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Essay About Egyptian Civilization Pyramids

The Architecture of Ancient Egypt: The Great Pyramid Essay

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This essay focuses on two different types of pyramids; the Step pyramid which was the first pyramid and the Great pyramid, which was the largest pyramid built in Egypt. The essay investigates the meaning of the selected forms for the Egyptian culture and explains their dialog with the cosmos.

The architecture of ancient Egypt is one of the most significant civilizations throughout history, which developed of different structures and great architectural monuments along the River Nile.
The pyramids were built as a tomb for the pharaoh. Their belief was that the top point of the pyramid was the gate for the soul to travel to the afterlife and return to earth if chosen. These tombs were built which line up with certain stars and planets.…show more content…

This essay focuses on two different types of pyramids; the Step pyramid which was the first pyramid and the Great pyramid, which was the largest pyramid built in Egypt. The essay investigates the meaning of the selected forms for the Egyptian culture and explains their dialog with the cosmos.

The architecture of ancient Egypt is one of the most significant civilizations throughout history, which developed of different structures and great architectural monuments along the River Nile.
The pyramids were built as a tomb for the pharaoh. Their belief was that the top point of the pyramid was the gate for the soul to travel to the afterlife and return to earth if chosen. These tombs were built which line up with certain stars and planets.

One of the greatest cultural successes of Ancient Egypt was certainly in their architecture related with religion. "Temples, tombs and pyramids - all have witnessed this earth for thousands of years. What better than to say that these architectural achievements show us that Egypt's greatest virtue lay in its architecture" (Fumeaux: 11, 1964).[1]

"The Egyptian sun god Ra, considered the father of all pharaohs, was said to have created himself from a pyramid-shaped mound of earth before creating all other gods. The pyramid’s shape is thought to have symbolized the sun’s rays" (Donald B. Redford, Ph.D., Penn State).[2]

THE STEP PYRAMID

The first prototype tomb was the Mastaba in Egypt. This tomb is an underground monument covered with a

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Ancient Egypt

Pyramids

History >> Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptian pyramids are some of the most impressive structures built by humans in ancient times. Many of the pyramids still survive today for us to see and explore.

Why did they build the pyramids?

The pyramids were built as burial places and monuments to the Pharaohs. As part of their religion, the Egyptians believed that the Pharaoh needed certain things to succeed in the afterlife. Deep inside the pyramid the Pharaoh would be buried with all sorts of items and treasure that he may need to survive in the afterlife.

Types of Pyramids

Some of the earlier pyramids, called step pyramids, have large ledges every so often that look like giant steps. Archeologists think that the steps were built as stairways for the pharaoh to use to climb to the sun god.

Later pyramids have more sloping and flat sides. These pyramids represent a mound that emerged at the beginning of time. The sun god stood on the mound and created the other gods and goddesses.

How big were the pyramids?

There are around 138 Egyptian pyramids. Some of them are huge. The largest is the Pyramid of Khufu, also called the Great Pyramid of Giza. When it was first built it was over 480 feet tall! It was the tallest man-made structure for over 3800 years and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It's estimated that this pyramid was made from 2.3 million blocks of rock weighing 5.9 million tons.


Djoser Pyramid by Unknown

How did they build them?

How the pyramids were built has been a mystery that archeologists have been trying to solve for many years. It is believed that thousands of slaves were used to cut up the large blocks and then slowly move them up the pyramid on ramps. The pyramid would get slowly built, one block at a time. Scientists estimate it took at least 20,000 workers over 23 years to build the Great Pyramid of Giza. Because it took so long to build them, Pharaohs generally started the construction of their pyramids as soon as they became ruler.

What's inside the pyramids?

Deep inside the pyramids lays the Pharaoh's burial chamber which would be filled with treasure and items for the Pharaoh to use in the afterlife. The walls were often covered with carvings and paintings. Near the Pharaoh's chamber would be other rooms where family members and servants were buried. There were often small rooms that acted as temples and larger rooms for storage. Narrow passageways led to outside.

Sometimes fake burial chambers or passages would be used to try and trick grave robbers. Because there was such valuable treasure buried within the pyramid, grave robbers would try to break in and steal the treasure. Despite the Egyptian's efforts, nearly all of the pyramids were robbed of their treasures by 1000 B.C.


Khafre's Pyramid and the Great Sphinx
Photo by Than217

Fun Facts about the Great Pyramids
  • The Great Pyramid of Giza points very precisely to the north.
  • The pyramids of Egypt are all built to the west of the Nile River. This is because the western side was associated with the land of the dead.
  • The base of a pyramid was always a perfect square.
  • They were built mostly of limestone.
  • There were traps and curses put on the tombs and the pyramids to try and keep robbers out.
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Works Cited

History >> Ancient Egypt

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Pyramids of Giza,
photo by Ricardo Liberato