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Ancient Egypt /
Religion
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

Detailed articleAncient Egypt



























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Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt / Religion / Structures /
Obelisk



Obelisk: Major kings placed obelisks in existing temples, as admiration and expression of one's greatness. Here inside the Temple of Amon, Karnak area next to Luxor, Egypt.:
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Obelisk: Major kings placed obelisks in existing temples, as admiration and expression of one's greatness. Here inside the Temple of Amon, Karnak area next to Luxor.

Obelisk: From the Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt.
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Obelisk: From the Luxor Temple, Luxor.

Obelisk:
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Fallen obelisk at Temple of Amon, Karnak area next to Luxor.

Obelisk: Unfinished obelisk at the quarry at Aswan, Egypt.
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Unfinished obelisk at the quarry at Aswan.

A monumental pillar used in Ancient Egypt, but which has been copied elsewhere in the world, like in Assyria.
The obelisk is made from one stone with a tapered form, being at its widest at the bottom, and with a top (called erectum) that is shaped like a pyramid.
The material used for obelisks was normally red granite from Aswan, while the top often was sheathed by gold, silver or brass. All four sides of the obelisk were embellished by hieroglyphs, often with dedications to the sun god Re or with commemorations of the lives of the rulers.
Obelisks served no practical purpose, but were decorations for entrances to Egyptian temples. Obelisks represented the most effective manner of creating a visible monument, which could rise above most other structures. In most cases, obelisks were always erected in pairs.
Obelisks were normally between 15 and 30 metre high, but this depended on the epoch they were made in. Their weight could easily exceed 100 tons.
The most important Assyrian obelisk, the Black Obelisk of king Shalmaneser 3, is highly noteworthy, as it has the oldest depictions of a Biblical figure, Jehu, son of Omri of the 9th century BCE.

How it was made
The making of the obelisks took months and were performed near the original quarries at Aswan. At the base of Hatshepsut's obelisk in Thebes we read that the obelisk took 7 months to make.
The obelisks were transported to their destinations on barges, and they were erected by hauling up a ramp that was made from earth. Gradually the obelisk was tilted, until they rested on their base by the help of gravity alone.

History
Around 2600 BCE: First recorded examples of obelisks, but none from this period have survived.
Around 2400: Obelisks are still very small, seldom more than 3,5 metres high.
Around 1900: The obelisk of Sesotris 1 is erected in Heliopolis. This is the world's oldest surviving obelisk.
Around 0: Many obelisks are removed from Egypt by the Romans, and transported to Rome, where many still stand.





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By Tore Kjeilen