Paper About Ancient Egyptian Pyramids

920 words - 4 pages

Long ago, The Great Pyramid of Egypt was aptly named one of The Seven Wonders of the World. Today, this very same pyramid is the world's last Wonder, amid several other pyramids. The remarkable ruins of thirty-five major pyramids stand majestic near the mouth of the historic Nile River, the same hand-built structures that have intrigued natives and tourists alike for centuries for myriad reasons.The very first Egyptian pyramid was "built around 2650 B.C., at Saqqara" (Mendelssohn, Page 106). This and other pyramids were built by gangs of workmen and slaves, obeying harsh commands by the pharaohs (kings) who ruled ancient Egypt at the time. Because money had not yet been invented, "people paid taxes to the kind by giving him goods and, at certain times, working for him" (Millard, Page 12). Today, it's called slave labor. The people of the time worked quite diligently because "the King fed and clothed them while they labored for him" and they knew the work would please the gods (Mendelssohn, Page 42). These workers were very skilled in using copper chisels, wooden mallets and wedges to cut the block into different shapes and sizes. The "masons who cut the casing stones of the Great Pyramid were so skillful that someone could not even fit a sheet of paper between the stones" (Lehner, Page 14). Some pyramids took up to twenty years to complete while exhausting a million or more workers to build. The men didn't matter as much as the pyramids, the pharaohs reasoned.Space availability and flatness of land were essential keys when choosing the sites for pyramids. More importantly, accuracy was vital in the building the pyramids. To accomplish this, the Egyptians "used measuring tools such as wooden rods and chalk lines" (Fakhry, Page 27). Workmen, "including engineers, designers, architects, master masons, surveyors, toolmakers, and quarrymen", all brought mud from the Nile to build a mud wall around the four sides of the square (Pace, Page 51). It was mandatory for the pyramid to be a perfect square, with each side aligned to the true north, south, east and west. They did this by laboriously watching the rising and setting of a star.Most of these symmetrical wonders that faced the heavens were designed solely as burial chambers for kings and pharaohs, complete with tombs built inside to house the rulers' wealth and treasures for the afterlife. However, over the centuries, "pyramids have proved such tempting targets for robbers that most of the treasures they once contained have been removed" (Macdonald, Page 5).These mysterious pyramids were constructed as the home of the everlasting for the king, called the pharaoh's Castle of Eternity. The ancient Egyptians believed that "death was just a gateway to an eternal life in...

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