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A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English.
or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), when derived from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected in the
ancient world Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0
"History"
from t ...

ancient world
as a
monument is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end o ...

monument
. The surface of the stele often has text, ornamentation, or both. These may be inscribed, carved in
relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The term ''wikt:relief, relief'' is from the Latin verb ''relevo'', to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is to give the ...
, or painted. Stelae were created for many reasons.
Grave A grave is a location where a dead body A cadaver or corpse is a dead human body that is used by medical students A medical school is a tertiary educational institution, or part of such an institution, that teaches medicine, and award ...

Grave
stelae were used for
funerary A funeral is a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare' ...

funerary
or commemorative purposes. Stelae as slabs of stone would also be used as ancient
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
government notices or as
boundary marker A boundary marker, border marker, boundary stone, or border stone is a robust physical marker that identifies the start of a land Border, boundary or the change in a boundary, especially a change in direction of a boundary. There are several ot ...
s to mark
border Borders are boundaries of or legal s, such as s, , , and other . Borders are established through agreements between political or social entities that control those areas; the creation of these agreements is called . Some borders—such as mos ...

border
s or property lines. Stelae were occasionally erected as memorials to battles. For example, along with other memorials, there are more than half-a-dozen steles erected on the battlefield of Waterloo at the locations of notable actions by participants in battle. Traditional Western gravestones may technically be considered the modern equivalent of ancient stelae, though the term is very rarely applied in this way. Equally, stele-like forms in non-Western cultures may be called by other terms, and the words "stele" and "stelae" are most consistently applied in
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...

archaeological
contexts to objects from Europe, the ancient Near East and Egypt, China, and sometimes Pre-Columbian America.


History

Steles have also been used to publish laws and decrees, to record a ruler's exploits and honors, to mark sacred territories or mortgaged properties, as territorial markers, as the boundary steles of
Akhenaton Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, Ikhnaton, and Khuenaten ( egy, , meaning "Effective for the "), was an ian reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of the . Before the fifth year of his reign, he was known as Ame ...
at
Amarna Amarna (; ar, العمارنة, al-ʿamārnah) is an extensive ian site that represents the remains of the capital city newly established (1346 BC) and built by the of the late , and abandoned shortly after his (1332 BC). The name for the cit ...

Amarna
, or to commemorate military victories. They were widely used in the
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
,
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
,
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...

Somalia
,
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa region of East Africa, Eastern Africa, with its capital (and largest city) at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti ...

Eritrea
,
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
, and, most likely independently, in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and elsewhere in the
Far East The Far East is a term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeaster ...

Far East
, and, independently, by
Mesoamerican Mesoamerica is a historical and important region and cultural area in southern North America and most of Central America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Cost ...
civilisations, notably the
Olmec The Olmecs () were the earliest known major Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western ...
and
Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples The Maya peoples () are an ethnolinguistic group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are cu ...
. The large number of steles, including inscriptions, surviving from
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

ancient Egypt
and in
Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or ...

Central America
constitute one of the largest and most significant sources of information on those civilisations, in particular Maya stelae. The most famous example of an inscribed stela leading to increased understanding is the
Rosetta Stone The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with three versions of a Rosetta Stone decree, decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Eg ...

Rosetta Stone
, which led to the breakthrough allowing
Egyptian hieroglyph Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent ...
s to be read. An informative stele of
Tiglath-Pileser III Tiglath-Pileser III (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform Cuneiform is a logo up Chiswick_Press.html"_;"title="Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press">Coat_of_arms_of_the_Chiswick_Press_ A_logo_(abbreviation_of_logotype,_from__el.html" ;"title="Chiswick_ ...
is preserved in the
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
. Two steles built into the walls of a church are major documents relating to the
Etruscan language Etruscan () was the language of the , in , in the ancient region of (modern , western , northern , , , and ). Etruscan influenced but was eventually completely superseded by it. The Etruscans left around 13,000 that have been found so far, onl ...
. Standing stones (
menhir Dry Tree menhir – a standing stone at Goonhilly Downs Cornwall">Goonhilly_Downs.html" ;"title="Dry Tree menhir – a standing stone at Goonhilly Downs">Dry Tree menhir – a standing stone at Goonhilly Downs Cornwall A menhir (from Britton ...

menhir
s), set up without inscriptions from
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya border, th ...

Libya
in
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
to
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, were monuments of pre-literate
Megalith A megalith is a large Rock (geology), stone that has been used to construct a prehistoric structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, located widely from Sweden to the Mediterranean ...

