For centuries people have wondered why the Egyptian obelisks were erected, by whom, and what they signified. There were at one time hundreds of obelisks throughout ancient Egypt, many of them covered with lettering unfamiliar to us known as hieroglyphs. Like the great pyramids, the obelisks seem to possess a strange power, perhaps even the key to the secret of life.
From the time of the earliest invaders of Egypt through the 19th century expeditions from France, England and the U.S., obelisks were 'seized' and taken away. Transported to Roman by pagan emperors, they were later exhumed by the popes and christianized. The Inquisition, suspicious of secret rites descended from Egypt, brought on the persecution of scholars and free thinkers, for whom the obelisks became symbols of freedom. When Americans in 1799 cast about for a suitable tribute to the founder of the country, the chose to erect the larges obelisk ever, the Washington Monument.
In this profusely illustrated book, Tompkins explores the entire history of man's association with obelisks; the many theories about them and their magical and physical properties; the adventures encountered in engineering and moving 300-ton monoliths; their association with sexual rites and the hermetic wisdom of ancient Egypt; and their suspected influence on and connection with many secret socities and historic figures ...Freemasons, Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, Illuminata, Ficinio, Pico, Bruno, Kircher, Cagliostro, St. Germain, and Crowley.