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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
City in Caria on the N coast of the gulf of Kos. Originally one of
the three mainland members of the Dorian hexapolis, founded according to tradition
by Anthes or one of his descendants from Troezen. Later the city was expelled
from the hexapolis, ostensibly because of the misconduct of her citizen Agasikles,
who took home the tripod he had won at the Triopian games instead of dedicating
it on the spot to Apollo (Hdt. 1.144). Strabo (653) observes that after the death
of Kodros, king of Athens, Knidos and Halikarnassos were not yet in existence,
though Rhodes and Kos were. By the 5th c. the city had become wholly Ionian; the
inscriptions are in Ionic, and Herodotos and Panyassis wrote in that dialect.
At the same time there was a strong Carian element in the city; the citizens'
names are equally divided between Greek and Carian, and the two are often mixed
in the same families. Vitruvius (2.8.12) records a tradition that the Carians,
driven to the hills by the Greek settlers, were later attracted down to the city
by the excellence of the water of Salmakis, a suburb where a Greek had set up
a tavern, and so became civilized.
After the Persian conquest in the 6th c. Halikarnassos was ruled by
a Carian dynasty, represented at the time of Xerxes' invasion of Greece by the
queen Artemisia, who joined his forces in person and was regarded by him as one
of the wisest of his advisers (Hdt. 8.68-69, 101-3). She took part in the battle
of Salamis in her own ship (Hdt. 8.87-88). In the Delian Confederacy Halikarnassos
was assessed at one and two-thirds talents, indicating her modest importance in
the 5th c. Towards the middle of the century, as an inscription shows (SIG 45),
the government was in the hands of the tyrant Lygdamis II, grandson of Artemisia,
but the decree was issued at the same time by the Council of the Halikarnassians
and Salmakitans, apparently a first step towards a modified democracy. This Lygdamis
was subsequently expelled, with the help, it is said, of the historian Herodotos.
Halikarnassos became of real importance when Mausolos, satrap of Caria
from 377 to 353, made it the capital of his satrapy in place of Mylasa. The city
was rebuilt, with a wall over 4.8 m long, and manned by the forcible transplantation
of the inhabitants of six of the eight Lelegian towns on the Myndos peninsula
(Strab. 611). The Carian element in the city was in this way considerably strengthened.
Mausolos was succeeded by his sister--wife Artemisia II, who built (or at least
completed) his tomb, the Mausoleion. When the Rhodians attacked Halikarnassos
in an attempt to take Caria, Artemisia defeated them and retaliated by capturing
the city of Rhodes (Vitr. 2.8.14-15). On her death in 350 she was followed in
quick succession by the other children of Hekatomnos, Idrieus, who married his
sister Ada, and Pixodaros, who expelled Ada to Alinda and shared the rule with
the official Persian satrap Orontobates.
Halikarnassos was one of the few places which resisted Alexander in
334. After much fierce fighting the defenders set fire to the city and withdrew
to the headlands on either side of the harbor. Alexander sacked the city and passed
on to Lycia, leaving the task of blockading the headlands to Ada, with whom he
had previously had friendly dealings. When they surrendered, she was appointed
ruler of the whole of Caria (Arr. 1.20-23; Diod. 17.24-27). Pliny (HN 5.107) states
that Alexander incorporated six towns in Halikarnassos; their names are those
of the neighboring Lelegian towns. This however seems to be a confusion with the
After Alexander's death the city came into the possession of the Ptolemies
until 190; after Magnesia she was left as a free city, and seems to have remained
so thereafter. Plundered by Verres in 80 B.C., restored by Quintus Cicero in 60,
plundered again by Brutus and Cassius, the city prospered less than most under
the Empire; the Imperial coinage is somewhat scanty and the title of neocorus
does not appear. Later the bishop of Halikarnassos ranked 21st under the metropolitan
of Staurupolis (Aphrodisias).
