Pompey’s column (Pompey's Pillar) at Alexandria , Egypt


 Pompey’s column

The Pompey’s pillar is one of the most surviving monuments in Alexandria. The column is located in the middle of the Serapeum temple on the hill of Bab Sidra and between the Muslim cemeteries and the Catacomb of kom Shoqafa . Pompey's Pillar is considered one of the oldest and highest columns in the world.

The description

It is about massive column that consists of a base , a shaft and a capital. The total height of the Pompey’s column (the base and the capital) is 26.85m and it made of red granite . The Pompey’s pillar located in the western side of Alexandria . It dates back to the Roman period.

Pompey's Pillar at Alexandria , Egypt

The base

The base of column is about number of blocks from older buildings and it collected and reused to construction the base of column . The blocks bear a hieroglyphic inscription confirm that this blocks reused from older buildings. In western side of the base, there was a cartouche of Sety I that inscribed on one piece of the blocks . The base also bear the name of Senusert II and Senusert III.

 In the eastern side of the base ,there was a Greek inscription that indicates a dedication of a statute of queen Arsinoe (wife and sister of Ptolemy Philadelphus) from Sostratos son of Satiros.

In the western side of the Pompey’s column ,there was a Greek inscription  is the most important as it indicates the dedication of the column in honor of the Emperor Diocletian.

The shaft

The shaft of Pompey’s column is made of one block of red granite from the Quarries of Aswan.  

The capital

The capital of Pompey’s column is made of porphyry and it take the Corinthians capital shape.

The names of the column:

-Sawary pillar: This column was given many names throughout the different ages, and this pillar was known as the Sawary pillar in the Arab era because of its lonely towering height among many other small pillars that resemble ship masts, which are the remains of the Serapeum Temple. According to the Arab historian "ِِAl-Maqrizi" this pillar was one of 400 other pillars in this place.

-Pompey’s pillar: That name is a misnomer,was invented by travelers and sailors who were led astray by the constant desire to establish links between the monuments they discovered and the ancient texts they had read before embarking of their tours . Since the Crusades, the "pillar column" has been mistakenly known as the "Pompey's Column", and this error is due to the fact that the Europeans thought that the head of the Roman commander Pompey, who fled to Egypt to escape from Julius Caesar and was killed by the Egyptians, had been placed in a funerary urn above the Capital of the column, which was known Also known as the "Theodosian Pillar" in the Byzantine period.