Monday, January 7, 2008

Obelisks of Rome-Piazza della Rotonda

You may notice that Egyptian obelisks feature prominently in almost every piazza. There are thirteen obelisks in Rome which came from Egypt or were made in Rome. The first obelisks came to Italy from Egypt with Augustus (then called Octavian) after his defeat of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 BCE. The obelisk in the Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon was commissioned by the pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BCE and erected in front of the temple of Ra in Heliopolis, Egypt. The obelisk was brought to Rome in the 1st century BCE and set up in the Temple of Isis. In 1711 Pope Clemens XI moved the obelisk to a fountain in the Piazza della Rotonda and placed the Chigi family crest, an 8 sided star above 6 mountains, atop it.

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