The Architecture and Art of Egypt (Kemet): The Etching and Encryption of Dynasties I to IV
The Birth and Evolution of A Civilization and iIt's Dynasties
The Egyptian culture had attained a high level of development both in Art and Archeology in very ancient times. "When the curtain goes up on the Nile Valley, at the dawn of history, an astounding scene is disclosed, and one as far from primitive as the Cafe de la Paix... The solid foundations of civilization was full blown, as it were, and in full working order. Yet what mighty structures were to be erected on those foundations as the next three millenniums were ticked off on time's clock! And be read in sequence and in detail as nowhere else on earth. Fifty-three centuries of unbroken history!"(George A. Dorsey) Even in pre-Dynastic times, the Egyptians had reached a high level of civilization. they imported gold, silver, copper,tin,lead, iron, hematite, emery, galena, turquoise, obsidian, serpetine, lapis lazuli, coral and tortoise shell. With these materials, they produced beautiful and useful works of art, which were to call forth the wonder and admiration of later ages.
The Step Pyramid of Zoser(Djoser)
This was built in 2,800 B.C. by Vizier Imhotep, is the first monumental structure to be constructed entirely of carved stone. It comprises the vast funerary complex of Djoser, the second King of the 3rd Dynasty, that served ancient Memphis. Vizier Imhotep himself has been called Doctor, Sage, Architect, Astronomer, High Priest and so forth. James Henry Breasted says about Imhotep:
"Before taking leave of the Pyramid Age, we must say something about Imhotep, the architect who designed the first pyramid. This truly great man, besides being an Architect, was Vizier(Prime Minister) to King Zoser of the Third Dynasty(5343-5307 B.C.). In addition, he was an Astronomer and Magician, and held the post of Chief Physician to the Monarch. In latter days he was deified and became the God of Medicine. Known to the Greeks as Imouthes, he was recognized as their own Aesculapius. A Temple was erected for him near the Serapeum at Memphis, and at the present day every Museum possesses a bronze statuette or two of this apotheosized wise man, The Proverb Maker, Physician, Multi-linguist, Priest, Architect, for Zoser and Administrator. The priest who conducted the rebuilding of the temple of Edfu under the Ptolemies, claimed to be reproducing the structure formerly erected there after the plans of Imhotep(James Henry Breasted). Imhotep was the World's first Genius. On the Step Pyramid, most of the outer casting is now gone. In some paces the core masonry has disappeared as well. (See #9 photo)
The Great Pyramid of Khufu
The Pyramids are very old, and yet it, in their own inimitable way(even in ruinous condition) it still evokes the same kind of awe and astonishment; standing, still exuding its particular brand of serenity and regalness, they still continue to serve as immobile and silent witness to the inevitable passage of time - sightless and silently, interminably tolling the hours, days, years, centuries, in witnessing man's tenuous mortality. Herodotus gave a classic account of the building of the Great Pyramid:
"The Pyramid itself was twenty years in the building. It is a square 800 feet each way. ... built entirely of polished stone, fitted together with utmost care. The stones of which it is composed are none of them less than 30 feet in length.... After laying the stones for the base, they raised the remaining stones to their places by means of machines formed of short wooden planks. ... There is an inscription in Egyptian characters on the pyramid which records the quantity of radishes, onions and garlic consumed by the laborers who constructed it; and I perfectly well remember that the interpreter who read the writing to me said that the money expended in this way was about 1,600 talents of silver [A talent in ancient Egypt contained about 56 pounds of silver.
So the modern equivalent of 1,600 talents would be the value of 89,000 pounds of silver.] If this then is a true record, what a vast sum must have been spent on the iron tolls used in the work, and on the feeding and clothing the laborers, considering the length of time the work lasted, which has already been stated, and the additional time-no mall space, I imagined - which must have been occupied by the quarrying of the stones, their conveyance, and the formation of the underground apartments." The architecture of the pyramids served many purposes for religion,science and carving a civilization.
The French Astronomer, Abbe Thomas Moreaux points out that the Great Pyramid was used as a vault for the preservation of scientific instruments, and of standard weights and measures, rather than as a tomb. In place of a sarcophagus there is a granite slab, which evidently served as a standard of measure. The length of this slab on one ten-millionth of the distance of either pole from the center of the earth. This invariable distance, only recently determined by modern science of the poles to the center of the earth is 3,949.79 miles. From this measurement we are enabled to calculate the circumference of earth through the poles, which is 24,817.32 miles. Abbe Moreaux was convinced that this fact was known to the Egyptian Astronomers sic thousand years ago.
The Chaldeans were able students of astronomy, but their best estimate of the circumference was twenty-four thousand miles. The Egyptians has vast and extensive knowledge of astronomy and mathematics than we had hitherto been led to suspect. the height of the Great Pyramid is one-billionth of the distance form the earth to the sum a unit of measure not accurately established in modern times until 1874.
This pyramid is orientated within one-twelfth of a degree, a remarkably accurate precision; and that parallel of longitude passing through the pyramid traverses the most land and the least sea of any world - a fact which also applies to the parallel of latitude passing through the structure. In the north side of the Great Pyramid is the entrance o an underground tunnel, which is bored through 350 feet of solid rock, at an angle of 26 degrees 17 minutes to the horizon. Alpha Draconis, or Thuban, was the pole star about 3440 B.C., and for several hundred years before and after that date. At its lower culmination, when 3 degrees 42 minutes from the pole, this star shone down the underground tunnel. the ascending passage suns from the underground tunnel of the pyramid at the base-line level, and leads into the grand gallery.
Both the ascending passage and the grand gallery are inclined to the horizon at an angle of 26 degrees 17 minutes - the same as that of the underground tunnel, but in the opposite direction. These passages served two purposes; first, they enabled the builders to orient the base and the lower layers of the masonry up to the King's chamber in a true north and south line; and secondly, the passages were so arranged that the grand gallery could serve ad the equivalent of the equatorial telescope of a modern astronomical observatory.
Richard Proctor, and English Astronomer shows that the Great Pyramid was used as an Astronomical observatory. He pointed out that the sun's annual course round the celestial sphere could be be determined much more exactly than by any gnomon by observations made made from the the great gallery. The moon's monthly path and its changes could have been dealt with in the same effective way. the geometric paths, and thence the true paths of the planets, could be determined very accurately. The place of any visible star along the Zodiac, could be most accurately determined.(Samuel Laing)
The triangular area area of each of the four sides of the pyramid equals the square of the vertical height, a fact mentioned by Herodotus. The added lengths of the four sides of the square base bear to vertical height the same proportion as that of the circumference of a circle to its radius. This involves the mathematical constant [pi sign](3.1416), so important in modern mathematics. The length of each side of the square base is equal to 3651/4 sacred cubits, an equivalence of the length of the year in days. the two diagonals of the base contain 25,824 pyramid inches, a good approximation of the number of years in the precessional cycle(Prof. Piazzi Smyth)Dr. Alfred Russell Wallace summarized Smyth's careful measurements as follows:
1. That the pyramid is truly a square, the sides being equal and the angles right angles.
2. That the four sockets on which the first four stones of the corners rested are truly on the same level.
3 That the directions of the sides are accurately to the four cardinal points.
4. That the vertical height of the pyramid bears the same proportion to its circumference at the base as the ratio of a circle does to its circumference.
Now all these measures, angles, and levels are accurate, not as an ordinary surveyor or builder could make them, but to such a degree as requires the best modern instruments and all the refinements of geodetical science to discover any error at all. In addition to this we have the wonderful perfection of the workmanship in the interior of the pyramid, the passages and chambers being lined with huge blocks of stone fitted with the utmost accuracy, wile every part of the building exhibits the highest structural science.
