Koios was one of the elder Titans, sons of Uranos and Gaia. He and his brothers conspired against their father, laying an ambush for him as he descended to lie with Earth. Four of the siblings were posted at the corners of the world, where they seized hold of him and held him fast, while Kronos castrated him with a sickle. In this myth the brothers apparently personified the great pillars which hold heaven and earth apart. Koios’ alternate name, Polos (“of the northern pole”), suggests he was the Titan of the pillar of the north. Koios, as god of the axis of heaven around which the constellations revolved, was probably also a god of heavenly oracles.
Its name is misleading. This single column standing on a rocky hilltop in the middle of Alexandria has nothing to do with the Roman Consul and General Gaius Pompey who was Julius Caesar’s rival in a civil war and was murdered by a Ptolomaic pharaoh in 48 BC when he fled to Alexandria.
This legend was started by Crusaders, who thought the 100-foot (30 meter) red Aswan granite pillar marked his burial site. The pillar is instead the a triumphal monument erected around 300 CE for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, but the true significance of this archeological site is what stood here before the pillar. It is the site of the Serapeum, Alexandria’s acropolis.