The Mausoleum at the ancient city of Halicarnassus was the tomb of the king, Mausolus (the word ‘mausoleum’ is derived from his name).
In 377 B.C., the city of Halicarnassus was the capitol of a small kingdom along the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor (now known as Bodrum, Turkey). It was in that year the ruler of this land, Hecatomnus of Mylasa, died and left control of the kingdom to his son, Mausolus. Hecatomnus, a local satrap to the Persians, had been ambitious and had taken control of several of the neighboring cities and districts. Then Mausolus during his reign extended the territory even further so that it eventually included most of southwestern Asia Minor.
Mausolus, with his queen Artemisia, ruled over Halicarnassus and the surrounding territory for 24 years. Though he was descended from the local people, Mausolus spoke Greek and admired the Greek way of life and government. He founded many cities of Greek design along the coast and encouraged Greek democratic traditions.
Seven Quick Facts
Location: Halicarnassus (Modern Bodrum, Turkey)
Built: Around 350 B.C.
Function: Tomb for the City King, Mausolus
Destroyed: Damaged by earthquakes in 13th century A.D. . Final destruction by Crusaders in 1522 A.D.
Size: 140 feet (43m) high.
Made of: White Marble
Built in a mixture of Egyptian, Greek and Lycian styles
Then in 353 B.C. Mausolus died, leaving his queen Artemisia, who was also his sister, broken-hearted (It was the custom in Caria for rulers to marry their own sisters). As a tribute to him, she decided to build him the most splendid tomb in the known world. It became a structure so famous that Mausolus’s name is now associated with all stately tombs throughout the world through the word mausoleum. The building, rich with statuary and carvings in relief, was so beautiful and unique it became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.