Distinguished citizens included the historians Herodotus and Dionysios,
Herakleitos the epigrammatist, and Phormio the boxer, Olympic victor in 392 B.C.
but found guilty of corruption four years later.
The ruins have been almost entirely obliterated by the town of Bodrum,
though much of the city wall is still standing; the masonry varies between polygonal
and a somewhat irregular ashlar. On the W side two solid towers remain from the
tripylon mentioned in Arrian's account of the siege by Alexander; the present
road to Myndos passes this point. On the NE, outside this line of wall, is a stretch
of exterior wall apparently belonging to an earlier scheme of defense that was
soon abandoned; this was probably the wall attacked by Alexander. The Mylasa gate
must have been in this region, but has not survived. The acropolis hill, now called
Goktepe, rises to a height of 160 m; on its SE slope is the theater, still fairly
well preserved in 1815 but now completely denuded, with only a few blocks of the
seats remaining. In 1857 the substructures of the Mausoleion and some of the sculptures
were discovered; the site was subsequently buried, but recently excavation has
begun again. Apparently the peribolos and associated buildings were never completed.
Of the other buildings investigated in the 19th c. virtually nothing remains,
though the modern town is full of ancient stones, many of them sculptured or inscribed.
Tombs are mostly rock-cut chambers; these are numerous on the slopes of Goktepe,
frequently arranged in groups.
Vitruvius gave a picture of the city in antiquity in the passage already
cited. He compared it to the cavea of a theater, with the agora by the harbor
representing the orchestra, and a wide street running across halfway up, like
a diazoma; at the middle point of this was the Mausoleion. On the summit of the
acropolis was a shrine of Ares with a colossal statue, on the right horn, by the
fountain of Salmakis, a temple of Aphrodite and Hermes, and on the left horn the
palace of Mausolos. From this palace there was a view to the right over the agora,
harbor, and wall circuit, while below it on the left, "hiding under the hills,"
was a secret harbor, to which the king could issue commands from the palace without
anyone being aware of it.
Apart from the Mausoleion, no building mentioned in this passage has
been located. The shrine of Ares (fanum, which need not have been a full-scale
temple) should be on the summit of Goktepe, where there is nothing now but an
oblong platform. Salmakis is placed with near certainty on Arsenal Point on the
W side of the harbor. The fountain is now under water; fresh water rises in the
harbor a short distance off the point, but there is no sign of the temple. The
street and agora have long since been obliterated, and no trace of the palace
has been found on or near the headland (originally called Zephyrion) which forms
the E horn of the harbor and now carries the castle of the Knights of St. John.
The smaller secret harbor played a part in Artemisia's defeat of the Rhodians;
hiding her ships in it, she led them by a canal (fossa facta) into the main harbor
to seize the Rhodian ships. This canal is apparently the river referred to by
Pseudo-Skylax (98); there is no river, or even stream, at or near Bodrum. The
position of this second harbor is a puzzle. "Under the hills" is in
any case unintelligible, and sub montibus has been emended to sub moenibus, but
even so no secret harbor is discoverable in the region of the castle headland.
There is a line of submerged wall on the E side of the main harbor which has been
attributed to it, but a situation actually inside the harbor is obviously inappropriate.
It seems that the secret harbor must be merely the open roadstead on the E side
of the headland, with a canal across the isthmus to the main harbor. Mausolos'
palace would then have stood on the landward side of the isthmus; looking S, the
main harbor would be on the right and the second harbor on the left.
The territory of Halikarnassos adjoined that of the independent cities
of Myndos on the W and Theangela on the E, but the exact boundaries are not determinable.
The great castle of the Knights of St. John was built in the 15th
c., largely of materials taken from the Mausoleion and other ancient buildings;
much of the stone came from quarries still to be seen at Koyunbaba a few miles
N of Myndos. The castle houses three small museums containing objects from the
surrounding countryside, including some from recent underwater explorations.