Megalith
ic cultures in the
Late Stone Age The Later Stone Age (LSA) is a period in African prehistory that follows the Middle Stone Age. The Later Stone Age is associated with the advent of modern human behavior in Africa, although definitions of this concept and means of studying it are ...
. The Pictish stones of Scotland, often intricately carved, date from between the 6th and 9th centuries. An
obelisk An obelisk (; from grc, ὀβελίσκος ; diminutive of ''obelos'', " spit, nail, pointed pillar") is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape or pyramidion A pyramidion (plural: pyramidia) is the ...

obelisk
is a specialized kind of stele. The
Insular Insular is an adjective used to describe: * An island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in_Lower_Sa ...
high cross A high cross or standing cross ( ga, cros ard / ardchros, gd, crois àrd / àrd-chrois, cy, croes uchel / croes eglwysig, arm, Խաչքար Khachkar) is a free-standing Christian cross made of stone and often richly decorated. There was a un ...

high cross
es of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
and
Britain Britain usually refers to: * United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...

Britain
are ''specialized steles''.
Totem pole pole (left) and Kwakwaka'wakw pole (right) at Thunderbird Park (Victoria, British Columbia), Thunderbird Park in Victoria, British Columbia, Victoria, Canada. Totem poles ( hai, gyáaʼaang) are monumental carvings, a type of Northwest Coast art, ...

Totem pole
s of North and South America that are made out of stone may also be considered a specialized type of stele.
Gravestone A headstone, tombstone, or gravestone is a stele or marker, usually stone, that is placed over a grave. It is traditional for burials in the Christian, Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jew ...

Gravestone
s, typically with inscribed name and often with inscribed
epitaph An epitaph (; ) is a short text honoring a deceased person. Strictly speaking, it refers to text that is inscribed on a tombstone or plaque, but it may also be used in a figurative sense. Some epitaphs are specified by the person themselves be ...

epitaph
, are among the most common types of stele seen in Western culture. Most recently, in the ''
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something, usually an influential, deceased person or a historical, Tragedy (event), tragic event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or work ...

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
'' in
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
, the architect
Peter Eisenman Peter Eisenman (born August 11, 1932) is an American architect. Considered one of the New York Five, Eisenman is known for his writing and speaking about architecture as well as his designs, which have been called high modernist or deconstructiv ...
created a field of some 2,700 blank steles. The memorial is meant to be read not only as the field, but also as an erasure of data that refer to memory of the Holocaust.


Egypt

Egyptian steles (or Stelae, Books of Stone) have been found dating as far back as the
First Dynasty of Egypt The First Dynasty of ancient Egypt (Dynasty I) covers the first series of Egyptian kings to rule over a unified Egypt. It immediately follows the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, possibly by Narmer, and marks the beginning of the Early Dynast ...
. These vertical slabs of stone are used as tombstones, for religious usage, and to mark boundaries, and are most commonly made of limestone and sandstone, or harder kinds of stone such as granite or diorite, but wood was also used in later times. Stele fulfilled several functions. There were votive, commemorative, and liminal or boundary stelae, but the largest group was the tomb stelae. Their picture area showed the owner of the stele, often with his family, and an inscription listed the name and titles of the deceased after a prayer to one, or several, of the gods of the dead and request for offerings. Less frequently, an autobiographical text provided additional information about the individuals life. In the mastaba tombs of the Old Kingdom (2686 - 2181 BC), stelae functioned as false doors, symbolizing passage between the present and the afterlife, which allowed the deceased to received offerings. These were both real and represented by formulae on the false door. Liminal, or boundary, stele were used to mark size and location of fields and the country's borders. Votive stelae were exclusively erected in temples by pilgrims to pay homage to the gods or sacred animals. Commemorative stelae were placed in temples by the pharaoh, or his senior officials, detailing important events of his reign. Some of the most widely known Egyptian stelae include: the Kamose Stelae, recounting the defeat of the
Hyksos Hyksos (; Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with th ...
; the Victory Stele, describing the campaigns of the Nubian pharaoh Piye as he reconquered the country; the Restoration Stele of Tutankhamun (1336 - 1327 BC), detailing the religious reforms enacted after the Amarna period; and the
Merneptah Stele The Merneptah Stele – also known as the Israel Stele or the Victory Stele of Merneptah – is an inscription by the ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the plac ...
, which features the first known historical mention of the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
. In Ptolemaic times (332 - 30 BC), decrees issued by the pharaoh and the priesthood were inscribed on stelae in hieroglyphs, demotic script and Greek, the most famous example of which is the
Rosetta Stone The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with three versions of a Rosetta Stone decree, decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Eg ...

Rosetta Stone
.


