Mausolus (d.353/350)

Mausolus (d.353/350 BC) was a semi-independent Persian satrap most famous for his tomb, the Mausoleum, which was completed by his wife and sister after his death.

Mausolus was satrap of Caria, in south-west Asia Minor, inheriting the post in 377/376. He moved the capital of his satrapy from inland Mylasa to coastal Halicarnassus, and treated Caria like his own kingdom. At Halicarnassus he built a secret dockyard, a canal, defensive walls and great public buildings.

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In 462 he joined the Satrap's Revolt, a wide-spread rebellion against Artaxerxes II. The satraps were eventually defeated, largely because they fell out amongst themselves. Mausolus abandoned their cause before the end, and managed to return to favour at the Persian court, conquering Phaselis and western Lycia for Artaxerxes.

After the end of the revolt Mausolus expanded his satrapy to include parts of Lydia, and some of the Greek cities on the coast north-west of Caria. This was a sign of the breakdown of central authority in the Persian Empire, especially on the far western borders in Asia Minor.

In 357 Mausolus supported Rhodes, Cos and Chios in their revolt against Athenian control (Social War, 357-55), sending troops to help defend Chios against an Athenian siege. This war ended with an Athenian defeat that ended any chance of a second Athenian empire emerging. Rhodes and Cos found that they had exchanged one master for another, and came under the influence of Mausolus. Our details of this episode come from Demosthenes, On the Liberty of the Rhodians, an unsuccessful attempt by the orator to get the Athenians to intervene on Rhodes. This was written in 351 BC, after the death of Mausolus, as Demosthenes considers her potential reaction to any possible Athenian intervention.

Mausolus was married to his sister Artemisia II. After his death she ruled for another three years (to c.350/347 BC) and built his famous tomb, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. Mausolus had played a part in the design of this tomb, employing the Greek architect Pythius. It was decorated with sculptures by Scopas, Bryaxis, Timotheus and Leochares, including massive sculptures of the royal couple.

According to Pliny the earliest known building covered in marble slabs was the palace of Mausolus at Halicarnassus.

Pliny has Mausolus dying in the second year of the 107th Olympiad, or 351/350 BC. Diodorus places his death in 353 BC, after a reign of 24 years.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 September 2015), Mausolus (d.353/350) ,

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