G. E. Bean, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Halikarnassos: Eth. Halikarnasseus, Halicarnassensis: Bodrun or Boudroum),
a Greek city on the coast of Asia Minor, on the Ceramian gulf. It was a colony
of Troezene in Argolis established on the slope of a precipitous rock, and one
of the six towns constituting the Doric hexapolis in Asia Minor, the five other
towns. being Cnidos, Cos, and the three Rhodian towns Ialysus, Lindus, and Camirus.
(Herod. vii. 99, iii. 14; Strab. xiv. pp. 653, 656; Paus. ii. 30. § 8; Ptol. v.
2. § 10; Pomp. Mel. i. 16; Plin. v. 29; Steph. B. s. v.) The isthmus on which
it was situated was called Zephyrium, whence the city at first bore the name of
Zephyria. Halicarnassus was the largest and strongest city in all. Caria (Diod.
Sic. xv. 90), and had two or even three very impregnable arces; the principal
one, called Salmacis, was situated on a precipitous rock at the northern extremity
of the city [p. 1027] (Arrian, Anab. i. 23; Vitruv. ii. 8; Diod. xvii. 23, foll.),
and received its name from the well Salmacis, which gushed forth near a temple
of Aphrodite at the foot of the rock, and the water of which was believed to exercise
an enervating influence (Ov. Met. iv. 302). But Strabo justly controverts this
belief, intimating that the sensual enjoyments and the delicious character of
the climate must rather be considered to have produced the effects ascribed to
the Salmacis. Another arx was formerly believed to have been in the island of
Arconnesus in front of the great harbour, which is now called Orak Ada; but this
belief was founded upon an incorrect reading in Arrian. (Strab. l. c.; Arrian,
Anab. i. 23; Hamilton, Researches, ii. p. 34.) Besides the great harbour, the
entrance to which was narrowed by piers on each side, there was a smaller one
to the southeast of it. Halicarnassus, as already remarked, originally belonged
to the Doric hexapolis; but in consequence of some dispute which had arisen, it
was excluded from the confederacy. (Herod. i. 144.) During the Persian conquests
it was, like all the other Greek towns, compelled to submit to Persia, but does
not appear to have been less prosperous, or to have lost its Greek character.
While the city was under the dominion of the Persians, Lygdamis set himself up
as tyrant, and his descendants, as vassals of the kings of Persia, gradually acquired
the dominion of all Caria. Artemisia, the widow of Lygdamis, fought at Salamis
in the fleet of Xerxes. The most celebrated among their successors are Mausolus
and his wife and sister Artemisia, who, on the death of Mausolus, erected in his
honour a sepulchral monument of such magnificence that it was regarded as one
of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This Carian dynasty, though subject
to Persia, had themselves adopted Greek manners and the Greek language, and had
a taste for the arts of Greece. But notwithstanding this, Halicarnassus was faithful
to Persia, and was one of the great strongholds of the Persians on that coast,
and a chief station of the Persian forces. This, and the gallant defence with
which the Halicarnassians defended themselves against Alexander, induced that
conqueror, after a protracted siege, to destroy the city by fire. He was, however,
unable to take the acropolis Salmacis, in which the inhabitants had taken refuge.
(Strab. and Arrian, l. c.; Died. Sic. xvii. 23, foll.; Curtius, ii. 9, foll.)
From this blow Halicarnassus never recovered, though the town was rebuilt. (Cic.
ad Quint. Frat. i. 1) In the time of Tiberius it no longer boasted of its greatness,
but of its safety and freedom from earth-quakes. (Tac. Ann. iv. 55.) Afterwards
the town is scarcely mentioned at all, although the Mausoleum continued to enjoy
its former renown. (Const. Porph. de Them. i. 14; see the descriptions of it in
Plin. xxxvi. 9, and Vitruv. ii. 8.) The course of the ancient walls can still
be distinctly traced, and remains of the Mausoleum, situated on the slope of the
rock east of Salmacis, and of the arx, as well as the spring Salmacis, still exist.
