Presentation by Professor Paul Pedersen, Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark, at Karia Princess Hotel on 12 November 2014.

‘Bodrum has unique potential for becoming a historical town of outstanding importance.  But it must be treated with care and respect for what previous generations have achieved and left to us to transfer to future generations.’

So concluded Professor Pedersen in his talk to a well-attended audience invited by Hero3a – a talk which covered the story of Ancient Halicarnassus and the work of Danish archaeologists who have worked here for almost fifty years on a variety of projects.


Maybe you wonder why we Danish are so interested in doing research in historical places in Turkey?  It is partly because Danish archaeologists believe that we can always learn from other societies in history. It is also because we think that the origins of the modern Danish and Western culture of to-day are to be found in the Mediterranean countries, especially in Italy, Greece and Turkey. We believe, for example, that democracy was originally established in Athens, the principles of science were first developed by the philosophers in Ionia in Western Anatolia and the ideas of history were first created by Herodotus of Halicarnassus.  Each and every student person in Danish High School must read some texts by Herodotus from Halicarnassus.

The Danish relationship with the ancient Mediterranean is reflected in buildings such as the front porch of the cathedral in Copenhagen, the Court of Justice and even the railway station in my home town, Aarhus, is shaped like an Ionian temple, most probably inspired by the Temple of Apollo at Didyma.  Denmark is a country of little more than 5 million inhabitants and so the project in Bodrum has always been on a small scale.  However by combining the knowledge and efforts of our Turkish partners with our studies, we believe that we know much more about ancient Halicarnassus now than when it all started almost 50 years ago.

It is important to note, that Halicarnassus is not like any other ancient city in Turkey. There are plenty of cities which have ruins that are far better preserved with columnar streets, enormous Roman baths, triumphal gates and temples still almost completely preserved.  These are however almost all of Roman date and half a millennium after the time of Mausolus.

Halicarnassus probably also had a number of buildings like these, but what is really special about ancient Halicarnassus is that at some periods and especially at the time of the so-called Late-Classical period from 400 to 323, Halicarnassus played an extraordinary role in an extremely important period of history.

This is when the Mausolus family – the Hekatomnids – entered the historical arena. They were appointed Persian governors or satraps about 392 BC and it became their job to protect the western border of Persia and the Persian interests in the Aegean Sea. This situation lasted until Alexander the Great started conquering the Persian Empire in 334 BCE.

The great importance of the Mausolus family and of Halicarnassus was that these were instrumental in shaping the new Late-Classical and Hellenistic art, culture and architecture – often referred to as The Ionian Renaissance.  Of course this new culturally rich period was not restricted to Caria. It very soon also reached Ephesus where the old Artemisian temple was rebuilt and, like the Mausoleum, became one of the Seven Wonders of the World.


Family of Mausolus

Hekatomnos, who probably became satrap in 392 BCE, was married to Aba and they had five children: Mausolus, who married Artemisia and Idrieus who married Ada and finally Pixodaros who married a Cappadocian princess Aphneis, with whom he had the daughter Ada the Second.  Probably these marriages were a formal arrangement as also seen in some Hellenistic and Egyptian royal families.

There was an attempt to arrange a marriage between Alexander the Great and the daughter of Pixodaros, but Philip the Second, Alexander’s father was against it.

In 334 BC Alexander conquered Halicarnassus – and on this occasion Alexander was adopted by Ada the First as her son and he installed her for some years as his governor in Halicarnassus.  In 377 BCE Hekatomnos died and Mausolus became satrap.  Soon afterwards, perhaps about 370, Mausolus moved his capital of the Carian satrapy and city of residence to Halicarnassus



Vitruvius made a highly unusual and detailed description of Halicarnassus about 340 years after Mausolus.  The city was no doubt re-founded by Mausolus soon after he came to power. It was clearly designed according a great master plan which right from the beginning included the enormous mausoleum terrace with Mausolus’ own tomb building.

