[Johann Heinrich Tischbein* the Elder, Artemisia trauert um Mausolos, before 1775, source: Wikimedia Commons]
We know little of Artemisia’s life before 353 BCE. She was one of five children of the satrap Hecatomnus. At some point she married her eldest brother Mausolus, who would eventually inherit their father’s throne. In 353, Mausolus died and the throne passed not to his younger brother, but to his sister/wife, Artemisia, who acted as satrap in her own right.
At some point during her reign, the people of Rhodes decided to free themselves of foreign control, seeing Artemisia as not strong enough a ruler to prevent it since she was a woman. They were wrong. There’s some uncertainty as to whether she came up with the strategy of tricking the Rhodians into thinking they had won, but there is no denying that it worked. They wound up sending all of their soldiers to attack and plunder Artemisia’s property, only to find that her army had taken control of Rhodes in their absence.
*I'm relatively certain (though not entirely since I haven't spoken or read German in a long while) that his last name means "table leg."
Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca 16.36.2, 16.45.7 - Perseus
Demosthenes, "On the Liberty of the Rhodians" - Perseus
Vitruvius, De Architectura 2.8.14-15 - Perseus
Suda, "Artemisia" - Suda On Line
Bocaccio, Giovanni. Famous Women. Translated by Virginia Brown. Harvard University Press, 2003. [Parts of this may be found here.]
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus - Livius.org
Artemisia II of Caria - Wikipedia