Originally one of a pair from Sais, it was erected by the pharaoh Apries, circa 570 BC. (Which is about the same time as the Babylonian captivity of the Jews.) It was brought to Rome by Diocletian for the nearby Temple of Isis. Found in 1655, it was erected in 1667 by Pope Alexander VII on its famous elephant base by Bernini, behind the Pantheon in Piazza della Minerva.
On the base is inscribed the following (in Latin): “Whoever sees here that the symbols of the Egyptian sage, inscribed on the obelisk, are carried by the elephant, the strongest of the beasts, understand that it is a proof of a robust mind to sustain solid wisdom.”