Urartu

Urartian The Urartian or Vannic language was spoken by the inhabitants of the ancient kingdom of Urartu, located in the region of Lake Van, with its capital near the site of the modern town of Van, Turkey, Van, in the modern-day Armenian Highlands area of T ...

Urartian
steles were freestanding stone obelisks that served a variety of purposes, sometimes they were located within temple complexes, or set within monumental rock-cut niches (such as the niche of the Rock of
Van A van is a type of road vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses), railed vehicles (trains, trams), watercraf ...
, discovered by
Marr Marr (Scottish Gaelic: ''Màrr'') is one of six committee areas in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It has a population of 34,038 (2001 Census). Someone from Marr is called a ''Màrnach'' in Scottish Gaelic. Etymology The genesis of the name ''Marr' ...
and Orbeli in 1916G. Azarpay, ''Urartian Art and Artifacts'', 1968, p32.) or erected beside tombs. Others stood in isolated positions and, such as the
Kelashin Stele Image:Kelashin stele 60613-94103.JPG, 250px, A depiction of the Kelashin Stele from the early 20th century The Kelashin Stele (also Kelishin or Keli-Shin; from Kurdish Language: Blue Stone) found in Kelashin, Iraq, bears an important Urartian lang ...
, had a commemorative function or served as boundary markers. Although sometimes plain, most bore a cuneiform inscription that would detail the stele's function or the reasons for its erection. The stele from Van's "western niche" contained annals of the reign of
Sarduri II Sarduri II (ruled: 764–735 BC) was a King King is the title given to a male in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is , which title is also given to the of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contemporar ...

Sarduri II
, with events detailed yearly and with each year separated by the phrase "For the God Haldi I accomplished these deeds". Urartian steles are sometimes found reused as Christian
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
n gravestones or as
spolia ''Spolia'' (: 'spoils') is repurposed building stone for new construction or decorative sculpture reused in new monuments. It is the result of an ancient and widespread practice whereby stone that has been quarried, cut, and used in a built struc ...
in Armenian churches - Maranci suggests this reuse was a deliberate desire to capitalize on the potency of the past. Some scholars have suggested Urartian steles may have influenced the development of the Armenian
khachkar , removed from the Julfa, Azerbaijan (city), Julfa graveyard before its Khachkar destruction in Nakhchivan, destruction by Azerbaijan. . Image:Խաչքարի արհեստանոց.JPG, 200px, A modern-day ''khachkar'' carver's workshop in downto ...

khachkar
.


Greece

Greek funerary markers, especially in Attica, had a long and evolutionary history in Athens. From public and extravagant processional funerals to different types of pottery used to store ashes after cremation, visibility has always been a large part of Ancient Greek funerary markers in Athens. Regarding stelai (Greek plural of stele), in the period of the Archaic style in Ancient Athens (600 BC) stele often showed certain archetypes of figures, such as the male athlete. Generally their figures were singular, though there are instances of two or more figures from this time period. Moving into the 6th and 5th centuries BC, Greek stelai declined and then rose in popularity again in Athens and evolved to show scenes with multiple figures, often of a family unit or a household scene. One such notable example is the Stele of Hegeso. Typically grave stelai are made of marble and carved in relief, and like most Ancient Greek sculpture they were vibrantly painted. For more examples of stelai, the Getty Museum's published Catalog of Greek Funerary Sculpture is a valuable resource


China

Steles (Chinese: ''bēi'' ) have been the major medium of stone inscription in China since the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
. Chinese steles are generally rectangular stone tablets upon which
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...
are carved
intaglio Intaglio, the process of cutting a design into a surface, may refer to: * Intaglio, a type of engraved gem or metal signet ring * Intaglio (printmaking), a group of printmaking techniques, including engraving and etching * Intaglio (rock art) * Inta ...
with a funerary, commemorative, or edifying text. They can commemorate talented writers and officials, inscribe poems, portraits, or maps, and frequently contain the
calligraphy Calligraphy (from Greek language, Greek: καλλιγραφία) is a Visual arts, visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush, or other writing instrument. A contemporary call ...
of famous historical figures. In addition to their commemorative value, many Chinese steles are regarded as exemplars of traditional Chinese calligraphic scripts, especially the
clerical script The clerical script (; Japanese: 隷書体, ''reishotai''; Vietnamese: lệ thư), also formerly chancery Chancery may refer to: * Chancery (diplomacy), the building that houses a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy * Chancery (medieval of ...
. Chinese steles from before the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
are rare: there are a handful from before the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...

