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Wednesday, 10 March 2010




Herodotus, the historian who embroidered history with his pen,

Artemisia, the woman warrior who wore swords of war as jewellery,

A second mother to Alexander the Great, proud Ada,

Paniasis the Poet, who lost his life under the command of the tyrant,

Mauselos who created a magnificent city from the cruel taxation of his people,

II. Artemisia who erected one of the Seven Wonders of the World as a show of love and loyalty,

Dionysus the Philosopher, accepted as the greatest resource about the Roman history,

Turgut Reis, the conqueror of the Mediterranean,

One of the most eccentric characters of the history of Turkey

And the land which witnessed the fisherman of Halicarnassos, a Bodrum lover and exile who embraced the blue of the sea with emerald shores in his novels.

A home to most famous characters since the antiquity until today…

Halicarnassos, Bodrum…

The hometown of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a place which opened its bosom to many civilizations since the antiquity, a home to Grand Kings and Queens


Surrounded by hills, a place suitable for human habitation, a place rendered safe by roads and harbours which reinforcing the defence, a fertile land in all seasons …

This is BODRUM

Anatolia was divided into three regions in the antiquity. All of today’s Mugla city and the mountainous region in the southern side of Aydın city were known as the Karian Kingdom, central Anatolia belonged to the Lydians and the Mysians ruled the North.

The very first inhabitants of Halicarnassos are the Carians and Lelegs.

Ancient Greeks talked about the Carians and Lelegs as the oldest nations of the Aegean.

In his tales, Homeros says that Carians and Lelegs are Asian races which settled in the Aegean.

According to Strabbon, the famous geographer of the Antiquity, Lelegs have established 8 different settlements in the area.

Again, the famous historian of the past Plinius suggested that these eight cities were known as Syangela, Myndos, Termera, Side, Madnasa, Pedesa, Telmisos and Uranium.

The most protected of those Leleg cities is Pedesa.

The first settlement was established in Halicarnassos was Zephyria, which was a small island close to the mainland.

It is believed that the name was taken after Zephyrus, the god of breeze.

The small island was connected to the mainland in time.

It is known that the ruins of Zephyria lies beneath today’s Bodrum castle...

Halicarnassos takes its place a part of a unity of six cities towards the end of 8th Century BC and beginning of 7th Century BC.

Knidos being the Center, these cities are Kos, Kamiros, Iliassos, Lindios and Halicarnassos.

This fertile region and resulting wealth supported the arts, culture and health of the people and these cities sheltered the most important personalities of history.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was educated at the health Center protected by Asclepios, the god of health.

Eudoksos, the famous astronomer of the antiquity

Sostratos the architect who built the Alexandria Lighthouse Tower, considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was from Knidos.

The statue of Aphrodite, carved by Praktiseles and known as the Aphrodite of Knidos is one of the treasures of the Aegean World.

The famous historian Herodotus and his uncle, epic poet Paniasis, are also from Halicarnassos.

The most important written record about his time belongs to Herodotus

Herodotus mentions 3 changes made to their uniforms by Carians

Instead of the shields hung to the neck and left shoulder with leather strips, the hand held shields, which allowed mobility and ease in movements, were invented. Outside faces of the shields were ornamented with pictures and plumes were attached to warrior helmets.

The word Caria means the plume put on the helmets in wartime.

Persians, who wanted to dominate the antique world and enslave the people declared war on Lydia.

Carians took the Lydian side in this war.

Falling under Persian rule one by one, Carian cities joined the Ionian uprising at a later date.

The Persians appointed tyrants, who were in control of the political structure, in the cities they have invaded as administrators.

Herodotus mentions about I. Artemisia, daughter of Lygdiamis

‘Despite the fact that she is a woman I was amazed to see that she joined the Greek war. Her husband was dead, her son was young. She was managing the city herself ’

Her enterprising character and manly courage had pushed her into an unnecessary war.

Her name was Artemisia.

She was the daughter of Lygdiamis. She was from Crete on her mother’s side.

