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The Obelisk of Lateran


The Lateran Obelisk is one of thirteen ancient obelisks of Rome, with its 32.18 m height (with stand and the cross reaches 45,70 m) it is the world's tallest monolithic obelisk.
His story began long ago: Tumtosi III was the pharaoh who made extract from the quarries of Answan a red granite block to raise an obelisk in the courtyard of the Temple of Karnak. When the pharaoh died the great obelisk was brought to Thebes and lying in wait for another destination because it had not been realized the epigraph, only by Tumtosi IV the obelisk was based near the Temple of Amun at Thebes, and Pharaoh he wanted to dedicate the obelisk either to himself than to his grandfather. It was there that saw him Augustus and caressed the idea to take him to Rome, but, as reported by Ammianus, he decided not to do it not for the size of the obelisk that was one big monolith high over 33 meters, as from fear to arouse the wrath of the god Ammun-Rah.
 Only three centuries later with Constantine and his son Constantius, Christian emperors who had no fear of a pagan god, the obelisk took the road to Rome. This part of the story you can read on the same base of the obelisk, in fact, Pope Sixtus V will carved upon them inscriptions concerning the erection and consecration occurred on August 9, 1588 and also inscriptions in memory of what was done by the two emperors: the facade which faces west towards the Capitol one reads that Constantine, Christian emperor, was able to remove the monolith out of its seat and transport along the Nile to Alexandria where you had to specifically build a ship to be able to carry up to Constantinople.
But Constantine died and his son decided to move the monolith in Rome and so, on the facade of Levant watching the Scala Santa, was described the enterprise: " .. the obelisk that the father took from his place and that lay for a long time in Alexandria, was laid in of a ship with three hundred rowers and majestic grandeur, carried it to Rome across the sea and the Tiber with great apparatus in the Circus Maximus it devoted with the Senate and the Roman People. "
The inauguration of the obelisk in the Circus Maximus came in 357 A.D., on the cusp was put a sphere of golden bronze which unfortunately was hit by lightning and had to be replaced with a bronze torch that gleams postponed when she was hit by the sun's rays; the obelisk was the first monument erected in Christian Rome. He stood for a few centuries until a fire fell cracking into 3 sections; lying in the middle of the Circus Maximus he remained buried for centuries under layers of earth that were piling up.
n the centuries that followed remained alive the memory of the place where it was buried, and so, in the XVI century, it was suggested to the Pope builder, Sixtus V, to bring it back to the surface and re-erect it. The pope decided to erect it in Piazza Santi Apostoli but the obelisk size required a more grandiose setting. Was the architect Domenico Fontana to have the task of digging up, restore and erect the obelisk in the Piazza of the Lateran; on top he puts the emblem of the Pope with the three mountains and, in the empty spaces, three lions rampant, all topped by a cross ...



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by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 22/08/2016)