The Building Of The Pyramids Essay Research

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The Building Of The Pyramids Essay, Research Paper THE BUILDING OF THE PYRAMIDS From the reign of Djoser until the beginning if the New Kingdom, almost every pharaoh of substance and authority was buried under a pyramid. The pyramid, introduced by Djoser, reached its most definitive form with the Great Pyramid of Cheops, at Giza. At the end of this long tradition the splendid visions of the earlier dynasties had shrunk to monuments of poorly built steep-sided mud brick, that were no larger that about forty feet square, but a thousand years before, pyramids had been measured in hundreds of feet, their masonry in millions of tons, The largest of all, the Great Pyramid on the plateau of Giza, near modern Cairo, is still the biggest stone building ever build by man and one of the

most accurately constructed. It was built less than one hundred years after Djoser?s craftsman had started their work on the Step Pyramid.Singularly, the kings of the Third Dynasty who followed Djoser to the throne have not left any finished monuments- though there might still be some to be found lying under the desert sands a Sakkara. It was at the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty, in the desert north of the older monuments, that pyramid building on a quite unprecedented scale was started. These Fourth Dynasty monuments are the finest of the pyramids,: seldom do they measure less than three hundred and fifty feet along their sides, and most are double that. After this time there was an immediate reduction in size and quality of construction that continued throughout the rest of

the Old Kingdom. During the Middle Kingdom however, the pyramids once again reached the colossal measurements of their forerunners, but these monuments were of carefully crafted mud-brick, cased with stone. The Egyptians all believed that the body of the god-king had to be preserved intact in order for him to reach immortality. The belief that fulfillment in the afterlife depended on the preservation of the body was a belief which was shared by all. Villagers buried the dead in the sand- which in a way helped preserve the remains, they also buried them with food and drink, which was meant to feed the deceased on the journey to the next world. But sustaining the body of the pharaoh was a matter of special urgency. To shield their remains throughout eternity, the pharaoh?s of the

First Dynasty build sturdy tombs known as mastaba?s. They were meant to last forever, they were made of sun-baked mud bricks, with a flat roof and sloping sides. Over the years the mastabas grew larger and larger, reaching up to seventy feet high and as many as seventy chambers. With the reign of the Third Dynasty?s King Djoser, the royal burial place underwent an enormous transformation. Djoser commissioned at Saqqara the world?s first great stone structure- an eternal house that would reach for the heavens. (I) Lumber was scarce in Egypt, but stone was plentiful. The Aswan area, yielded granite, basalt and quartz. The hills of Tura, on the east bank, across from Saqqara, afforded a fine white limestone. Peasants were conscripted in droves to work for the king, and soon they

mastered the art of working the quarries and transporting huge blocks over land on rollers or sleds, and along the Nile by barge. In building his tomb, Djoser also had the aide of a man named Imhotep. Imhotep was an incredibly ingenious man, the king?s vizier, and an accomplished sculptor. The tomb Imhotep designed for Djoser took the mastaba form to new heights. He assembled hundreds of thousands of limestone blocks, building six mastabas in diminishing size, one over each other. The result was what is known as the Step Pyramid. When complete it stood two hundred and four feet high. The most spectacular feild of pyramids must surely be the plateau of Giza. There during the greater part of the Fourth Dynasty multitudes of masons? chipped and chiseled away at the landscape to