The Nereid Monument


The Nereid Monument is a sculpted tomb from the classical city of Xanthos in Lycia (Modern day Turkey). The reconstructed monument is located in Room 17 of the British Museum in London.


The ruins were discovered by Charles Fellows in the 1840s and were shipped to the British Museum. The eastern facade of the monument was reconstructed in the museum and is visible in the adjoining photograph. The complete monument would have had a western facade similar to that of the eastern facade, constructed with four columns. The northern and southern facades would have had six columns. This structure would have stood on an elevated podium which was decorated with a double frieze. Sculpted figures would have stood in between pairs of columns. The monument gets its name from the eleven surviving life sized sculptures of women (sea-nymphs), three of which adorn the eastern facade. 

Did you know?: The monument was built for Erbinna (Arbinas), who was the ruler of Xanthos in Lycia. Although he was not Greek, this tomb monument was built in the Greek style. This monument not only used the ionic order of Greek temples but it also directly referenced the Parthenon. There is a relief on the east pediment of the Nereid Monument which portrays Erbinna and his wife, which, according to a senior curator of the British Museum, was inspired by the portrayal of Zeus and Hera on the Parthenon’s east frieze.

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