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Ancient Egypt

The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt

Jean Elliott

on 21 May 2010

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Transcript of Ancient Egypt

Pyramids What types of pyramids are there? Who built the pyramids? From the scorching heat of the Egyptian desert
rises up the first of the ancient Egypt pyramids to
be constructed, the step pyramids. Step Pyramids King Snerfu quickly moved on from the step pyramid to his next attempt, the Bent pyramid located at Dashur. The pyramid takes its name from the reduced angle of the top of the structure, giving it a bent appearance. This pyramid apparently failed to meet the expectations of the pharaoh and his architecture team. Bent Pyramid The final pyramid believed to have been constructed by King Snerfu was a rousing success. The Red pyramid, also referred to as the North pyramid, is considered to be the first structure to take on the true pyramid shape. Red Pyramid The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest ever built of Egyptian pyramids. Standing at an impressive height of 146 meters, the Great Pyramid resides alongside several smaller pyramids that were intended for the king's wives and mother as well as a cult pyramid. 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.

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. Graffiti indicates that at least some of these workers took pride in their work, calling their teams "Friends of Khufu," "Drunkards of Menkaure," and so on—names indicating allegiances to pharaohs. Contrary to some popular depictions, the pyramid builders were not slaves or foreigners. Excavated skeletons show that they were Egyptians who lived in villages developed and overseen by the pharaoh's supervisors.
The builders' villages boasted bakers, butchers, brewers, granaries, houses, cemeteries, and probably even some sorts of health-care facilities—there is evidence of laborers surviving crushed or amputated limbs. Bakeries excavated near the Great Pyramids could have produced thousands of loaves of bread every week. Some of the builders were permanent employees of the pharaoh. Others were conscripted for a limited time from local villages. Some may have been women: Although no depictions of women builders have been found, some female skeletons show wear that suggests they labored with heavy stone for long periods of time 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'. Why did they build pyramids? The ancient Egyptian pyramids served a multitude of purposes. They were primarily used as the burial tomb of the royal family, consisting of the pharaoh, his queens and offspring. Modern excavations have uncovered that the inside of the Egyptian pyramids were almost always laid store with a variety of items the dead would need in the afterlife. Egyptologists have developed many theories about why the tombs of the early pharaohs were built in the pyramid shape. Here are three different ideas:

The pyramid represented the first land to appear at the beginning of time- a hill called 'Ben-Ben'.
The pyramid had sloping sides so that the dead pharaoh could symbolically climb to the sky and live forever.
The pyramid represented the rays of the sun.
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