Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,008 words)

1. Form and origin

An obelisk (Latin obeliscus, from Greek obelískos) is a tall, usually slender stone pillar, quadratic in cross-section and narrowing towards the top, ending in a pyramidal capstone (pyramidion). In 16th and 17th-century terminology, the words obelisk and pyramid were interchangeable. There is also the umbrella term meta, which denotes the conical columns in the ancient circus, positioned at the turning points at the ends of the spina (the central wall to be rounded by t…

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Dlugaiczyk, Martina, “Obelisk”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_024896>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128

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