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Articles in this series:
Series: Concerning the Aksum Obelisk
An Historic Photograph
The photograph here published will, hopefully, be one of the last ever taken of the Aksum obelisk in Rome, prior to its historic repatriation to Ethiopia. This is expected to take place by aeroplane later this year.
The photograph shows surrounding poles, before the erection of scaffolding, which, we are assured, is now in place. The picture also shows a shed, near the stele’s base, connected with dismantling, and diverted Roman traffic seen on the right.
Of the pre-war Ethiopian aeroplane “Tsehai”, which should also be returned by Italy, in accordance with Article 37 of the Italian Peace Treaty with the United Nations, there is still an ominous silence. The plane, as of today, remains in the Italian Aviation Museum’s store.
Aksum Obelisk Being Dismantled
Dismantling of the Aksum obelisk in Rome, which was looted on the personal orders of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1937, is now actively in progress.
The site for the obelisk’s re-erection in Aksum has now also been cleared, and a large hole dug, for the stele’s reception.
The return and re-erection of the obelisk is therefore imminent within a few months at most.
Aksum Obelisk Update
Work on the Aksum Obelisk looted from Ethiopia, and taken to Rome in 1937 on the personal orders of the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (and thus far not returned in accordance with Article 37 of the Italian Peace Treaty of 1947), is proceeding, albeit at a snail’s pace. The obelisk has now at last been cleaned of its Roman pollution, and the Ethiopian Ministry of Posts has, somewhat optimistically, issued a set of postage stamps to commemorate the monument’s return, supposedly in September 1997.
There has recently been some discussion in Rome as to how the obelisk should be dismantled prior to transportation to Ethiopia. A renowned Italian professor, who never protested when the obelisk was originally looted by Mussolini, and has little technical knowledge, has suggested that it should be divided into the various pieces into which it was originally broken when it fell, apparently many centuries ago. Others, with greater esthethic taste, and better technical understanding, feel that the stone should be cut along its decorative representation of individual windows, in which case the new fractures would be scarcely visible.
We hope, in the future, to be able to provide further “updates” on obelisk progress.