The Great Pyramid is 756 feet long on each side, 450 high and is composed of 2,300,000 blocks of stones each averaging 2 1/2 tons in weight. No side is more than 8 inches different in length than another, and the whole structure is perfectly orientated to the point of the compass. Until the 19th century, it was the tallest building in the world and, at the age of 4,500 years, it's the only one of the famous Seven Wonders of the Ancient world still standing. Another less known example of the golden ratio, is its use in the Great Pyramid . Instead of using a golden rectangle, the pyramid uses what is called a golden triangle.
The golden ratio is represented by the ratio of the length of the face(the slope height) inclined at an angle O to the ground, to half the length of the side of the square base, equivalent to the decant of the angle- it's an isosceles triangle with base angles equal 72 degrees and vertex equal to 36 degrees. If you divide the long side by the short side you get Phi or the Golden Ratio. If you bisect one of the 72 angles, you get a smaller one exactly proportional to it. And next to it is an obtuse triangle with angles 36-36-108. You will have also created another another golden section. This repeating number has been observed when scientist and mathematicians surveyed the lengths of the Great Pyramid.
The peculiarly Egyptian concern with the continuity of life after death in a form similar to that which had been experienced upon earth provided an element in the development of the arts which was not present to such an extent in to other countries., While architecture, painting and sculpture ordinarily appeared in the service of a religious organization or to glorify the wealth and power of the rule, in Egypt we find emphasis laid upon providing a lasting dwelling-place for the dead, and recreation of life magically in pictures to serve him and lastly provision of a substitute in stone for his perishable body. The Egyptian had an instinct to imitate closely what he saw about him. His natural disposition towards balance and proportion, combined with a long-maintained tradition or orderly craftsmanship, and this strike a sympathetic note for the Modern day civilizations(Heinrich Schafer)
The availability of working materials in one other factor that must be taken into consideration. The abundance of stone was an advantage for the Egyptians. The Egyptians learned how to cut block of building-stone, and for the sculptor, there was plentiful supply of rectangular blocks from the quarry for his work. This allowed for largeness of scale which is another outstanding feature of Egyptian work both in sculpture and architecture.
Predynastic Paintings, Art, and Architecture
Pre-Dynastic Period: (5500-3100 B.C.)In the Predynastic Period of Ancient Egypt, people evolved from hunters and gatherers using stone weapons into an organized central society. Animals such as donkeys were tamed and used in daily life, not just for food, Egyptians trace their roots to a place in Africa a lot of scholars of Egyptian history and African history, geneticists, along with other disciplines, have generally accepted the hypothesis of man's monogenetic and African origin. More than than 150,000 years ago, beings morphologically identical with the man of today were living in the region of the Great lakes.
The Edfu Text is an important source document on the early history of the Nile Valley. According to this record, civilization was brought from the South, around the great Lakes region of Central Africa. In fact, the indigenous Southern African origin of the ancient Egyptians, who were Africans,is based upon an historical message extracted from the highly respected "Papyrus of Hunefer" found in the Egyptians' and other Nile Valley indigenous Africans' "Book of the Coming Forth By Night", as follows:
"We come from the beginning of the Nile where the God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of the mountain of the moon" (Kilimanjaro - between Kenya and Tanzania, or Rwenzori in Uganda). By the time history evolved in the lands of Somolia land or Punt, King Horus invaded Egypt and brought civilization. This ruler, Horus, was later deified and became ultimately the Egyptian Christ. The followers of Horus were called "Black Smiths," because they possessed iron instruments. This early culture has been traced from from Somalia and back to the regions and areas of the mountain of the moon, as attested to by the Edfu Text. This migration of Africans from the mountain of the moon began long before 7,000 B.C.
That these ancient Africans possessed tolls and weapons of iron should occasion no surprise; for the magazine, Natural History, Sept.-Oct 1932, there is an article by the Italian explorer, Nino del Grande, entitled "Prehistoric Iron Smelting in Africa" in which the author tell of his discovery of an iron-smelting furnace in Northern Rhodesia of an antiquity of from five to six thousand years or more(Northern Rhodesia is modern-day Zambia which has Lake Nyasa part of its land and water mass).
Art in the Nile Valley early 7th Millennium B.C.
At around 7,000 B.C., the early inhabitants in the Nile Valley were beginning to emerge from the neolithic culture of the villages of Upper-Egypt and those of Merimdeh on the western edge of the Delta and on the shore of the lake of Fayum, which was in the escarpment of the western desert a little south of Cairo. the early inhabitants of Kemet(kmt), began the task of controlling the flood waters of the Nile by building dykes and canals. Joint effort and co-operation of several communities came together and accepted an appointed leadership and the pre-eminence of it's local god.. These districts coalesced and came to be known in later times as Nomes, each with it's chief city.
The coalition of these districts resulted into the two Kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt, which was late in pre-dynastic times, and the uniting of the whole country at the beginning of the historical period. These periods fit into well defined groups; The Earlier Amratian of Upper Egypt, and the Gerzean; then there is also the material from Fayum in Northern Egypt called the Negada I for Amratian and Negada II for the Gerzean. Most material of the Gerzean was found in Northern Egypt, where it succeeds the Amratian.
While the same types of material like same types of pottery and other grave equipment that goes into Late Gerzean, showed the advance stages of development, which characterized a much more sophisticated culture like that of Dynasty I. The sculptured objects deposited into the ancient shrine of the Southern Capital at Hierakonpolis are commemorating victories of the south over the north, in a struggle which finally resulted in the subjugation of the Delta(north) which had been ruled from Buto.
The Predynastic Period was a time in which man was beginning to learn the use of coper for tools and weapons and was slowly working out of a Stone Age Culture. In the designs on pottery and figures modeled in mud and fashioned from bone and ivory, we see the beginnings of Egyptian art. The craftsman was also learning how to work stone in the form of vessels as well as palettes(See #1 and #2 photos) The crafts men were also learning how to work stone in the form of vessels as well as palettes for mixing the green paint, made from powdered malachite, which was smeared around the eyes.
The skill that they had gained was to form a basis for the Egyptian's extraordinary mastery of stone, along with the fine black-topped red pottery which had begun to appear in the Badarian times, and the Amratian pottery produced a red polished ware which was decorated in cream-colored paint(See #3 Photo) The Hierakonpolis ivories present a considerable variety in pose, costume and headdress. However, it's not easy to distinguish an early group among the statuettes, since there is too general resemblance to the small carvings of stone, faience, and ivory objects found in the Abydos temple deposit, which indicate that they belonged to Dynasty I and II, and to ivory carvings found in the first Dynasty tombs at Helwan(Smith)
Egyptian Pictographic language
The Hierakonpolis painting does show an advance over the linear one-color treatment of the vases in that the red of the flesh and white of the skirts, and the black and white of the animals and boats are filled with solid color inside the red outlines. It is a development manifest on the relief of a series of palettes and mace heads which display much more accomplished drawings than paintings, but also show a progression towards orderly arrangement from the confusion of animals on the Oxford palette from the Hierakonpolis temple.(N. de G. Davies)
The Narmer Palette [See #2 Photo], etched in raised relief is a story of the subjugation of common people in the North by Narmer, and over Narmer's head are seen the two cow-horned bulls of Hathor, the goddess, and his name is set in a frame between the cow-bulls on the top of the palette. Hieroglyphic writing was in its early stages by this time, and was used in over other figures. But the idea of the whole scene was expressed in an elaborate pictograph which still belonged to the picture-writing stage of the language.(G. Steindorff) In order to appreciate this development, one can look back at #5 photo of watercolor from Hierakonpolis.
