|Ancient Egyptian Pyramid|
In the choice of his pyramid site and in the magnificence of his monument, Khafre closely followed Khufu’s example, which strengthens the impression that Djedefre’s tenure of the throne was regarded as an unfortunate interlude. Khafre was probably the son of Khufu’s secondary queen, Henutsen, and was married to his sister, Khamerernebti 1. However, his legitimate succession was ensured when he later married not only the widow of Khufu’s original crown prince, Kawab, and of Djedefre, the heiress Hetepheres 11, but also her daughter. This lady, Meresankh in, as well as her mother, were now the first in line to confer the crown of Egypt on their husbands.
Khafre’s pyramid at Giza stands close to Khufu’s and in size is almost its twin. Its height of 140 m. is almost the same and it appears, in fact, to surpass it by virtue of having been erected on slightly higher ground. Moreover, while Khufu’s pyramid has been completely stripped of its casing of white Tura limestone, this has remained intact at the upper part of Khafre’s monument. The pyramid measures 216 m. square, which means that its angle of elevation is slightly steeper, 52 20 , and it therefore does not share with the great pyramid the accurate representation of the ratio ! / 27r. As at Djedefre’s pyramid, the lowest layer of casing blocks consists of granite.
Altogether Khafre’s pyramid is not quite so carefully constructed, as is apparent from the variation in size of its building blocks. On the other hand, its mortuary temple at the east face is more impressive and the valley building at the bottom of the causeway is the most magnificent structure that has come down to us from the Old Kingdom. It is a very massive building of large limestone blocks, completely faced inside and out with polished red granite. The central hall is T-shaped and its roof is supported by sixteen unadorned square granite pillars. It has an alabaster floor. Mariette, who excavated the valley building in 1853, found in it the exquisite diorite statue of the pharaoh, now one of the greatest treasures of the Cairo Museum. Another, immense, portrait of Khafre is the head of the Sphinx which, even today, after having served as a target for Turkish artillery practice, clearly bears the pharaoh’s features. The representation of a lion’s body with a human head seems to have been an established type even earlier, and Khafre’s architects made use of a knoll of rock for the same purpose on a gigantic scale.
Egyptian Pyramid Age :
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