©The trustees of the British Museum

Hyrcanus likely modeled his family mausoleum after the great display tombs of the classical world. The most elaborate was the fourth-century B.C.E. tomb of Mausolus, king of Caria, built at the ancient city of Halicarnassus in what is today southwestern Turkey. Remembered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the towering tomb featured a massive, tiered base (decorated with depictions of warriors in battle) that held the crypt of the king, and a colonnaded, temple-like upper story where the living gathered to feast and celebrate his life. Like the tomb of Mausolus and other display tombs of this area, Qasr al-Abd, too, featured numerous carvings and statues of lions, which were apotropaic symbols intended to guard the bodies of the dead.