Qin dynasty
, roughly a dozen from the
Western Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
, 160 from the
Eastern Han#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...
, and several hundred from the Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern, and
dynasties A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). Th ...
.Wilkinson (2000): 437. During the Han dynasty, tomb inscriptions (, ''mùzhì'') containing biographical information on deceased people began to be written on stone tablets rather than wooden ones. Erecting steles at tombs or temples eventually became a widespread social and religious phenomenon. Emperors found it necessary to promulgate laws, regulating the use of funerary steles by the population. The
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an eth ...

Ming dynasty
laws, instituted in the 14th century by its founder the
Hongwu Emperor The Hongwu Emperor (21 October 1328 – 24 June 1398), personal name Zhu Yuanzhang (), was the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 f ...
, listed a number of stele types available as status symbols to various ranks of the
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
and officialdom: the top noblemen and mandarins were eligible for steles installed on top of a stone tortoise and crowned with hornless dragons, while the lower-level officials had to be satisfied with steles with plain rounded tops, standing on simple rectangular pedestals.. Steles are found at nearly every significant mountain and historical site in China. The
First Emperor Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BCE), or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Manda ...

First Emperor
made five tours of his domain in the 3rd century BC and had
Li Si Li Si (; 280 BCSeptember or October 208 BC) was a Chinese calligrapher, philosopher, and politician of the Qin dynasty. He served as Chancellor (China), Chancellor (or Prime Minister) from 246 to 208 BC under two rulers: Qin Shi Huang, the ki ...

Li Si
make seven stone inscriptions commemorating and praising his work, of which fragments of two survive.Wilkinson (2000): 438. One of the most famous mountain steles is the high stele at
Mount Tai Mount Tai () is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an Tai'an () is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () r ...

Mount Tai
with the personal calligraphy of
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (; 8 September 685 – 3 May 762), also commonly known as Emperor Ming of Tang or Illustrious August, personal name Li Longji, was the seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty in China, reigning from 713 to 756 CE. His reign ...
commemorating his imperial sacrifices there in 725. A number of such stone monuments have preserved the origin and history of China's minority religious communities. The 8th-century Christians of
Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ...
left behind the
Nestorian Stele The Xi'an Stele also known as the Nestorian Stele, Nestorian Stone, Nestorian Monument, or Nestorian Tablet, is a Tang Chinese stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek p ...
, which survived adverse events of the later history by being buried underground for several centuries. Steles created by the Kaifeng Jews in 1489, 1512, and 1663, have survived the repeated flooding of the
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin: uə xɔ Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is ...
that destroyed their synagogue several times, to tell us something about their world. have a number of steles of considerable antiquity as well, often containing both Chinese and Arabic text. Thousands of steles, surplus to the original requirements, and no longer associated with the person they were erected for or to, have been assembled in Xi'an's Stele Forest Museum, which is a popular tourist attraction. Elsewhere, many unwanted steles can also be found in selected places in Beijing, such as Dong Yue Miao, the Five Pagoda Temple, and the Bell Tower, again assembled to attract tourists and also as a means of solving the problem faced by local authorities of what to do with them. The long, wordy, and detailed inscriptions on these steles are almost impossible to read for most are lightly engraved on white marble in characters only an inch or so in size, thus being difficult to see since the slabs are often 3m or more tall. There are more than 100,000 surviving stone inscriptions in China. However, only approximately 30,000 have been transcribed or had rubbings made, and fewer than those 30,000 have been formally studied.


Maya stelae

Maya stelae were fashioned by the
Maya civilization The Maya civilization () was a Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human ...
of ancient
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
. They consist of tall sculpted stone shafts or slabs and are often associated with low circular stones referred to as altars, although their actual function is uncertain. Many stelae were sculpted in low relief, although plain monuments are found throughout the Maya region. The sculpting of these monuments spread throughout the Maya area during the
Classic Period Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all withi ...
(250–900 AD), and these pairings of sculpted stelae and circular altars are considered a hallmark of Classic Maya civilization. The earliest dated stela to have been found ''
in situ ''In situ'' (; often not italicized in English) is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as ...

in situ
'' in the Maya lowlands was recovered from the great city of
Tikal Tikal () (''Tik’al'' in modern Mayan orthography) is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República ...

Tikal
in
Guatemala Guatemala ( ; ), officially the Republic of Guatemala ( es, República de Guatemala, links=no), is a country in Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Am ...

Guatemala
. During the Classic Period almost every Maya kingdom in the southern lowlands raised stelae in its ceremonial centre. Stelae became closely associated with the concept of
divine kingship 200px, Figure of Christ from the Ghent Altarpiece (1432). In many historical societies, the position of kingship carries a Sacred, sacral meaning, that is, it is identical with that of a high priest and judge. The concept of theocracy is related, ...
and declined at the same time as this institution. The production of stelae by the
Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples The Maya peoples () are an ethnolinguistic group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are cu ...
had its origin around 400 BC and continued through to the end of the Classic Period, around 900, although some monuments were reused in the Postclassic (c. 900–1521). The major city of
Calakmul Calakmul (; also Kalakmul and other less frequent variants) is a Maya archaeological site in the Mexican state The United Mexican States ( es, Estados Unidos Mexicanos) is a federal republic composed of 32 Federal Entities: 31 states a ...

