Fascinating Facts About The Pompey's Pillar In Alexandria, Egypt

Pompey's Pillar in Alexandria.
Pompey's Pillar in Alexandria.

Where Is The Pompey's Pillar Located?

The Pompey's Pillar, an architectural wonder, is located amidst the ruins of the Serapeum in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria. It is one of the largest monoliths of the ancient times. The Serapeum was an ancient Greek temple that was built during the reign of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt and was dedicated to the deity Serapis who was believed to be Alexandria’s protector.

When Was The Pompey's Pillar Built?

Although the Pompey's Pillar is named after Pompey, a Roman political and military leader, the pillar is in no way connected to him. The Pompey's Pillar was thus erroneously named so. It was actually constructed in 297 AD to celebrate the victory of a Roman emperor named Diocletian (who ruled Rome between 284 to 305 AD and also wielded control over Egypt) over a revolt in Alexandria.

Structure Of The Pompey's Pillar Of Alexandria

The pillar is in the form of a monolithic column shaft whose base diameter is 2.71 m. The shaft of the pillar excluding the base and capital (the topmost member of a column) is 20.46 m tall. If the height of the base and the capital are taken into account, then the total height of the pillar is 26.85 m. The pillar has been carved out of a single piece of red granite from Aswan and its estimated weight is 285 tons.

Around The Pompey's Pillar Of Alexandria

The pillar stands tall on a rocky plateau in stark contrast to the surrounding ruins of the Serapeum. Steps leading down from the pillar blend into the ruins of the temple. Two sphinx statues are also present near the base of the Pompey's Pillar. Although the Serapeum was one of the most magnificent temples in the area, it was heavily plundered and possibly destroyed by Roman soldiers or a Christian mob. Hence, nothing much remains today. The area also hosted a branch of the famous Library of Alexandria.


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