Two years ago we visited Rome, the place where the great Roman empire rose and fell. Among the regular sites (Pantheon, Coloseum, Forum etc…) we came across something we on forehand would not have thought to encounter while in Rome…..a pyramid.
Constructed around 12 BC, 36,4 meters high (118ft) and 29,5 meters wide (97ft) it stands in the vicinity of Porta San Paolo. Within this pyramid there is a rectangular burial-chamber measuring 6 meters (20ft) in length, 4 meters (13ft) in width and hight of 4,80 meter (16ft). The burial-chamber is decorated with simple fresco’s. The pyramid itself is build of concrete blocks, covered with white marble slabs. This simple building method made it possible to build this pyramid in a short time, 330 days according to the inscriptions found on the east and west flank of the pyramid.
But why was this pyramid build and who was it build for?
After the death of queen Cleopatra VII, Rome had conquered Egypt and everything Egyptian became very popular (Cleopatra Craze) explaining the unexpected choice of burial tomb for a Roman during these days.
Caius Cestius was a rich Roman magistrate. Caius Cestius was also a member of the small (seven members) group of priest who were responsible for sacred banquets. But apart for this very little is known about Caius Cestius so it is safe to say he is better known for his pyramid then for his achievements . The two bronze figures and four columns that originally surrounded the pyramid can now be found in the Capatoline Museums.