Calakmul
in
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
raised the greatest number of stelae known from any
Maya city Maya cities were the centres of population of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hem ...
, at least 166, although they are very poorly preserved. Hundreds of stelae have been recorded in the Maya region, displaying a wide stylistic variation. Many are upright slabs of
limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its na ...

limestone
sculpted on one or more faces, with available surfaces sculpted with figures carved in relief and with hieroglyphic text. Stelae in a few sites display a much more three-dimensional appearance where locally available stone permits, such as at
Copán Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. This ancient Maya city mirrors the beauty of the physical landscape in which it flourished—a fert ...
and
Toniná Tonina (or Toniná in Spanish orthography) is a pre-Columbian List of Maya sites, archaeological site and ruined city of the Maya civilization located in what is now the Mexican Political divisions of Mexico, state of Chiapas, some 13 km (8. ...

Toniná
. Plain stelae do not appear to have been painted nor overlaid with
stucco Stucco or render is a construction material made of Construction aggregate, aggregates, a binder (material), binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, ...
decoration, but most Maya stelae were probably brightly painted in red, yellow, black, blue and other colours.


Ireland

Ogham Ogham ( , Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the population's until the late 18th century. Although has been the first language o ...

Ogham
stones are vertical grave and boundary markers, erected at hundreds of sites in Ireland throughout the first millennium AD, bearing inscriptions in the
Primitive Irish Primitive Irish or Proto-Goidelic or Archaic Irish ( ga, Gaeilge Ársa) is the oldest known form of the Goidelic languages The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form ...
language. They have occasionally been described as "steles."


Horn of Africa

The
Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsula of East Africa.Robert Stock, ''Africa South of the Sahara, Second Edition: A Geographical Interpretation'', (The Guilford Press; 2004), p. 26 Located on the ea ...

Horn of Africa
contains many stelae. In the highlands of
Ethiopia Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea and Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the northeast, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the sout ...

Ethiopia
and
Eritrea Eritrea ( ), officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa region of East Africa, Eastern Africa, with its capital (and largest city) at Asmara. It is bordered by Ethiopia in the south, Sudan in the west, and Djibouti ...

Eritrea
, the erected a number of large stelae, which served a religious purpose in pre-Christian times. One of these granite columns is the largest such structure in the world, standing at 90 feet. Additionally,
Tiya Tiya is a town in central Ethiopia. It is situated in the Gurage Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region south of Addis Ababa. It is also the location of an Tiya (archaeological site), archaeological site. Demographics Base ...
is one of nine megalithic pillar sites in the central Gurage Zone of Ethiopia. As of 1997, 118 stele were reported in the area. Along with the stelae in the Hadiya Zone, the structures are identified by local residents as ''Yegragn Dingay'' or "Gran's stone", in reference to Imam
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi ( so, Axmed Ibraahim al-Qaasi or Ahmed Gurey, Harari: አህመድ ኢብራሂም አል-ጋዚ, ar, أحمد بن إبراهيم الغازي ; c. 1506 – 21 February 1543) was a Somali Imam Imam (; ar, إ ...
(Ahmad "Gurey" or "Gran"), ruler of the
Adal Sultanate The Adal Sultanate, or Kingdom of Adal or Awdal or Bar Sa'ad ad-din (alt. spelling ''Adel Sultanate'' , ''Awdal Sultanate''), was a Muslim Somalis, Somali kingdom and sultanate located in the Horn of Africa. It was founded by Sabr ad-Din II af ...

Adal Sultanate
. The stelae at Tiya and other areas in central Ethiopia are similar to those on the route between
Djibouti City Djibouti (also called Djibouti City; ar, مدينة جيبوتي, french: Ville de Djibouti, so, Magaalada Jabuuti, aa, Magaala Gabuuti) is the eponymous capital and largest city of Djibouti. It is located in the coastal Djibouti Region on th ...
and Loyada in
Djibouti Djibouti, ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Djibouti, so, Jabuuti officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsu ...