Egyptian Writing and Brick Architecture
In the Protodynastic Period or Late Gerzean phase political development that made it possible, there evolved the brilliant civilization of Early dynastic times and brought with it the use of writing and brick architecture. While little construction has survived except for such brickwork as the lining of the pointed chamber at Hierakonpolis. The actual construction has survived in the recessed panelling on the faces of the large brick tombs of Dynasty. It appears again in Dynasty II in the great brick enclosures at Abydos and on the buildings inside them. (H. Goedicke) The system of Doors flanked by projecting panels with niches continues in the chapels of the archaic cemetery at Saqqara.
These gateways with niched flanking towers were copied in stone on the enclosure walls of the step pyramids of Zoser and Sekhemkhet at Saqqara Dynasty III, which are imitating the city wall of Memphis, traditionally founded at the beginning of Dynasty I.(Potter-Moss) In the picture gallery one can appreciate these structures by viewing #6 photo and #7 photo. Brick buildings replaced structures of reeds and matting stretched over a light framework and with an arching roof such as appears in simple fashion in the hut. The use of brick had evidently reached an advanced stage and were leaders in structural detail in recessed panelling and building using hewn blocks for the quarry, and bricks for developing new concepts of brick building and decoration
Material cultures of Naqada I - (3900-3600 B.C
Pottery wares and stone vessels; cosmetic schist palettes("slate"): practical and ritual use; rhomboidal palettes with rare incised motifs(Elephant, hippopotamus hunt, symbols); zoomorphic palettes (fishes, amphibious, mammals) and early pelta shapes;Magical/apotropaic amulets; Pottery figurines and statuettes (praying women, wild/domestic animals, barks...); Mace-heads (disk shaped); representations of human beings.
Material Culture of Neqada II - (3600-3350/3300 B.C.)
Bearded Men Statutes(ivory and stone); Stone vessels fashioned in several shapes; Mace heads (pear shaped); Knife Handles (extreme kill in working and retouching the ripple flake flint), flint animals figurines; Palettes (zoomorphic, scutiform; shield-shaped); Amulets (Bull head, small palettes) Pottery; objects of personal and domestic use; Main motifs of the wall(see #5 photo)
The Architecture of Egypt
Synopsis of Dynasty I and II
The Kings of the Dynasty I not only achieved military control, but also developed a system of administration to govern it. At the same time, monumental architecture in brick was reaching the height of development begun in protodynastic times, the quarrymen had gained a considerable mastery of the cutting of large blocks of stone. This was developed in the north,where throughout Egyptian history there to be exploitation of the fine white limestone in the quarries of the eastern cliffs across the river from Memphis.(Zaki Saad)In view of the uniform culture displayed by what has survived from Predynastic Egypt, considerable caution should be employed in the interpretation of architectural forms according to their derivation from Upper or Lower Egypt.(E.J. Baumgartel)
The stepped form of Tomb 3038 should also be remembered in connection with the Step Pyramid of Zoser in Dynasty III, for which it is at present the only remotely similar antecedent. The Royal workmanship of Dynasty I may have been more advanced, at lest in a softer material,than the few stone pieces which have survived would indicate, although expert treatment of harder materials is attested for this period by such pieces as the schist presentation vase or tray worked to simulate basketry or bowls. The Tri-lobed "schist" bowl consists of a flat. round bottomed bowl with 3 thinly cut, curved lobes orientated at 120 degrees around the periphery. Very flat and wide bowls are known from the 1st and 3rd Dynasties, but none have been found from the Predynastic Period.(El-Khouli, '78)
The lobes are separated from the rim by 3 biconvex-shaped perforations. The center of the vessel contains a thinly carved tube approximately 10 cm in diameter. When viewed edge on the vessel's flat bowl shape does not sow perfect symmetry.(see #8 photo) Egyptologists has used the term "schist" to describe this artifact., and others have identified the object as a "slate". The upper part of a small seated limestone figure in Cairo has part of its crisply carved surfaces well preserved.
Its source is unknown, and the complicated headdress is more like that in some of the Hierokonpolis ivories which anticipates a wig with two heavy curls worn by queen in the Middle Kingdom. There is a certain resemblance to the royal head-cloth as in one of the two battered seated figures from Hierakonpolis which are thought to represent a protodynastic king and his queen.(See #18 photo as an example) This and many other sophisticated and creative designs are unique to the early Dynastic Period, and they show a high degree of experimentation in artistic expression during this time.
The Old Kingdom - Dynasty III - Architecture and Statues
As Dynasty III progressed, the bolder treatment, gradually employing relief of greater height, gained favor until the heavier style prevailed in the reign of Sneferu. This tendency towards solidity increases also in the statues and architecture. Eventually at Giza on Dynasty IV, the excessive detail was refined and brought into better balance with he basic form.(See #10 photo) It is the architecture of the reign of Zoser, at the beginning of Dynasty III, which more than anything else presents us with a picture of a young civilization approaching maturity.
The builders, like the vase-makers of Dynasty I, were unable to resist the temptation to exploit their new-found skill. An abundance of vitality and invention led them to attempt things which were later discarded, but the result which they achieved seem as surprising and fresh to us now as they have to their admiring contemporaries. In the group of the buildings which were erected around Zoser's funerary monument at Saqqara, were imitated a whole range of structures which hitherto been built with light materials. The are precious in giving and indication of the appearance of large-scale early architecture that is otherwise known to us only from small drawings.
It was evidently the daring new idea of a high structure rising like a gigantic staircase to the heavens, conceived by Imhotep, the architect of the Step Pyramid, which led to this exploration of the possibilities of attaining stability in building with stone. In the course of this vast enterprise, Imhotep adapted to new purposes methods which had been developed in brickwork and laid a basis for the future handling of stone masonry on a large scale. None of the other kings of Dynasty III were able to complete the great projects which they initiated in attempting to rival and his architect, Imhotep.
In the reconstructed model(See #11 photo) of the Step Pyramid precinct, one is looking across the group of buildings from the South-east corner of the enclosing wall, where the only real gateway opened into the entrance hall(See #6 photo). The visitor passed through this processional hall to a large court south of the Pyramid in which two stones marked the course of the ritual race performed by the king in connexion with the Sed Festival.
The trend was now to away from the use of painted brick panelling and towards the development of a cruciform chapel with stone-lined walls carved with relief.(Smith) False doors were created so that the spirit or 'Ka" of the deceased can be the only one that comes through the door.(See example of one of the many False doors in #12 photo). One of the most striking aspects of Imhotep's work at the Step Pyramid was the use of platforms.
