The Ancient Egyptians

by
Adam Ashcroft

The Lateran Obelisk

The immense size of this single piece of granite, is still awesome today and is the tallest surviving ancient Egyptian obelisk anywhere in the world today.
There are 27 outside, standing Egyptian obelisks in the world today. Only 6 still reside in Egypt.

An obelisk is a single, quadrangular, monolithic stone which is wider at the bottom and tapers gently inwards and upwards as it reaches its
pyramidion summit. Sometimes the pyramidion was covered with a gold and silver alloy called electrum. The electrum cap emulated the glare
of the Sun as it emitted its rays to the earth. The sides generally contain embellished inscriptions of hieroglyphs. The inscriptions were usually
dedications to the Sun god or commemorations of a life of a king or queen. They were normally made in pairs to sit outside the entrances
and pylons of temples. It is believed that the Ancient Egyptians associated obelisks with the rays of the sun that cascaded downwards to the earth
and increased in width, creating a pyramid or obelisk image - the Egyptians thus associated the obelisk with the worship of the solar cult.

The earliest known obelisk to date, was discovered in Abusir, and dates to the Old Kingdom reign of Niuserre [c.2449-2417 BC].
The squat obelisks of the 5th Century Sun temples were no more than 10 feet tall - these were called ben-ben. The obelisks were
called tekhenu by the Egyptians and their modern name comes from the Greeks who called them 'little spits' which were items used for roasting
meat over a fire. The ancient mythology of Egypt tells us that the obelisks were meant to come in pairs and that there were two in heaven and




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Author - Adam Ashcroft





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