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HALICARNASSUS (Ἁλικαρνασσός: Eth. Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, Eth. 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. (Hdt. 7.99, 3.14; Strab. xiv. pp. 653, 656; Paus. 2.30.8; Ptol. 5.2.10; Pomp. Mel. 1.16; Plin. Nat. 5.29; Steph. B. sub voce 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. 15.90), 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. 1.1027](Arrian, Arr. Anab. 1.23; Vitr. 2.8; Diod. 17.23, 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. 4.302). 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, Arr. Anab. 1.23; 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. (Hdt. 1.144.) 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


A. Salmacis, the acropolis.

B. Tombs in the rock.

C Theatre.

D. Spring Salmacis.

E. The Mausoleum.

F. Gate leading to Myilasa.

G. Hill of the Windmils.

H. Gate leading to Myndus.

I. Palace of the ancient kings.

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.; Diod. 17.23, foll.; Curtius, 2.9, foll.) From this blow Halicarnassus never recovered, though the town was rebuilt. (Cic. ad Quint. Frat. 1.1) In the time of Tiberius it no longer boasted of its greatness, but of its safety and freedom from earth-quakes. (Tac. Ann. 4.55.) Afterwards the town is scarcely mentioned at all, although the Mausoleum continued to enjoy its former renown. (Const. Porph. de Them. 1.14; see the descriptions of it in Plin. Nat. 36.9, and Vitr. 2.8.) 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. (Ross, Reisen auf den Griech. Inseln, vol. iv. pp. 30, foll., from which the accompanying plan is taken.)



hide References (13 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (13):
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 1.1
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 17.23
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 15.90
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.14
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.99
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.144
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.30.8
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 4.302
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 2.8
    • Tacitus, Annales, 4.55
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 36.9
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.29
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 1.23
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