April 1, 2012

Khufu Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt (2589 - 2566 BC) Dynasty 4

Khufu King 
2589 - 2566 BC
Dynasty 4

Khufu Pharaoh Statue
The ancient authors through whom Manetho's works survive were all agreed that the third king of the 4th Dynasty was 'Suphis, the builder of the Great Pyramid, which Herodotus says was built by Cheops. Suphis conceived a contempt for the gods, but repenting of this, he composed the Sacred Books, which the Egyptians hold in high esteem'. 'Suphis' is better known by the Greek form of Cheops and the Egyptian form of Khufu. It is curious that Khufu should be placed third in line; there do not appear to be any other records of an intervening pharaoh between him and his father Snefru. The reference to his composing Sacred Books is intriguing - these do not seem to have survived in later literature, although Khufu's character was severely blackened by later chroniclers and strongly contrasted with the lives of his successors Chephren (Khafre) and Mycerinus (Menkaure).

Like his father, Khufu probably reigned for about 23 or 24 years, and he too seems to have initiated military expeditions to the Sinai peninsula. Rock inscriptions in the Wadi Maghara record the presence of his troops in this region, no doubt for the dual purposes of keeping the bedouin in check and exploiting the turquoise deposits there. A now very faint inscription on a large boulder on the island of Elephantine at Aswan also indicates that the king had interests in the far south of the country - quarrying the fine Aswan red granite.

The Khufu Great Pyramid : Vital Statistics
Original height: 481 ft (146.6 m).
Present height: 451 ft (137.5 m).
Angle of slope: 51°52’.

The Khufu Great Pyramid - Giza - Egypt
Orientation: the four sides are orientated to the four cardinal points with only the minutest of errors.

Length of sides: basically 755 ft (230 m), with the greatest difference between the longest and shortest of only 8 in (20.3 cm).

Ground surface area: 13 acres, which, it has been calculated, could accommodate St Peter’s in Rome, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and the cathedrals of Milan and Florence. It is known that there rises within the mass of the pyramid a huge natural rock of unknown dimensions.

Number of blocks used to build it: somewhere in the region of 2,300,000 separate blocks is the usual figure suggested, each averaging about 2.5 tons in weight with a maximum of 15 tons. While his officers climbed to the summit in July 1798, Napoleon apparently sat in its shadow and calculated that there was enough stone used in the three pyramids of Giza to be able to build a wall around France, 1 ft (0.3 m) wide and 12 ft (3.7 m) high. The mathematician, Gaspard Monge, who accompanied the French savants to Egypt, is said to have confirmed Napoleon’s calculation.

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