Tag Archives: Seven Wonders of the World

Turkey wants British Museum to return sculptures from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

According to an article in The Guardian (here), the town of Bodrum in Southwest Turkey wants the British Museum to return several priceless sculptures once associated with the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in the 4th century B.C.

Human rights legislation that has overturned the convictions of terrorists and rapists could now rob the British Museum of sculptures created for one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

A Turkish challenge in the European court of human rights will be a test case for the repatriation of art from one nation to another, a potential disaster for the world’s museums.

Halicarnassus is where Mausolus built a gigantic tomb in honor of himself. Leon Mauldin and I visited the site earlier in the year. You may read about our visit (with photos) here. It became known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Two of the sculptures that the town of Bodrum wants returned are through to be of Mausolus and Artemisia, his wife. Here is a photo of the marble statue thought to be Mausolus.

Statue of Mausolus in British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Statue of Mausolus in British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next statue is usually identified as Artemisia, wife of Mausolus.

Statues from the Mausoleum of Maussollos - Marble, About 350 B.C

Statue from Halicarnassus, usually identified as Artemisia, the wife of Mausolos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Another reason to visit the British Museum soon, or Turkey later.

HT: Jack Sasson

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Why would we want to visit Bodrum on the Aegean coast of Turkey? It is located in the area of the Roman province of Caria, and is built over the site of ancient Halicarnassus. It is where Mausolus built a tomb for himself. From this structure we get our word mausoleum.

Only a small city block preserves the remains of the famous Mausoleum. Parking nearby is almost an impossibility, but one of the shopkeepers allowed us to block the entry to his shop for a few minutes.

Halicarnassus. Site of the tomb of King Mausolos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Halicarnassus. Site of the tomb of King Mausolos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The small brochure available at the site gives this information about the Mausoleum.

It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Its construction was initiated by Mausolus, a member of the Hekatomnid dynasty appointed by Persians as the Satrap of Caria, before his death, and continued by his wife and sister Artemisia after his death. Mausolus, the then most important administrator, probably decided to build such an important structure to symbolize his eternity and greatness. Its construction was started just before Mausolus’ death, i.e. just before 353 B.C.

Along with a few architectural fragments at the site, there is a nice model suggesting how the Mausoleum looked. According to the brochure, the tomb may have been as high as a 20-story apartment building.

Model of the Tomb of Mausolos at Halicarnassus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Model of the Tomb of Mausolos at Halicarnassus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Herodotus Bust displayed in the Stoa of Attalus, Athens Agora

Herodotus Bust displayed in the Stoa of Attalus, Athens Agora. Photo: F. Jenkins.

Is it possible that Paul may have seen this structure when he sailed past Cos (Acts 21:1)? Ferries run between Bodrum (Turkey) and Cos (Greece) today.

Halicarnassus is listed among the towns that were informed by the Romans of their support of the Jews (1 Maccabees 15:23).

The Greek historian Herodotus claimed Halicarnassus as his home.

At least one lesson we learn at Halicarnassus is that monuments built to oneself do not endure for long. Think of Absalom.

Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day. (2 Samuel 18:18 ESV)