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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9458
Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 36.14


nanMonoliths of this granite were made by the kings, to some extent in rivalry with one another. They called them obelisks and dedicated them to the Sun-god. An obelisk is a symbolic representation of the sun's rays, and this is the meaning of the Egyptian word for it. [Tekhen/sunbeam/obelisk] The first of all the kings to undertake such a task was Mesphres [Menes? ], who ruled at Heliopolis, the city of the Sun, and was commanded to do so in a dream. This very fact is inscribed on the obelisk; for those carvings and symbols that we see are Egyptian letters. Later, other kings also cut obelisks. Sesothes set up four of them in the city just mentioned, these being 48 cubits in height, while Rameses, who ruled at the time of the capture of Troy, erected one of 140 cubits. Rameses also erected another at the exit from the precinct where the palace of Mnevis once stood, and this is 120 cubits high, but abnormally thick, each side measuring 11 cubits. The completion of this work is said to have required 120,000 men. When the obelisk was about to be erected, the king feared that the scaffolding would not be strong enough for the weight, and in order to force an even greater danger upon the attention of the workmen, he himself tied his son to the pinnacle, intending that the stone should share the benefit of his deliverance at the hands of the labourers. This work was so greatly admired that when Cambyses was storming the city and the conflagration had reached the base of the obelisk, he ordered the fires to be put out, thus showing his respect for the mighty block when he had felt none for the city itself. There are also two other obelisks here, one set up by Zmarres, and the other by Phius: a both lack inscriptions and are 48 cubits in height. At Alexandria Ptolemy Philadelphus erected one of 80 cubits. This had been hewn uninscribed by King Neethebis, and it proved to be a greater achievement to carry it down the river and erect it than to have quarried it. According to some authorities, it was carried downstream by the engineer Satyrus on a raft; but according to Callixenus it was conveyed by Phoenix, who by digging a canal brought the waters of the Nile right up to the place where the obelisk lay. Two very broad ships were loaded with cubes of the same granite as that of the obelisk, each cube measuring one foot, until calculations showed that the total weight of the blocks was double that of the obelisk, since their total cubic capacity was twice as great. In this way, the ships were able to come beneath the obelisk, which was suspended by its ends from both banks of the canal. Then the blocks were unloaded and the ships, riding high, took the weight of the obelisk. It was erected on six stone baulks from the same quarries, and the deviser of the scheme received 50 talents for his services. The obelisk was once in the Arsinoeum, having been placed there by the king to whom we previously referred as a tribute to his affection for his wife and sister Arsinoe. From there, because it was in the way of the dockyards, it was moved to the market-place by a certain Maximus, a governor of Egypt, who cut off the point, intending to add a gilt pinnacle in its place, a plan which he later abandoned. There are two other obelisks at Alexandria in the precinct of the temple of Caesar near the harbour. These were cut by King Mesphres and measure 42 cubits., Above all, there came also the difficult task of transporting obelisks to Rome by sea. The ships used attracted much attention from sightseers. That which carried the first of two obelisks was solemnly laid up by Augustus of revered memory in a permanent dock at Pozzuoli to celebrate the remarkable achievement; but later it was destroyed by fire. The ship used by the Emperor Gaius for bringing a third was carefully preserved for several years by Claudius of revered memory, for it was the most amazing thing that had ever been seen at sea. Then caissons made of cement were erected in its hull at Pozzuoli; whereupon it was towed to Ostia and sunk there by order of the emperor, so to contribute to his harbour-works. Then there is another problem, that of providing ships that can carry obelisks up the Tiber; and the successful experiment shows that the river has just as deep a channel as the Nile. The obelisk placed by Augustus of revered memory in the Circus Maximus was cut by King Psemetnepserphreus, who was reigning when Pythagoras was in Egypt, and measures 85 feet and 9 inches, apart from its base, which forms part of the same stone. The obelisk in the Campus Martius, however, which is 9 feet less, was cut by Sesothis. Both have inscriptions comprising an account of natural science according to the theories of the Egyptian sages.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

7 results
1. Ovid, Tristia, 3.1.61 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

2. Propertius, Elegies, 2.31.3-2.31.8 (1st cent. BCE

3. Strabo, Geography, 14.1.21 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

14.1.21. The city of Ephesus was inhabited both by Carians and by Leleges, but Androclus drove them out and settled the most of those who had come with him round the Athenaion and the Hypelaeus, though he also included a part of the country situated on the slopes of Mt. Coressus. Now Ephesus was thus inhabited until the time of Croesus, but later the people came down from the mountainside and abode round the present sanctuary until the time of Alexander. Lysimachus built a wall round the present city, but the people were not agreeably disposed to change their abodes to it; and therefore he waited for a downpour of rain and himself took advantage of it and blocked the sewers so as to inundate the city; and the inhabitants were then glad to make the change. He named the city after his wife Arsinoe; the old name, however, prevailed. There was a senate, which was conscripted; and with these were associated the Epicleti, as they were called, who administered all the affairs of the city.
4. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 35.114, 35.139, 36.13, 36.22, 36.24-36.25, 36.28, 36.32, 36.35, 36.42, 37.11, 37.14 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

5. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation To The Greeks, 4.48.2-4.48.3 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

6. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.1.4, 1.27.1, 2.10.7, 2.19.7, 3.16.7, 8.39.6, 9.27.3 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.1.4. The Athenians have also another harbor, at Munychia, with a temple of Artemis of Munychia, and yet another at Phalerum, as I have already stated, and near it is a sanctuary of Demeter. Here there is also a temple of Athena Sciras, and one of Zeus some distance away, and altars of the gods named Unknown, and of heroes, and of the children of Theseus and Phalerus; for this Phalerus is said by the Athenians to have sailed with Jason to Colchis . There is also an altar of Androgeos, son of Minos, though it is called that of Heros; those, however, who pay special attention to the study of their country's antiquities know that it belongs to Androgeos. 1.27.1. In the temple of Athena Polias (of the City) is a wooden Hermes, said to have been dedicated by Cecrops, but not visible because of myrtle boughs. The votive offerings worth noting are, of the old ones, a folding chair made by Daedalus, Persian spoils, namely the breastplate of Masistius, who commanded the cavalry at Plataea 479 B.C., and a scimitar said to have belonged to Mardonius. Now Masistius I know was killed by the Athenian cavalry. But Mardonius was opposed by the Lacedaemonians and was killed by a Spartan; so the Athenians could not have taken the scimitar to begin with, and furthermore the Lacedaemonians would scarcely have suffered them to carry it off. 2.10.7. Ascending from here to the gymnasium you see in the right a sanctuary of Artemis Pheraea. It is said that the wooden image was brought from Pherae. This gymnasium was built for the Sicyonians by Cleinias, and they still train the youths here. White marble images are here, an Artemis wrought only to the waist, and a Heracles whose lower parts are similar to the square Hermae. 2.19.7. Within the temple is a statue of Ladas, the swiftest runner of his time, and one of Hermes with a tortoise which he has caught to make a lyre. Before the temple is a pit Or (reading βάθρον πεποιημένην and ἔχον ) “pedestal.” with a relief representing a fight between a bull and a wolf, and with them a maiden throwing a rock at the bull. The maiden is thought to be Artemis. Danaus dedicated these, and some pillars hard by and wooden images of Zeus and Artemis. 3.16.7. The place named Limnaeum (Marshy) is sacred to Artemis Orthia (Upright). The wooden image there they say is that which once Orestes and Iphigenia stole out of the Tauric land, and the Lacedaemonians say that it was brought to their land because there also Orestes was king. I think their story more probable than that of the Athenians. For what could have induced Iphigenia to leave the image behind at Brauron ? Or why did the Athenians, when they were preparing to abandon their land, fail to include this image in what they put on board their ships? 8.39.6. The image of Hermes in the gymnasium is like to one dressed in a cloak; but the statue does not end in feet, but in the square shape. A temple also of Dionysus is here, who by the inhabitants is surnamed Acratophorus, but the lower part of the image cannot be seen for laurel-leaves and ivy. As much of it as can be seen is painted . . . with cinnabar to shine. It is said to be found by the Iberians along with the gold. 9.27.3. Sappho of Lesbos wrote many poems about Love, but they are not consistent. Later on Lysippus made a bronze Love for the Thespians, and previously Praxiteles one of Pentelic marble. The story of Phryne and the trick she played on Praxiteles I have related in another place. See Paus. 1.20.1 . The first to remove the image of Love, it is said, was Gaius the Roman Emperor; Claudius, they say, sent it back to Thespiae, but Nero carried it away a second time.
7. Velleius Paterculus, Roman History, 2.1.2, 2.81.3



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aegyptus, sons of Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
aemilius scaurus, m. Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
alcibiades, and eros Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
alexander the great, his lamp stand Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
antiphilus, his alexander, philip, and athena Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
antiphilus, his hesione Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
archermos Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
artemis, in temple of apollo palatinus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
artemis Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
artemon, works in portico of octavia Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
athenis Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
augustus, and alexander the great Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
augustus, and apollo Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
augustus, and the palatine Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
avianius evander, c. Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
bupalos Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
caecilius metellus macedonicus, q. Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
cephisodotus, his aesculapius Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
cephisodotus, his diana Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
cephisodotus, works in temple of apollo palatinus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
clement of alexandria Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 462
cornelia Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
cult images, aniconic Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
cult images Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
dactyliotheca, in the temple of apollo palatinus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
dactyliotheca Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
danaos Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
danaë Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
dionysius, his zeus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
dionysus Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
doidalses, his venus at bath Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
dress Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
egyptians in alexandria, sarapis Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 462
greek gods, apollo Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 462
greek gods, dioscuri Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 462
hera Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
hercules, and deianira Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
his pan and olympus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
identity emergence, egyptian' Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 462
laomedon Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
latona Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
lenaea vases Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
lysippus, his granicus group Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
mithridates, his dactyliotheca Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
myron, works on palatine Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
myths, aetiological Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
neptune Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
philip ii of macedon Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
philiscus of rhodes, his aphrodite Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
polycharmus, his aphrodite Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
polycles, his zeus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
pompeius, sex., defeated at naulochus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
pompey the great, collects gems Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
praxiteles, eros Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, arch of octavius Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
rome, portico of octavia, a famous eros in Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia, and athena Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia, and phidias aphrodite Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia, and the granicus group Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia, gabinius deposits standards in Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia, its collection Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia, its scholae Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia, praxiteles works in Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, portico of octavia Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
rome, temple of apollo palatinus, portico of the danaids Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
rome, temple of apollo palatinus, triad represented on sorrento base Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
rome, temple of apollo palatinus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
rome, temple of jupiter stator, junos statue in Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
sarapis/serapis Schliesser et al., Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World (2021) 462
scopas, cupid attributed to Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
scopas, works in temple of apollo palatinus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238
stratonice Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 259
temples Steiner, Images in Mind: Statues in Archaic and Classical Greek Literature and Thought (2001) 87
timotheus Rutledge, Ancient Rome as a Museum: Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (2012) 238