Artemisia II of Caria
|Artemisia Prepares to Drink the Ashes of her Husband, Mausolus (c.1630) by Francesco Furini|
Artemisia II of Caria (in Greek, Ἀρτεμισία; died 350 BC) was both the sister and the wife, as well as the successor, of Mausolus, ruler of Caria, who was nominally the Persian Satrap; Mausolus enjoyed the status of king or dynast by virtue of the powerful position created through the efforts of their father Hecatomnus and himself after the former succeeded the assassinated Persian Satrap Tissaphernes in the Carian satrapy. After the death of her brother/husband she reigned for two years, from 353 to 351 BC. Her administration was conducted on the same principles as the one of her husband (see definition of "Satrap" and its origins), whence she supported the oligarchical party on the island of Rhodes.
She is renowned in history for her extraordinary grief at the death of her husband (and brother) Mausolus. She is said to have mixed his ashes in her daily drink, and to have gradually pined away during the two years that she survived him. She induced the most eminent Greek rhetoricians to proclaim his praise in their oratory; and to perpetuate his memory she built at Halicarnassus a celebrated majestic monument, listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and whose name subsequently became the generic term for any splendid sepulchral monument (mausoleum, Greek: μαυσωλεῖον).
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was approximately 140 feet in height and surrounded on all four corners with 36 marble columns, nine on each of the four sides. These were adorned with sculptural reliefs created by each one of four Greek sculptors. The west side was done by Leochares, the north side done by Bryaxis, the east side by Scopas of Paros, and the remaining side facing south was done by Timotheus. A fifth artist was called in after the death of Artemisia named Pteron. He crowned the existing grand monument with a pyramid that was just as tall which contained 24 steps. A sixth sculptor was added to the artist group called Pythius who built at the very top a marble chariot with four white horses. Artemisia never saw the completion of her marvellous sepulchre.
Another celebrated monument was erected by her in Rhodes to commemorate her conquest of the island. The Rhodians, after regaining their liberty, made it inaccessible, whence it was called in later times the Abaton (άβατον).
Legacy in popular culture
Artemisia is referenced in the manga 12 Days by June Kim, about a woman who mourns her former girlfriend by drinking her ashes mixed with fruit smoothies.
- Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca, xvi. 36, 45; Demosthenes, Speeches, "On the liberty of the Rhodians", 11, 27
- Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, iii. 31; Strabo, Geography, xiv. 2; Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae, x. 18; Pliny, Natural History, xxv. 36, xxxvi. 4; Valerius Maximus, Facta et dicta memorabilia, iv. 6; Suda, s.v. "Artemisia", "Mausolos"
- Vitruvius, De architectura, ii. 8
- Smith, William (editor); Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, "Artemisia (2)", Boston, (1867)
- Virginia Brown's translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Famous Women, pp. 115–118; Harvard University Press 2001; ISBN 0-674-01130-9
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1867). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
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