Did you know? Roman funerary monuments can have different shapes. You can think of huge tumuli-inspired buildings like the mausoleum of Hadrian (now Castel Sant’Angelo), or you might picture the tombs that line Via Appia Antica, sarcophagi carved with bas-reliefs. However, if you think pyramidal tombs don’t belong in Rome, think again: along the Aurelian Walls, close to the non-Catholic cemetery, there is a completely Egyptian looking building. It’s the pyramid of Cestius, built about 18–12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate and member of one of the four great religious corporations in Rome, the Septemviri Epulonum. It is of brick-faced concrete covered with slabs of white marble standing on a travertine foundation. The pyramid measures 100 Roman feet (29.6 m) square at the base and stands 125 Roman feet (37 m) high. After Egypt became part of the Roman Empire in 30 BC the Roman society was deeply influenced not just by the Egyptian art and architecture but also from their lifestyle and philosophy. During the construction of the Aurelian Walls in the III century, the pyramid was incorporated into the walls to form a triangular bastion.
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