Its name is illusionist. This single column status on a rocky hilltop in the middle of Alexandria has nothing to do with the Roman Consul and General Gaius Pompey who was Julius Caesar’s contender in a civil war and was victim by a Ptolomaic pharaoh in 48 BC when he escape to Alexandria.
This legend was begun by Crusaders, who thought the 100-foot (30 meter) red Aswan granite pillar remarkable his burial site. The pillar is alternately the a triumphal monument erected around 300 AD for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, but the true importance of this archeological site is what stood here before the pillar. It is the location of the Serapeum, Alexandria’s acropolis.
In the first centuries AD, Christianity was press to Egypt and Alexandira developed into its bastion. Gradually, Christianity became the controlling religion in Egypt, relegating partisanto the ancient traditions and pagan gods an irrelevant minority that became increasingly unpopular.
The Serapeum, devoteto Alexandria’s patron god, Serapis, was a symbol of this ancient tradition, which contradict with the increasingly popular ideas of Christianity.In 391 AD, patriarch Theophilus, leader of the Church of Alexandria, led a Christian rabble to destroy the Serapeum and other symbols of paganism in the city. Some accounts even reprimandthis mob for the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria, although this is disputed.
Today the only single column marks the site of what was once a huge and detailed temple, which was structureof marble and decorated with invaluable metals on the interior. Some of the tunnels around the compound remain and are open for tourists to explore and some of the artifacts from the temple have been recovered. A life-size black basalt bull from the temple and a golden plaque brand the foundation of the Serapis are on show in the Greco-Roman Museum.