To get into a bit more into the saga of this obelisk, its inscriptions claim that after it was commissioned by Thutmosis III, the work was put on hold for reasons unknown and it wasn't until more than 35 years later that his grandson, Thutmosis IV, in the 15th century BC completed it and erected it at the Karnak Temple with the unusual distinction that it apparently was not accompanied by a sister obelisk. Fifteen centuries later, it's been reported that Octavianus Augustus "wanted" to take the obelisk to Rome around 0 BC after conquering Egypt but never got around to it because it was too big to move!
The story continues a few centuries later when Constantine I wanted to move it to Constantinople, and he got it as far as Alexandria, but then he died in 337 AD and it apparently laid dormant in Alexandria until his son, Constantius II apparently contradicted his father's wish and, instead, brought it to Rome ca. 350 AD. Apparently, it took the Romans 350 years to get that thing to Rome once they decided to move it.
Constantius II is said to have erected the obelisk in the middle of the Circus Maximus but then shortly thereafter, we see the fall of the (Western) Empire and once again the "abandonment" of the obelisk and the Circus Maximus (as Constantius takes his position in Turkey to run the Eastern Empire). It is presumed that the tribes that swept through the Western Empire after its decline neglected to maintain, or make any further use of, the Circus Maximus which went into disrepair.
The story gets much more interesting: for reasons unknown, the obelisk, during the many centuries it was abandoned, tipped over, and that huge slab of solid Aswan granite weighing almost 500 tons cracked into three pieces, became buried 23 feet underground and went virtually unnoticed by the locals , its location lost in time, until twelve centuries later when Pope Sixtus V "ordered the search" for the the lost 455 ton obelisk -- it seems that the entire 455 tons of massive stone sunk to 23 feet below the surface! It was re-discovered underground, it was dug out and was repaired by Fontana (the current obelisk is allegedly 4 meters shorter than the original), and re-erected.
There also is an obvious historical inaccuracy about Constantine I's baptism engraved in Latin into the base of the obelisk. The engraving claims he was baptized in the Lateran Baptistry, but it is generally accepted that he was baptized much later in Nicomedia, just before he died. Meanwhile, the base of the obelisk makes no mention of his son even though he allegedly managed to finally bring the obelisk to Rome thereby putting closure on the initial plan that started 350 years earlier to move it to Rome from Karnak.
And while it has been suggested that the "Unfinished Obelisk" still lying on its side in Aswan may have been intended to be the sister to the Lateran Obelisk when it was in Karnak, the fact that the Lateran is a singluar, unpaired and yet finished obelisk is indeed an enigma since such large obelisks normally were erected in pairs.
Still remaining to be reconciled are the "unknown reasons" it tipped over, cracked into 3 pieces, and got buried 23 feet underground, as well as the unusual assertion that it was a lone, unpaired obelisk, and the curiosities of the obelisk's base which does not mention the son who brought the 350 year plan to completion, and which misstates the date and location of his father's baptism.
And what are the "caves and/or ancient structures that are known to be below the ground level" that interfered with recent seismic studies?
How can any of us ever know, when all we can do is think?
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 21-Oct-15 01:41 by Origyptian.