Djibouti
. In the latter area, there are a number of anthropomorphic and phallic stelae, which are associated with graves of rectangular shape flanked by vertical slabs. The Djibouti-Loyada stelae are of uncertain age, and some of them are adorned with a T-shaped symbol. Near the ancient northwestern town of
Amud Amud or Amoud ( so, Camuud, ar, عمود) is an ancient, ruined town in the Awdal region of Somaliland.Damtew Teferra, ''African higher education: an international reference handbook'', (Indiana University Press: 2003) Named after its patron Sai ...
in
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...

Somalia
, whenever an old site had the prefix ''Aw'' in its name (such as the ruins of
Awbare Awbare (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semi ...
and
Awbube Awbube (Amharic Amharic ( or ; (Amharic: ), ', ) is an Ethiopian Semitic language, which is a subgrouping within the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito ...
), it denoted the final resting place of a local saint.G.W.B. Huntingford, "The Town of Amud, Somalia", ''Azania'', 13 (1978), p. 184 Surveys by A.T. Curle in 1934 on several of these important ruined cities recovered various artefacts, such as
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with and other materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include , and . The place where such wares are mad ...

pottery
and
coin A coin is a small, flat, (usually, depending on the country or value) round piece of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hell ...

coin
s, which point to a medieval period of activity at the tail end of the Adal Sultanate's reign. Among these settlements, Aw Barkhadle is surrounded by a number of ancient stelae. Burial sites near
Burao Burao, also spelt Bur'o or Bur'ao (; so, Burco, , ar, برعو) is the capital of the Togdheer region and the second largest city in Somaliland. Burao was the site of the Somaliland Declaration of Independence, declaration of an independent Som ...

Burao
likewise feature old stelae.


Notable steles

* Stele of Vespasian *
Code of Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal text composed 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the ancient Near East. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, purportedly by Ham ...

Code of Hammurabi
*
Gwanggaeto Stele The Gwanggaeto Stele is a memorial stele for the tomb of Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo Goguryeo (; , 37 BC–668 AD), also called Goryeo (; ), was a Korean kingdom located in the northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula and the ...

Gwanggaeto Stele
*
King Ezana's Stela King Ezana's Stele is an obelisk , on the Place de la Concorde The Place de la Concorde () is one of the major public squares in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, mo ...
*
Kul Tigin , native_name_lang = otk , image = Kul_Tigin.jpg , caption = Bust of Kul Tigin found in Khashaat, Arkhangai Province, Orkhon River valley. Located in the National Museum of Mongolia. , birth_date = 684 , death_date = , al ...
* Lemnos stela *
Lapis Niger The Lapis Niger (Latin, "Black Stone") is an ancient shrine in the Roman Forum. Together with the associated Vulcanal (a sanctuary to Vulcan (mythology), Vulcan) it constitutes the only surviving remnants of the old Comitium, an early assembly ar ...
*
Mesha Stele The Mesha Stele, also known as the Moabite Stone, is a stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in E ...
* Naram-Sin *
Nestorian Stele The Xi'an Stele also known as the Nestorian Stele, Nestorian Stone, Nestorian Monument, or Nestorian Tablet, is a Tang Chinese stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek p ...
* Pig stele of Edessa * Stone of Terpon * The Doctorate steles at the
Temple of Literature, Hanoi A temple (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the R ...

Temple of Literature, Hanoi
* The Ram Khamhaeng stele * Ukrainian stone stelae * In Africa: **
Merneptah Stele The Merneptah Stele – also known as the Israel Stele or the Victory Stele of Merneptah – is an inscription by the ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the plac ...
**
Rosetta Stone The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with three versions of a Rosetta Stone decree, decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Eg ...

Rosetta Stone
** Boundary Stelae of Akhenaten ** Palermo stone **
Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu Stele Cairo A 9422 (Bulaq 666), depicting Nut, Behdety as the winged solar disk, Re-Harakhty seated on his throne, and the stele's owner, Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu i The Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu (also known as the Stele of Revealing) is a painted, wo ...
** The Opa Oranmiyan **
Gao-Saney Gao-Saney is a medieval town close to Gao, the capital of the Gao Empire, situated on the eastern Niger Bend in the present-day Republic of Mali. Its ruins are four km distant from the royal town of Gao. Gao-Saney became well-known among African h ...
** ** Stone of the Guanches * In the Western Hemisphere: ** Mexico: Tres Zapotes Stela C,
Izapa Stela 5 Izapa Stela 5 is one of a number of large, carved stelae found in the ancient Mesoamerican site of Izapa, in the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico along the present-day Guatemalan border. These stelae date from roughly 300 Common era, BCE to 50 ...

