Halicarnassus (/ˌhælɪ.kɑːrˈnæsəs/; Ancient Greek:
Ἁλικαρνᾱσσός, translit. Halikarnāssós or
Ἀλικαρνασσός Alikarnāssós; Turkish: Halikarnas), an
ancient Greek city which stood on the site of modern
Bodrum in Turkey.
It was located in southwest
Caria on a picturesque, advantageous site
on the Ceramic Gulf. The city was famous for the
Halicarnassus, also known simply as the Tomb of Mausolus, whose name
provided the origin of the word "mausoleum". The mausoleum, built
between 353 BC and 350 BC, ranked as one of the seven
wonders of the ancient world.
Halicarnassus formed part of the Persian Empire until Alexander the
Great captured it at the siege of
Halicarnassus in 334 BC.
Halicarnassus originally occupied only a small island near to the
shore called Zephyria, which was the original name of the settlement
and the present site of the great Castle of St. Peter built by the
Knights of Rhodes
Knights of Rhodes in 1404; but in the course of time the island united
with the mainland and the city extended to incorporate Salmacis, an
older town of the
Leleges and Carians and site of the later
2.1 Mycenaean presence in the area
2.2 Early history
2.3 Hekatomnid dynasty
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great and Ada of Caria
2.5 Later history
3 Archeological notes and restorations
4 Notable people
5 Notes and references
6 Further reading
7 External links
The suffix -ᾱσσός (-assos) of Greek Ἁλικαρνᾱσσός
is indicative of a substrate toponym, meaning that an original Greek
name influenced, or established the place's name. It has been recently
proposed that the element -καρνᾱσσός is cognate (essentially
two words in different languages derived from the same original
source) with Luwian (CASTRUM)ha+ra/i-na-sà / (CASTRUM)ha+ra/i-ni-sà
'fortress'. If so, the toponym is probably borrowed from Carian, a
Luwic language spoken alongside Greek in Halicarnassus. The Carian
Halicarnassus has been tentatively identified with Alos-δ
karnos-δ in inscriptions.
Mycenaean presence in the area
Some large Mycenaean tombs have been found at Musgebi (or Muskebi,
modern Ortakent), not far from Halicarnassus. According to Turkish
archaeologist Yusuf Boysal, the Muskebi material, dating from the end
of the fifteenth century BC to ca. 1200 BC, provides evidence of the
presence, in this region, of a Mycenaean settlement.
More than forty burial places dating back to that time have been
discovered. A rich collection of artifacts found in these tombs is now
housed in the
These finds cast some light on the problem of determining the
territories of ancient
Arzawa and Ahhiyawa.
Herodotus (Greek: Ἡρόδοτος) is honored with a statue in his
Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum).
The founding of
Halicarnassus is debated among various traditions; but
they agree in the main point as to its being a Dorian colony, and the
figures on its coins, such as the head of Medusa,
Athena or Poseidon,
or the trident, support the statement that the mother cities were
Troezen and Argos. The inhabitants appear to have accepted Anthes, a
son of Poseidon, as their legendary founder, as mentioned by Strabo,
and were proud of the title of Antheadae.
At an early period
Halicarnassus was a member of the Doric Hexapolis,
which included Kos, Cnidus, Lindos,
Kameiros and Ialysus; but it was
expelled from the league when one of its citizens, Agasicles, took
home the prize tripod which he had won in the Triopian games, instead
of dedicating it according to custom to the Triopian Apollo. In the
early 5th century
Halicarnassus was under the sway of Artemisia I of
Caria (also known as Artemesia of Halicarnassus), who made herself
famous as a naval commander at the battle of Salamis. Of Pisindalis,
her son and successor, little is known; but Lygdamis, who next
attained power, is notorious for having put to death the poet Panyasis
and causing Herodotus, possibly the best known Halicarnassian, to
leave his native city (c. 457 BC).
Hecatomnus became king of Caria, at that time part of the Persian
Empire, ruling from 404 BC to 358 BC and establishing the
Hekatomnid dynasty. He left three sons, Mausolus,
Pixodarus—all of whom—in their turn, succeeded him in the
sovereignty; and two daughters, Artemisia and Ada, who were married to
Mausolus and Idrieus.
