We as human beings have always been fascinated by the pyramids…The most famous pyramids of course are the ancient Egyptian pyramids, erected as monuments and the final burial grounds for the god-king Pharaohs of Egypt…These final resting places are more than physically imposing, they also have mystical components and spiritual relevancy that we are still trying to figure out…The exploration of these massive edifices and the subsequent discovery of the sad fact of extensive looting and plundering of the Pharaoh’s tombs has become a well documented and integral shrouded part of the secrecy and mystery that still surrounds pyramids today…
An even more astonishing fact, that science has not been able to explain, is that South American civilizations like the Aztecs, the Mayas and the Incas, separated by thousands of miles of ocean waters, have also erected pyramids as monuments and resting places for their own rulers…How is this even possible, when there was no communication or even knowledge of the existence of the Egypt civilization possible to them at this time in history?…In addition, many new age spiritualists swear by the curative powers of the pyramid as a healing force! Really, there is just something intriguing and compelling about pyramids to most people!
The pyramids in Egypt are the best known, so we will start there…Each Pharaoh tried to outdo the splendor, glory and the grandeur of the Pharaoh that preceded him…The last and most well known was the Great Pyramid at Giza, built for the Pharaoh Khufu (or Cheops)… According to my Google sources: “The largest of the three pyramids at Giza, known as the Great Pyramid, is truly an astonishing work of engineering. It was built over a twenty year period, in approximately 2500 BC. ….
Some believe that it was built by slaves, but this is not true. One hundred thousand people worked on the great structure for three months of each year, during the Nile’s annual flood when it was impossible to farm the land and most of the population was unemployed. The pharaoh provided good food and clothing for his workers, and was kindly remembered in folk tales for many centuries.
The sides are oriented to the four cardinal points of the compass and the length of each side at the base is 755 feet (230.4 m). They currently rise 451 feet [138 m].) It was constructed using around 2,300,000 limestone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. Some blocks weigh as much as 16 tons. For centuries, the Great Pyramid was encased in smooth limestone, but this was plundered in our era to build Cairo.”
Khufu’s (or Cheops) son Khafre not only built his own pyramid, but also built the Great Sphinx, which is 66 feet high (20 m) and 240 feet long (73 m) and is a part of Khafre’s pyramid complex. This was a magnificent compound of mixed religious and military power and majesty, awe inspiring even to this day…It must have been truly magnificent and a source of awe at such splendor back when it was first conceived of and built…
It represents Ra-Harakhte, the sun god, as he rises in the east at dawn but the face of the Sphinx is a portrait of Khafre himself, and is contemporary with his pyramid. It was carved from an outcropping of limestone left after quarrying the stone for his father’s pyramid.
Although pyramid-building in stone continued until the end of the Old Kingdom, the pyramids of Giza were never surpassed in their size and the technical excellence of their construction. New Kingdom ancient Egyptians marveled at their predecessors monuments, which were then well over a thousand years old. Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years!
The ancient Egyptians believed the Pharaoh would continue to rule as god-kings in the afterlife, so great care was taken in his mummification, preserving him in his sarcophagus, or outer protective covering, and adorning his tomb with mummified remains of his favorite pets, horses, chariots, jewelry and other art treasures, boats to sail down the dark and turbulent River Styx, weapons, and in some cases slaves were sacrificed to serve as attendants in the afterlife…Several very well known and documented mummies have been discovered over the years, and some of them are remarkably well preserved even to this day!….
The interior of the pyramids that modern day archaeologists have uncovered reveals a massive treasure trove of artifacts, sculptures, paintings and inscriptions in hieroglyphics that modern day people still marvel at….To think that Egypt had such a complex, dynamic, well ordered and workable civilization way back in 2500 BC boggles the modern day mind….America is only a child civilization, in existence a mere 239 years! Compare that to the magnificence and splendor that was ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago! We can only marvel at the complexities and technical accomplishments these ancient people had mastered and utilized on a day to day basis.
They actually had a complete and productive civilization actually dating back to 7,000 BC, almost 9,000 years ago! But we are most familiar with the accomplishments dating from the construction of the great pyramids…In a brief timeline, around 3,000 BC the Kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt united. Successive dynasties witness flourishing trade, prosperity and the development of great cultural traditions. Writing, including hieroglyphics, is used as an instrument of state. Construction of the pyramids – around 2,500 BC – is a formidable engineering achievement.
Meanwhile, far away across thousands of miles of oceans, the ancient cultures of the Maya, the Aztec and the Inca civilizations also erected pyramids for their god-king rulers…Back then, the belief that their leaders were directly descended from the gods was no joke, it was the foundation of their religious beliefs, which persisted even up to the medieval ages in Europe, where kings were considered divinely appointed… But more on that in my next blog!
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