Here are three sites for further information on the Pyramids:
There are several excellent accounts in Smarthistory: http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/the-great-pyramids-of-giza-and-the-great-sphinx.html
“Building the Great Pyradmid,” by Dr. Ian Shaw, University of Liverpool: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/egyptians/great_pyramid_01.shtml
And from e-how (thank you, Joe!): http://www.ehow.com/about_6525585_did-egyptians-make-pyramids_.html
Keep in mind…there are still mysteries here to be solved and many controversial interpretations. They are amazing structures!
In the SmartHistory article, it is mentioned that the pyramids were references to the sun and being closer to the heavens. Upon reading this, I immediately thought of Akhenaten because of the god he worshiped-Aten- whom is associated with the sun. I looked up the tomb of Akhenaten and I’m curious as to why he did not also build himself a pyramid for his burial, as some of the other pharaohs did? Wouldn’t building himself a pyramid ensure that he was closer to Aten and continued to show his support even in the afterlife? Was creating a pyramid too much of a reference to the the Egyptian’s polytheistic religion which Akhenaten was trying to stray from? Were there too many risks of it being raided by graverobbers? In addition, learning about the methods for constructing the pyramids was equally intriguing, especially considering how advanced these techniques were for back in the ancient periods. This led me to think of another question. Were the Egyptians inspired by another culture or used the same ideas as another culture for their techniques in constructing the pyramid (i.e. levers, ramps, etc.) or were these ideas their own in which they were able to conceive? These were really interesting articles and I learned a lot more about the construction of the pyramids than I ever had before!
To be honest, my favorite part of this year so far has been the Egyptian art. I have always been fascinated in all the different types they used. (pyramids, burials, sculptures, etc.) The pyramids however have always fascinated me out of all the types. The sheer man power, labor and time it must have taken to build them is unbelievable. Oh and they didn’t have modern-day machiney to help them so there’s that as well.
I would have to agree with the previous comment about Akhenaten also. As he was extremely loyal to Aten, the sun god, it’s almost shocking that he didn’t build himself a pyramid to be “closer” to Aten. Out of all the pharaohs of Egypt, I think that Akhenaten would have been one of the biggest believers in being physically closer to Aten and therefore build himself a large pyramid but he did not. I just find that curious and slightly strange.
After reading the eHow article on how pyramids are built, I was shocked at how many men it took to build a pyramid, as well as the length of time it took. Between 20,000 and 30,000 men and almost 23 years is what it took to build the Great Pyramid at Giza, which is impressive. I also find it surprising that the men who were responsible for building the pyramids were freemen, and not slaves. It makes me wonder how common slavery was during this time. I think it is possible that the reason so many men contributed to the construction of the pyramid was the fact that they received some great incentives, including tax breaks, and free food, housing, and clothing,
It is often hard to understand the truly massive undertaking building the pyramids must have been. The simple idea that it would have taken 23 years, enough time to be born and reach adulthood, for it to be completed, really puts it into perspective. It is also interesting to read that the labour force were freed men, albeit conscripted freeman. The articles say that the labourers were given benefits, but I am curious if they were ‘worth it’, the labour must have still been intense and dangerous, working at high elevations with heavy objects, and one of the articles did say “conscripted” which means they were at least somewhat unwilling.
The fact that the Egyptians were willing to put forth such massive resources on the construction of pyramids says a tonne about their culture and values, and just how divine pharoahs were in their eyes.
I still believe that these pyramids are among the greatest things ever built. They rival any and every building created in present day because they were made with such precision and care and they are massive structures, not to mention the fact that they were built before cranes and measuring tapes were invented. I think it is so interesting that these pyramids may have been made as a kind of replica of the sun, or a way for the Pharaoh to reach the sun even after his death.
Shear time and man power was put into the pyramids. The stone was ripped out of the ground and piled up to create some of the greatest monuments of man kind. I had always know building the pyramids took a lot of people a long time. But over 20,000 men and 23 years for a pyramid is incredible. I am only 19 and cannot even imagine working on something for over my lifetime so far.
The pyramids in Giza are some of the most interesting man-made structures from ancient times. It’s really interesting that so many young people could move so many heavy bricks in one day considering they had to do everything with their hands, and the tools of their time. The pyramids are also incredibly symmetrical so it makes you wonder whether they had a way to measure these bricks to make sure they were lined up exactly the same way in all three pyramids. They are a very fascinating example of Egyptian art from ancient times.
I have always been fascinated with Egyptian art. The construction of these structures took hundreds to thousands of years, which is hard to believe considering ITCC was built in a short period of time. Another interesting thing was how the pyramids were used for multiple purposes, but primarily to bring rulers into the afterlife with their possessions. It is interesting how in touch the people in this society was with their religions.
What amazes me the most is that people CHOSE to work on the pyramids. I always thought that Egyptian slaves made the pyramids. I’m pretty sure that there aren’t enough tax breaks in the world to convince me to perform labor this intense! Those must have been some incredible peasants.
I do think that Olivia’s point is a good one though. Maybe the peasants weren’t just doing it for the tax breaks and benefits, but because of their religious convictions, too.
When it comes to art and architecture, it’s so fascinating to think about what motivates people to create, isn’t it?
The idea that the pyramids are connected with the stars is an interesting one considering who the Pharaohs were believed to be the god of the sun, it makes sense they would wanted to be connected to heavens in this way. The techniques that went into building these grand works will always be a great debate, but it is interesting to read about some of the techniques that went into figuring out how these giants were built.
It’s always been interesting to me to think about how the Great Pyramids were constructed. I mean, that’s a lot of stone involved!! To move that seems to be a sort of miracle and a huge challenge. I think it really says something about the ancient Egyptians. I never knew, until taking Art 114, that they were all for different people. I thought it had to do with a tri-monument dedicated to a god. No matter how the Great Pyramids were actually built, they are still talked about a lot today–something that is monumental in itself.