Pompey's Pillar (column)
Pompey's Pillar is a Roman triumphal column in Alexandria, Egypt, and the largest of its type constructed outside the imperial capitals of Rome and Constantinople. The only known free-standing column in Roman Egypt which was not composed of drums, it is one of the largest ancient monoliths and one of the largest monolithic columns ever erected.
The monolithic column shaft measures 20.46 m in height with a diameter of 2.71 m at its base. The weight of the single piece of red Aswan granite is estimated at 285 tonnes. The column is 26.85 m high including its base and capital. Other authors give slightly deviating dimensions.[A 1]
Ibn Battuta the Muslim traveler visited Alexandria in 1326 AD. He describes the Pillar and recounts the tale of an archer who shot an arrow tied to a string over the column. This enabled him to pull a rope tied to the string over the pillar and secure it on the other side in order to climb over to the top of the pillar.
In early 1803, Commander John Shortland of HMS Pandour flew a kite over Pompey's Pillar. This enabled him to get ropes over it, and then a rope ladder. On February 2, he and John White, Pandour's Master, climbed it. When they got to the top they displayed the Union Flag, drank a toast to King George III, and gave three cheers. Four days later they climbed the pillar again, erected a staff, fixed a weather vane, ate a beef steak, and again toasted the king.
- According to Thiel, the single-piece column is 20.75 m high (28.7 m including base and pedestal), with a diameter of 2.7–2.8 m (pp. 252f.).
- Thiel 2006, pp. 251–254
- Adam 1977, pp. 50f.
- Naval Chronicle, Vol. 27, p.111.
- Adam, Jean-Pierre (1977): "À propos du trilithon de Baalbek: Le transport et la mise en oeuvre des mégalithes", Syria, Vol. 54, No. 1/2, pp. 31–63 (50f.)
- Thiel, Wolfgang (2006): "Die 'Pompeius-Säule' in Alexandria und die Viersäulenmonumente Ägyptens. Überlegungen zur tetrarchischen Repräsentationskultur in Nordafrika", in: Boschung, Dietrich; Eck, Werner: Die Tetrarchie. Ein neues Regierungssystem und seine mediale Präsentation, Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, ISBN 978-3-89500-510-7, pp. 249–322
- List of ancient architectural records
- Browne-Clayton Monument
- Pompey's Pillar (disambiguation), listing other things named for this pillar
Media related to Pompey's Pillar at Wikimedia Commons