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The Belevi Mausoleum


The Belevi mausoleum. Photo Jona Lendering.
The Belevi mausoleum.
Belevi Mausoleum: Hellenistic tomb near Ephesus, final resting place of Antiochus II Theos.

The Belevi mausoleum was built for Lysimachus, one of the successors of Alexander the Great, whose capital was Ephesus. The monument is fourteen kilometer upstream from the big city. However, Lysimachus was never buried in this tomb, because he was defeated by Seleucus I Nicator at Corupedium (281) and lost his life and his kingdom. Instead, the tomb appears to have been the final resting place of the Seleucid king Antiochus II Theos (261-246).

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The entrance of the chamber of the Belevi mausoleum. Photo Jona Lendering.
The entrance of the chamber of the Belevi mausoleum.

The Belevi mausoleum was probably inspired by the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. In any case, the socle (with the burial chamber) was a square of 29 x 29 meter, about ten meter high, carved out of the rock and covered with plates of marble. On top of this was a storey that was surrounded with twenty-eight columns. If the parallel with the Halicarnassian Mausoleum is correct, there was a pyramid-like superstructure, crowned with a statue of the deceased.

The sarcophagus is in the museum of Selçuk, together with two lions. Other parts of the decoration are now in the museum of Izmir: a/o griffins and a centauromachy, i.e., a battle between centaurs and humans. This was a very common theme, which represents the victory of civilization over barbarianism. In the 1930's, traces of paint were still visible.
Part of the decoration of the Belevi mausoleum. Archaeological museum, Izmir (Turkey). Photo Marco Prins. Part of the decoration of the Belevi mausoleum. Archaeological museum, Izmir (Turkey). Photo Marco Prins. One of the lions of the Belevi mausoleum. Museum of Selçuk (Turkey). Photo Jona Lendering. Part of the decoration of the Belevi mausoleum. Archaeological museum, Izmir (Turkey). Photo Marco Prins. One of the lions of the Belevi mausoleum. Museum of Selçuk (Turkey). Photo Jona Lendering.
There is an important ancient stone quarry near the mausoleum.

A satellite photo of the tomb can be seen here.
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2004
Revision: 10 June 2010
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