), a lighthouse. The most celebrated lighthouse of antiquity
was that situated at the entrance to the port of Alexandria. It was built by
Sostratus of Cnidos on an island, which bore the same name, by command of
one of the Ptolemies, and at an expense of 800 talents (Plin. Nat. 36.83
; Steph. Byz. s. v.
Achill. Tat. 5.6). It was
square, constructed of white stone, and with admirable art; exceedingly
lofty, and in all respects of great dimensions (Caesar, Caes. Civ. 3.112
). It contained many stories
Strabo xvii. p.791
), which diminished in
width from below upwards (Herodian, 4.3). The upper stories had windows
looking seawards, and torches or fires were kept burning in them by night in
order to guide vessels into the harbour (V. Fl.
; see Bartoli, Luc. Ant.
) mentions the lighthouses of Ostia and
Ravenna, and says that there were similar towers at many other places. They
are represented on the medals of Apamea and other maritime cities. The name
of Pharos was given to them in allusion to that of Alexandria, which was the
model for their construction (Herodian, l.c.;
20). The Pharos of Brundusium, for example,
was, like that of Alexandria, an island with a lighthouse upon it. (Mela,
2.7.13; Steph. Byz. l.c.
). Suetonius (Suet. Tib. 74
) mentions another pharos at
Capreae. Trajan's breakwater at Centum Cellae (Civita Vecchia) had a
lighthouse at each end (Plin. Ep. 6.31
which Merivale (Hist.
7.253) seems to refer the
“Pharos Tyrrhena” in Juv.
. This is, however, probably the lighthouse at the Portus Romanus
formed by Claudius two miles N. of Ostia and improved by
Trajan (Suet. Cl. 20
; Mayor's note ad
The annexed woodcut shows two phari remaining in Britain. The first is within
the precincts of Dover Castle. It is about 40 feet high, octagonal
externally, tapering from below upwards, and built with narrow courses of
brick and much wider courses of stone in alternate portions. The space
within the tower is square, the sides of the octagon without and of the
square within being equal, viz., each 15 Roman feet. The door is seen at the
bottom (Stukeley, Itin. Curios.
p. 129). A
similar pharos formerly existed at Boulogne, and is supposed to have been
built by Caligula (Sueton. Calig.
vol. 22.214.171.124, 4). The round tower here
introduced is on the summit
Roman Lighthouses in Britain.
of a hill on the coast of Flintshire (Pennant, Par. of
Whiteford and Holywell,
fig. 1688) shows a relief from
the Torlonia Museum of the lighthouse at the Roman Port, a round tower at
the edge of the quay with beacon flames rising from its summit. A tower
without flames is shown on a denarius of Sext. Pompeius as the lighthouse at
Messina (Id. ib. p. 957).