Izapa Stela 5
,
La Mojarra Stela 1 La Mojarra Stela 1 is a Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also ...
** Guatemala: Stela 14 from Piedras Negras ** Honduras: Stela H from ** Peru: Raimondi Stela


Gallery

File:P1060243 Louvre repas funéraire de la princesse Nefertiabet E15591 rwk.JPG, Princess 's
funerary A funeral is a ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication or non-vocal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare' ...

funerary
slab stele ( BC) from
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...
's 4th dynasty File:Grave Stela of Nehemes-Ra-tawy, ca. 760-656 B.C.E. ,37.588E.jpg, Egyptian grave stela of Nehemes-Ra-tawy, c. 760–656 BC File:Anthropomorphic stele no 25, Sion, Petit-Chasseur necropolis 13.jpg, Stele #25 ( BC) from the Petit Chasseur in
Sion, Switzerland Sion (; german: Sitten ; it, Seduno; la, Sedunum) is a , a municipality, and the capital of the of and of the district of . it had a population of (known as ''Sédunois(es)''). On 17 January 1968, the former municipality of merged into the ...

Sion, Switzerland
File:Statuamenhirlaconi.jpg, A neolithic Sardinian
menhir Dry Tree menhir – a standing stone at Goonhilly Downs Cornwall">Goonhilly_Downs.html" ;"title="Dry Tree menhir – a standing stone at Goonhilly Downs">Dry Tree menhir – a standing stone at Goonhilly Downs Cornwall A menhir (from Britton ...

menhir
( BC) recovered at
Laconi Laconi, Làconi in Sardinian language Sardinian or Sard (''sardu'' / ''sadru'' , ''limba sarda'' or ''lìngua sarda'' ) is a Romance language spoken by the Sardinians on the Western Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Many Romance linguists ...
and assigned to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture File:Milkau Oberer Teil der Stele mit dem Text von Hammurapis Gesetzescode 369-2.jpg, The
lunette A lunette (French ''lunette'', "little moon") is a half-moon shaped architectural upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (a ...
of the ( BC), depicting the
king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...

king
receiving his law from the sun god
Shamash Utu, later worshipped by the East Semitic Akkadian language, Akkadian-speaking Babylonians as Shamash, ''šmš'', syc, ܫܡܫܐ ''šemša'', he, שֶׁמֶשׁ ''šemeš'', ar, شمس ''šams'', Ashurian Aramaic: 𐣴𐣬𐣴 ''š'meš(ā)'' ...

Shamash
File:Baal thunderbolt Louvre AO15775.jpg, Baal with Thunderbolt ( century BC), an
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʼUgart''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt''; he, אוּגָרִית ''Ugarit'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident ...

Ugarit
ic stele from
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
File:Merenptah Israel Stele Cairo.jpg, The
Merneptah Stele The Merneptah Stele – also known as the Israel Stele or the Victory Stele of Merneptah – is an inscription by the ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a of , concentrated along the lower reaches of the , situated in the plac ...
( BC), engraved on the back of a reused stele of
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, imn-ḥtp(.w) "Amun Amun (; also ''Amon'', ''Ammon'', ''Amen''; egy, jmn, ''reconstructed'' ; Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ámmōn'', ''Hámmōn'') was a major ancient Egyptian deities, ancient Egyptian deity who appears ...

Amenhotep III
's, with the earliest mention of the name Israel File:0007MAN-Herma.jpg, An unusually well-preserved
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
herm Herm (: ''Haerme'', ultimately from ''arms'' "arm", due to the shape of the island, or Old French ''eremite'' "hermit") is one of the and part of the in the . It is located in the , north-west of France and south of England. It is long and ...
( BC), used as a boundary marker and to ward off evil File:Relief Bendis BM 2155.jpg, A votive stela honoring the Thracian goddess
Bendis ?) BC, (Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most popu ...

Bendis
( BC), carved at
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
File:Herma Demosthenes Glyptothek Munich 292.jpg, A
herm Herm (: ''Haerme'', ultimately from ''arms'' "arm", due to the shape of the island, or Old French ''eremite'' "hermit") is one of the and part of the in the . It is located in the , north-west of France and south of England. It is long and ...
of
Demosthenes Demosthenes (; el, Δημοσθένης, translit=Dēmosthénēs; ; 384 – 12 October 322 BC) was a statesman and orator of . His constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight in ...

Demosthenes
, a recreation of the BC original located in the
Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens The Acropoli ...
market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...

market
File:Rosetta Stone BW.jpeg, The
Rosetta Stone The Rosetta Stone is a granodiorite stele inscribed with three versions of a Rosetta Stone decree, decree issued in Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The top and middle texts are in Eg ...