Why Mausolus made Halicarnassus his new residence city instead of Mylasa is quite obvious.  Persia had just re-gained control of the whole of western Asia Minor and therefore the western border of Persia now constituted the coastline of Anatolia towards the Aegean. Therefore Mausolus needed a fleet and a strong naval base to protect Persian interests in the Aegean area.  He found that Halicarnassus had an extremely fine natural harbour and from the bay his ships could run north or south in relatively protected waters behind Kara Ada. The location of the old city of Halicarnassus was ideal for him.


But he would also need a large population to inhabit his new capital and to man the very large city wall. He therefore forced the population of eight existing towns to settle in three new ones – Myndos, Halicarnassus and Theangela.

For some reason Vitruvius was clearly very fond of Halicarnassus and of Mausolus’s architect, Pytheos.  Vitruvius describes Halicarnassus as a theatre.  Looking north from the sea:

  • lowermost is the forum, agora or marketplace, which is like the orchestra pit
  • a wide street is situated halfway up similar to the praecinctiodiazoma or passage midway across an auditorium in a theatre. This is the main street of Halicarnassus (Turgut Reis Caddesi) where the Mausoleum is located
  • on the uppermost curve of the theatre there is the sanctuary of Mars/Ares.

Vitruvius then turns around to look south:

  • on the right wing of the natural theatre there is the sanctuary of Aphrodite and Hermes and the Salmakis fountain
  • on the left wing of the natural theatre is the palace of Mausolus.

Vitruvius then describes the view from the Palace of Mausolus:

  • to the right you see the harbour and the market place and the whole circuit of the city wall
  • down below to the left there is the secret harbour under the high ground, where Mausolus could communicate with his soldiers and sailors without anyone knowing.


The Harbour and Agora

Of the harbour one very unusual feature is preserved – the sunken, underwater mole, which is clearly seen on old photos. This mole probably secured the naval harbour on the east side of the mole. In ancient times the war ships had to be taken on land to be protected in ship sheds. These could have been around the area of the belediye and the mosque.  How would this work with the war stratagem of Artemisia?

The marketplace probably covered a quite large area east of the Mausoleum up to Turgut Reis Caddesi, but no secure remains have been found except from a few inscriptions mentioning the market police (agoranomoi) and the fragment of a decree concerning maximum prices.


The main street and streetplan

The main street and the entire ancient street plan are clearly reflected in modern Bodrum. In the area inside the ancient city walls almost all big and small streets and even gardens follow the plan of Mausolus’ city. In particular Turgut Reis Caddesi clearly follows the main street of ancient Halicarnassus running almost exactly east-west. We know that north of the Mausoleum the main street was 15 metres wide.  Maybe it will be possible in the future to find more streets during modern excavation so that we can find out about the details of the organization of ancient Halicarnassus.


The Sanctuary of Ares or Mars

The sanctuary of Mars, the god of War, must have been a very important sanctuary in ancient Halicarnassus. From Vitruvius we know that the statue inside the temple was by the famous sculptor Leochares or by Timotheos, who both worked on the Mausoleum. The temple is from the same time as the Mausoleum and from the few remains of its marble architecture still to be seen on the terrace we can see that it was a very big temple. Its columns were about twelve metres high and comparable in size to those of the temple of Athena at Priene.

The temple was placed on a huge terrace 105 metres wide exactly as the Mausoleum terrace and it was, like the Mausoleum, one of the most dominating buildings in ancient Halicarnassus. To-day the Çevre Yol runs through the terrace, but one fine corner can be seen from the modern street. A hundred and fifty years ago the British archaeologist C.T. Newton excavated the foundations of the temple inside the terrace but this was very insufficiently documented and the remains should certainly be excavated again. On the east side of the terrace we made some geophysical investigations in 1988, which indicated where we can expect the altar and the propylon (gateway), but it has not been possible to make any excavations here yet.


The temple of Aphrodite and Hermes and the famous fountain of Salmakis

The temple of Aphrodite and Hermes must have been situated on the Kaplan Kalesi hill, but I could see no remains of it, when my wife and I went through the place in 1978 – and to-day it is not so easy to go there as you know.

