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Bill Thayer

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 p367  Obeliscus Constantii

Article on pp367‑368 of

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

Obeliscus Constantii: the obelisk which is now standing at the Lateran which was brought to Rome by Constantius in 357 A.D., and set up on  p368 the spina of the circus Maximus (Amm. Marcell. XVI.10.17; XVII.4.12; Cassiod. Var. III.51.8). It was erected by Thutmose III in the fifteenth century B.C. in front of the temple of Ammon at Thebes. Augustus thought of bringing it to Rome, and Constantine did bring it down the Nile to Alexandria. Its transportation to Rome and erection by Constantius are described by Ammianus (XVII.4.13‑16) and in the inscription cut on four sides of the base, which has now disappeared (CIL VI.1163; cf. 31249 = AL 279). The obelisk is of red granite, 32.50 metres high (cf. Cur. Brev.; Jord. II.189; HJ 132) — the largest in the world and the last brought to Rome. Its surface is covered with hieroglyphics (BC 1896, 89‑115, 129‑144 = Ob. Eg. 8‑50). It is mentioned in the twelfth century (Mirabilia 25), and again in 1410‑17 (Anon. Magl. 17, ap. Urlichs, 159; LS I.45), and by Du Pérac (Roxburghe, p107), but in 1587 it was found, broken into three pieces and buried about 7 metres in the ground. It was excavated by Sixtus V and erected in 1587 on its present site (LS IV.148‑151; BC 1917, 23).

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