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ART. VIII.- 1. A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus,
Cnidus, and Branchide. By C. T. NEWTON, M.A., Keeper of the Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum ;
assisted by R. P. PULLAN, F.R.I.B.A. London: 1862. 2. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus Restored, in conformity
with the recently-discovered Remains. By JAMES FERGUSSON, Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, &c.
London: 1862. IT T has been a favourite topic with moralists and poets, in all
ages, to inveigh against the vanity of those who strive to secure to themselves, by costly and elaborate monuments, that fame after death which they had not earned by the actions of their lives, and who thus, in the fine language of Cowley, by
the proofs of death pretend to live.' Nowhere, certainly, is this truth more forcibly impressed upon the mind than as one wanders through the long line of tombs that border the Appian Way, in an almost continuous series, from the gates of Rome to the hills of Albano. Sepulchres of the most massive construction arise on each side, the solid masonry of which has defied the destructive agencies of near two thousand years, and still looks as if it might defy them for two thousand more; while the profusion of architectural and sculptured fragments that lie scattered around them sufficiently attest the elaborate decorations with which they have once been ornamented. But in the great majority of cases there remains not one line or letter of inscription to record to posterity the name of the individual over whose remains was raised this costly structure.
There are, however, some notable exceptions to this remark. The tomb of Cæcilia Metella is one of the most striking and conspicuous of the monuments of Roman greatness; and that
stern round tower of other days' has rendered her name familiar to thousands who would never have heard of the wife of Crassus or the daughter of Metellus Creticus. Still more remarkable has been the fortune in this respect of Mausolus, prince of Caria. The obscure despot of a petty province of Asia Minor has been raised to immortality by the celebrity of his tomb alone ; and the monument erected to his memory by the affection or ambition of his wife was long regarded as one of the wonders of the ancient world, while it has given to the whole class of similar monuments a name that has been adopted and incorporated into the language of every civilised nation.
There is abundant evidence that it was not solely, or even
principally, on account of its magnitude that the far-famed tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus was ranked by the ancients, with the Pyramids of Egypt and the Colossus of Rhodes, among the seven wonders of the world. It owed this preeminence to the beauty of its architectural design, and in even a greater degree to the excellence and variety of the sculptures, upon which four of the most eminent artists of the day had bestowed their skill. Lucian, in one of his humorous Dialogues of the Dead, represents Mausolus as arrogating to himself a superiority over all the other shades, on account of his possessing a tomb which surpassed all others in size as well as in the beauty of its decorations, being adorned with figures of men and horses of the ‘most admirable design, and wrought in the finest marble, so ' as to surpass in this respect even the most splendid temples.' Pliny also tells us expressly that it was to the sculptures with which the Mausoleum had been enriched by Scopas and his rival artists that that monument owed its place among the wonders of the world; and the language of Vitruvius is precisely to the same effect. The monument itself long remained to tell its own tale, and appears to have survived through many centuries. We have, indeed, reason to believe that it was still in existence, and retained at least some portion of its pristine magnificence, down to a late period of the Middle Ages. But from that time all trace of it had been lost; and only a few years ago the most celebrated of all sepulchres might well have been cited as one of the aptest illustrations of the vanity of all such monuments. The period of its destruction was unknown, but that destruction had been so complete that the very site was uncertain. Mr. Donaldson, who visited Halicarnassus early in this century, and examined its remains with the eye of an architect, could only say, Of the tomb of Mausolus there are no remains, and it is • difficult even to fix its site. Mr. Newton was the first to indicate its true position; but even after this, Lieutenant Spratt, who was employed by the Admiralty to make an accurate survey of the locality, assigned to it a different situation; while the learned German traveller, Dr. Ross, who visited Halicarnassus in 1844, differed again from the conclusions both of Mr. Spratt and Mr. Newton.
But though all trace of the building itself had thus been lost, there remained to us a brief description of it by Pliny, which, though extremely concise and obscure, was more detailed than most similar notices preserved to us by ancient writers, and contained some precise statements of numbers and dimensions which bore the appearance of being derived from an authentic source.
Hence the restoration of this celebrated
building became one of those problems which has exercised the ingenuity of modern artists ever since the revival of a taste for classical architecture. What the squaring of the circle is to the young mathematician, or the perpetual motion to the young mechanician, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was to the young 'architect; and with the data at his disposal, this problem seemed as insoluble as the other two.' (Fergusson, p. 6.) Not less than forty or fifty of these designs have been published, and in one instance the author had the satisfaction of embodying his conception in a more tangible form than those of his rivals, —the steeple of St. George's Church, Bloomsbury, having been avowedly constructed by its architect as a correct restoration of the Mausoleum. Fortunately for our opinion of ancient taste, we are now able to assert with confidence that this unsightly edifice is not like that which was so much extolled by Vitruvius and Pliny. All these designs observes Mr. Fergusson) had
only one thing in common,--that they were all wrong, --some 'more, some less so, but none seizing what now turn out to be * the main features of the design.'
