Since the ancient historian Herodotus was a native of Halicarnassus much has come down to us today about the city’s past and traditions. He and Strabo of Amasva wrote that the first colonists were Dorians from Troezen, in the Peloponnesus led toy the son of Poseidon. The city was included in the Dorian Confederacy of Cnidus, Cos, Camirus, Lindus and lalysus which met at Cnidus to honor Apollo. Halicarnassus was dropped from this union after having offended religious traditions during one of these assemblies. Another reason for this expulsion is thought to have been a result of Halicarnassus’ growing alliance with the lonians of Caria. Control of this area went to the hands of Lydian kings in the early sixth century B.C., until 146, when the Persian armies conquered Lydia. Later, the area was placed under the domain of Athens. During the reign of Xerxes, the tyrant Lygdamis II was assigned to rule Halicarnassus in effort to quell a series of political disturbances. His daughter, Artemisi,followed and supported the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 B.C. It seems that Artemisia played the part of tyrant even better than her father, ond she was appointed admiral to lead the Halicarnassian fleet for Xerxes against Athens.
In 377, the famed Mausolus came to rule the powerful Carian city. Mausolus was awarded the Persian title of Satrap or governor, and set immediately to work at expanding his realm. During his reign, Caria was one of the most Important naval powers of the Aegean area. He replanned and zoned the city of Halicarnassus and devised strict codes of civil law, to the extent that even long hair on men was cause for stiff penalties. At Mausolus’ death in 353, his sister-wife, Artemisia II, ascended the throne and quickly put down an attack from Rhodes, destroying the island’s entire fleet.
It was sometime during this period that the Tomb of Mausolus was erected. Artemisia’s rule was short-lived, however, lasting only a scant three years before her death, idrieus, her brother, succeeded her and was followed by his sister-wlfe, Ada, During Queen Ada’s reign, her brother, Pixodaurus, took control of Halicarnassus, forcing the queen to flee to Alinda. Queen Ada, in the end, regained her rightful throne, but not before conspiring with Alexander the Great as he swept across from Macedonia. Alexander forced his way into the capital city, defended by the conqueror’s former enemies from Athens, and, after having removed the citizens, completly razed the city. At this time, In 334, Ada was restored as sovereign of Caria, and the Greek cities of the kingdom were declared free and exempt from taxes.
Phillip V of Macedonia controlled Halicarnassus in the third century, during his battles with Ptolemus Epiphanes, the Basileus of Egypt, Seleucid power then came to an end in 190, when Caria was assigned by the Roman Emperor to Rhodes. Halicarnassus had suffered a. severe blow however, at the hands of Alexander. The city failed to regain Its former presence and splendor even though the famed Mausoleum had remained unscathed by the ravaging Macedonians.
Among the most famous of Halicarnassus’ men of letters was, as previously mentioned, Herodotus, who lived during _the years 484-24 B.C. He is traditionally accepted as the father of written history, and is most known for his «History» that was published in 430. Herodotus had travelled widely In the areas of Anatolia and Greece,, gathering and compiling Information for his writings. Then he retired to the island of Samos to organize the histories of Assyria, Babylonia Egypt, Thrace, as well as those of the Greek and Persian wars. He took seven years to finish his major work, and was awarded a tribute of ten ‘talents for his efforts. The uncle of Herodotus the epic poet Panyasis was also something of a celebrity by ancient standards. In fact, after the publication of his two important works, Heraclias and Iónica, he was adjudged second in his field only to Homer. And another historian, also from Halicarnassus, Dianysuis, was well-known In Rome during the last century B.C., for his twenty volume treatise, «The Roman Antiquities».
Coins were minted as early ds 395 B.C. in Halicarnassus, and were primarily of silver. One type of this early «Carian Family» currency was stamped with Zeus holding the Carian Labrys or double-biaded axe on one side and a Ifon on the other. Coins minted during Mausolus’ reign were stamped with Zeus and Apollo, as were later gold coins that were issued during the period of Pixodaurus, Others, during Raman times, were usually of bronze and were engraved with the bust of the current emperor.