Today this obelisk is located in the central piazza del Popolo in Rome, although originally this huge monument was installed in the temple of the Sun of Heliopolis in the vicinity of the current capital of Egypt, Cairo.
The Obelisk of Seti reaches 24 meters in height and is built from a block of granite. Like other obelisks of the civilization of Ancient Egypt it was transported to Rome at the time of the imperial domination of the old pharaonic kingdom. In the Italian capital there are several examples of this, specifically up to a dozen have been counted. One of them is this one from Seti and another well-known one is the obelisk arranged in the center of the Fountain of the Four Rivers by the Baroque sculptor Bernini located in piazza Navona . Although not only in Rome are there Egyptian obelisks, there are also for example in Paris, where they were transported centuries later when the Emperor Napoleon conquered those lands.
Obelisk of Seti in Rome
In the case of the Obelisk of Seti, Emperor Augustus had it brought to be erected in the Circo Maximo, although in the 16th century and by order of the Pope Sixtus V was moved to its current location.
The obelisks were originally a gigantic image of the power of the pharaohs, being an emblemof their conquests and their immense power, until they became sacred symbols.
Initially it was the great sacred symbol of the Sun god of Heliopolis, and two were usually built to place them at the entrances of the temples of the sun deity. His physiognomy is always the same. It is a square base that rises towards the sky at different heights and culminates in a pyramidal point. On that pyramid of the highest part, its later owners, generally Christians, placed a cross. Instead, in ancient times that point was covered with gold, so that it made the sunlight shine powerfully on it.
The obelisks were also a propaganda element, and hieroglyphics were inscribed on the four walls along their long path recounting the deeds of the pharaoh who had them built.
The construction of monuments of similar dimensions and weight entailed a certain construction technique. For example, to give it its shape and carve the hieroglyphs on the stone, three of its faces were carved in the same quarry. Later the fourth face was detached and the hieroglyphs were completed. And then the costly process of transportation from the original quarry to its final placement had to be carried out. Something that was done thanks to river transport on the Nile River aboard special boats, whose sole purpose was this type of transport.
And finally they had to be erected to their final vertical position, for which they used everythingtypes of tricks and ingenuity, from the brute force of huge numbers of workers to the use of ramps that facilitated their lifting. However, about its final installation, researchers around the world continue to speculate about how the Egyptians worked, since it seems almost impossible that they were capable of doing so considering the technical means of the time.