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Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
#1
Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
Here's a short history of the evolution of pyramids that goes from them being pits, to mud-brick things, to jacked up failed attempts at pyramids, to step pyramids, and finally "true" pyramids. In the article it lists sources from credible academics like Ph.D. Bob Brier.

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Quote:The Pyramids of Giza weren’t a magical achievement that happened over night. No, the evolution and philosophy of Egyptian pyramids was a long process dating back to basic oval burial pits. The confusion over how the pyramids were built is mostly due to an isolated view of the Giza pyramids and the tendency to insert alternative theories where there is simply a lack of knowledge. However, new insights of the possible construction methods of the pyramids have put most alternative theories to rest. For example, the recent discovery of a method of moving massive stones by watering sand to create less friction or W.T. Wallington’s method of lifting and moving giant stones. In other words, it wasn’t aliens, but it did require sophisticated techniques.


The dead were buried in simple and shallow pits for thousands of years in Predynastic Egypt, but this would not suffice given the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. This is where the religious philosophy of the ancient Egyptians comes into play. The intentional burial of humans indicates a belief in the afterlife. If this were the case, which many archeologist and anthropologist believe, preservation of the body for its journey into the afterlife would have been considered a necessity. This necessity sparked innovations in the burial methods of ancient Egyptians.


“Burials with grave goods clearly signify religious practices and concern for the dead that transcends daily life.” says Philip Lieberman in Uniquely Human.


The first big innovation of these burials came in the form of transitions from oval pits to rectangular pits with timber roofing. This was an improvement from the oval pits, but still wasn’t sufficient enough. The ancient Egyptians solved this issue by constructing rectangular mud-brick burial pits known as a mastaba “house of eternity” or “eternal house.” The innovation of mastabas gave way to an increased amount of buried valuables, especially gold. This burial of gold with ancient kings wasn’t simply a pompous display of wealth but symbolized power and immortality, thus coinciding with the purposes of the “eternal house.”


The Third Dynasty marked the utilization of stone, which sparked major innovations throughout the time known as the Old Kingdom. This is when the mastaba began to transition into the pyramid. Imhotep, an architect and vizier of King Djoser, was said to have invented the art of stone building. Of course, he wasn’t actually the first to build in stone, but displayed the first truly successful efforts of stone building. Imhotep designed the first pyramid of ancient Egypt for King Djoser by subsequently constructing mastabas upon each other, thus forming a step pyramid. This was an astounding accomplishment considering little to no innovation from the step pyramid would occur until the Fourth Dynasty.


It wasn’t until the pharaoh Sneferu of the Fourth Dynasty that a transition between the step pyramids of the Third Dynasty and the “true pyramids” of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Dynasty would occur. Before this, pharaohs (namely Sekhemkhet, Khaba, and Nebka) made attempts to build step pyramids, but those pyramids were neither finished nor had they shown any significant improvements upon Imhotep’s step pyramid design. Sneferu changed this after an attempt to finish the pyramid of Meidum. This wasn’t a success given that Sneferu had abandon construction and moved his court to Dashour, but this gave way to further developments.


Sneferu abandoned the pyramid of Meidum, but shortly began building a new pyramid at Dashour. This pyramid design built upon the foundations of the Meidum pyramid and looks much more like a true pyramid, though it has a noticeable bend. No design had been created for a true pyramid before Sneferu established his palace in Dashhour. However, the Bent Pyramid was intended to be a true pyramid, but was an unsuccessful attempt. This second failure led to further developments, just as the failure of the pyramid of Meidum had. Finally, after much adversity, Sneferu succeeded with the Red Pyramid.


The Red Pyramid became the first true pyramid that paved the way for the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Pyramid of Giza was built by Khufu, the son of Sneferu. While Sneferu was the real king and pioneer of pyramid building, no other pharaoh would ever accumulate the same level of resources and apply them to such a great extent as the pharaoh Khufu. Strangely enough, not much is known about Khufu, despite the fact that he built the largest pyramid in ancient Egypt. Nevertheless, Khufu’s construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza informed the design of the two pyramids built by Khafre and Menkaure that accompany it, thus forming the three major pyramids of Giza. While these pyramids symbolized a peak in the magnitude of pyramid building, it didn’t stop further innovations.


The Pyramid Texts are indicative of other forms of innovation outside of physical changes. The Pyramid Texts are a collection of religious texts from the Old Kingdom that were carved on the walls of sarcophagi and pyramids at Saqqara during the 5th and 6th Dynasties. These texts included spells that warded off grave robbers and emphasized the hope for a safe passage into the afterlife via flying, stairway, ladder, etc. This belief and hope for an afterlife goes all the way back to the oval burial pits. This is one of many examples of an overarching religious philosophy that’s deeply rooted in the development of these structures. These structures may also be indicative of other religious concepts such as a stairway or ladder into heaven, which the pyramids physically appeared like in the form of a step pyramid and perhaps even, symbolized metaphorically. Ultimately, what they became was a symbol of immortality that was driven by the religious philosophy of an afterlife. This really became true, given that the Great Pyramid of Giza is the only surviving wonder of the ancient seven wonders of the world.

A little lengthy, but interesting.
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#2
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
According to the fifth century (B.C.E.) Greek writer Herodotus, who apparently visited the site himself, the Great Pyramid took four separate shifts of 100,000 slaves working year-round (each shift worked three months at a time, for a total of 400,000 workers), and 20 years to complete. While his figures are probably way off, it is astonishing to consider that even in the golden age of Greece, the largest and oldest pyramid had already been an object of admiration for 2,000 years! 
He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return - Baruch Spinoza
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#3
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
(March 29, 2015 at 7:58 am)Nestor Wrote: According to the fifth century (B.C.E.) Greek writer Herodotus, who apparently visited the site himself, the Great Pyramid took four separate shifts of 100,000 slaves working year-round (each shift worked three months at a time, for a total of 400,000 workers), and 20 years to complete. While his figures are probably way off, it is astonishing to consider that even in the golden age of Greece, the largest and oldest pyramid had already been an object of admiration for 2,000 years! 

