Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Pyramids of Giza

The Ancient Egyptians had a very different view of life in comparison to the present day period. To them life on earth was vastly shorter than life after death. For that reason they went to extreme lengths to ensure a prosperous afterlife. One example of this idea is the remarkable pyramids of Giza. They demonstrated how far these individual Egyptians went for their afterlife.

The pyramids of Giza were constructed during the 4th dynasty, or 2613-2498 B.C. The pharaohs that built them were Cheops (or Khufu), Chephren (or Khafre), and Mycerinus (or Menkaure). Khufu built the largest of the three pyramids. It originally stood at 146.6 meters tall and its base was 230.3 meters around. It sides were covered in fine white polished limestone. The Pyramid of Khafre is often thought to be larger than the pyramid of his father, Khufu, but it is not. It originally only stood at 143.5 meters compared to 146.6 meters.The smallest of the three pyramids is the Pyramid of Menkaure, it originally stood at 66 meters. There are also three smaller pyramids that lay beside the pyramid of Khufu. They were created for the three wives of Khufu. (Hart 20)

Each of these pharaohs obviously cared a great deal about their afterlife and recognition of the ages to come. I believe that they succeeded one of these; no person can see a picture of these extraordinary pyramids and not recognize the greatness of the one who built it.

Monumental tombs were built to house the royal mummies and everything they would need for life in the hereafter - clothes, jewelry, chairs, beds, dishes, even food. (Giblin 12)

The Pyramids of Giza are said to be built by the labor of 100,000 men. This is often hard to believe, but there are various archaeological facts that support this idea. One of them is they have found the camps of the men that built the pyramids. These men shaped the blocks for the pyramid with copper tools. Then using wooden sleds dragged the blocks manually or with oxen along roads to the pyramids construction site. Then they were raised on ramps as the pyramid became larger. When the pyramid was complete these ramps would be disassembled. This is how the pyramids of Giza were built.

Many believe that the Great Pyramid was built by slaves, however 100,000 people worked on it for three months; when the Nile flooded. The flooding made it impossible for farming, thus the building of the pyramid gave jobs to the unemployed.

The Pyramids of Giza have many remarkable features and history, above are a few of the many. This shows how amazing the Pyramids of Giza are.

Giblin, James Cross. Secrets of the Sphinx, Scholastic Press; New York, 2004.

Hart, George. Eyewitness Ancient Egypt, DK Publishing, Inc.; New York, 2004.