Concerning the Salmakis Fountain, however, we have been extremely lucky. Sometime around 1985 the owners of the land excavated some ancient ruins on the seaside on the east of the Kaplan Kalesi with a long inscription on one of the walls.  Bodrum Museum was called to inspect the remains and Aykut Özet discovered that the inscription mentioned the nymph ‘Salmakis’.  Oğuz Alpözen kindly invited the Danish team to take part in the investigation of the remains, which we did. The inscription with an unknown poem in 61 lines was regarded as the most important inscription of the decade. We held a large international symposium at Bodrum Castle with scholars from many countries.  Afterwards we produced a book about the Salmakis inscription in which my colleague, Signe Isager, published the inscription.

The inscription is exceptional, not only because it gives us a new fantastic poem directly from Antiquity, but also because it gives us the exact location of the Salmakis Fountain.  It also mentions mythological subjects which we did not know in this form and because it tells us that at about 100 BCE Halicarnassus was an extraordinary intellectual city very proud of its famous poets, historians and playwrights. I believe that these high cultural ambitions originated in Halicarnassus at the time of the Mausolus family – and it is good to think that modern Bodrum has similar high cultural ambitions to-day.  Salmakis is certainly one of the most important discoveries in Halicarnassus.


The palace of Mausolus

According to Vitruvius, Mausolus had his palace built on the left wing of the natural theatre of the landscape, opposite the Salmakis fountain.

Although there are some difficulties in combining the description by Vitruvius with the actual remains it is beyond any doubt that the palace of Mausolus was situated where the crusader castle currently dominates all other remains.  However it seems now that there are some remains preserved that may be connected to the description by Vitruvius.

In 2001 the Bodrum Museum needed to investigate inside the area of the castle in order to find out where ancient remains were located. This was important for developing the museum exhibition in the future. We managed to get some funding from the Danish Carlsberg foundation and we then did some small excavations relating to some ancient walls to be seen in the castle.  It would certainly be fruitful and highly interesting to carry out additional excavations in the castle but this is what we have now:

  1. A long and more than six metre high ancient terrace wall comparable to that of the Mausoleum terrace. It determines the layout of the west part of the castle although it is 1800 years older.  And it also determines the foundations for some important constructions on the higher level created by the terrace wall.
  2. Lowermost are the remains of a very strong foundation of exactly the same workmanship as the Mausoleum. The foundation blocks are of green lava stone from the Koyun Baba quarries and each stone is fastened to the neighbouring stones with strong iron clamps fastened with molten lead.  We do not know what this foundation was for but it is clearly from the time of Mausolus and it must have carried a prestigious and very heavy building.  Perhaps a temple or an outer monumental gateway to the palace.
  3. On the ancient wall north of this foundation can be seen cuttings for two staircases leading to a higher level. If we follow the modern ramp up to the next level we see a number of smaller rooms with fine entrances. These rooms are adjacent to the large terrace wall that I mentioned a little earlier and it all clearly belongs to the same building complex as it is organized in relation to the large terrace wall. The upper rooms, I think, must be the place from where Vitruvius described the view from the palace – towards the harbour – to the market place and to the great city wall of his magnificent city.

In addition to these remains, which in my opinion must belong to the palace of Mausolus, there are two cisterns which are built by an early technique using no mortar. They could very well be from the palace also.


The City Wall

Vitruvius briefly mentions that from his palace Mausolus could see the fortifications of Halicarnassus.  The city wall of Halicarnassus is in fact an extremely impressive monument.

It was vital that the new, large and monumental residence of the Mausolus family as well as the naval base was strongly defended and the building of the fortifications must have been one of the first and most important duties when the new city was built.

In 1998 the Danish group was invited by the General Director of Turkey’ s monuments and museums, Professor Ender Varinlioğlu, to participate in the restoration of the city wall of Halicarnassus, sponsored by Ericsson and Turkcell and directed by Professor Altançiroğlu from Izmir, Director Oğuz Alpözen from Bodrum Museum and by a committee of prominent Turkish researchers.