These were evidently imitations in stone of long-used architectural elements. some were to be eliminated in later construction, but two of the most effective types of Egyptian columnar support are already represented here: the Papyrus and channelled column.(See #13 photo) Perhaps there was a first step towards a third type, if the bundles of stems used in the columns of the entrance hall are not reeds, as was first thought, but palm branches with a stylized representation of their leaves at the top. The later Palm column, although having a plain shaft still retains a binding at the where the leaves spread to form a capital. These bundle columns in the entrance hall are very tall and slender. they are engaged at the end of short masonry wall introduced to lend them support.(Vandier)
A half so dozen of so seated hard stone statues of private persons can be attributed to Dynasty III. The are characterized by certain clumsy heaviness, and by the bent-wood supports carved in relief on the side of the support carved in relief on the sides of the seats. Two of the finest seated of Nezem-ankh is in Leiden, Paris these statues were made in the III Dynasty. The three near-life-size standing limestone figures of Sepa and his wife Neset in the Louvre were made in the second half of Dynasty III. One gains an impression that in Dynasty III the process of centralization had not yet been completed, which resulted in Dynasty IV in the concentration of high offices within the circle of the King's family. It may have been easier to rise in a profession through the king's favor in Dynasty III, when able men were particularly needed for the great building projects which were in an experimental stage of development
DYNASTY III ROYAL NAMES
by Dr. PETER KAPLONY (in R.A.R. I, 1977 p. 146-55)
Horus Zanjswt-bity Wr-Za-Khnwm (I.A.F. p. 380, 468, 611) 2 months, 23 days. Horus Netjerykhetnjswt-bity nebty Netjerykhet (Ra) Nwb 19 years. Horus Sekhemkhetnjswt-bity Nebty Djoserty 6 years. Horus NekhetZa (Zanakht)njswt-bity Nebka (-Ra)Horus Tehenw (.j) Nwb (I.A.F. III n. 806) 19 years. Horus Khabanjswt-bity ShenakaNetjer Nwb 6 years. Horus NebHedjetnjswt H(w)Nwb Nebhedjet 24 years. (tot. c. 74 years)
Egyptian Dynasty IV
Khafre was the son of Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid. He built his own pyramid, the Second Pyramid, at Giza, just to the south of his father's. Khafre's pyramid complex included a mortuary temple on the east side of the pyramid and a Valley Temple of monolithic granite blocks connected by a long causeway. To the northwest of the valley temple he constructed the Sphinx and its Temple. This fragment was said to have been found at Giza and its similarity to the faces of the statues from the Khafre valley temple and the traces of a royal beard on the chin to identify is as a portrait of Khafre.
Khufu, Menkaure(Mycerinus), and Cephren
Khufu was the second king of the fourth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled during the Old Kingdom. Khufu's father was Seneferu, his mother was Queen Hetep-Heres I. Khufu was the father of six sons and three daughters. He was also known as Cheops. Khufu took twenty-plus years to build his pyramid. During the 4th Dynasty, pharaoh commissioned the building of each of the three pyramids of Giza. The three Pyramids of Giza date back over 4500 years and are located 15 miles southwest of Cairo, Egypt, in the Giza Necropolis. The three pyramids are the only surviving wonder of the famous Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The third Pyramid belongs to Menkaure, and he was also a pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty Menkaure was the son of Khafre and the grandson of Khufu. He built the smallest Pyramid t\at the Giza plateau, and is called 'Menkaure is divine'. Menkaure's pyramid is two tone in color: the top half covered with bright white limestone casing, while red Aswan granite was used for the casing on the bottom. The pyramid stand 66.5 meters high, which is smaller that the other two pyramids at Giza. The pyramid is remarkable because it is the only pyramid in Dynasty IV that was cased in 16 layers of granite, Menkaure planned to cover the surface with granite, but he could not do so because of his sudden death.
This is an old Egyptian statue of the King Menkaure and his and Queen made in the Fourth Dynasty. It is very solid because it is still connected into the stone it was carved into. This is to preserve the statue which was believed to be the eternal home of the 'Ka', the other self, which could live on after a person's death. This couple is bound together in timeless gesture of affection so that their souls will forever be together.(See #10 and #15 photos) The finest creations of the first school of sculpture are to be found among the hard stone royal statues of Chepren and Mycerinus(Menkaure).
Cephren's statues are justly famous, like the standing slate statues of Mycerinus and his queen from the Valley Temple of the Third pyramid, they all display the ideal of god-like majesty. This expresses the same idea of the identity of the king with Horus which appears in the falcon perched on top of the frame of the Royal Horus name. It is more literally stated in the Dynasty VI alabaster statuette of Pepi I, where the back of the king's throne is carved to represent such a serekh with the 'Palace Facade' below the king's name, as in the Zet stela of Dynasty I and the falcon standing free above.
The falcon is thus placed at the back of his head. This combination of statues and painted reliefs produces a brilliant effect in the large outermost room. There were also craft-work scenes on the walls, including pictures of furniture like that found in the tomb of Hetepheres I(See #16 and #17 photos). Khufu, Menkaure and Cephren represented the support system which made the construction of the pyramids possible. Dr. Hawass says that 11 cows and 33 goats were slaughtered daily to feed the workers.
A Synopsis on the Pyramid of Khufu
Colonel Braghine studied an unusual feature connected with the orientation of the pyramid. He states:
"A detailed study of the structure will convince any investigator that the wealth of mathematical, geometrical and astronomical data concealed within it is not accidental, but has been produced intentionally after numerous and complex calculations, made by somebody possessing an astounding amount of knowledge. ... Not the least interesting detail concerning the orientation of the Pyramid is the following: the reflection of the sun-rays from the sides of the pyramid indicates almost exactly the equinoxes and solstices and therefore, the sowing time. The northern side of the pyramid is lighted at sunrise for some moments during the period from the spring-equinox till the autumn-equinox.
During the remainder of the year the southern side is lighted from sunrise to sunset. This phenomenon fixes the moment of the equinoxes within 12 hours. When the stone-facing was intact, this phenomenon of the missing shadows must have been more still more pronounced and was noticed by the ancients. the Latin poet Ausonius wrote: "Quadrata cui in fastigo cono, Surgit et ipsa suas consumit puramis umbras," [ "The pyramid itself swallows the shadow born on its summit."] This phenomenon has now been explained by Professor Pochan, who discovered that the Northern and Southern sides of the pyramid are not true planes, but dihedral angles of 179 degrees 50 minutes. thus in plain speaking, the sides in question have been hallowed out of the extent of 94 centimeters, insuring a rapid disappearance of the shadow of the sunrise at the equinoxes."
Pharaoh Khufu has been cast by modern scholars as a despot who employed slave labor to erect his colossal pyramid; but tis opinion is most certainly erroneous; for slavery was practically unknown in ancient Egypt. "It seems that, on the whole, slavery never attained the serious and infamous proportions that it had in Greece, or in Italy. The serfage, which probably continued throughout history, prevented the requirements of slave labor on large estates. It was a mild and comparatively harmless obligation, which did not prevent ability from rising, and it saved the land from ruin which slavery brings."(W. M. Flinders)
The building of the Great Pyramid was a great and well organized project. One hundred thousand men were employed three months at a time, in transporting the rocks to the construction site. This was during the season of the inundation, when there was no other work to be done. Ten years were needed to make the great causeway, over which the stones were hauled, and in the preparation of the site, and the leveling and hollowing out of the underground tunnel and chamber. The actual construction required an additional twenty years. Sir Flinders Petrie, basing his conclusion on data supplied by Herodotus, gives a vivid picture of how this vast engineering job was accomplished:
"This time would imply that a gang of eight men(about as many as could work on one block) could move ten stones from the quarry across the Nile, up the causeways, and raised into place within three months. this would be quite possible with good organization. There are several causeways besides the main one, still visible on the desert, and they must have been closely packed by working gangs to get up the thousand blocks everyday during the working season. Of course there were also highly-skilled masons necessary for the thirteen acres of finely jointed casing, and the internal parts; the barracks or these are still visible, and would hold, at the outside, 4,000 men, who would life there continuously.
If half of them were engaged on the casing, each man would have to prepare accurately and fit in place one casing block every three weeks, or rather, a gang of three men doing a block in a week. This is also a reasonable result. Of course, the great blocks at he base would take far longer, and small course would be done in perhaps half the time for each stone. Much nonsense has been written about the oppression of the people, their tears and groans. With splendid organization evident in the work, the people must have been well managed, and there was no hardship, whatever, in carrying out the work.
