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Lion from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus 

Lion from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus - Joy of Museums

Lion from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

This lion is among the few free-standing sculptures remaining from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, 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 at Halicarnassus which was located at present Bodrum, Turkey. The Tomb was built for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and his sister-wife.

The Mausoleum was approximately 45 m (148 ft) in height, and the four sides were 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.

The maussolleion model dsc02711-miniaturk nevit

Scale model of a reconstruction of the Mausoleum at Miniatürk, Istanbul

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, probably when the lion was used as part of the building material for the castle of St Peter at Bodrum. The surface is weathered because of exposure in 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. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World included:

  • Great Pyramid of Giza, built by Egyptians
  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built by Babylonians or Assyrians
  • Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, built by Greeks
  • Statue of Zeus at Olympia, built by Greeks
  • Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, built by Greeks
  • Colossus of Rhodes, built by Greeks
  • Lighthouse of Alexandria, built by Greeks

Lion from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

  • Title:                Lion from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  • Period:            Classical Greek
  • Date:                350 BC (circa)
  • Findspot:        From the walls of the castle of St Peter at Bodrum
  • Materials:       Marble
  • Dimensions:   H: 0.96 m; L: 1.26 m
  • Museum:         The British Museum


“Victory belongs to the most persevering.” Napoleon


Photo Credit: 1) JOM 2) By Nevit Dilmen (Self-photographed) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons