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Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Located in what is now southeastern Turkey, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was a tomb built by Artemisia for her husband, Mausolus, the king of Carnia in Asia Minor, after his death in 353 B.C. Mausolus was also Artemisia’s brother, and, according to legend, she was so grief-stricken at his passing that she mixed his ashes with water and drank them in addition to ordering the mausoleum’s construction. The massive mausoleum was made entirely of white marble and is thought to have been about 135 feet high. The building’s complicated design, consisting of three rectangular layers, may have been an attempt to reconcile Lycian, Greek and Egyptian architectural styles. The first layer was a 60-foot base of steps, followed by a middle layer of 36 Ionic columns and a stepped, pyramid-shaped roof. At the very top of the roof lay the tomb, decorated by the work of four sculptors, and a 20-foot marble rendition of a four-horse chariot. The mausoleum was largely destroyed in an earthquake in the 13th century and its remains were later used in the fortification of a castle. In 1846, pieces of one of the mausoleum’s friezes were extracted from the castle and now reside, along with other relics from the Halicarnassus site, in London’s British Museum.
Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus was an enormous bronze sculpture of the sun god Helios built by the Rhodians over 12 years in the third century B.C. The city was the target of a Macedonian siege early in the fourth century B.C. and, according to legend, the Rhodians sold the tools and equipment left behind by the Macedonians to pay for the Colossus. Designed by the sculptor Chares, the statue was, at 100 feet, the tallest of the ancient world. It was completed around 280 B.C. and stood for sixty years until it was toppled in an earthquake. It was never rebuilt. Hundreds of years later, Arabs invaded Rhodes and sold the remains of the statue as scrap metal. Because of this, archeologists do not know much about the exact location of the statue or what it looked like. Most believe that it depicted the sun god standing naked while he lifted a torch with one hand and held a spear in the other. It was once believed that the statue stood with one leg on each side of a harbor, but most scholars now agree that the statue’s legs were most likely built close together to support its immense weight.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was located on a small island called Pharos near the city of Alexandria. Designed by the Greek architect Sostratos and completed around 270 B.C. during the reign of Ptolemy II, the lighthouse helped to guide Nile River ships in and out of the city’s busy harbor. Archeologists have found ancient coins on which the lighthouse was depicted, and from them deduced that the structure had three tiers: a square level at the bottom, an octagonal level in the middle and a cylindrical top. Above that stood a 16-foot statue, most likely of Ptolemy II or Alexander the Great, for whom the city was named. Although estimates of the lighthouse’s height have ranged from 200 to 600 feet, most modern scholars believe it was about 380 feet tall. The lighthouse was gradually destroyed during a series of earthquakes from 956 to 1323. Some of its remains have since been discovered at the bottom of the Nile.
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