For three years my colleague Anne Marie Carstens and I had the privilege to search and document the city wall together with our team. The city wall is, however, a huge monument, and we are still working on it when possible. We hope to have permission and funding to finish the measuring of the wall in 2015 and then to produce a larger publication of our work which is already published in international periodicals.

The most impressive result of this great project is the Myndos Gate which was excavated and restored by our Turkish colleagues. It consists of a large courtyard about 25 metres square.  Two strong towers are advanced a little in front of the wall and from here the defenders could hit any enemies trying to get to the gate. In front of the gate is a large fortification ditch (hendik).

But the entire seven km long wall is such an impressive monument it is really worthwhile following to see its entire length. You will see that the masonry changes according to the type of rock that could be quarried at each site along the wall and in many places you will see remains of towers and stairs, once leading to the upper storey of the towers.

The fortification consisted of a wall of probably about five to six metres in height and had a protected walk on top.  Five to ten metres in front of the wall there was a deep moat or ditch (a hendik), which is well preserved, in front of the Myndos Gate, but can be seen in the landscape from many places.

The Halicarnassus fortification is distinctive in that it has four separate fortresses included in its circuit: The Salmakis fortress, a fortress on the Göktepe, a fortified area in the north-east extension and the fortified castle peninsula where the palace of Mausolus was. All along the wall there were strong towers – in some places as close as 60 metres.

The Halicarnassus city wall was the first major city-fortification to be built in Asia Minor after a long period of stagnation and it initiated a remarkable tradition of huge city walls among which are those of Herakleia, Ephesos and Pergamon where you will find features originally designed for the city wall of Halicarnassus.



We have till now been looking at Halicarnassus through the eyes of the Roman writer Vitruvius, who must have visited Halicarnassus personally and we are able to identify almost all of the main features mentioned by him.

But to-day we know much more about the ancient city, including important buildings and monuments that were not mentioned by Vitruvius, some because they were not so unusual in his eyes and others because they were not built until after his time.



The theatre of Halicarnassus was excavated by the late professor Ümit Serdaroğlu and by Bodrum Museum.  It is of Hellenistic type and the skene (the background building to which the platform stage was connected) was rebuilt in an ornamental way in the Roman period. It looks much as the very early Greek theatres, and Professor Serdaroğlu believed that it was from the time of Mausolus, but of this we are not quite sure.



Maybe it was not so impressive in the early Roman period, when Vitruvius lived, but as demonstrated by the excavations by Bahadir Berkaya and Bodrum Museum in 1988 it is large and quite well-preserved.

We look forward to the time when the Stadium of Ancient Halicarnassus will be excavated and made into one of the important archaeological sites for visitors to Bodrum.


The Roman period

Vitruvius, who wrote at the time of the first Roman emperor Augustus, could not know about the buildings that were constructed after the early Roman period.

For instance the so-called Doric Stoa or “The stoa of the thirty columns”.  It is known from an engraving by the French traveller, Choiseul-de-Gouffier, who visited Bodrum in the 18th century, but is has given rise to misunderstanding that he falsely believed this to be “Le Temple d’Ares” as written on the engraving.  A large part of this columnar hall still stood in the 19th century as we can see on an old photo, which I had the luck to discover in the British Library in London among the papers left after C T Newton.  Through geophysical investigations we know that the stoa runs far longer than indicated by the few pieces of columns still standing. Newton made a small excavation here in 1855/6 and discovered that the floor of the stoa was ornamented with mosaics. The stoa has not been investigated in modern times.


The Late Roman Period

By following Vitruvius we miss in particular that Halicarnassus experienced a very rich revival in the Late Antique or Early Byzantine period between 400 and 600 CE.

This is indicated by many findings of pieces of mosaic floors in all parts of Bodrum and in particular by the discovery by Bodrum Museum of the House of Charidemos in Firkateyn Sokak by the late antique Necropolis outside the Myndos Gate; the monastery and church of Hagia Marina in Türkkuyusu; and by a habitation area very recently excavated by Bodrum Museum west of the Hagia Marina church in the Türkkuyusu Quarter.

