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p367 Obeliscus Augusti in Circo Maximo

Article on p367 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.


Obeliscus Augusti in Circo Maximo: brought from Heliopolis by Augustus at the same time as the gnomon (v. supra). This is shown by the identical inscriptions on the bases of the two (CIL VI.701 = 702). It was dedicated to the Sun ( Cassiod. Var. III.51.8, wrongly says that it was dedicated to Luna), and erected on the spina of the circus Maximus (Strabo XVII.805; Amm. Marcell. XVII.4.12; Plin. NH XXXVI.71; Not. Brev.; Chron. 145). The hieroglyphics on the shaft were cut partly by Seti I and partly by Rameses II, 1292‑1325º (Amm. Marcell. XVII.4.17‑23; BC 1896, 145‑173, 250‑259 = Ob. Eg. 51‑90). The height of the obelisk is 23.70 metres (cf. Plin. loc. cit.; Not. Brev.; Chron. 145; CIL I283 = AL 1552, 83; Jord. II.187). Nothing is known of the history of the obelisk after the fourth century until the sixteenth, when fragments of the base and inscription were found during the pontificate of Gregory XIII (1572‑1585), and the obelisk itself, broken into three pieces, in 1587. It was then removed and erected on its present site, in the Piazza del Popolo (LS IV.148‑150; HJ 124; BC 1914, 114‑115).


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