Pieces of History, part 1: Pompey’s Pillar

(Perhaps if we know each other personally, you’ll know that I am a bit of a wonk.  I have a very very dweebish side that rears its dorky head especially in situations like the one I am about to describe.  So, noble reader!  Open up your braincase and let’s get nerdy)

Looking at the busy neighborhood of Rhacotis, one would never know that this is where the city of Alexandria began.

For 3200 years it was a fishing port in ancient Egypt.  Then, in April of 331 B.C. Alexander the Great picked it as his namesake city. This was probably because this area of the Nile Delta is deep enough to allow ships to pass reliably without running aground.

Unfortunately for history buffs and archaeologists, the city built on top of itself over hundreds of years.  Nowadays, Rhacotis stands on the ancient Alexandrian acropolis, much of which is still largely unexplored because it is covered up by the modern city.

We visited the part of the Acropolis that has been excavated, a site combining Pharaonic, Greek and Roman artifacts.

In the middle stands Pompey’s Pillar, a triumphal column built in celebration of Diocletian, the 51st emperor of the Roman Empire, in 293 A.D..  It is 99 feet tall and at the top of a hill flanked by two sphinxes of pink granite .  Surrounding it is a massive archaeological site, part of the ancient Alexandrian acroplis.  There are the remains of a Piscina, or bath; a Roman embalming basin; and countless columns, plinths, and statues.

This is what happens when you carve your sphinx out of limestone, kids.  

yeah! bathtime! I wonder what Roman rubber duckies *hrm hrm* sorry, Anas Elastohynchoswould have looked like.

There were pottery shards everywhere.  But by pottery shards I mean ancient Greek and Roman pottery shards.  Just being able to see the striations from the basket in which a shard was made leaves me speechless.

The tourists began their invasion, so we headed underground to the Serapeum… 

…To be continued in Pieces of History, part 2: Gosh, It Sure Is Dark In Here!



Filed under Egypt

2 responses to “Pieces of History, part 1: Pompey’s Pillar

  1. Great pics and commentary … thanks !

  2. Andy Kraus

    Can’t wait for Part 2…really vivid writing and photos.

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