The Pyramids of Egypt –

Egypt catches everyone who tries to dig a little into its history, a culture that developed in a harsh environment and that managed to create an incredibly advanced society, both in medicine, art, sculpture, engineering and above all architecture. There is so much to talk about Egypt, that today we are going to focus on its funerary architecture, the pyramids of Egypt. we will meet, what they were used for, who ordered them to be built, how they were built, etc.

Let’s start with these wonderful constructions that reached their maximum expression with the culmination of the pyramids of Giza. Not in vain, it is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that has endured over time, constantly reminding us that man is the only animal capable of overcoming himself.

Origin of the Egyptian pyramids

we have to go back 3000 years BCto know the beginning of the history of Egypt. Along the banks of the Nile River, there were a series of settlements that prospered to the same extent that their tools became more precise and effective, they were no longer dedicated only to the collection of grain, now they hunted, explored mining, and improved the security of the settlement.

divided into two kingdoms Upper Egypt and Lower Egyptdue to their location, either in the cmiddle Nile channel or in the lower Nile channel. The history of ancient Egypt as such, we can place it at the time when Both kingdoms merge into one, creating a new State.

The figure of government was the Pharaoh, he had all the production and distributed it according to the needs. Mining and engineering were developed, which managed to achieve colossal projects, especially thanks to the cooperation of an entire people.

Ancient Egypt

It is at this moment that we can speak of a new period, the beginning of ancient egyptand it is at this time that we have to situate chronologically, the creation of the Giza Necropolis.

This period begins under 3rd Dynasty, the capital was established in Memphis, and it is this dynasty, under the mandate of the Pharaoh Dyeser, where the Egyptians begin to erect those wonderful and colossal constructions called Pyramids.

After the V dynasty, the Old Empire begins its decline, With the arrival of the priests and the local governors, the next stage begins, the First Intermediate Period, which is the subject of another article.

Life After Death in the pyramids

You can’t understand the pyramids, without knowing your beliefssince both are related. The Egyptians believed in life after death. for which all their lives were dedicated to preparing for the arrival of that moment. The book of the dead, is a proof of it a guide on how the body and soul should be prepared for that transcendental moment.

After death, the spirit or Ka, it was divided into two the Ba or soul and the Akh or spirit. Of the two parties, the Ba accompanied the deceased in his gravehe could move as he pleased, while the akh, was sent directly to the underworld of Osiris, who would be in charge of judging the spirit of the dead. To know what life he had lived Anubis deposited the heart of the deceased on one side of a scaleat the other end, Ma’at (goddess of truth and justice), deposited the pen of truth.

If the scales did not stay in balance, the deceased would eternally suffer an infinity of punishments, but if on the contrary the balance was balancedmeant it was worthy to live in the great kingdomtogether with other good souls and with the gods in peace and harmony, eternally.

This is where it is born the need to create durable construction, eternal, since the soul of the deceased will live forever. He too will need everything he had in this world, since the ancient Egyptians believed that the deceased could lead a life in the great kingdom just as they could lead when they were alive. Reason for which, in the burials furniture, jewelry, trousseaus, food and entertainment or games were introduced.

What are the pyramids of Egypt

During this period only the Pharaoh was the only one who had the possibility of an afterlife. For this reason its constructions are so colossal. In later times, all the people could live an eternal life if their hearts passed the balance test, which made a large number of tombs flourish, but obviously the difference in construction, size and content had nothing to do with it.

To build the house that will be the home of a Pharaoh, a lot of time and resources had to be invested, so When a pharaoh came to power, the construction of what would be his eternal home immediately began.

At first it was thought that these constructions were executed by slaves, but the latest research has asserted that for the construction of the pyramids, waged peasants were hired, when their work in the field had finished, they moved to the cities to work on large constructions. These peasants received a payment that consisted of salt, wheat and barley.

Peasants arrived from all corners of Egypt, while their fields were kept in a rest period, they found in the cities, a way to survive when the field did not produce, over time, even became professionalized, creating cities so that these workers they could live having the necessary services for the performance of their functions. Cities with medical services to meet the needs of workers.

