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Greek Architecture - Tombs

( Originally Published 1921 )



The Harpy Tomb, Xanthos (B.C. 550) has boldly sculptured archaic reliefs of harpies or birds with the heads of women. It is one of the important tombs found in Asia Minor, and is in the British Museum.

The Nereid Monument, Xanthos (B.C. 370), is generally considered to have been a trophy monument, and the model in the British Museum has been designed from important fragments discovered by Sir Charles Fellows. This little building consists of a central chamber surrounded by an Ionic colonnade on a stylobate. Sculptured figures of nereids or marine nymphs, with their attributes, originally stood between the columns, and these, with the sculptured friezes, acroteria, and pediments, are excellent specimens of the art of the period in Asia Minor.

The Mausoleum, Halicarnassos (B.C. 353) (p. 113), the most famous of all tombs, and one of the seven wonders of the world, was erected to King Mausolos by his widow Artemisia, and consisted of a square podium, sup-porting a tomb chamber surrounded by Ionic columns and surmounted by a pyramidal roof, with a marble quadriga and group of statuary at its apex (p. 113 C, L). Restorations have been made of this famous monument, based upon the description of Pliny, and several of these are given (p. 113 EK). From this tomb is derived the title " Mausoleum," applied to monumental tombs. The architects were Satyros and Pythios, and Scopas was the master sculptor. Portions of the frieze, the statues of Mausolos and Artemisia, with the horses, quadriga, and other fragments, are grouped together in the British Museum.

The Lion Tomb, Cnidos (p. 114 AF) consisted of a square podium and Doric colonnade of engaged columns surmounted by a stepped roof crowned with a lion (from which the tomb takes its name) which is in the British Museum. The interior was circular and roofed with a dome in projecting horizontal courses (p. 114 B).

The Sarcophagus, Cnidos(p. 114J)is an interesting and beautiful example, taken from a tomb chamber, of the ornamental treatment given to a stone coffin hewn out of one block of marble and with sculptures of a late period.

The Tomb of the Weepers, Sidon (B.C. 350) (p. 114 x), now in the Museum at Constantinople, is a sarcophagus in the form of a miniature Ionic temple, with sculptured figures of mourners between the columns.

The Alexander Sarcophagus (B.C. 350) (p. 114 G, H), also found near Sidon, and now in the Constantinople Museum, is the most beautiful and best preserved of all. It is so called because marble sculptures on its sides represent battles and hunting scenes of Alexander, and some of the original colour still remains on the sculpture.

There are also important rock-cut tombs in North Africa and in Asia Minor (p. 94 E), and reference has already been made to the Lycian Tombs (p. 52), of which the two brought to London by Sir Charles Fellows in A.D. 842 are in the British Museum.

The Stele (p. 123 G) consisted of a slab of stone placed upright in the ground, like a modern headstone, carved in bas-relief, and generally terminated with an anthemion ornament ; many of these can be seen in the British Museum (pp. 124 D, 125 D).



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