Each man might have been levied twice in his lifetime; he would be just as well off there as at home, for he could do nothing during the inundation. All that was necessary was to transport a couple of hundredweight of food for him, which he would eat there instead of home. The immense gain to the people was the education combined with work and technical training."
Egypt was a nation of the Fellahin ruled by a priestly group which did not only comprise of sacerdotal officialdom, but also the entire learned and professional classes of the nation, including the civil service in its entirety.
Writing about Egyptian architecture and Art is a very trying task. There is still so much that this article could not cover, but will be pursued in the next hubs about Egyptian Art, Archeology History and life. In this hub I have laid down the beginnings and evolution of the art and architecture of Egypt from pre-Dynastic Egypt, to Dynasties I through IV. It is worth noting the attempt was to pin-point those points of change or evolution of the art and architecture of Egypt through hundreds of years as it morphed, upgraded and updated itself.
The lessons that are gleaned through an article of this nature is to try to simplify a complex and(at times lacking in information) history of art and architecture, and at the same time paying cognizance to the preponderance of material culture to be discussed and made easy to understand and learning from it. The history of Egypt and the History of Egyptian Art and Architecture is still being studied up to today, and will still be written and talked about in the foreseeable millenniums.
The four Dynasties discussed above were the first age of grandeur for the nile Valley High Culture, which started with Pre-Dynastic, then the Dynastic along with the Post-Dynastic period, all lasted until the eve of the Christian era. Some aspects of it survived the Greek and Roman occupation of parts of north Africa. After 300 A.D., new states and eventually empires began to appear in the Inner West Africa that the Arabs later called the Western Sudan.
The best known of these are Ghana, Mali and Songhay. Their collective life span was more than a thousand years. As for the Art and Architecture of Egypt, it kept on evolving as the Dynasties rolled-on from the fourth Dynasty all the way to the 31st Dynasty with Darius III from 335 to 332 up to the arrival of Alexander the Great. Queen Cleopatra married Marc Antony to save Egypt from destruction and to preserve its independence and sovereignty for ever.
"Modern" architecture ... started on a sound basis but has ..., more often than not, ignored this human scale. Some architects have gone so far as to ... ignore symmetry in religious architecture, which has consequently become grotesque."(Alexander Badawy) The truth is startlingly clear when one has a birds-eye-view over the desert just west of the Nile at Abu Simbel, where all the classic Nile Valley architectural styles repose stolidly in the landforms and rockscapes dotting the locality, etched into these geometrical shapes by the master hand of nature.
Historical of the Art And Architecture Of Egypt - I - IV Dynasty
The history of art and architecture of Egypt still holds the fascination of the 'modern' world and scholars alike. It is at this juncture in this Hub that I reiterate and redress this aspect of Egyptian History, art and architecture to give a much more clearer and better picture of what legacy these Dynasties left for all to see and marvel/be motivated by even as of the writing of this Hub.
Cheik Anta Diop wrote:
"This civilization called Egyptian in our period developed for a long time in its early cradle /// This cycle of civilization, the longest in [human] history, more or less lasted 10,000 years. This is a reasonable compromise between the long chronology (based on data provided ... by Manetho [which] places the beginning at 17,000 B.C.) and the short chronology [3,100 B.C.] of the moderns - for the latter are obliged to admit that by 4245 B.C. the Egyptian had already invented the calendar (which necessarily requires the passage s of thousands of years)."
Thus, if the Egyptians had the calendar in 4245 B.C. and it took the passage of several thousands years to amass enough data to create it, then it is only rational that we adhere to the logic of Diop, who goes on to say,"The official date, adopted until now for no special reason wavers between 3100 B.c and 3000 B.C.. In actual fact, the choice of 3100 B.C. results from no necessity but that of synchronizing Egyptian and mesopotamian chronology.
Diop continues, "The motivating idea is to succeed in explaining Egypt by Mesopotamia, that is, by Western Asia, the original habitat of Indo-Europeans.The chronology of Viktor Christian, who relies on Kugler's astronomical calculations, dates the start of the firs Ur dynasty between 2600 and 2580, [B.C.] which would thus also be the period of the so-called 'royal' tombs." Therefore the fixed date of Mesotamian civilization at 3100 B.C. is incorrect and purposely misleading. In essence what is being stated here is that this information implies a much greater antiquity than the poor few thousand years accorded Egypt by the world's Egyptologists.
What about the Egyptians themselves? How did they perceive their own chronology? When Herodotus was in Egypt in the fifth century B.C., he was informed of Egypt's great antiquity. The "Father of History" was told told that the first man to rule Egypt was Min, who lived so long ago that Egypt was still under water: "in (Min's) time, the whole country, except the district around Thebes, was Marsh, none of the land below Lake Moeris was then showing above water.
Pharaoh Min of the 4th Millennium
To this place from the sea[Now] is seven days passage up the river ... Later Solon, en route from Greece, happened upon an Egyptian priest of Sais. Trying to engage him in an historical debate the priest answered thus, "you Greeks are novices in all knowledge of antiquity. you are ignorant of what passed here or among yourselves in the days of old.The history of eight-thousand yeas is deposited in our sacred books, but we can ascend to much higher antiquity and tell you what our fathers have done for nine-thousand years. I mean their institutions, their laws, and their brilliant accomplishments."
According to Diodorus' sources, which corroborate those of Herodotus, the Ethiopians began to migrate into Egypt while some of it was still underwater: "They even allege that this country was originally under water, but that the Nile,dragging mud as it flowed from Ethiopia, and finally filled it in and made it a part of the continent." The is ample evidence that the Mediterranean still covered Egypt while the rest of the continent was already dry, and that the firs of the new Egyptians began to build as the water receded.
Herodotus, as we have already said, was told that the first ruler Min lived at this time and recorded his own conclusion: "I not only believe the people who gave me this account of Egypt, but my own conclusions strongly support what they said ... Now it is my belief that Egypt was originally an arm of the sea." In support he noted, "I have observed for myself that Egypt at the Nile Delta projects into the se beyond the coast on either side; I have seen sea shells on the hills and noticed how salt exudes from the soil to such an extent that it affects even the pyramids; I have noticed too, that the only hill where there is sand is the hill above Memphis, and that the soil of Egypt does not resemble that of the neighboring country of Arabia, or Libya, or even Syria ... but is black as one would expect of an alluvial soil ..."
More evidence comes from books of Thoth (Hermes). It describes one of the pyramids as standing upon the seas-shore, "the waves of which dashed in powerless fury against the base."
Modern scientists confirm these ancient writers. An archeologist, Dr. H. Getzinger produced startling photographs of one of the sides of the Great Pyramid revealing the incrustation of sea-shells at a certain level quite above the present level of the base of the structure. Dr. R. Rennel and American geologist substantiates this by saying, "The configuration and composition of the low lands of Egypt leave no room to doubt that the sea once washed the base of the rocks on which the the pyramids ... stand; the present base of which is reached by the inundations of the Nile at an elevation seventy or eighty feet above the mediterranean."
Apart from the question of Egypt's chronology, there remains the intriguing questions as to who were the Egyptians and from where did they originate? Having raised this question, it is better that we learn as to what the Egyptians have to say about their origins. I maintain, as the author of this article that the Egyptians are of Southern African origin. My reason for stating that the Egyptians originated from Southern Africa is covered in my Hub(soon to be published called "From Gondwanaland to Mzantsi: Untold Human Origins and African History Of African South African," wherein I trace the history and architecture of South Africa, which thus far has been hidden in plain-sight by theApartheid regime.
