May 6, 2012

The Construction and Cost of the Pyramids, c. 450 B.C.

The Construction and Cost of the Pyramids, c. 450 B.C.
Herodotus

Egyptian Pyramid
This pyramid is built in steps, and, as the work proceeded, the stones were raised from the ground by means of machines made of short pieces of wood. When a block had been brought to the first tier, it was placed in a machine there, and so on from tier to tier by a succession of similar machines, there being as many machines as tiers of stone; or perhaps one served for the purpose, being moved from tier to tier as each stone was taken up. I mention this because I have heard both stated.

When completed in this manner, they proceeded to make out the form of the pyramid, beginning from the top, and thence downwards to the lowest tier. On the exterior was engraved in Egyptian characters the sum expended in supplying the workmen with radishes, onions and garlic; and he who interpreted the inscription told me, as I remember well, that it amounted to 1600 talents. If these things be true, how much must have been spent on the iron tools, the food and clothing of the workmen, employing as they did, all the time the above mentioned, without counting that occupied in cutting and transporting the stones and making the subterranean chambers, which must have been considerable!

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