National Geographic : 1921 Mar
2;0( THE NATIONAL, GIO()GR.AP1 [IC 1IGAZI NK O Kadel and Herbert BEAUTIFUL ROM1 PIIOTOGRAPIIED FROM T''I AIR: LOOKING DOWN ON THIE FAMOUS OBEIISK IN THI CENTER OF TIlE PIAZZA OF ST. P'ET'R'S Tradition tells us that when the obelisk was being erected on the present site, in I586, the engineer, Fontana, failed to take into consideration the tension which would result from the great weight (320 tons) on the elevating ropes. As a consequence, the monolith just failed of being raised to a vertical position. At this critical moment, although silence had been imposed upon the bystanders under pain of death, one of the workmen, Bresca, a sailor, cried, "\Vet the ropes !" This was done, causing a shrinkage and thus preventing a catastrophe.