posted on Feb, 10 2009 @ 11:02 PM
One of most forgotten pyramids is the Cestius, in excellent condition despite its tomb being robbed in antiquity.
It was built 2,021 years ago and in only 330 days. it is 27 meters high and 22 meters on the side. It has the steepest angle of any surviving pyramid.
It is of brick-faced concrete covered with slabs of white marble standing on a travertine foundation.
It modern times it was entered in 1660 and restored. The inscription on it stated:
Gaius Cestius Epulo, son of Lucius, praetor, tribune of the plebs, septemvir epulonum
The work was completed, in accordance with the will, in 330 days, by the decision of the heir [Lucius] Pontus Mela, son of Publius of the Claudia, and
At the time of its construction, the Pyramid of Cestius would have stood in open countryside (tombs being forbidden within the city walls). Rome grew
enormously during the imperial period, and, by the third century AD, the pyramid would have been surrounded by buildings. It originally stood in a
low-walled enclosure, flanked by statues, columns and other tombs. Two marble bases were found next to the pyramid during excavations in the 1660s,
complete with fragments of the bronze statues that originally had stood on their tops. The bases carried an inscription recorded by Bartoli in an
engraving of 1697
This identifies Cestius' heirs as Marcus Valerius Messala Corvinus, a famous general; Publius Rutilius Lupus, an orator whose father of the same name
had been consul in 90 BC; and Lucius Junius Silanus, a member of the distinguished gens Junia.
The pyramid was along the Tiber to the SW
The sharply-pointed shape of the pyramid is strongly reminiscent of the pyramids of Nubia, in particular of the kingdom of Meroë, which had been
attacked by Rome in 23 BC. The similarity suggests that Cestius had possibly served in that campaign and perhaps intended the pyramid to serve as a
commemoration. His pyramid was not the only one in Rome; a larger one of similar form but unknown origins stood between the Vatican and the Mausoleum
of Hadrian, but was demolished in the 16th century.