mausolus.  It was conceived by his wife and sister Artemisia.  The construction of the mausoleum may have started during Mausolus’ lifetime.  But it was finished three years after his death.  This world wonder is also the origin of the word mausoleum.  The beauty of the mausoleum was not in the structure alone but also in the decorations and the life-like statues that surround it.

Halicarnassus was an ancient city in Persia that is now Bodrum, Turkey.  The tomb was about 135 feet in height.  It was adorned with arts and sculptures made by famous artists and sculptors of the time.  Most of its statues were life size.  Many of the works of art in this mausoleum can now be seen in the “Mausoleum Room” in the British Museum in London.

Pliny the Elder had a clear description of the mausoleum.  Most of the modern illustrations of the mausoleum were based on his description.  It was rectangular in shape.  At the base was the burial chamber, adorned the sides were life-size statues of people and animals.  Above it were 36 columns.  Standing beside each column was another statue.  Above the columns was a pyramid roof with a four horse chariot at the very top. 

The mausoleum survived for 16 centuries, unharmed by natural disasters and even attacks from foreign invaders of the time.  Eventually though, a series of earthquakes destroyed it.  Later, when the region was conquered by the knights of St. John of Malta, they built a crusader castle near the mausoleum.  By 1522, almost every block, marble, and stone of the mausoleum had been disassembled and used for the construction of the castle walls.

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Stamp with image of Mausoleum at HalicarnassusScale model of the mausoleumAn artist's illustrationAn artist's illustrationRuins of Mausoelum at HalicarnassusRuins of Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Stamp with image of Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Stamp with image of Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Scale model of the mausoleum
Scale model of the mausoleum
An artist's illustration
An artist's illustration
An artist's illustration
An artist's illustration
Ruins of Mausoelum at Halicarnassus
Ruins of Mausoelum at Halicarnassus
Ruins of Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Ruins of Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

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    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR

      BeatsMe 

      8 years ago

      Hi Tony, thanks for stopping by. :)

      I'm glad you've found this enjoyable to read. :)

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      I certainly enjoyed reading this. I love archaeology and history and this was informative. Thanks for putting it together.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR

      BeatsMe 

      8 years ago

      I also wonder, Quicksand, if spirits of the people who are buried in mausoleums are more contented than those who aren't. :/

      Really appreciate your coming by and taking time to comment. Hope you've enjoyed reading. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 

      8 years ago

      Dead right. I agree with you.

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR

      BeatsMe 

      8 years ago

      Hi Quicksand, thanks for dropping by. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year also. :)

      Most of the time, I wonder why people build such grand palaces for the dead, anyway, when a lot of living people go hungry everyday.

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 

      8 years ago

      At times I used to wonder how the word "mausoleum" originated!

      Thanks for the info!

      Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year! :)

    • BeatsMe profile imageAUTHOR

      BeatsMe 

      9 years ago

      Hi Cgull. Yes, it is unfortunate that it couldn't be saved. I think when they first built it, they hoped it will last forever.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Good to know about Mausoleum, too bad they couldn't save some of their works.

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