I was still stating my reasons for emphasizing the indigenous Southern origins os the Ancient Egyptians, who were equally "Africans," is based upon historical message extracted from the highly respected "Papyrus of Hunefer" found in the Egytpians' and other Nile Valley indigenous Africans' "Book of the Coming Forth by Day and Night"; thus, the Egyptian clearly state that:
"We came from the beginning of the Nile where the God Hapi dwells, at the foothills of the Mountain of the Moon." (Kilimanjaro-between Kenya and Tanzania, or Rwenzori in Uganda).
The Places/Areas Where the Egyptians say they have originated from
In reviewing Egypt's beginnings, we find an advanced civilization already intact from the earliest Dynasty. This fact has perplexed historians down through the ages. common sense dictates that if Egypt began fully mature, then its civilization must have originated elsewhere. "we find when we discover egypt in what we call the First Dynasty, under Menes, that it is at its absolute zenith of culture in Painting, Sculpture, Architecture and history
So that, after the first four Dynasties discussed in this Hub, that is, from this peak period, the Egyptian culture steadily declines. It is very much as if the Egyptians found themselves the inheritors of a great ready-made culture of which they could take advantage, which they could utilize and even to some degree emulate, but which they themselves did not create. But this is what this part of this Hub is going to attempt to debunk and tell a bit about the how the creation of the architecture, art, sculpture and pyramids that we see was done by the egyptians themselves.
Abbe Emile (1850-1916) is credited with the discovery of the Anu and their contribution to Egyptian civilization. It was Amelineau who designated the first African race to occupy Egypt as the Anu. He followed their path along the Nile, and revealed that they built cities of Esneh, Erment, Qouch, and Heliopolis. According to Amelineau, "All those cities have the characteristic symbol which serves to denote the name Anu.
"These Anu(Africans) were agricultural people, raising cattle on a large scale along the Nile. shutting themselves up in walled cities for defensive purposes. To this people we dan 'attribute without fear of error', the most ancient Egyptian books. The book of the Dead and the Text of the Pyramids, consequently, all the religious teachings. I would add almost all the philosophical systems then known and still Egyptian. They evidently knew the crafts necessary for any civilizations and were familiar if not adapt/efficient with tools of those trades as required.
They made and discovered the earliest forms and ways of writing, and the whole Egyptian tradition(historyof the arts, etc) attributes this Art to Thoth, the Great Hermes, and Anu like Osiris, who is called 'Onian' in Chapter Fifteen of the The Book Of The Dead, and in the Texts of the Pyramids.
Certainly the people already knew the principal arts; it left proof of this in the 'Architecture' of the tombs at Abydos. Also, just to note in passing and in brief, Count Constantin de Volney, on his sojourn to Egypt, made the following statement, "... all[the inhabitants] have a bloated face, puffed up eyes, flat nose, thick lips .. I was tempted to attribute it to the climate, but when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the Key to the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro(African) in all its features. I remembered the remarkable passage where Herodotus [5th century B.C.] says: 'As for me, I judge the Colchians to a be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are Black(African), with wooley hair. ...' In other words, the Ancient Egyptians were the True Negroes(Africans) of the same type as all native-born Africans.
"Just think that this race of Black(African) men, today our slaves and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences(architecture) and even the use of speech! Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of peoples who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery and questioned whether Black(African) men have the same intelligence as Whites!" (Count de Volney)
The Making of a Civilization, its History, Art and Architecture
In order for me to not only repeat the oft said historical facts, in this part of the Hub, I will be looking at those who have made all this possible, the people who have made the existence and longevity of the civilization of Egypt possible. It is also important to note that Egypt was African inspired and African originated mega civilization second to none on earth.
Having stated the bold assertion above, and as an African historian, the point I made above about the fact that the Egyptian civilization is not only magnificent, but it helped Greece and the civilization spawn to the myriads manifestations that ended up being called Europe, to Europe, through Egypt, but, my contention is that it was not only a magnificent civilization, but it was a carry-over, or should we say, the ability of African people to carry or have carried their civilization,
From a quarter of billion years ago, and by so saying I am stating as a matter of fact that the present Egyptian civilization, has its antecedents, its beginnings, its founding, and was an evolving and spreading civilization from which, this Egyptian civilization has its antecedent in the place and land of the origin of Man, and the creation, by Africans in Mzantsi, of their Civilization and a show of how and why Egypt came into being this civilization we see today as it can now be traced as far back as 200,000 B. C., has before been met oft with berating and derisive downgrading dismissal shown and talked about above.
As one can see from those who came before me, of African descent, have been shut down, cast out, or as those master teachers were never given enough publicity and publications, and if they did, their works were for the few who have met these Master Teachers, and listened full and at length what they have to say.
Once you tarry from the educational fine-tuning one has been through, but look outside that academic box with one's perspective, know-how, research, and continuous hard nosed research, this then has to begin to dawn upon the people of Mzantsi and Africa, that the day is nigh that we Really begin, to commence to look at historical facts as we find them ourselves, write them anew, in a more confident and informed light, and have them believe that we can be liberated like that historically we are motivated and applying these new, fresh and emerging ideas, which are enabled by the new world social media and the Internet plus the explosion of data and meta-data in the viral system, that, when I therefore state what I have just said above, it is then best to move forward on this postulation.
The Egyptian civilization was an African phenomena of original what we see today, and because of that, African people and people of goodwill should begin to look at African history, as a very old, antiquated History of human magnificence, that, what was left of the culture of Mzantsi, was the much more well-synthesized and magnificent civilization as the one that can be found in Mzantsi. There is a real and existing material culture to back up what I am saying. But in this Hub, I will not show any pictures of the Hub I am working onto, which has broken my point that:
Egyptian civilization and in its manifestation, was a civilization that has evolved from prior civilization dotting the landscape of Africa, and the oldest of these cities and structures, can be fond and have been photographed, and can be seen too. So, My point is that the architecture, Art and whole civilization of Egypt, was a carryover of the remote and antiquated civilization that flourished in southern Africa.
Having said this, I am presently working on a Hub that fully confirms what I have said above about Egypt being a civilization of African origin, which, through its march throughout Africa in past and remote antiquity, was just as shining and better/advanced. The builders of this civilization went on to build many other civilizations, developing their landed real estate as would a man developing his country, region, locale, street, home and family.
The civilization of Africa in the Congo, Cities in ruins from the East Coasts to the West-Such as Monomotapa, Zimbabwe, Mapungubwe, was this desire to build throughout Africa, in stone all the way to Egypt. In its progression this originating of all things, founding of cities and the establishment of different levels of all types of organization, economics, war-preparedness or not, and so forth.
To be understood, it has to be looked at from the historical facts that the origination of cities, agriculture, irrigation and so forth, types of organization, have their origins in South Africa.(I will come back to this part and announce the publication of the ideas I am cobbling up above into the Hub that helps me point out the this historical reality-See my Hub "From Mzantsi To Gondwanaland..." published here on HubPages).
Nonetheless, I will progress, in this Hub, from the Egyptian historical point of view, and hope the read bears in mind that I maintain that this was an evolved form of civilization that originated in South Africa, which up to the point I am making this statement, had been a bit like pieces of a puzzle.
This puzzle was and its still a chasm that was built into the social fabric, psyche and should that we , Africans, are different and we will never untie given our many languages and cultures, and studying of those different cultures has been neglected, and the new perspectives that one can glean from that kind of practice and discipline, are lost academically and intellectually to many "Edumacated " Africans.
So that Africans would never be able to develop their historical/or any other thing that is in the best interest of Africans because it has long been hi-jacked by the in-built biases against Africans from those institutions they are Edumacated in, and their shaped and formed into those same institutional historical gatekeepers. African scholars, not all, we the up and coming generation, get caught-up quoting and not writing about the present, of which we have so much ample evidence about the past, that Africans should be writing into the record books of history, our history from new African-centered perspectives of the "Present Future."
