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The Pyramid of Cestius is an ancient Roman mausoleum built in Rome on the Aventine Hill in the shape of an irregular pyramid. The pyramid is next to the gate of San Paolo.
The mausoleum was erected between 18 and 12 BC. at a fork in two roads, one of which connected Rome with Ostia, and the other led to the Tiber River. The mausoleum was built for Gaius Cestius Epulon, who was a magistrate and a member of one of the great priestly colleges of Rome.
Today, the pyramid is a well-preserved concrete structure, faced with marble and brick. The pyramid is 36.5 meters high and its base is 30 meters long. Inside there is a crypt, the length of which is 5.95 meters, width – 4.1 meters, height 4.8 meters. Near the pyramid is a Protestant cemetery, where, among others, Keats, Shelley and Bryullov were buried.
Most of all, the monument resembles the Nubian pyramids located in the city of Meroe, since it has a rather similar angle of inclination. Even in ancient times, the tomb was carefully sealed, which allowed in the following years to prevent its looting.
In 271-275, during the construction of the Aurelian walls, the pyramid became their continuation as a bastion.
The pyramid in Rome was not the only one. Until the 16th century, a larger structure remained in the Vatican. Apparently, The Vatican and Cestian pyramids are the only attempt in the ancient world to construct smooth-walled pyramidal burials outside the Egyptian cultural area. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that one of the founders of Rome was buried in the pyramid of Cestius – Rem, and in the Vatican pyramid – his brother Romulus. In particular, Petrarch wrote about this.
In the 1660s, during excavations undertaken by order of Pope Alexander the Seventh, the entrance to the tomb was opened, where traces of frescoes and inscriptions were found , testifying to the circumstances of its construction.
For a long time, the pyramid attracted the attention of visiting foreigners. The greatest demand was for prints and paintings with her image.
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Topic: Pyramid of Cestius in Italy, Rome resort.