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OBELISKS - A Short History

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Author Topic: OBELISKS - A Short History  (Read 5864 times)
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« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2009, 02:08:12 pm »

It is in itself a remarkable peculiarity of everything connected with the worship of the Ancient Egyptians, that it had its rise long prior to the genesis of Classic history; that it existed in full power contemporaneously with the theologies of India, Greece, Etruria, and Rome, and that it, overlapping Christianity itself, only ceased to become venerated when all material worship had beenswept away.

Neither the philosophy of Plato, nor the atheism of Cicero could influence beyond a certain limit the term of the Egyptian mythology; it still awed the mixed multitudes in Alexandria under the sway of the Caesars, as it had done the ancient Egyptians, "the pure men," as they called themselves in the time of Menes and Athothes.

The tributes of distant countries were still brought by the Ptolemies to the shrine of Tum, as they had been a thousand years before by Rameses III., and Alexander and Darius paid homage to Amen-Ra in the temple which
his Egyptian votaries had erected to his glory, when the Greeks were a Nomadic herd, and the Persians unknown barbarians.

The most ancient of all the existing obelisks, if we except a small model, one discovered by Lepsius in a tomb
of the VIIth dynasty, is that of Usirtesen I of the XIIth dynasty, circa 3064 B.C. ; and the most recent that of Domitian; now in the Piazza Navona at Rome, A.D. 81. Thus the Egyptian faith, as attested by the obelisks alone, covered a space of more than 3000 years, not including the long prior period occupied by the first twelve dynasties.

In all that long stretch of time the obelisk was a sacred monument; was the emblem at once of the vivifying power of the sun, and of the divine nature of the king; a witness for the "right divine to govern wrong, for thirty-one centuries at least.

There does not exist in any of the capitals of Europe, and perhaps not even in the more ancient cities of Hindustan, a class of objects which have received uninterrupted veneration for as long a time as have obelisks.
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