So that, this Hub, on the architecture and art of Egypt is of prime importance because that to, is a time period that is important, because, all that was done between the 1st to the theAnother line of evidence showing a relationship between ancient Egyptians and populations from tropical Africa concerns the skeleton beyond the skull, specifically the proportions of the limbs. Tropical African populations have proportionately longer limbs than European or Asian populations, because longer limbs dissipate heat more easily. Measurements of ancient Egyptian skeletons has shown that their limb proportions were within the range of tropical African populations (Zakrzewski 2003)
This does not really matter, because as I have given some pictures above of African Egyptians, These are Africans and they are the people who live and were of the continent and originated from Africa. And in my case here, to those who dare challenge the accepted historical status quo, and this has an effect on the potential scholar or reader/student or "Western Schooled" Africans, who were and have been orientated and tutored into the system of their dominance.
So that subjects like African Egyptian history were the purview of White Egyptologists, that, we the present-day African historians are saying that there was a civilization of Mzantsi, and there is ample evidence from the south of Egypt, and from all parts of Africa, that there have been civilizations all the way to the civilization of Mali, Songhay, and so forth-starting from and emerging and originating in South Africa(Mzantsi).
So that, African scholars need to begin to put the puzzle together, according to how we see that history of Egypt and as it relates to Africa. This was African History and it should be told from an African-centered perspective. Each of the best African historians should come together from all countries of Africa, and tell all about their countries in well written scholarly works of African descent.
This had been going on from the time Herodotus got to be informed about the history of Egypt
The civilization of Egypt, when it emerged in the Nile Rover, has been well told above, and ow, what this did was to affect many of the subsequent civilization of the Near East. I think that the emergence of the first known African kings near Abydos in middle Egypt, or came from the first Kings of central Africa gets caught up with my analysis that this civilization, did not come out of thin air. It was a 200,000 evolution coming out of the desire of these Africans to build on their landed estate, African cities and symbols throughout these cities, that the sooner we accept the facts as willresented elsewhere, this remains the bone of contention.
I therefore assert that the Thinite Kings, whose origins still baffle the Egyptologist, is because we Africans, too, have not yet linked all they know and unknown cities and civilization that proliferated throughout Africa, and by dating these, African will begin to see the pattern of movement in historical time line so great that, is still needed something, either that speculation or careless dismissal from some in White History departments and circles that, referring to the origins of the Thinite, the scholars, being frustrated, simply write: "Whatever their origins.."
No, In this case, I will rely on my assertion that Egyptian origins from Africa can be traced back right into South Africa, and have been dated to be even older than Egypt. The 17,00 to 200 20 tracing of the Egyptian, for if one includes the history and search into the Ethiopian, Nubian or Kushite civilization, yields even older and antiquated history of cities and civilization that were thriving in that part of the African world(This can be seen with new Digtal imagine showing vast cities buried under the sand spanning the ength and breadth of the Nile River).
The concepts of political organizations, economical situations, high level of technology and inter/intra Human communication and development-are what comprised the African Egyptian civilization. This concept did not originate from nowhere, but if one were to study very closely and carefully this historiography, whatever the remnants of culture in country like South Africa, one is able to build a different and powerful picture about African history and how this history originated, evolved and spread throughout Africa at at different times of the region; where one can find those cities of stone(In Rustenburg , South Africa), 10 times larger than the biggest cities in the world, and that, the concepts that were to govern and build Egypt later, can be found and traced back to the Africans of South Africa and their Culture. history, and material culture to back up this historical fact and truth.
It is important also to have a serious and well-informed research on the culture of Africans of South Africa, because in it, since it is the origin of humanity, there are ideas, thoughts and practices that are carried on from antiquity that help clear up this argument as to the origin of all civilizations, which is the Stone Builders Civilization of Mzantsi.
Egyptian Art And Architecture Is African History
To be learned in all that is worth while knowing. Not to be crammed with the subject of the book or the philosophy of the classroom, but to store away in your head such facts as you need for the daily application of life, so that you may the better in all things understand your fellowmen, and interpret you relationship to your creator.
You can be educated in soul, vision and feeling, as well as in mind. To see your enemy and know him is a part of the complete education of men, to spiritually regulate one's self in another form of the higher education that fits man for a nobler place in life, and still, to approach your brother by the feeling of your own humanity, is an education that soften the ills of the world and makes us kind indeed.
Many a man was educated outside the schoolroom. It is something you let out, not completely take in. You are a part of it, for it is natural; it is dormant simply because you will not develop it, but God creates every man with it knowingly or unknowingly to him who possesses it—that's the difference. Develop yours and you become as great and full of knowledge as the other fellow without even entering the classroom. (Mark Garvey)
The first King of Dynasty I was Aha Mena, or Menes; but before his time there were many petty Kings ruling over small territories in Upper and Lower Egypt. One clan in Lower Egypt has sixty Kings before the reign of Menes. Their totem was the "Hornet," and the King's crown was a low red cap with a high peak at the back. Further South was the "Reed" Kingdom, whose regal headdress was a tall White Crown. Still more distant to the South were two "Hawk" kingdoms.
All these kingdoms were in time united by marriage and conquest. We have to remember that even in Predynastic Egyptian had by then reached a high level of civilization. They imported gold, silver, copper lead, iron, hematite, emery, galena, turgoise, obsidian, serpentine, lapis lazuli, coral, and tortoise shell. With these materials they produced beautiful and useful works of art, which were to call forth the wonder and admiration of later ages.
Egypt's first golden Age was initiated by an invasion from Ethiopia. According to Petrie: "A conquerer of Sudani featured founded the third Dynasty, and may entirely new ideas entered the country. The achievement of the reign of Khufu was the building of the Great Pyramid. The classic account of the building of the Great Pyramid was related by Herodotus in this manner:
"The Pyramid itself was twenty years in the building. It is a square 100 feet each way, ... built entirely of polished stone, fitted together with the utmost care. The stones of which it is composed are none of them less than 30 feet in length. ... After laying the Stones for the base, they raised the remaining stones to their places by means of machines formed of short wooden planks. ...
There is an inscription in Egyptian characters around the pyramid which records the quantity of radishes, onions and Garlic consumed by the laborers who constructed it; and I perfectly well remember that the interpreter who read the writing to me said that the money expended in this way was about 1,600 talents of silver[A talent in ancient times would be the value of 89,000 pounds of silver.]
If this then is a true record, what a vast sum must have been spent on the iron tools used in the work, and on the feeding and clothing of the laborers, considering the length of time the work lasted, which has already been stated, and the additional time-no small space, I imagine-which must have been occupied by the quarrying of the stones, their conveyance, and the formation of the underground apartments"
We learn more concretely and clearly about the Structure and design of the Pyramid from
Dr. Alfred Russell Wallace in an Address before the British Association for the advancement of Science, at Glasgow in 1876, as follows:
"1. That the pyramid is truly square, the sides being equal and the angles right angles. 2. That the four sockets on which the four stones of the corners rest are truly on the same level. 3. That the directions of the sides are accurately to the four cardinal points. 4. That the vertical hight of the pyramid bears the same proportion to its circumference at the base as the radius of a circle does to its circumferences.
"Now, all these measures, angles, and levels are accurate, not as an ordinary surveyor or builder could make them, but to such a degree as requires the best modern instruments and all the refinements of geological science to discover any error at all. In addition to this we have the wonderful perfection of the workmanship in the interior of the Pyramid, the passages and chambers being lined with huge blocks of stone fitted with the utmost accuracy, while every part of the building exhibits the highest structural science."