But if there appeared no reasonable hope of arriving at any definite idea of the architectural features of the Mausoleum, there was still less prospect of our obtaining any conception of the sculptures with which it was once adorned, of those miracles of art to which it owed its chief celebrity. Even the subjects of them are not mentioned by any ancient writer, and we can only infer from the use of the word "cælavit' by Pliny, in speaking of them, that they were principally works in relief rather than detached statues. At the same time, the fact that they were deemed worthy to occupy four of the most eminent sculptors of Greece during a period of several years, and that they were continued by them as a labour of love, and from a spirit of emulation, even after the death of the Queen Artemisia, is a, sufficient proof that they must have been works of an extensive and varied character.
It was in this state of things that attention came to be directed to certain slabs of marble, adorned with bas-reliefs, which were built into the walls of the castle at Budrum -the Turkish town occupying the site of the ancient Halicarnassus -- and which had been noticed by successive travellers, from Thevenot, in the middle of the seventeenth century, to Mr. W. J. Hamilton, in 1837. The beauty of these fragments, which had the appearance of having belonged to the frieze of some ancient edifice of the best period of Greek art, naturally led to the supposition that they had been taken either from the Mausoleum itself or from some of the other buildings with which the
ancient Halicarnassus was adorned, and had been removed from thence to the position they occupied in the castle by the Knights of St. John, who were known to have built the castle itself, during the period that they occupied Halicarnassus. Hence a wish was excited in this country, among persons interested in ancient art, that these marbles -- the excellence of which had elicited high commendations from all who had seen them - could be rescued from a position where they were so difficult of access, and exposed to so many chances of total destruction. At length, in 1846, Sir Stratford Canning, then British Ambassador at Constantinople, succeeded in obtaining a firman from the Porte for their removal; and the sculptures in question were safely conveyed to England, and placed in the British Museum. Here their great merit was at once acknowledged ; and though considerable difference of opinion was expressed, both by English and foreign archæologists, as to the degree of their excellence, it was generally admitted that they had formed part of the frieze of the Mausoleum itself — a supposition now converted into certainty by the discovery of other slabs, of a similar style, and of corresponding dimensions, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Mausoleum.
Public attention having been thus especially directed to the celebrated monument of Halicarnassus, and to the sculptures brought from it, a singular discovery was made, that three fragments of an ancient bas-relief which had long remained neglected in the villa of the Marchese di Negro, at Genoa, corresponded so precisely in their style, subject, and dimensions with those of Budrum as to leave no doubt that they had originally formed part of the same frieze. The fragments thus replaced were the more
more valuable, because they were in far better preservation than the greater part of those in the British Museum, which had suffered so much from atmospheric and other injuries as to throw great difficulties in the way of a correct appreciation of their artistic merit. But while the sculptures thus collected were admitted to be a valuable addition to the existing remains of pure Grecian art, they were, nevertheless, more calculated to increase than to diminish our regret for the disappearance of the far more numerous and important works which had given a world-wide celebrity to the tomb of Mausolus; and it was natural for the public - or at least that small portion of the public which takes an interest in archæological researches – to inquire whether there was not any possibility of recovering, by excavations on the spot, some more considerable remains of these celebrated sculptures, such as had rewarded the labours
of the excavators on the site of the temples at Bassæ and Ægina. The object was, in this instance, the more desirable, because the sculptures of the Mausoleum, from their wellascertained date and known authorship, would be a peculiarly valuable contribution to our knowledge of the history of Greek art, and especially of that later Athenian school, of which so few authentic examples are at present known to us.
The circumstances of the case were indeed not promising. The building itself had, as already mentioned, been so entirely destroyed that its very site was still a matter of question ; and a curious document, brought to light by Mr. Newton, from a writer of the sixteenth century, containing an apparently authentic narrative of the final destruction of the monument, in the year 1522, while it afforded a striking testimony to the remains of its original magnificence down to so late a period, seemed to prove also that these valuable relics had been then annihilated. We shall have occasion to recur in the sequel to the interesting narrative to which we refer. On the other hand, the important results obtained by excavations systematically carried on upon other ancient sites, and especially the extraordinary series of accidents that led to the restoration of the beautiful Temple of Victory at Athens, might lend some colour to more sanguine speculations as to the result.
The first point was evidently to determine the actual site of the Mausoleum, and the merit of this discovery is unquestionably due to Mr. Newton. In a memoir, published in the • Classical Museum,' in July 1847, he had already suggested the probability that the “fragments of a superb Ionic edifice,' noticed by Mr. Donaldson, when he visited the ruins of Halicarnassus, were in fact the remains of the Mausoleum itself, lying in situ;' and he was confirmed in this view when he had himself an opportunity of visiting Budrum, in 1856. He then observed that not only were the fragments on this particular spot of the finest period of Greek architecture, but that no other remains of a similar character were to be observed in any other part of the ancient city. Hence, when he was enabled, by the liberality of Her Majesty's Government, to commence bis excavations at Budrum, it was to this spot that his efforts were immediately directed, and they were soon rewarded by incontestable proofs that he was right in his original conjecture. His labours were continued until he had completely discovered the ground-plan of the long-lost edifice, and traced out the line of the peribolus, or surrounding wall of its sacred enclosure. Numerous architectural fragments, of a highly ornamental character, were also brought to light in the course of the excavations, together with