Thursday, 21 June 2012

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus (in Greek, Μαυσωλεῖον τῆς Ἁλικαρνασσοῦ) was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, his wife and sister. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene.

The Mausoleum stood approximately 45 m (148 ft) in height, and each of the four sides was adorned with sculptural reliefs created by each one of four Greek sculptors — Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus. The finished structure of the mauloseum was considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that Antipater of Sidon identified it as one of his Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The word mausoleum has now come to be used generically for grand tomb.



Location

In the city of Bodrum (f.k.a. Halicarnassus) on the Aegean Sea, in south-west Turkey.

Description

The structure was rectangular in plan, with base dimensions of about 40 m (120 ft) by 30 m (100 ft). Overlying the foundation was a stepped podium which sides were decorated with statues. The burial chamber and the sarcophagus of white alabaster decorated with gold were located on the podium and surrounded by Ionic columns. The colonnade supported a pyramid roof which was in turn decorated with statues. A statue of a chariot pulled by four horses adorned the top of the tomb.

The total height of the Mausoleum was 45 m (140 ft). This is broken down into 20 m (60 ft) for the stepped podium, 12 m (38 ft) for the colonnade, 7 m (22 ft) for the pyramid, and 6 m (20 ft) for the chariot statue at the top.

The beauty of the Mausoleum is not only in the structure itself, but in the decorations and statues that adorned the outside at different levels on the podium and the roof. These were tens of life-size as well as under and over life-size free-standing statues of people, lions, horses, and other animals. The statues were carved by four Greek sculptors: Bryaxis, Leochares, Scopas, and Timotheus, each responsible for one side. Because the statues were of people and animals, the Mausoleum holds a special place in history as it was not dedicated to the gods of Ancient Greece.

Since the nineteenth century, archeological excavations have been undertaken at the Mausoleum site. These excavations together with detailed descriptions by ancient historians give us a fairly good idea about the shape and appearance of the Mausoleum. A modern reconstruction of the shorter side of the Mausoleum illustrates the lavish nature of the art and architecture of the building... a building for a King whose name is celebrated in all large tombs today -- mausoleums.

INSIDE OF Mausoleum







Construction of the Mausoleum

Artemisia spared no expense in building the tomb. She sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of the time. These included Scopas, the man who had supervised the rebuilding of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The famous sculptors were (in the Vitruvius order) Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas and Timotheus, as well as hundreds of other craftsmen.
The tomb was erected on a hill overlooking the city. The whole structure sat in an enclosed courtyard. At the center of the courtyard was a stone platform on which the tomb sat. A stairway flanked by stone lions led to the top of the platform, which bore along its outer walls many statues of gods and goddess. At each corner, stone warriors mounted on horseback guarded the tomb. At the center of the platform, the marble tomb rose as a square tapering block to one-third of the Mausoleum's 45 m (148 ft) height. This section was covered with bas-reliefs showing action scenes, including the battle of the centaurs with the lapiths and Greeks in combat with the Amazons, a race of warrior women.

Discovery and excavation

In the 19th century a British consul obtained several of the statues from the castle, which now reside in the British Museum. In 1852 the British Museum sent the archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton to search for more remains of the Mausoleum. He had a difficult job. He didn't know the exact location of the tomb, and the cost of buying up all the small parcels of land in the area to look for it would have been astronomical. Instead Newton studied the accounts of ancient writers like Pliny to obtain the approximate size and location of the memorial, then bought a plot of land in the most likely location. Digging down, Newton explored the surrounding area through tunnels he dug under the surrounding plots. He was able to locate some walls, a staircase, and finally three of the corners of the foundation. With this knowledge, Newton was able to determine which plots of land he needed to buy.
Newton then excavated the site and found sections of the reliefs that decorated the wall of the building and portions of the stepped roof. Also discovered was a broken stone chariot wheel some 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in diameter, which came from the sculpture on the Mausoleum's roof. Finally, he found the statues of Mausolus and Artemisia that had stood at the pinnacle of the building. In October 1857 Newton carried blocks of marble from this site by the HMS Supply and landed them in Malta. These blocks were used for the construction of a new dock in Malta for the Royal Navy. Today this dock is known at Dock No. 1 in Cospicua, but the building blocks are hidden from view, submerged in Dockyard Creek in the Grand Harbour.
From 1966 to 1977, the Mausoleum was thoroughly researched by Prof. Kristian Jeppesen of Aarhus University, Denmark. He has produced a six-volume monograph, The Maussolleion at Halikarnassos.
The beauty of the Mausoleum was not only in the structure itself, but in the decorations and statues that adorned the outside at different levels on the podium and the roof: statues of people, lions, horses, and other animals in varying scales. The four Greek sculptors who carved the statues: Bryaxis, Leochares, Scopas and Timotheus were each responsible for one side. Because the statues were of people and animals, the Mausoleum holds a special place in history, as it was not dedicated to the gods of Ancient Greece.
Today, the massive castle of the Knights of Malta still stands in Bodrum, and the polished stone and marble blocks of the Mausoleum can be spotted built into the walls of the structure. At the site of the Mausoleum, only the foundation remains, and a small museum. Some of the surviving sculptures at the British Museum include fragments of statues and many slabs of the frieze showing the battle between the Greeks and the Amazons. There the images of Mausolus and his queen forever watch over the few broken remains of the beautiful tomb she built for him.



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