She was the head of Halicarnassos, Kos and Nisiros.

Her ships were the biggest ships, only second to Sidon navy.

She was the best advisor to the King amongst the allies.

In 480 BC Persian King Xerxes continued his attacks in order to spread out towards Greece. He led his navy as admiral.

The Persians and the Greeks headed off towards Salamis for the most important naval battle in history.

In this war, which could have been the end of Greek civilisation, both navies suffered heavy losses. Despite the tactics of the brave queen of pirates, I. Artemisia, the war ended with the defeat of Persian might.

Much praised and honoured by Herodotus, the I Artemisia, this woman hero of powerful navies has caused her capital Halicarnassos to be remembered and known throughout the world as a result of her place and power amongst powerful kings of the world.

Although the representatives of Persian dominion increased the wealth of the region, they fell into a dilemma in terms of social and political affairs.

According to a marble inscription discovered by Sir Charles Newton at the Halicarnassos excavations, it is stated that in accordance with the Lygdiamis Laws, political exiles would be stripped off all their possessions, those without any possessions would be enslaved and sold off to other cities and would not be allowed back in to Halicarnassos.

The tragic death of Paniasis the epic poet, second to Homeros in fame, had deeply affected the people of Caria.

A friend of Sophocles, the famous historian Herodotus was also exiled from Halicarnassos.

Born in Halicarnassos, Herodotus lived between 490-425 BC. He was a travelling researcher. He wrote a 9 volume book in Ionian language on the events he witnessed and things he saw. The book was named ‘Researches of Herodotus from Halicarnassos’. Even if he had referred to Homeros from time to time, he is still known as the father of History. Influenced by his uncle, he offers a poetic expression in his writings. Herodotus enlightens the world as the written reference to pre-Roman times.

There is another character that intensified the fame of Halicarnassos, someone whom we talk about, perhaps without noticing his importance.


The creator of Mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the antiquity, which succeeded in having his name remembered with respect and admiration long after his death, an intelligent as well as pitiless King.

When Hekatomnos died, his eldest son Mauselos was enthroned as his successor. He chose Halicarnassos as his capital because of the suitability of the port to merchant marine as well as the natural make up of the area for defence purposes.

He had the old city rebuilt according to a new plan.

Mauselos ruled all of Caria, including Lycia, as the satrap of Great Persian empire, created balance between the peoples of the Aegean and prevented disorder by oppression.

He had silver coins minted to his name. A Helios bust representing the Carian sun and an image of Zeus holding a Carian axe appeared on the coins.

The sister and wife of Mauselos, who died in 353 BC, II Artemisia could only rule Caria for two years.

With her brilliant intelligence and war like qualities, which she took from her ancestors, she was victorious over Rhodes and re took the island under Carian sovereignty.

She continued the construction of the magnificent Mausoleon in memory of her husband. However, she was not able to see the completion. When she died, her body was also buried in Mausoleon.

Considered to be one of the seven wonders of the antique world, Mausoleon was erected by the most able architects and sculptors of the era. It is well known that the sculptors continued to work on the structure even after the death of II Artemisia just out respect they had for their professions and for the sake of art.

The detailed information we have today about the Mausoleon are mainly those written by the Roman writer Plinius.

According to Plinius, those who worked on this Mausoleon were pretentious artists. They have created it to be the 7th unique structure of the world.

Skopas the sculptor carved the reliefs on the east side, Leokhares carved those on the west, and Timotheos’s work was on the southern side. The four horse chariot and accompanying statue group were created by Pytheos.

Built on an old grave site, it is known that the structure consists of five sections including the burial chamber built on a rectangular plan, the base, Ionian style columns, pyramidal roof with 24 steps, a four horse chariot and statues.

It is approximately 50 meters high.

Loukianos, a writer from the island of Samos, has Mauselos say the following in a dialogue he imagines between Mauselos and Diogenes:

’ I have such a great grave in Halicarnassos that no other mortal has ever had a similar one. The statues and reliefs were carved put of marble not easily found. That is why I am so proud’.


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