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Halicarnassus ( ; , modern Bodrummarker) was an ancient Greek city on the southwest coast of Caria, Anatoliamarker (Asia Minor), on a picturesque, advantageous site on the Ceramic Gulf (Gulf of Kosmarker, Gulf of Gökova). It was the site of the Siege of Halicarnassus, between Alexander the Great and the Persian Empire. It originally occupied only the small island of Zephyria close to the shore, now occupied by the great Bodrum Castlemarker (Castle of St. Peter), built by the Knights of Rhodes in 1404; but in course of time this island was united to the mainland and the city extended so as to incorporate Salmacis, an older town of the Leleges and Carians.


Early History: Founding

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 and Poseidon, or the trident, support the statement that the mother cities were Troezenmarker and Argosmarker. The inhabitants appear to have accepted Anthes as their legendary founder, mentioned by Strabo, and were proud of the title of Antheadae. The Carian name for Halicarnassus has been tentatively identified with Alosδkarnosδ in inscriptions.

At an early period Halicarnassus was a member of the Doric Hexapolis, which included Cos, Cnidusmarker, Lindosmarker, Kameirosmarker and Ialysusmarker. But when one of the citizens, Agasicles, chose to take home the prize tripod which he had won in the Triopian games instead of dedicating it, according to custom, to the Triopian Apollo, the city was cut off from the league. In the early 5th century Halicarnassus was under the sway of Artemisia I of Caria, 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 of Halicarnassians, to leave his native city (c. 457 BC).

Macedonian influence

One of her successors, Pixodarus, tried to ally himself with the rising power of Macedon, and is said to have gained the momentary consent of the young Alexander to wed his daughter. The marriage, however, was forbidden by Alexander's father Philip. During the early years of Alexander's campaigns, Memnon, the paramount satrap of Asia Minor, 334 BC when Alexander tried to take the citadel, the narrow bridge over the moat collapsed, resulting in many casualties (as related by the historian Arianos in his biography of Alexander). As he was not able to reduce the citadel, Alexander was forced to leave it blockaded. The ruins of this citadel and the moat are now a tourist attraction in Bodrum.

Alexander handed the government of the city back to the family of Mausolus, as represented by Ada, sister of the latter. Not long afterwards we find the citizens receiving the present of a gymnasium from Ptolemy, and building in his honour a stoa or portico. Halicarnassus never recovered altogether from the disasters of the siege, and Cicero describes it as almost deserted. Baroque artist 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.

Archeological notes & 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 sufficient has been recovered by the excavations carried out in 1857 by CT 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 and cased with marble. 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 cena. 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 Museummarker 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 below).

The Christian and later history of the site is continued at Bodrummarker.

Notable people

Notes and references

  • CT Newton and RP Pullan, History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus (1862—1863)
  • J Fergusson, The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus restored (1862)
  • E Oldfield, "The Mausoleum," in Archaeologia (1895)
  • F. Adler, Mausoleum zu Halikarnass (1900)
  • JP Six in Journ. Hell. Studies (1905)
  • WB Dinsmoor in Amer. Journ. of Arch. (1908)
  • JJ Stevenson, A Restoration of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (1909)
  • JBK Preedy, "The Chariot Group of the Mausoleum," in Journ. hell. Stud., 1910.

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