Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/700

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684
PYRAMID

for instance, in the pyramids of Khufu and Khafra, both of which were regularly entered in classical times, but were forced by the ignorant Arabs.

The pyramids of nearly all the kings of the IVth, Vth and VIth Dynasties are mentioned in inscriptions, and also a few of later times. The first which can be definitely attributed is that of Khufu (or Cheops), called “the glorious,” the great pyramid of Gizeh. Dad-ef-ra, who appears next to Khufu in the lists, had his pyramid at Abu Roash. Khafra rested in the pyramid now known as the second pyramid of Gizeh. Menkaura's pyramid was called “the upper,” being at the highest level on the hill of Gizeh. The lesser pyramids of Gizeh, near the great and third pyramids, belong respectively to the families of Khufu and Khafra (Howard Vyse). The pyramid of Aseskaf, called “the cool,” is unknown, so also is that of Userkaf of the Vth Dynasty, called the “holiest of buildings.” Sahura's pyramid, the north one of Abusir, was named “the rising soul,” much as Neferarkara's at Abusir was named “of the soul.” Raenuser's pyramid, “the firmest of buildings,” is the middle pyramid of Abusir. The pyramid of Menkauhor, called “the most divine building,” is somewhere at Saqqara. Assa's pyramid is unidentified; it was “the beautiful.” Unas not only built the mastaba Farun, long supposed to be his pyramid, but had a pyramid called “the most beautiful of buildings” at Saqqara, which was opened in 1881 (see Recueil des travaux, by M. Masperd, iii., for those opened at Saqqara). In the VIth Dynasty the “pyramid of souls,” built by Ati (Rauserka), is unknown. That of Teta, “the most stable of buildings,” was opened at Saqqara in 1881, as well as that of Pepi (Rameri), “the firm and beautiful.” The pyramids of Rameren, “the beautiful rising,” and of Neferarkara, “the firm life,” are unknown. Haremsaf's pyramid was opened at Saqqara in 1881. Of the last two kings of the VIth Dynasty we know of no pyramids. In the VIIth or VIIIth Dynasty most probably the brick pyramids of Dahshur were erected. In the XIth Dynasty the pyramid, “the most glorious building,” of Mentuhotep II. is at Deir el Bahri, and the mud pyramid of one of the Antef kings is known at Thebes. In the XIIth Dynasty the pyramids, the “lofty and beautiful” of Amenemhat I. and “the bright” of Usertesen II., are known in inscriptions, while the pyramid of Senusert I. is at Lisht, that of Senusert II. is at Illahun, that of Senusert III. at Dahshur (N. brick), and the brick pyramid at Howara is of Amenemhat III., who built the adjoining temple.

EB1911 Pyramid - Medum (section).jpg

Fig. 1.—Pyramid of Medum (Meidoun).


EB1911 Pyramid - Medum (drawing).jpg

Fig. 2.—Pyramid of Medum.

Of the architectural peculiarities of some particular pyramids some notice must now be given. The pyramid of Medum (figs. 1, 2) was the first true pyramid. It was begun as a mastaba, AA, like other such tombs, such as that of King Neter-khet at Beyt Khalaf. This mastaba was then enlarged by heightening it and adding a coating, and this process, repeated seven times, resulted in a high stepped mass of masonry. Such had been made before, at the step pyramid of Saqqara; but for the first time it was now covered with one uniform slope of masonry from base to top, and a pyramid was the result. The chamber is peculiar for being entered by a vertical shaft in the floor. The great pyramid (fig. 3) of Gizeh (Khufu's) is very different in its internal arrangements from any other known. The pyramid covers upwards of 13 acres, and is about 150 ft. higher than St Paul's Cathedral. As compared with St Peter's, Rome, it covers an area which is as 29 to 11, or nearly three times as much, and it is 50 ft. higher. The greater number of passages and chambers, the high finish of parts of the work, and the accuracy of construction all distinguish it. The chamber which is most normal in its situation is the subterranean chamber; but this is quite unfinished, hardly more than begun. The upper chambers, called the “ king's” and “queen's,” were completely hidden, the ascending passage to them having been closed by plugging blocks, which concealed the point where it branched upwards out of the roof of the long descending passage. Another passage, which in its turn branches from the ascending passage to the queen's chamber, was also completely blocked up. The object of having two highly-finished chambers in the mass may have been to receive the king and his co-regent (of whom there is some historical evidence) and there is very credible testimony to a sarcophagus having existed in the queen's chamber, as well as in the king's chamber. On the details of construction in the great pyramid it is needless to enter here; but it may be stated that the accuracy of work is such that the four sides of the base have only a mean error of six-tenths of an inch in length and 12 seconds in angle from a perfect square.[1]

EB1911 Pyramid - Section of Great Pyramid.jpg
From Vyse's Pyramid of Ghizeh.
Fig. 3.—Section of Great Pyramid.

The second pyramid of Gizeh, that of Khafra, has two separate entrances (one in the side, the other in the pavement) and two


  1. With respect to the construction of this and other pyramids, see Howard Vyse; on measurements of the inside of the great pyramid and descriptions, see Piazzi Smyth; and on measurements in general mechanical means, and theories, see Petrie.