The House of Charidemos was discovered in about 1990 by Yasar Yildiz from Bodrum Museum and in the following years large parts of it were excavated in cooperation with the Danish team. It is now being studied and published by my colleague from Aarhus University, Birte Poulsen.

During our studies of the remains we discovered that it is part of a very large and rich Late Roman house or Domus, of which Newton excavated another large part 150 years ago.  When we put our plan and that of Newton together we see that the house was probably of 2000 square metres and that it had several hundred square metres of mosaics throughout its many rooms.

Many of the mosaics found by the British archaeologists they took to the British Museum while those found in recent excavations are left where they were.  Plans have been made for a museum on the site, but it has not yet been carried out. Some of the new mosaics show personifications of the four seasons and others have mythological sea-creatures, fish and dolphins.

From the same time around 500 BCE is the important Late Antique necropolis outside the Myndos Gate, which was excavated by Bodrum Museum and is now also being studied and published by Birte Poulsen. This forms a small necropolis with tombs along two streets. The tombs are in two stories and the upper room was probably be used for commemoration ceremonies. The tombs were beautifully made and in many cases decorated with mosaic floors of a similar type to those in the House of Charidemos.


Hagia Marina

The Hagia Marina site in Türkkuyusu is fascinating and difficult.  Newton thought that the remains here were of a fortified monastery and church and there are certainly remains of both a tower and strong walls as well as of a large church. But no investigations have been made and to my knowledge nothing is known from any historical sources about this building complex. Perhaps it should be assumed as a Late Antique mahalle in connection with the habitation area recently excavated by Bodrum Museum on the west side of the Hagia Marina complex.

Türkkuyusu is very interesting for several reasons. Because of its important period in Late Antiquity, many blocks from older buildings were re-used as seen in the old house no longer existing or by the inscribed columns which are now very difficult to find behind one of the new houses, but which were studied here by travellers in the 18th century.

Especially interesting are some remains found here of a late classical temple from the time of Mausolus.  Although we only know the temple from these blocks and marble roof tiles in secondary use, it is now referred to in classical scholarship as the “Türkkyusu Temple”.


The Mausoleum

The most important building in the new capital of the Carian satrapy was of course the tomb of Mausolus, The Mausoleum.

The Mausoleum might have been planned right from the beginning and integrated in the layout of the new Mausolus city because it is placed in the very centre of Halicarnassus on a huge terrace. But this would have been possible as a secondary thought some years after the new city was already being built.  Cemeteries were always placed outside of the city walls often near the gates and along the roads leading to gates. This was the case for ancient Halicarnassus. No ordinary citizens could be buried inside the city. But clearly Mausolus was no ordinary citizen and the reason that his giant tomb could be placed in the very centre of Halicarnassus must have been that he wanted to be seen as a hero – a demi god. And in fact there was a tradition for pointing out a monument or a tomb in the centre of some Greek cities, which was regarded as the tomb of the more or less mythical person said to have founded the city. As Mausolus actually did re-found and rebuild Halicarnassus completely on a very large scale he could with some reason be regarded as the founding-hero of the city.


The Terrace

The terrace is in itself a monument of unchallenged magnificence. It was 242 metres – almost a quarter of a kilometre long east to west and 105 metres wide.

On the east side it was no less than seven metres high and built of dark blue limestone. All the way round, the Mausoleum terrace was crowned by a wall of white marble about two and a half metres high. The foundations were exceptionally well built and to my knowledge no wall compares. The large amounts of marble used for the crowning wall were too strong a temptation for the Halikarnassians of the Roman period and they took down part of it and recut the marble blocks for a new scene building of the theatre of Halicarnassus.

The crusaders robbed the stones of both the marble wall and the terrace wall and some of these can be found in certain parts of the castle and in the wall of the forecourt to the Tepeık Cami.

Although the crusaders had removed almost every block, remains of the foundations were found to show that a large entrance building was situated on the east side probably giving access directly from the market place, the Agora or forum of Halicarnassus.

