Lion from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
This lion is among the few free-standing sculptures remaining from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Mausoleum was a massive structure designed by Greek architects during the Classical Greek period. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC which was located at present-day Bodrum, Turkey. The Tomb was built for Mausolus, the ruler of Halicarnassus and his wife.
The Mausoleum was about 45 m (148 ft) in height, and the four sides were richly adorned with sculptural reliefs. The mausoleum was considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that it was identified as one of his Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Mausoleum overlooked the city of Halicarnassus for many years, then a series of earthquakes from the 12th to the 15th century shattered the columns and sent the many statues crashing to the ground. By 1404 AD only the very base of the Mausoleum was still recognisable.
During the Crusades, the Knights of St John of Rhodes invaded the region and built the Castle of Saint Peter and fortify it in 1494, by using the stones of the Mausoleum. The Crusaders quest to strengthen the castle at Halicarnassus lead to much of the remaining portions of the tomb to be broken up and used in the castle walls. Sections of polished marble from the tomb can still be seen there today. Before grinding and burning much of the remaining sculpture of the Mausoleum into lime for plaster, the Knights removed several of the best sculpture works and mounted them in the Bodrum castle. This marble lion had its foreleg cut so that the lion could be used as part of the building materials for the castle of St Peter at Bodrum. The surface is weathered due to its 2,000-year-old exposure as part of the castle.
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a list of remarkable constructions of classical antiquity given by various authors in guidebooks or poems popular among ancient Hellenic tourists. For more detailed insights explore our “MYSTERIES & TREASURES of the BRITISH MUSEUM” (E-book).
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“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.”
― Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Photo Credit: 1) JOM