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History of Pyramids
Ancient Egypt was the home of one
of the most advanced civilizations of its time.
Today, many historians are held in our memories in
statues and paintings. However, the Ancient Egyptian Leaders held themselves in
memory in a different way. Obsessed with the afterlife, years ago Egyptian
rulers ordered thousands of slaves to move stone and rocks forming what we call
today, the Pyramids. The pyramids were created to assist the kings of their time
in walking on through the afterlife.
The beginning of the Old Kingdom is believed to be
the construction of Djoser's monument. The construction project of Pharaoh
Djoser's Step Pyramid started around 2620 B.C. It was created to amaze the
ancient Egyptians, and amaze them is exactly what it did. The Step Pyramid rises
to a height of 60 meters. Its base being 120 meters by 108 meters. Inside is a
system of underground corridors and rooms. The main feature of the Step Pyramid
is a central shaft 25 meters deep and 8 meters wide.
However, Djoser's pyramid was not exactly a
pyramid. It was made more like steps, and not smooth on all sides like other
pyramids. As the pyramids evolved, there where failures. Glorious failures,
until they finally got the design just right. The first smooth sided, true
pyramid was built at Meidum. When Snefru took the throne sometime near 2575 BC,
Djoser's Step Pyramid was the only large royal pyramid that was completed.
Snefru then became the greatest pyramid builder in Egyptian history by
completing not one pyramid, but three. Many believe that building Djoser's
pyramid, which was done by hundreds of workers, served to join the provinces
into the world's first nation-state. During the Old Kingdom, which began around
2700 BC and lasted some 550 years, each pharaoh after Djoser marshaled a vast
portion of his country's manpower and wealth to build his own tomb and ensure
Two generations after Djoser's reign, the center of
the Old Kingdom moved to the barren plateau of Giza. Three 4th dynasty pyramids
were erected here; they are included among the Seven Wonders of the World. The
one the farthest north and the oldest was built by Khufu (2558-2532 BC), the
second king during the 4th dynasty. It was called the Great Pyramid. The middle
pyramid was built by Khafre (2520 - 2494 BC), the fourth king of the 4th
dynasty. The southern and last pyramid to be construction was of Menkaure
(2532-2503 BC), the sixth king of the 4th dynasty.
Near 2465 B.C, about halfway through the Old
Kingdom, pyramids suddenly became less important. No one knows why, but many
scholars have suggested that after Khufu's pyramid, which took roughly 23 years
to build, the kingdom grew weary with each Pharaoh's effort to outdo the last,
several pharaohs died before the completion of their pyramids. A king would
never again build a pyramid on a truly colossal scale. Instead the religious
focus shifted from the pyramid itself toward the mortuary temple that stood to
the east of it. As the culture grew more sophisticated, even the Pharaoh's
unlimited power was beginning to fade.
To this very day, we continue to look in awe at the amazing marvels. For many
years onward, they will remain important to all who see them. Just is it was
important so many years ago.
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