It is easy to see the architectural purpose of the terrace. By its 240 metres long blue and white wall, it created an artificial landscape, or a setting for the Mausoleum building, which could no doubt be seen as far away as Kos. It must be one of the greatest terraces in ancient Greek architecture and is as impressive as the terraces of Pergamon – and of much finer materials and workmanship.

Did the terrace in the very centre of Halicarnassus have any other purpose apart from a purely, aesthetic, architectural one?  We don’t know but we think that it may have had Persian style paradeisos – a beautiful botanical garden in the centre of the new capital – with the tomb of the founding hero of Halicarnassus off centre in one corner.


The monument and its quality

When the architects began building the Mausoleum they met various problems.  One was that a vital aqueduct bringing fresh, cool water to the citizens of Halicarnassus passed through one corner of the building site.  It came in a subterranean tunnel from a spring somewhere behind the Göktepe Hill – we don’t know exactly where – and it was an impressive piece of engineering from maybe the time of Herodotos a hundred years before Mausolus.

This did not stop the project and the architects of Mausolus simply moved the line of the aqueduct outside the construction site. The old line of the aqueduct and the important old fountain house had their roofs cut away and were filled up massively with square blocks of strong, green lava stone from the Koyun Baba quarries north of Gümüslük. In this way they could carry the enormous weights of the Mausoleum that would soon be built here.

The new branch of the subterranean aqueduct ran south and then turned east and ended in a fountain on the high east wall of the Mausoleum probably directly to the market place, where the Halikarnassians very conveniently could collect fresh water – from a fountain no doubt several kilometres away. There is no doubt that fresh water was important and there was probably a sanctuary of a water nymph connected to this fountain as there was also to the famous Salmakis Fountain by the Kaplan Kalesi in the modern military holiday camp. This relief showing Hermes and some nymphs and the water god as a bull to the left was found in the quarter of “Eski Cesme” – “the Old Fountain” in Halicarnassus.

But there were other problems with water for the architects of the Mausoleum. Mausolus wanted his tomb to be under the monument – cut out of the rock below!  This of course was difficult as ground water might come up in spring and leave his sarcophagus and other tomb inventory floating around.

Therefore the architects cut a tunnel surrounding the entire building site, below the level of the water aqueduct mentioned before. The tunnels were sloping gently towards the east and if the ground water raised up to the level of this drainage system the water would gather in the tunnels and run to the east from where another tunnel led further on no doubt towards the harbour.

I have spent quite some time on describing these remains because they are authentic and original and which neither the crusaders took away for their castle in Bodrum nor the British to their museum in London.

The monument consisted of three main parts as we know both from the remains and from ancient sources such as Pliny the Elder.

  1. Lowermost there was a solid podium about twenty-five metres in height. The core of the podium and of the entire building was made of more than a hundred thousand ashlars of green lava stone from the Koyun Baba quarries and each ashlar was connected to the neighbouring blocks with strong iron clamps fastened with molten lead – a unique technique of which I know only one other example, namely in the presumed remains of the Palace of Mausolus, to which we will return later.
  2. The massive core of lava stone was faced with white marble. Although the crusaders burned almost all of the marble sculptures to lime enough remains to show that there were several series of at least three different sizes: natural, heroic and colossal.  Some of these groups must have been placed on continuous podia surrounding the Mausoleum.  Among the subjects were battles between Greeks and Persians and very interestingly one series of sculptures initiated in large scale a princely ruler iconography which came to be of importance for many future rulers. These showed the satrap hunting lions, fighting in war, performing sacred offerings to the gods and the receiving foreign embassies.  What little is left of this is in the British Museum in London.
  3. On top of the podium followed a peristyle of 36 fine Ionic columns about ten metres in height and with a newly developed column capital that was going to have a long history in ancient architecture. Above was the roof which was constructed as a stepped pyramid of 24 large steps of white marble. Perhaps Mausolus and Artemisia were represented members of the Hekatomnid dynasty that were placed between the columns. Along the edge of the roof were statues of guardian lions. On the very top of the building was a quadriga drawn by four horses of colossal size.

