Mausolus assumed the role of ruler of Halicarnassus after his father, Hecatomnus of Milas passed away in 377 BC.
Mausolus, along with his wife and sister Artemisia, spent heavily to build Halicarnassus into a magnificent and beautiful capital.
Large buildings were constructed using gleaming and expensive marble. A Greek influenced theatre was built to entertain citizens. Even a temple was constructed and dedicated to the Greek god of war, Ares. To realize his dream, Mausolus had to heavily tax his citizens, which put a strain on the capital.
After Mausolus' death in 355BC, Artemisia commissioned the construction of the tomb to hold their remains for eternity. Two years after Mausolus's death, Artemisia passed away. It is believed they were cremated and their ashes placed into the unfinished tomb. It is unclear whether workers stayed to complete the tomb based on their passion for the deceased couple or their desire to complete the beautiful and unique tomb.