Ancient Egypt and Us

The Greeks gave the name obelisk ,meaning a meat spit, to the tall, thin four-sided tapering columns which end with a pyramid shape. They were always made from a single monolith, usually from the red granite quarries at Aswan. Obelisks were normally placed in pairs at the entrance to temples. Twenty-nine Egyptian obelisks have survived along with the giant flawed ‘unfinished obelisk’ still in the Aswan quarry.

These obelisks are now dispersed around the world, and only a few remain in Egypt (see Chapter 12). The earliest obelisk still in its original position is a sixty eight feet high red granite obelisk of Senusret 1 at Heliopolis. The obelisk symbolized the sun god Amen Re, and during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten was said to be a petrified ray of the Aten, the sundisk. It was also thought that Re existed within the structure. Talcott believes pyramids and obelisks were derived from naturally occurring the sun pillars (right).

Thutmose III & Hatshepsut's obelisks, Karnak
The Obelisk and Pylon at Luxor
Sun Pillar