The organization of what we now call peonadas was very efficient, creating groups of four workers under the command of a foreman, that it would be the person in charge who would tell them what work to do and how to do it, in addition to controlling their workers, sometimes dispersed, especially that time was not wasted during work days.

The first known architect was Imhotep, He was responsible for the design of the first step pyramid and the oldest, located in Sakkara, was commissioned by the pharaoh Djoserapproximately in the year 2750 BC

Many archaeological remains support the construction of at least 100, some have lasted better over time than others, although most of them have serious structural flaws, since the only way to progress in the calculations was by correcting the flaws. detected.

A complex and safe building was needed, if one fear of the Egyptians was the judgment of the spirit, another fear they had was the looting or destruction of the corpsebecause if this happened the Ba would not have a home to return to and both the Akh and the Ba would experience death again, but this time it would be more traumatic.

Reason why the pyramids were built in two parts:

  • An underground: The underground part was made up of an underground chamber, where the pharaoh’s chamber is located, it was a burial chamber where the sarcophagus of the deceased was located.
  • A visible: The visible part is the one built on the ground, where there is a chapel for worship or «House of the Dead», located on the west wall and always facing west, where the underworld of Osiris is supposed to be.

During the first two dynasties The tombs were made by digging a pit, it was covered with adobe or wood and it was on top of it that the mega-structure was created. A table with little decoration for the offerings, usually made with waste material and bordered by a wall. The funerary complex was finished off with the construction of a boat, in charge of transporting the soul through the underworld.

Later it was mastabas, used for people of high rank, it was a pyramid with a rectangular base and a frustopyramidal shape. The mastaba had a chapel with a funerary stela or false door. This chapel was the chapel of worship, it brings a second chapel, that of Serdab. This room did not have access, simply It communicated with the previous one through a skylight.

in this room there was a statue representing the deceased, the reason was that in this statue resided the Ka of the deceased, in such a way that I could exit through the skylight collect his offerings and cross the trail that would take him outside. The body of the deceasednevertheless, was undergroundburied and with all access sealed.

The techniques were improving and already in the III dynasty, the first pyramids appeared, they were not yet very developed, in their technique, and their design was staggered, for which it received the name of Step pyramid.

The stepped pyramid was part of a complexes created for the celebration. It was surrounded by a stone wall and inside, a temple, a wide courtyard, a complicated system of underground galleries, passageways and warehouses.

the stepped pyramids They were built in stone its construction was based on the mastaba, since it was really about six mastabas, one on top of the other and clad in polished white limestone, which would have to be visible from long distances.

The stepped pyramid of Djoser reached 60 m in height, 140 m in length and 118 m in width at the base. The stepped pyramids had a room or House of the deceasedin this room was the stele, or gate with the name of the deceased, which has the purpose of allowing the deceased to go out to the outside world. In this room, there was often a table where relatives deposited their offerings to the deceased.

near cairo, a plain called Giza, in this plain is the most important funerary complex in history. It is a set of pyramids, among which is the largest of them all the Pyramid of Cheops, whose dimensions are 146 m high and 230 m wide.

Next to it is Khafre’s pyramidwith 10 meters less height, although visually it seems the highest, because it is built on a small elevation of the land.

Finally the pyramid of Menkaurethe smallest of the three pyramids but just as impressive as the previous two.

The pyramids over the centuries have suffered significant deterioration, looting, etc.. The pyramid of Cheops, built on the basis of large blocks of heavy granite, blocks 1 m high perfectly assembled, without mortar, simply so well built that it is impossible to insert a knife blade between its blocks.

These granite blocks were smoothed and painted with horizontal lines of different colors, except for the top of the pyramid, which was golden.

The pyramids contain a strong symbolism since the maximum religious symbol in Ancient Egypt was Ra. Ra was not just any or minor god, he was the god of the Sun, therefore he had to be at the top. The Egyptians thought that Ra reached the earth through the sides of the pyramid, to spread throughout the land of Egypt.

What political symbol, it signified the close union between the pharaoh and the divinity. They are closed constructions, without doors, a building to enter and not leave.

Construction of the Great Pyramids of…