Rosetta Stone
(196 BC), establishing the divine cult of
Ptolemy V egy, Iwaennetjerwymerwyitu Seteppah Userkare Sekhem-ankhamun Clayton (2006) p. 208. , predecessor = Ptolemy IV , successor = Ptolemy VI , horus = '' ḥwnw-ḫꜤj-m-nsw-ḥr-st-jt.f'Khunukhaiemnisutkhersetitef'' The youth who ...
File:Buddhist Stela Northern Wei period.jpg, A Buddhist Stele from
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
,
Northern Wei Maitreya Maitreya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Euro ...
period, built sometime after 583 File:Yamanoue stele.jpg, A
rubbing A rubbing (''Frottage (art), frottage'') is a reproduction of the Surface finish, texture of a surface created by placing a piece of paper or similar material over the subject and then rubbing the paper with something to deposit marks, most comm ...
of the Yamanoue Stele (681) in
Takasaki is a Cities of Japan, city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. , the city had an estimated population of 372,369 in 167,345 households, and a population density of 810 persons per km². The total area of the city is . Takasaki is famous as t ...
, one of
three 3 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 3, three, or III may also refer to: * AD 3, the third year of the AD era * 3 BC, the third year before the AD era * March, the third month Books * '' Three of Them'' (Russian: ', literally, "three"), a 1901 ...
protected steles in Japan File:Yaxchilan Stela 35.jpg,
Stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), ...
35 from
Yaxchilan Yaxchilan () is an ancient Maya city Maya cities were the centres of population of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a co ...

Yaxchilan
(8th century), depicting Lady Eveningstar, the consort of king Shield Jaguar II File:Frits-Holm-Chinas-Foremost-Monument-the-Chingchiaopei.png, The
Nestorian Stele The Xi'an Stele also known as the Nestorian Stele, Nestorian Stone, Nestorian Monument, or Nestorian Tablet, is a Tang Chinese stele A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek p ...
(781) records the success of the Nestorianism in China, missionary Alopen in Tang dynasty, Tang China in Literary Chinese, Chinese and Syriac language, Syriac. It is borne by a Bixi (mythology), Bixi and List of Chinese cultural relics forbidden to be exhibited abroad, forbidden to travel abroad. File:Rodney02.JPG, Rodney's Stone, a slab cross from Early Medieval
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
File:Forres sueno.jpg, Sueno's Stone ( century) in Forres,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, displaying efforts at modern preservation of the Pictish stones File:1348 Mogaoku Stele.jpg, A
rubbing A rubbing (''Frottage (art), frottage'') is a reproduction of the Surface finish, texture of a surface created by placing a piece of paper or similar material over the subject and then rubbing the paper with something to deposit marks, most comm ...
of the Stele of Sulaiman, Prince of Xining (1348), Mani stone, bearing the Om mani padme hum, Mani in six languages: Lantza, Nepali, Classical Tibetan, Tibetan, Old Uyghur, Uyghur, 'Phags-pa script, 'Phags-pa, Tangut language, Tangut, and Literary Chinese, Chinese. File:Gall Trilingual Inscription.jpg, The Galle Trilingual Inscription, Galle stele left by Zheng He on Sri Lanka in 1409 with trilingual inscriptions in Literary Chinese, Chinese, Tamil language, Tamil, and Persian language, Persian File:Newport Cemetery.JPG, Tombstones (Funerary stele, funerary stelae) at the Common Burying Ground and Island Cemetery, Newport, Rhode Island. Typical inscriptions include the names of the deceased interred under the stones. Ca. 18th century and later. File:Hilarri-4symb.jpg, A disc shaped gravestone or hilarri in Bidarray, western Pyrenees, Basque Country (greater region), Basque Country, featuring typical geometric and solar forms, as it was the custom since the period previous to Roman times


See also

* Cantabrian stelae * Headstone * Kurgan stelae * Monumental inscription * Runestone * Stećci * Stele of the Vultures


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Boardman, John, ed. ''The Cambridge Ancient History'', Part 1, 2nd Edition, () * Collon, Dominique, et al. "Stele." ''Grove Art Online''. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 3 Jun. 2015
Subscription required
* * Pool, Christopher A. ''Olmec Archaeology and Early Mesoamerica''. Cambridge University Press, 2007 () * * * * Till, Karen E. ''The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place''. University of Minnesota Press, 2005 *


External links


''The Cesnola collection of Cypriot art: stone sculpture''
a fully digitized collection catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries, which contains material on steles
''Egyptian Stelae in Field Museum of Natural History''
documentation of collection 1936 {{Authority control Steles, Stone monuments and memorials Stone sculptures Inscriptions by type Ancient Egyptian stelas, Ancient Near East steles, Archaeological artefact types Egyptian artefact types Heraldic charges Stones