Yes, it is incredibly astounding. The weirdest part of history is how so many lapses in knowledge occurred. If recall, there was three major collapses of the ancient Egyptian empire and you could say, the Dark Ages were essentially an intellectual collapse too. 
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#4
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
Even a greek writer can be fundamentally wrong. According to archeological discoveries there were no slaves involved in the building of the pyramids. It was the work of free and highly paid workers and specialists, who resided in villages surrounding the site. We have these villages, we have some of the graves of the workers and we even know how the work crews used to called themselves.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/who...amids.html
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#5
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
(March 29, 2015 at 9:03 am)abaris Wrote: Even a greek writer can be fundamentally wrong. According to archeological discoveries there were no slaves involved in the building of the pyramids. It was the work of free and highly paid workers and specialists, who resided in villages surrounding the site. We have these villages, we have some of the graves of the workers and we even know how the work crews used to called themselves.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/who...amids.html
Oh, no doubt Herodotus gets much wrong in his Histories. Maybe they were simply "labor workers" though I can't imagine that would have been a dignified position. Anyway, here are the relevant texts by him on the construction of the pyramids: http://www.cheops-pyramide.ch/khufu-pyramid/herodotus.html
He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return - Baruch Spinoza
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#6
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
My mistake about his reference to 400,000, though, which he doesn't label as slaves.
He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return - Baruch Spinoza
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#7
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
(March 29, 2015 at 9:30 am)Nestor Wrote: Oh, no doubt Herodotus gets much wrong in his Histories. Maybe they were simply "labor workers" though I can't imagine that would have been a dignified position. Anyway, here are the relevant texts by him on the construction of the pyramids: http://www.cheops-pyramide.ch/khufu-pyramid/herodotus.html

No, they weren't. They were perfectly cared for as archeological discoveries show. The reason for this being that the pharao was considered their link to the gods and providing the ultimate service for his passing, they were held in very high regards and got all the food they could wish for as well as high standards of medicial services. Look it up.


Quote:We do know much more about the work activities, particularly at Giza, then ever before. Archaeologists have carefully studied the worker's villages, the craft shops, the bakeries and other related structures, which of course give us some idea of the workforce. So how many people did it take to build the Great Pyramid at Giza? Verner tells us that the current consensus among Egyptologists sets the figure at a little more than 30,000. Lehner, who has worked at Giza for many years and conducted experiments on building pyramids, is considered one of the leading authorities on these structures. He claims a somewhat lower estimate, including carpenters to make tools and sledges, metal workers to make and sharpen cutting tools, potters to make pots for food preparation and hauling water for mortar and other purposes, bakers, brewers and others, consisting of between 20,000 and 25,000 workers at any one time. In fact, as the pyramid grew, fewer and fewer men were probably required, for work at the top required much less stone and the construction space became more limited. This number of men, which was probably drastically reduced during the agricultural seasons, probably finished the Great Pyramid of Khufu in less than 23 years.


http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/...kforce.htm
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#8
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
Lehrer gets tripped up by the math.

Great pyramid = 2.5 million stones

2,500,000 stones divided by 20 years = 125,000 per year

125,000 divided by 365 days = 342.46 stones per day

342 divided by 24 hours = 14.25 stones per hour

14 stones an hour = roughly 4 minutes per stone.

That's 24/7 365 days a year for 20 years with no breaks, holidays, accidents, bad weather, etc, etc and we know they didn't do that.  They also could not have worked at night and even the Egyptologists admit they only worked during the flood season which blows the math even more completely.  Oh, and all that math above does not even begin to take into account the building of any sort of ramp to get the stones up.  Lehrer is correct to assert that the top of the pyramid requires fewer stones....but they have to be moved further and higher than the ones at the bottom.

Add in the fact that the average reign of an Egyptian pharoah was closer to 10 years and the whole idea becomes preposterous.  Who would commit to a 20 year building project as a tomb for a man who might be dead in half that time?

Then there is the Inventory Stele which the Egyptologists don't like so they dismiss as a later fraud.

Something is rotten in the state of Egypt.
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#9
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
So, everybody. Why don't you look up the archeological findings about the workers villages instead of wildly speculating? The work teams even gave themselves names, although I have to admit, I wouldn't have wanted to work alongside the "Drunkards of Menkaure".

Quote: Similar team-name inscriptions have been found inside the pyramids. On two blocks in the highest chamber of Khufu's Great Pyramid, for example, a gang of workers painted hieroglyphics that read "Friends of Khufu." And in Menkaure's mortuary temple another group displayed its insignia: "Drunkards of Menkaure."

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/da...ltext.html
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#10
RE: Philosophy & Evolution of Egyptian Pyramids
I recall watching a documentary with Zahi Hawass standing next to a monument of a guy that he claimed was a foreman on the Great Pyramid and he even showed an inscription with his titles and wife's name and such.

What is interesting is that in the entire GP there is not a single inscription indicating the name of the alleged pharaoh who ordered it built as his eternal resting place to hear the Egyptologists tell it.  The whole thing has less of a decorative motif than a subway tunnel.  But the lowly mid-level manager gets his own inscription with hieroglyphs?  Really?

There is plenty of construction at the Giza Plateau.  If I could figure out how to post an image on this new system I'd post a survey map.  The question is were the Giza Pyramids already there and did the ancients build around them.  The world is full of sacred spots which have been re-cycled.  Vatican Hill is one of them.
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