Mausolus moved his capital from
Mylasa to Halicarnassus. His workmen
deepened the city's harbor and used the dragged sand to make
protecting breakwaters in front of the channel. On land they paved
streets and squares, and built houses for ordinary citizens. And on
one side of the harbor they built a massive fortified palace for
Mausolus, positioned to have clear views out to sea and inland to the
hills—places from where enemies could attack. On land, the workmen
also built walls and watchtowers, a Greek–style theatre and a temple
to Ares—the Greek god of war.
Mausolus spent huge amounts of tax money to embellish
the city. They commissioned statues, temples and buildings of gleaming
marble. When he died in 353 BC, his wife, sister and successor,
Artemisia II of Caria, began construction of a magnificent tomb for
him and herself on a hill overlooking the city. She died in 351 BC (of
grief, according to Cicero, Tusculan Disputations 3.31). According to
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder the craftsmen continued to work on the tomb after the
death of their patron, "considering that it was at once a memorial of
his own fame and of the sculptor's art," finishing it in 350 BC.
This tomb of
Mausolus came to be known as the Mausoleum, one of the
seven wonders of the ancient world.
Artemisia was succeeded by her brother Idrieus, who, in turn, was
succeeded by his wife and sister Ada when he died in 344 BC.
However, Ada was usurped by her brother Pixodarus in 340 BC. On
the death of Pixodarus in 335 BC his son-in-law, a Persian named
Orontobates, received the satrapy of
Caria from Darius III of Persia.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great and Ada of Caria
Main article: Siege of Halicarnassus
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great entered
Caria in 334 BC, Ada, who was in
possession of the fortress of Alinda, surrendered the fortress to him.
After taking Halicarnassus, Alexander handed back the government of
Caria to her; she, in turn, formally adopted Alexander as her son,
ensuring that the rule of
Caria passed unconditionally to him upon her
eventual death. During the siege of
Halicarnassus the city was fired
by the retreating Persians. As he was not able to reduce the citadel,
Alexander was forced to leave it blockaded. The ruins of this
citadel and moat are now a tourist attraction in Bodrum.
Not long afterwards the citizens received the present of a gymnasium
from Ptolemy and built in his honour a stoa or portico. Under
Egyptian hegemony, around 268 BC, a citizen named Hermias became
Nesiarch of the
Nesiotic League in the Cyclades.
Halicarnassus never recovered altogether from the disasters of the
Cicero describes it as almost deserted.
Johann Elias Ridinger
Johann Elias Ridinger depicted the several stages of
siege and taking of the place in a huge copper engraving as one of
only two known today from his Alexander set.
The Christian and later history of the site is continued at Bodrum.
Archeological notes and restorations
The site is now occupied in part by the town of Bodrum; but the
ancient walls can still be traced round nearly all their circuit, and
the position of several of the temples, the theatre, and other public
buildings can be fixed with certainty.
The ruins of the mausoleum were recovered sufficiently by the 1857
excavations of Charles Newton to enable a fairly complete restoration
of its design to be made. The building consisted of five parts—a
basement or podium, a pteron or enclosure of columns, a pyramid, a
pedestal and a chariot group. The basement, covering an area of 114
feet by 92, was built of blocks of greenstone, cased with marble and
covered in carvings of cows. Round the base of it were probably
disposed groups of statuary. The pteron consisted (according to Pliny)
of thirty-six columns of the Ionic order, enclosing a square cella.
Between the columns probably stood single statues. From the portions
that have been recovered, it appears that the principal frieze of the
pteron represented combats of Greeks and Amazons. In addition, there
are also many life-size fragments of animals, horsemen, etc.,
belonging probably to pedimental sculptures, but formerly supposed to
be parts of minor friezes. Above the pteron rose the pyramid, mounting
by 24 steps to an apex or pedestal.
