In the Semitic languages, the obelisk is called betyle; bet-el means the “dwelling of the god”. It is a meeting point between earth and sky, between the darkness of underground forces and the power of solar and celestial light. That’s why obelisks increasingly became the symbols of political power par excellence.
Every obelisk is a fascinating symbol of a particular balance of powers. But no obelisk in history had the chance to travel from one continent to another, to stay there and finaly return home.
This is the truly amazing story of the Ethiopian obelisk that stayed in Rome for 68 years and is now back in Axum. The obelistk was looted by Mussolini in 1937. After World War II, according to a 1947 peace treaty between Italy and the United Nations, its restitution was to take place within 18 month. Colonial mentality, however, dies hard…
It is finally flown back in 2005. A true Nemesis, anyway, for a colonial war in which 300.000 Ethiopians were killed.