An Unusual feature connected with the orientation of the Pyramid has been studied by Colonel Brahine, and in his own words wrote:
"A detailed study of the structure will convince any investigator that the wealth of mathematical, geometrical and astronomical data concealed within it is not accidental, but has been produced intentionally after numerous and complex calculations, made by somebody possessing an astounding amount of knowledge.
"... Not the least interesting detail concerning the orientation of the Pyramid in the following: the reflection of the sun rays from the sides of the pyramid indicates almost exactly the equinoxes and solstices and therefore, the sowing time. The northern side of the pyramid is lighted at sunrise for some moments during the period from the Spring-equinox till the autumn-equinox. During the remainder of the year the southern side is lighted at sunrise till sunset. This phenomenon fixes the moment fixes the moment of the equinoxes with 12 hours."
"When the Stone-facing was intact, this phenomenon of the missing shadow must have been still more pronounced was noticed by the ancients. The Latin Poet Ausonius writes:
"Que et ipsa coumit puramis umbras."
["The pyramid itself swallows the shadow born on its summit,"] This phenomenon has now been explained by Prof. Pochan, who discovered that the northern and southern sides of the Pyramid are not true planes, but dihedral angles of 179 degrees 50 minutes. Thus in plain speaking, the sides in question have been hallowed out to the extent of 94 centimeters, insuring a rapid disappearance of the shadow of the sunrise at the equinoxes."
The building of the Great Pyramid was a great and well organized project. One hundred thousand men were employed three months at a time, in transporting the rocks to the construction site. The actual construction required an additional 20 years, which according to Petrie, basing his conclusions on data supplied by Herodotus, gives a vivid picture picture of how this vast engineering job was accomplished:
"This time would imply that a gang of eight men (about as many as could work on one block) could move ten stones from the quarry across the Nile, up the causeways, and raised into place within three months. This would be quite possible with organization.
There are several causeways besides the main one, still visible on the desert, and they must have been closely packed by working gangs to get up the thousand blocks everyday during the working season. Of course there also highly skilled masons necessary for the thirteen acres of finely jointed casing, and the internal parts, the barracks for these are still visible, and would hold, at the outside, 4,000 men, who would live there continuously
"If half of them were engaged on the casing, each man would have to prepare accurately and fit in place one casing, each man would have to prepare accurately and fit in place one casing block every three weeks, or rather, a gang of three men doing a block in a week. This is also a reasonable result. Of course, the great blocks at the base would take far longer, and the small courses would be done in perhaps half the time for each stone. ...
"Much nonsense has been written about the oppression of the people, their tears and their groans. With the splendid organization evident in the work, the people must have been well-managed, and there was no hardship, whatever, in carrying out the work.
Each man might have been levied twice in his lifetime; he would be just as well off there as at home, for he could do nothing during the inundation. All that was necessary was to transport a couple of hundredweight of food with him, which he would eat there instead of home. The immense gain to the people was the education in combined work and technical training."(Petrie).
We are informed by Stanley Carson that, "When the Greeks first began to come to Egypt, awed by its antiquity and overwhelmed by its multiplicity of gods, it what they really found was a nation of fellahin ruled with a rod of iron by a society of Antiquaries."
The Priestly caste of Egypt may have been a "society of Antiquaries" in the seventh century BC, when the first Greeks settled in the country, but that certainly was not the case in the days of the Old Kingdom. The Priesthood of early Egypt comprised not only the sacredotal officialdom, but also the entire learned and professional classes of the nation, including the civil service in its entirety. A colorful and accurate account of the achievements of these African, is still a wonder to learn about
Some Smattering of Egyptian Priesthood
Life Of The African Peoples Of Egypt..
Winwood Reade wrote this about the Priesthood of Egypt:
"Priests were the Royal chroniclers and keepers of the records, the engravers of inscriptions, physicians of the sick and embalmers of the dead, layers, lawgivers, sculptors and musicians. Most of the skilled labor of the country was under their control. In their hands were the linen manufacturers and the quarries between the cataracts.
Even those posts in the Army which required a knowledge of arithmetic and penmanship were supplied by them: every general was attended by young priest, scribes, with papyrus rolls in their hands, and reed pencils behind their ears. The clergy preserved the monopoly which they had invented; the whole intellectual life of Egypt was in them.
"It was they who, with their kilometers, took the measure of the waters, and proclaimed the harvest to the people or bade them prepare for hungry days. It was they who studied the disease of the country, compiled a pharmacopoeia, and invented the signs which are used in our prescriptions today-in the modern world.
"Their power was immense, but it was exercised with justice and discretion; they issued admirable laws, and taught the people to obey them by example of their own humble, self denying lives(Ubuntu/Botho — on steroids...
Under the tutelage of these pious and enlightened men, the Egyptians became a prosperous and also a highly moral people. The monumental paintings reveal their whole life, but we read in them no brutal of licentious scenes. ... The penalty for the murder of a slave was death; this law exists without parallel in the dark slavery annals both of ancient and modern times. ...
It is a sure criterion of the civilization of ancient Egypt that the soldiers did not carry arms except on duty, and that the private citizens did not carry them at all. Women were treated with much regard. ... When a party was given, the guests were received by the host and hostess, seated side by side in a large armchair. In the paintings their mutual affection is portrayed. Their fond manners, their gestures of endearment, the caresses which they lavish on their children, from sweet and touching scenes of domestic life. ...
"The civil law was were administered in such a manner that the poor could have recourse to them as well as the rich. The judge received large salaries that they might be placed above the temptation of bribery, and might never disgrace the image of Truth which they wore around their necks suspended."
There's more we are going to have to beginto dig up and learn about the civilization, people, and lives of the African Egyptians.
A Bit On Imhotep
Something needs to be said about Imhotep before wrapping up on the Pyramid Age and the Old Kingdom. We learn from James Henry breasted that "Imhotep, the architect who designed the first payramid,that this truly great man, besides being an architect, was Vizier (Prime Minister) to King Zoser of the Third Dynasty (5345-5307 B.C.).In addition, he was an astronomer and magician, and held the post of Chief Physician to the Monarch. He was the world's first multigenius"
"In the latter days he was deified and became the God of Medicine. Known to the Greeks as Imouthes, he was recognized as their own Aesculapius. "A temple was erected to him near the Seraum at Memphis," we are informed by an American Egyptologists, "and at the present-day every museum possess a bronze statuette or two of this apotheosized wise man, the proverb make, physician and architect of King Zoser.
"The priests who conducted the rebuilding of the temple of Edfu under the Ptolemies, claimed to be reproducing the structure formerly erected there after plans of Imhotep; and it may therefore well be that Zoser was the builder of a temple there."
All this took place in Egypt because for a long time Egypt was protected by a formidable desert barriers and confined to a narrow river valley. It was less subject to outside influences and its culture presents as one of its salient characteristics, along, virtually unbroken continuity. The peculiarity of life after death in a form similar to that which had been experienced upon earth provided an element in the development of the arts which was not present to such an extent in other countries.
"Thus, while architecture, painting, and sculpture ordinarily appeared in the service of the cult of a god or to glorify the wealth and power of a ruler, in Egypt we find emphasis laid upon providing a lasting dwelling place for the dead, the recreation of life magically in pictures serve him, and lastly the vision of a substitute in stone for his perishable body.
Whenever we begin to tell the history of Egypt, there are a myriad things that have to be talked about. It is a massive task, and in the Hub above, this is still ongoing work, and will be adding some other interesting aspects of this narrative very soon
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