Pompey’s Pillar


Standing in the rocky hilltop in the middle of Alexandria, the legend pillar is one of the largest monolithic monuments, which was erected during the Greco-Roman period by the people of Alexandria to honor Emperor Diocletian.

The 27-meter column is made of red Aswan granite and is surrounded by two Sphinx statues. To honor Emperor Diocletian, an inscription was also carved on the column, reading: “To the right and good emperor, the protector god of Alexandria, Diocletian, who has never been beaten. Therefore, Postumus constructed this pillar”.

Contrary to the popular belief, the pillar has nothing to do with the great Roman leader, Pompey. Yet, the story behind its name has given out when Pompey had been defeated by Julius Caesar and escaped Rome for Egypt. Things got upside down with Pompey, and he was killed in Alexandria. After being killed, his head is placed in a funerary jar on top of the pillar; thus, the monument carried Pompey’s name.