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Artemisia Prepares to Drink the Ashes of her Husband, Mausolus (c.1630) by Francesco Furini
|Satrap of Caria|
Artemisia II of Caria (Greek: Ἀρτεμισία; died 350 BCE) was the sister, the wife, and the successor of Mausolus, ruler of Caria, who was nominally the Persian satrap; Mausolus enjoyed the status of king or dynast of the Hecatomnid dynasty. After the death of her brother/husband, she reigned for two years, from 353 to 351 BCE. Her administration was conducted on the same principles as that of her husband; in particular, she supported the oligarchical party on the island of Rhodes.
Because of her grief for her brother-husband, and the extravagant and downright bizarre forms it took, she became to later ages "a lasting example of chaste widowhood and of the purest and rarest kind of love", in the words of Giovanni Boccaccio. In art she was usually shown in the process of consuming his ashes, mixed with drink.
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 the celebrated Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, 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.
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