(Hamilton's Researches, ii. pp. 34, foil.) Among the numerous temples of Halicarnassus,
one of Aphrodite was particularly beautiful. (Diod.; Vitruv. l. c.) To us the
city is especially interesting as the birthplace of two historians, Herodotus
and Dionysius. Some interesting sculptures, brought from Boudroum, and supposed
to have originally decorated the Mausoleum, are now in the British Museum.
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited June 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
(Halikarnassos). The modern Budrum. A celebrated city of Asia
Minor, stood in the southwestern part of Caria, opposite to the island of Cos.
It was founded by Dorians from Troezen. With the rest of the coast of Asia Minor
it fell under the dominion of the Persians, at an early period of whose rule Lygdamis
made himself tyrant of the city, and founded a dynasty which lasted for some generations.
His daughter Artemisia assisted Xerxes in his expedition against Greece. Halicarnassus
was celebrated for the Mausoleum, a magnificent edifice which Artemisia II. built
as a tomb for her husband Mausolus (B.C. 352), and which was adorned with the
works of the most eminent Greek sculptors of the age. Fragments of these sculptures,
which were discovered built into the walls of the citadel of Budrum, are now in
the British Museum. Halicarnassus was the birthplace of the historians Herodotus
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Halikarnassos, Halicarnassus, Halikarnassos
- Halikarnassos: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
- Halicarnassus: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
- Halicarnassus: Perseus Lookup Tool
- Perseus: Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary(1879)
The Catholic Encyclopedia
A titular see of Caria, suffragan of Stauropolis. It was a colony from Tr?zen in Argolis, and one of the six towns that formed the Dorian Hexapolis in Asia Minor. It was situated on Ceramic Gulf and the isthmus known as Zephyrion, whence its original name, Zephyria, was protected by many forts, and was the largest and strongest town in Caria. Its harbour was also famous. The Persians imposed tyrants on the town who subdued all Caria, and remained faithful to Persia, though they adopted the Greek language, customs, and arts. Its queen, Artemisia, and her fleet were present with Xerxes at Salamis. Another Artemisia is famous for the magnificent tomb (Mausoleum) she built for her husband, Mausolus, at Halicarnassus, a part of which is now in the British Museum. The town was captured and burnt by Alexander. Though rebuilt, it never recovered its former prosperity, and gradually disappeared almost from history. The historians Herodotus and Dionysius were born there. It is the modern Bodrum, the chief town of a caza in the vilayet of Smyrna, and has 6000 inhabitants, of whom 3600 are Mussulmans and 2200 Greeks. Halicarnassus is mentioned (I Mach., xv, 23) among the towns to which the consul Lucius sent the letter announcing the alliance between Rome and the high-priest Simon. To its Jewish colony the Romans, at a later date, gave permission to build houses of prayer near the sea coast (Josephus, Ant. jud., XIV, x, 23). In the "Notiti? Episcopatuum" mention of it occurs until the twelfth or thirteenth century.. Lequien (Oriens Christ., I, 913) mentions three bishops: Calandion, who sent a representative to the Council of Chalcedon, 451; Julian, condemned in 536 as an Aphthartodocetist; Theoctistus, present at the Council of Constantinople, 553. At the Second Council of Nic?a in 787, the see was represented by the deacon Nicetas.
S. Petrides, ed.
Transcribed by: Douglas J. Potter
This text is cited July 2004 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908)
City of Asia Minor.
Halicarnassus was one of six cities of Dorian origin in Caria
that had gathered in a confederacy having its common sanctuary, a temple to Apollo,
on the promontory on which Cnidus
was located, named the Triopion. Together they formed what used to be called the
Hexapolis (in Greek, “the six cities”) until, for some reason, Halicarnassus
was excluded and the remaining cities became the Pentapolis (in Greek, “the
Halicarnassus was the birthplace of the first historian whose works
have come down to us, Herodotus.
Bernard Suzanne (page last updated 1998), ed.
This text is cited July 2003 from the Plato and his dialogues URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.