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Ramesses X Obelisk
(The Archeological Civic Museum of Bologna)

Present Site:  The Archeological Civic Museum (MCA) of Bologna (Il Museo Civico Archeologico di Bologna), Bologna, Italy
N 44°29'33.2"(44.492568) E 11°20'37.0"(11.343610)
Pharaoh:  Ramesses X (New Kingdom 20th Dynasty, Reigned 12-11 Century BC)
Measurement:  32 cm high
Stone:  Limestone

About The Site:
The Archeological Civic Museum (MCA) of Bologna (Il Museo Civico Archeologico di Bologna) is in the same building of the University of Bologna (Universita di Bologna). The University of Bologna is the oldest university in Western Europe, and is proud of the 2nd largest university in Italy in terms of the scale. The current university facilities are dispersed in the north-east of old city, and other cities such as Rimini and Ravenna. Therefore. It is impossible to imagine the whole scale of the university by seeing the only building that connected to the Civic Museum.

Via dell'Archiginnasio
Entrance for Via dell'Archiginnasio

Bologna is appropriate for the Academic City, there are many museums such as The Medieval Museum in Bologna (Museo Civico Medievale), The Archaeological Civic Museum, The Museum of Industrial Heritage (Museo del Patrimonio Industriale) in addition to the National Picture Gallery (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna). All facilities of city museums are admission free. Also, there are the automotive museums for Lamborghini and Ferrari in the outskirts of Bologna.

The Archeological Civic Museum (MCA) of Bologna was founded in 1881, based on the university's collections. Then the collections of Pelagio Palagi, who was a painter and the antique art collector, died in 1860, and other excavated objects were added late. Since the museum is not large, it doesn't need 2 hours even if we look around slowly the exhibitions. Among them, The exhibition, such as Etruscan vases are quite substantial. The egypt-related collections are exhibited in the basement, but there are no large size collections. The obelisk is exhibited in the glass case in the middle of basement exhibition room.

How To Get There:
Bologna is a strategic point of traffic in northern Italy. In addition to the airport with the routes for the many European cities, the crossing point of main railways of Italy. By express train from Rome, it takes about 2 hours, every 30 minutes. Bologna Central Station is located in the north edge of old city, is more than 1 km far for the Archeological Civic Museum, so we should take a taxi.
Museum is the place where is about 100 m southern direction towards the University of Bologna from Piazza Maggiore, the heart of the old city, along Via dell'Archiginnasio. Via dell'Archiginnasio is narrow street of about 7 m, not a broad street. The with arcade that can be seen on the left side is Via dell'Archiginnasio when we look the south side of the Piazza Maggiore. Museum entrance doesn't stand out and we could overlook it if there is no banner of the museum.

About The Obelisk:
The information on this obelisk is little available. Only the picture of this obelisk is posted on the Wikipedia page on "Ramesses V". I anyway visited Bologna although even in the website for the Archeological Civic Museum (MCA) of Bologna, there was no information on it.
In fact, the obelisk was exhibited in the Egyptian Exhibition Room in basement. But it was different from my image that I had through the Picture on Wikipedia page. According to my measurement, this obelisk is only 32 cm height.
The description plate in the Museum said, name of Pharaoh was Ramesses X, not Ramesses V (which is written on Wikipedia page). Considering the period of reign written after the Pharaoh name, the Pharaoh must be Ramesses X, and X was not a miswriting of V. In other words, if the explanation by the museum is correct, the posted picture on the Ramesses V is inappropriate.

In most cases, cartouche of Pharaoh's coronation name is clearly engraved on the front side of obelisk, hence it's easy to specify the name of Pharaoh. But for this obelisk, coronation name is longer than the common cases, and cannot be identified the Pharaoh, referring to various documents on the coronation names of Ramesses V and Ramesses X. As far as I referred to the coronation names written in The book of the kings of Egypt, the first half of cartouche is closer to Ramesses V, than Ramesses X. But this cannot be determined with only this, because the expression methods of Pharaoh name vary.
As far as I know, the existence of Ramesses X Obelisk is not referred in any documents. There is no description in the publications by the British Museum in around 19th Century through the begining of 20th Century when the Egyptology has been well studied. According to the description plate by the Museum, this was a part of Pelagio Palagi's collection (see above). So, It's estimated that the obelisk was brought to Italy in 19th Century or before.
Since this is displayed in the glass case, I could observe only from an oblique for other than the front and back sides. The Pharaoh name is engraved on the front face only, and this is colored in red, which is unique for this obelisk. Because this is broken just below the coronation name, perhaps the current situation is believed to be left only about one-third of the total length of the original.
Below is a copy of the description plate by the Museum (in Italian), with English translated by Google Translate. According to this, the provenance is unknown, and only a vague explanation "was probably in front of the tomb of a high official of Pharaoh Ramesses X".

The Description Plate by the Museum (in Italian)
Piccolo Obelisco
Provenienza ignota. XX dinastia, regno di Ramesse X (1107-1098 a.C.)
Il piccolo obelisco, mancante della base e di parte della cuspide, si trovava probabilmente davanti alla tomba di un alto funzionario del faraone Ramesse X, il cui cartiglio campeggia su una faccia del monumento. Sulle quattro facce della cuspide vi sono raffigurazioni di carattere funerario e solare.
Collezione Palagi (Nizzoli)     KS1884
English translated by Google Translate
Small Obelisk
Unknown origin. XX Dynasty, reign of Ramesses X (1107-1098 BC)
The small obelisk, missing the base of the spire, was probably in front of the tomb of a high official of Pharaoh Ramesses X, whose scroll stands on one side of the monument. On the four sides of the spire there are depictions of a funeral and solar.
Collection Palagi (Nizzoli)     KS1884

Notes For Pictures:
Piazza Maggiore is a sightseeing site, and always crowded with tourists, but little people visit the Archeological Civic Museum (MCA) of Bologna. Value is enough to visit because the exhibition is rich in spite of the admission free, but it's regret that the explanation is only in Italian.
Since little visitors for the museum, I could concentrate for taking pictures. But it was difficult to avoid the reflected light of many spotlights on the low ceiling of the exhibition room. I visited here for taking one shot of picture, but I was quite satisfied because I didn't fail the picture.


Left Side

Right Side


May 3, 2015    by Hiroyuki Nagase    (For high definition image, please click the picture)

Copyright Hiroyuki Nagase nagase@obelisks.org and Shoji Okamoto okamoto@obelisks.org