Originally raised in the Forum Iulium in Alexandriamap by the prefect Cornelius Gallus on Augustus's orders around 30–28 BC. No hieroglyphs. Brought to Rome by Caligula in 37 for the spina of the Vatican Circus.map Relocated by Pope Sixtus V in 1586 using a method devised by Domenico Fontana; the first monumental obelisk raised in the modern period, it is the only obelisk in Rome that has not toppled since Roman times. During the Middle Ages, the gilt ball on top of the obelisk was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar. Fontana later removed the ancient metal ball, now in a Rome museum, that stood atop the obelisk and found only dust. Pedro Tafur in his Andanças (circa 1440) mentions that many passed between the ground and the "tower" basis "thinking it a saintly thing".
By kjfitz @ 2010-08-04 16:38:00