The Nereid Monument at Xanthos

Photo of NereidMonument
  • Above: The Nereid Monument from Xanthos. Photo. British Museum  

This monument is a tomb, built around 380 BC by Greek architects and sculptors, for a king of Lycia (in south-west Anatolia). It consists of an Ionic building, similar to a Greek temple, on top of a large podium, both richly decorated with sculpture.

The front pediment shows a royal court, and the rear a fight. The architrave frieze depicts a hunt (east and west sides), a battle (south side), and probably the preparation for a banquet (north side). The interior frieze shows a feast (north), sacrifice (west) and assembly (east), and the podium frieze a king receiving elders, a siege, fighting and horsemen.

Between the columns stand statues of women, often referred to as "Nereids", from which the tomb takes its name. The monument was brought to the British Museum in the mid 19th century.