Introduction :

The Pyramid of Cestius is an ancient pyramid in Rome, Italy, near the Porta San Paolo and the Protestant Cemetery. The Pyramid of Caius Cestius was built around 12 BC by praetor Caius Cestius as his tomb.

History :

The Pyramid of Cestius, built around 2,000 years ago as the tomb of a wealthy Roman politician, is one of only two actual pyramids known to have been built in ancient Rome, and the only one to survive to the present day.

The pyramid was originally surrounded by four columns and the entrance was flanked by two bronze figures, now on display in the Musei Capitolini at the Capitoline Square.

Only three Egyptian pyramids – the main pyramids of Gizeh – are taller than this Roman imitation. It tells us something about the wealth of Rome during the reign of Emperor Augustus, when a single citizen – albeit a rich one – was able to build a pyramid worthy of Pharaohs.

Geometry :

The Pyramid of Cestius, which was constructed in a mere 330 days, is more than 36 meters high and 29.5 meters wide (118 x 97ft). It was built of concrete and brick on a travertine foundation and covered with Carrara marble blocks. Thanks to the use of concrete, it was possible to build a pyramid with a sharper angle – and relatively taller – than those in Egypt.

On the east and west sides are inscriptions with the names and titles of Caius Cestius. A corridor at the northern side led to the burial chamber. The walls of the rectangular chamber, which measured six by four meters (20 x 13ft), were decorated sumptuously with frescoes and panels framing female figures.

It should first be pointed out that the Pyramid of Cestius was not the only Egyptian-style pyramid in Rome. There was also another pyramid, known as the ‘Pyramid of Romulus’. Incidentally, during the Middle Ages, the Pyramid of Cestius was known as the ‘Pyramid of Remus’, and it was believed that these two pyramids were the tombs of the legendary founders of Rome.

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