Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Topics: Mausoleum, Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Caria Pages: 5 (1716 words) Published: October 30, 2011
As humans we possess an enormous amount of unacquainted ignorance when it comes to the knowledge and history behind common everyday words and sayings. The honest truth is that it’s easier to have a mindset such as this when thinking of the words we use daily. A great deal of knowledge can be discovered by looking into the etymology of words. For instance in the previous three sentences, I don’t know the origin behind why any word means what it does but I used them anyways. The enormous amount of hidden knowledge within a series of words is easy to see when looked at in this approach. Take for example the word Assassin which is defined by Webster as “One who murders by surprise attack, especially one who carries out a plot to kill a prominent person” (Marriam Webster). The word originated during the time of the Crusades. Members of a secret Muslim sect engaged others in order to terrorize their Christian enemies by performing murders as a religious duty. These acts were carried out under the influence of hashish, and so the killers became known as hashshashin, meaning eaters or smokers of hashish. Hashshashin evolved into the word assassin (Harper, 2010). Every word has an etymology behind it and many of which date back hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Before having my paper topic assigned to me I was exactly like most humans and never thought about the origins of a word. A mausoleum as defined by Webster is “a large burial chamber, usually above ground” (Marriam Webster). I have known the definition of what a mausoleum is since elementary school but not until recently did I know how it came to be called as it is. Now, after doing significant research into my topic, I know that mausoleum evolved from the Tomb of Mausolus built in 350 BC. The tomb was so magnificent that word of its grandeur spread throughout the ancient world and it became denoted as the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (Fergusson, 1862). The mausoleum is arguably one of the first and greatest mausoleums constructed in the ancient world. This is evident because of the mausoleums sheer size and design along with the influences and popularity it held in the ancient world.

As with many of the rulers in ancient times, it was their desire to rule over as much land as possible. The same can be said about Mausolus when he served as the satrap of Caria after Hecatomnus, his father, died. Mausolus ruled over the region with his Queen and sister Artemisia for 24 years from 377BC till his death in 353BC (Association, 1923). While ruling Mausolus decided it was best to build a new capital for the region he ruled. He chose the town of Halicarnassus which had port access on one side and high land access the other. Mausolus and Artemisia put significant amounts of money into the city in order to make it one of the most glorious cities in those times. The final contribution the two of them would make to the city would be their Tomb located near the center of the city overlooking the harbor (Association, 1923). It is still not sure if Mausolus or Artemisia had played the most significant role in the planning and building of the Mausoleum. Many accounts lay credit to Artemisia as the driving force behind the construction of the tomb. It is said that after her husband died in 353 BC she planned an epic funeral, mausoleum, and burial for him (Fergusson, 1862). The myth of Artemisia was likely conceived as a story passed along through the generations to show everyone how much she loved her husband. While she most likely did love her husband dearly, she only lived for two years following his death which couldn’t have given her enough time to plan and construct something as outstanding as this project was. It is more probable that Mausolus planned the mausoleum to be built in the city from the very beginning of the city’s construction. It was common for many Roman emperors to plan and build their own mausoleums while they were still alive as a type of commemorative symbol to...
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