Ancient Egyptian Pyramids

The pyramids built around thousands of years ago still continue to attract tourists and historians from all over the world. The mysteries, myth and stories surrounding the pyramids are more alluring than all the historical places of the world. Throughout history there have been many speculations and theories about the Pyramids. Yet there are still many questions unanswered and which still continue to puzzle scientists, mathematicians, astronomers, historians, architects and physicists all around the world.

People have dedicated their entire lives to unlocking the secrets of these incredible structures and the people who built them. The word 'pyramid' actually comes from the Greek word 'pyramis' which means 'wheat cake'. The word 'pyramis' was used to describe the ancient Egyptian buildings because they reminded the Greeks of pointy-topped wheat cakes. The ancient Egyptian word for the pyramids was 'Mer'. Egyptologists have developed many theories about why the tombs of the early pharaohs were built in the pyramid shape.

Ancient Egyptian Pyramids

Ancient Egyptian Giza Pyramids

Giza Pyramids location
The Solar Boats (The Boats of Cheops):

Here are three different ideas:

1. The pyramid represented the first land to appear at the beginning of time- a hill called 'Ben-Ben'. Pyramid shaped stone found in the earliest of temples, which itself is thought to symbolize the primeval mound from which the Egyptians believed life emerged.

2. The pyramid had sloping sides so that the dead pharaoh could symbolically climb to the sky and live forever.

3. The pyramid represented the rays of the sun.

Evolution of pyramids:

At the starting the pyramids were not huge the pharaohs built smaller tombs called the Mastabas. These Mastabas were smaller in size and had space only for the mummies and a few things to take for the afterlife . Then the pharaohs began to built mounds of earth on their mastabas, this was to signify their grandness. The step pyramids were the first fancy pyramids, later the pharaohs decided to fill in the steps.

The first pointed pyramids were built at Gizia. The tallest pyramid Khufu's great pyramid was the tallest building till the Eiffel tower was built. The pyramids signified the power and wealth of the pharaohs. These pyramids were built by the Egyptian slaves. An estimated twenty thousand to thirty thousand slaves built the pyramid at Gizia for a period of eighty years.

Pyramid symbolism:

Though it is generally agreed that the pyramids were burial monuments there seems to be disagreement among the historians on the theological principal on which it was built. One of the most famous theories is that it was a "resurrection machine." That is it will directly launch the spirit of the pharaoh in heaven.The Egyptians believed the dark area of the night sky around which the stars appear to revolve was the physical gateway into the heavens. One of the narrow shafts that extend from the main burial chamber through the entire body of the Great Pyramid points directly towards the center of this part of the sky.

This suggests the pyramid may have been designed to serve as a means to magically launch the deceased pharaoh's soul directly into the abode of the gods. All Egyptian pyramids were built on the west bank of the Nile, which as the site of the setting sun was associated with the realm of the dead in Egyptian mythology.

It took more than manual labor, to built these majestic pyramids , architects achieved an accurate pyramid shape by running ropes from the outer corners up to the planned summit, to make sure the stones were positioned correctly and priests-astronomers helped choose the pyramids' sites and orientations, so that they would be on the appropriate axis in relation to sacred constellations.

From stone pusher to priest, every worker would likely have recognized his or her role in continuing the life-and-death cycle of the pharaohs, and thereby in perpetuating the glory of Egypt.

Obsession with afterlife:

Ancient Egyptians believed that when the pharaoh died, he became Osiris, king of the dead. The new pharaoh became Horus, god of the heavens and protector of the sun god. This cycle was symbolized by the rising and setting of the sun. Some part of a dead pharaoh's spirit, called his ka, was believed to remain with his body and it was thought that if the corpse did not have proper care, the former pharaoh would not be able to carry out his new duties as king of the dead. If this happened, the cycle would be broken and disaster would befall Egypt.

The Solar Boats (The Boats of Cheops):

Ancient Egyptian Drawings and Paintings in tombs

To prevent such a catastrophe, each dead pharaoh was mummified, which preserved his body. Everything the king would need in his afterlife was provided in his grave-vessels made of clay, stone, and gold, furniture, food, even doll-like representations of servants, known as ushabti. His body would continue to receive food offerings long after his death. The kings used to start building their pyramids at the beginning of their reign as it took years to complete the building of a pyramid.

As of November 2008, 118 pyramids have been identified. The search for answers and the quest to solve the mysteries continues and so does the mysteries. We with all our modern technologies and scientific advancement are yet to solve the mysteries of the great ancient civilization of Egypt.

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