|Ancient Egyptian Pyramid|
The start of a new dynasty was, as can be seen from the genea logical table, evidently due to the fact that Snofru was not the son of Huni’s great queen. However, he clearly legitimised his claim to the throne by marrying the great queen’s daughter, Hetepheres. On her tomb furniture, which was discovered by Reisner, she is described as ‘daughter of the god’ and ‘mother of the king’. This king was Khufu, who is better known today by Herodotus’ Grecianised appellation of Cheops. Khufu’s right to the throne was clearly established by his marriage to his sister, Merytyetes, who was the vehicle of the royal blood and who carried the succession. He built the largest of all pyramids at Giza, 20 miles north of Memphis.
The most striking feature of Khufu’s monument, when compared with its predecessor, the Red Pyramid of Dahshur, is a return to an elevation of 520. It also covers an even greater area of 230 m. square and comprises roughly 6£ million tons of limestone. Rising to a height of almost 150 m. it impresses by its towering simplicity, and has always been regarded as the foremost of the Seven Wonders of the World. We will not, at this stage, estimate the work required in building it nor deal with the method of construction,which will have to be discussed later. However, we must mention here two interesting peculiarities, one concerned with the geometrical shape of the monument and the other with the unique disposition of its internal features.
A pyramid with an angle of elevation of 52° - 510 52' to be precise - has the unique geometrical property that its height stands in the same ratio to its circumference as the radius to the circumference of a circle. This ratio is 1/2IT, where TT is a transcendental number 3.141. . . Khufu’s pyramid is the most carefully built of all and accurate measurement of its foundation has shown that this ratio is correctly represented to better than one part in a thousand. This certainly is far too accurate to be dismissed as a coincidence, and a great number of theories, often involving divine inspiration, have been based on this astonishing numerical fact. A relatively simple solution, to which we shall return in the next chapter, provides something of an anticlimax and relieves us of the necessity to regard the great pyramid as an immense monument in stone, representing the revelation of a basic mathematical truth.
It appears that the arrangement of passages and tomb chambers of Khufu’s pyramid underwent three successive changes. The usual polar entrance passage in the north face of the building first runs through the masonry and then continues into the rock beneath the pyramid. Under the apex, the passage ends in a chamber hewn out of the rock, whose irregular shape and rough finish show that it was abandoned before completion. Instead, the original descending passage was interrupted about 20 m. from the entrance and a corridor ascending at the same angle was driven through the existing masonry of the pyramid. After about 40 m. the ascending corridor levels off into a horizontal passage, leading to a second tomb chamber, again under the apex, and about 30 m. above the base of the building. This room, without any justification called the ‘Queen’s chamber’, also gives the impression of being unfinished and was possibly never used. Then the ascending passage was continued beyond the levelling-off point, but in a much enlarged form. It now turns into an ascending gallery of polished limestone, 47 m. long and nearly 9 m. high. Its walls are slightly corbelled and each of the roofing slabs is held separately by notches in the walls. This impressive high passage, usually called the Grand Gallery, was for a long time believed to have served ritualistic purposes until it was discovered by Flinders Petrie that its real object was to serve as a store for a series of large limestone blocks. These blocks, when the tomb chamber was to be sealed, were let down into the ascending passage where, in fact, three of them are still in position.
Egyptian Pyramid Age :
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