On this apex stood the chariot with the figure of
Mausolus himself and
an attendant. The height of the statue of
Mausolus in the British
Museum is 9'9" without the plinth. The hair falls from the forehead in
thick waves on each side of the face and descends nearly to the
shoulder; the beard is short and close, the face square and massive,
the eyes deep set under overhanging brows, the mouth well formed with
settled calm about the lips. The drapery is grandly composed. All
sorts of restorations of this famous monument have been proposed. The
original one, made by Newton and Pullan, is obviously in error in many
respects; and that of Oldfield, though to be preferred for its
lightness (the mausoleum was said anciently to be "suspended in
mid-air"), does not satisfy the conditions postulated by the remains.
The best on the whole is that of the veteran German architect, F.
Adler, published in 1900; but fresh studies have since been made (see
Artemisia I (fl. 480 BC), Queen of Halicarnassus, who participated in
the Battle of Salamis
Herodotus (c. 484 – c. 425 BC), Greek historian
Dionysius (fl. 1st century BC), historian and teacher of rhetoric
Aelius Dionysius (fl. 2nd century), Greek rhetorician and musician
Notes and references
^ a b c d e f g h i j One or more of the preceding
sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public
domain: Hogarth, David George (1911). "Halicarnassus". In
Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge
University Press. pp. 837–838 .
^ Ilya Yakubovich. "Phoenician and Luwian in Early Age Cilicia".
Anatolian Studies 65 (2015): 44, doi:10.1017/S0066154615000010.
^ a b Yusuf Boysal, New Excavations in
Caria (PDF), Anadolu, (1967),
^ "Herodotus". Suda. At the
Suda On Line Project.
^ C. Constantakopoulou, Identity and resistance: The Islanders’
League, the Aegean islands and the Hellenistic kings, in:
Mediterranean Historical Review, Vol. 27, No. 1, June 2012, 49–70,
F. Adler, F. (1900), "Das
Mausoleum zu Halikarnass" (PDF), Zeitschrift
für Bauwesen, 50: 2–19 .
Dinsmoor, William B. (1908), "The
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus",
American Journal of Archaeology, 12: 3–29, 141–197,
Fergusson, James (1862), The
Halicarnassus restored in
conformity with the recently discovered remains, London: J.
Newton, Charles Thomas; Pullan, Richard Popplewell (1862–1863), A
history of discoveries at Halicarnassus,
Cnidus & Branchidæ (2
Vols), London: Day and Son . Google books: Volume 1, Volume 2.
Preedy, J. B. Knowlton (1910), "The Chariot Group of the Maussolleum",
Journal of Hellenic Studies, 30: 133–162, JSTOR 624266 .
Oldfield, Edmund (1895), "The
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. A new
restoration", Archaeologia, 54: 273–362,
Oldfield, Edmund (1897), "The
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. The probable
arrangement and signification of its principal sculptures",
Archaeologia, 55: 343–390, doi:10.1017/s0261340900014417 .
Six, J. (1905), "The pediments of the Maussolleum", Journal of
Hellenic Studies, 25: 1–13, doi:10.2307/624205 .
Stevenson, John James (1909), A restoration of the
Halicarnassus, London: B. T. Batsford .
Library resources about
Resources in your library
Resources in other libraries
Cook, B. F., Bernard Ashmole, and Donald Emrys Strong. 2005. Relief
Sculpture of the
Mausoleum At Halicarnassus. Oxford: Oxford University
Jeppeson, Kristian. 2002. The Maussolleion at Halikarnassos: Reports
of the Danish archaeological expedition to Bodrum: The superstructure,
a comparative analysis of the architectural, sculptural, and literary
evidence. Vol. 5. Aarhus, Denmark: Aarhus Univ. Press.
Rodríguez Moya, Inmaculada, and Víctor Mínguez. 2017. The Seven
Ancient Wonders In the Early Modern World. New York: Routledge.
Steele, James, and Ersin Alok. 1992. Hellenistic Architecture In Asia
Minor. London: Academy Editions.
Wiater, Nicolas. 2011. The Ideology of Classicism: Language, History,
and Identity In Dionysius of Halicarnassus. New York: De Gruyter.
Winter, Frederick E. 2006. Studies In Hellenistic Architecture.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Halicarnassus.
Halicarnassus by Jona Lendering.
The Tomb of
Mausolus W. R. Lethaby's reconstruction of the
Mausoleum Article from Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman
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Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing
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