Pompey's Pillar (column)

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Pompey's Pillar

Pompey's Pillar is a Roman triumphal column in Alexandria, Egypt, and the largest of its type constructed outside of the imperial capitals of Rome and Constantinople.1 The only known free-standing column in Roman Egypt which was not composed of drums,1 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.2 The weight of the single piece of red Aswan granite is estimated at 285 t.2 The column is 26.85 m high including its base and capital.2 Other authors give slightly deviating dimensions.A 1

Erroneously dated to the time of Pompey, the Corinthian column was actually built in 297 AD, commemorating the victory of Roman emperor Diocletian over an Alexandrinian revolt.2

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. Then on 3 February, 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. Three days later they climbed the pillar again, erected a staff, fixed a weather vane, ate a beef steak, and again toasted the king.3


  1. ^ 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.).

Coordinates: 31°10′56.98″N 29°53′47.23″E / 31.1824944°N 29.8964528°E / 31.1824944; 29.8964528


  1. ^ a b Thiel 2006, pp. 251–254
  2. ^ a b c d Adam 1977, pp. 50f.
  3. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 11, 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

See also

External links

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