This section is from the book "A Library Of Wonders And Curiosities Found In Nature And Art, Science And Literature", by I. Platt. Also available from Amazon: A library of wonders and curiosities.
This pillar is situated a quarter of a league from the southern gate. It is composed of red granite. The capital is Corinthian, with palm leaves, and not indented. It is nine feet high. The shaft and upper member of the base are of one piece of ninety feet long, and nine in diameter. The base is a square of about fifteen feet on each side. This block of marble, sixty feet in circumference, rests on two layers of stone, bound together with lead; which, however, has not prevented the Arabs from forcing out several of them, to search for an imaginary treasure. The whole column is one hundred and fourteen feet high. It is perfectly well polished, and only a little shivered on the eastern side. Nothing can equal the majesty of this monument: seen from a distance, it overtops the town, and serves as a signal for vessels; approaching it nearer, it produces an astonishment mixed with awe. One can never be tired with admiring the beauty of the capital, the length of the shaft, and the extraordinary simplicity of the pedestal. This last has been somewhat damaged by the instruments of travellers, who are curious to possess a relic of this antiquity. Learned men and travellers have made many fruitless attempts to discover, in honour of what prince it was erected. The best informed have concluded that it could not be in honour of Pompey, since neither Strabo nor Diodorus Siculus has spoken of it. The Arabian Abulfeda, in his description of Egypt, calls it the Pillar of Severus. And history informs us, that this emperor 'visited the city ot Alexandria;' that he granted a senate to its inhabitants, who, until that time, under the subjection of a Roman magistrate, had lived without any national council, as under the reign of the Ptolemies, when the will of the prince was their only law; and that he did not terminate his benefactions here, but changed several laws in their favour. This column, therefore, Mr. Savoy concludes to have been erected by the inhabitants as a mark of their gratitude to Severus; and in a Greek inscription, now half defaced, but visible on the west side when the sun shines upon it, and which probably was legible in the time of Abulfeda, he supposes the name of Severus to have been preserved. He further observes, that this was not the only monument erected to him by the gratitude of the Alexandrians, for there is still seen, in the ruins of Antinoe, built by Adrian, a magnificent pillar, the inscription of which is still remaining, dedicated to Alexander Severus.
Pompey's Pillar at Alexandria; with an account of a surprising Exploit of some British Sailors.