Other details:  we know that the architect was Pytheos and that he also designed the Temple of Athena at Priene. And we know that four leading Greek sculptors worked on the Mausoleum: Leochares, Timotheos, Bryaxis and Scopas – and maybe also Praxiteles.  Some of these also worked at Ephesos and sold famous works of art to Knidos which at this time must also have belonged to the Hekatomnids.


The tomb and funeral of Mausolus

We can reconstruct some of the details, although the tomb chamber has been robbed of almost every single stone.

When Mausolus was placed in his sarcophagus in the tomb, statues of some kind had been placed in room also – at least one which is preserved seems to be a servant waiting to serve Mausolus in the after world.  A similar waiter is depicted on the new sarcophagus in the Hekatomneion at Mylasa and was placed inside the Belevi tomb just north of Ephesos.  Around him was placed banquet service of extremely expensive colourless glass, of which small pieces were found during the excavations. Then the fine double doors between the tomb chamber and the antechamber were closed and the huge strong and heavy plug-block was shifted into position and fastened with falling bronze dowels.

Then fine jars of alabaster and fine Athenian ceramic were placed outside the tomb and the meat of 25 sheep or goats and of eight lambs, five oxen, ten cocks, three hens, eight pigeons as well as 26 hens’ eggs were placed from one side of the landing to the other in front of the staircase leading up to the surface from the tomb chamber. We do not know whether this was thought to be for Mausolus in the after world or for his share of the banquet that was going to take place next.

Because there certainly must have been a giant banquet for all those attending the funeral:  family members, official guests, priests, military staff and probably artists, poets,  actors and participants in the funeral games all went to join in a great banquet, the perideipnon, which normally followed the rituals at the tomb in Greek burial customs.

The perideipnon would probably have taken place in temporary tents and pavilions of which no trace has survived. But we may nevertheless have some remains from the banquet. Doctor John Lund, who made public parts of the pottery from the Mausoleum excavations, was puzzled by the fact that one well, the so-called well A, which was no longer needed after the fountain in the eastern terrace wall had been opened, had been filled up with no less than nine Chian and one Coan wine amphoras. The Chian amphoras are so similar that they are probably from the same series and the must have contained about 200 litres of expensive Chian wine. This wine must have been consumed on a very special occasion and it seems a possibility that it was precisely for the funeral feast, the perideipnon of Mausolus.



There much more to say about ancient Halicarnassus and I have passed over or commented only very briefly on important historical matters and essential archaeological remains.

I hope though that it has been possible to show, that although Bodrum does not have any overwhelming marble ruins of the Hellenistic and Roman period seen so abundantly at other historical places, it does not mean that the cultural and intellectual history of Ancient Halicarnassus is less important.  It far supersedes that of most other places and in fact there are very few, if any, places in western Turkey that has such important evidence from the Late Classical period – the time of Mausolus – when so many essential characteristics for the art and architecture and culture of the following centuries were created. I don’t think that there are any places of equal importance to Miletos, Ephesos and Halicarnassus at this crucial period in the history of ancient civilisation.  In Miletos and Ephesos these phases have not yet been researched except for the Artemision temple – in Halicarnassus they have.

But Halicarnassus is not only important for the time of Mausolus. In fact Halicarnassus has remains dating from the prehistoric necropolis at Müskebi, it has early Classical remains of the Temple of Apollo in the castle, rich remains from time of Mausolus, Hellenistic remains in the Salmakis fountain, Roman and Late Roman houses and tombs with their rich mosaic floors, early Byzantine, medieval remains in the magnificent Castle of St Peter, mosques and baths and tombs and a shipyard of the Ottoman period and impressive tower houses and elegant Classicistic town houses in Aegean style right up to the last century.  Bodrum and Halicarnassus is rich in all periods and, in the important Late Classical period – the time of the Ionian Renaissance – it was second to none.

Bodrum has unique potentials for becoming a historical town of outstanding importance but it must be treated with care and respect for what previous generations have achieved and left to us to transfer to future generations.


Professor Poul Pedersen
12 November 2014

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