This obelisk was brought to Rome by Domitian (emperor 81-91 AD). He had hieroglyphs carved on it in praise of himself his father and brother. It eventually lay abandoned in 5 pieces in the Circus of Maxentius on the Appian Way. Pope Innocent X wanted it to top a massive fountain in Piazza Navona, as it now stands. There is a good story about how Bernini gained the commission to create the “Fountain of the Four Rivers” that forms the base of the obelisk (1648).