• Arts
  • Crafts
  • Egyptian Obelisks

  • Comparison Between Egyptian and French Obelisks

    Criteria Egyptian Obelisks Obelisk of Arles
    Images Egyptian Oblelisks Obelisk of Arles
    Materials Obelisks were made from a single block of hard and durable granite rock Red granite from Asia minor
    Shape - A monolithic stone with a quadrangular base, placed upright and ending with a pointed top
    - The obelisk is composed of two parts:
    1. The body is a long block of a conic trunk section
    2. The pyramidon is top of the obelisk symbolized the rays of the sun, it had a pyramid formation and was plated in gold, a metal which the Egyptians believed was the skin of gods
    Egyptians believed that solar rays had a vivifying power.
    - The length varied from less than 1 meter to 30 meters
    Strange shape with a thin top and a wide base
    - Height: 15.78 meters
    - Base diameter: 1.70 meters
    - The point was topped with a bronze globe representing the sun, dotted with lotus flowers.
    Function and Use
    - Religious elements - Obelisks were symbols of the solar god Ra
    - In the Architecture of temples they were placed in pairs, in front of entrance pylons and served to magically protect the temple
    - A Decorative element - the obelisk was a landmark in the heart of the Roman circus
    Historical Development - They arose, from the Pre-Dynastic Period, and were only fully developed during the New Kingdom, all ancient obelisks still in existence were erected during the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic Period
    - Erected under the Roman emperor Constantine in the 4th century in the center of the "spina" of the circus of Arles
    Decorations - Inscriptions on all four sides of the body
    - Parts of the pyramidon were carved with bas-relief
    - The Roman obelisk is devoid of inscriptions
    Historical heritage - There are only 26 Egyptian obelisks still remaining at present, 8 are in Egypt
    1. Senusret 1 12th Dynasty - The earliest temple obelisk still in its original position at Heliopolis - 20.7m high - 120 tons red granite
    2. Thutmose 1 18th Dynasty- Karnak Temple
    3. Hatshepsut 18th Dynasty - Karnak Temple
    4. Ramses 2 19th Dynasty - The twin obelisks erected to conmemorate the victory at the battle of Qadesh, in front of the Karnak temple - 22.5m high - 114 tons each
    5. Ramses 2 19th Dynasty - was originally erected in Tanis and transported to the actual place, Al Andalus Garden in Gezira Island, Cairo, in 1958 - 13.5m high
    6. Ramses 2 19th Dynasty - Cairo Airport
    7. Seti 2 19th Dynasty - Karnak Temple
    8. Ramses 3 20th Dynasty - Aswan
    The rest were transported to Rome and other European cities in antiquity
    - Abandoned and fell down in the 6th century.
    - It was rediscovered in 1389, and Louis XIV placed at its present position in front of the town hall.