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 Museum Explorer

Death in
Ancient Greece

Mausoleum at Halikarnassos

Height: 2.330 m (forepart)
Length: 1.980 m (hindquarters)

GR 1857.12-20.238-9 (Sculpture 1002-3)

The Mausoleum at Halikarnassos

From: Bodrum, modern Turkey
Date: about 350 BC

One of the most magnificent tombs ever built belonged to Mausollos, ruler of Caria, in what is now south west Turkey. The tomb was over 40 metres high and so richly decorated that it became known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Although Mausolus was not actually Greek, he employed the very best Greek sculptors to make carvings for the tomb. At the very top was a chariot pulled by four huge marble horses. This is what remains of one of the horses. They stood about 4 metres tall and had shiny bridles and reins made of bronze – you can see that this horse still has its bridle. Nobody knows what was in the chariot – it might have been a statue of Mausollos or of the sun god Apollo (or Helios) or the chariot might have been left empty as an offering to the dead king.