Pyra­mids in Mem­phis, an An­cient Leg­endary Civil­i­sa­tion

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Li Shasha Edited by Justin Davis

Mem­phis sits on the south­ern tip of the Egyp­tian Nile Delta in a sub­ur­ban vil­lage 32 kilo­me­tres south of Cairo. It was the cap­i­tal of an­cient Egypt for more than 800 years af­ter 3100 BC and was the most mag­nif­i­cent city in the world at that time.

More than 2200 years ago, Philo of Byzan­tium de­scribed seven great struc­tures around the Mediter­ranean at that time in his book the Seven Won­ders of the World. They were the Great Pyra­mid of Giza in Egypt, the Hang­ing Gar­dens of Baby­lon, the Tem­ple of Artemis in Eph­e­sus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mau­soleum at Hali­car­nas­sus or Tomb of Mau­so­lus, the Colos­sus of Rhodes and the Light­house of Alexan­dria. Thou­sands of years later, only the Egyp­tian pyra­mids on the bank of the Nile River are still stand­ing. They were part of a fas­ci­nat­ing, an­cient civil­i­sa­tion.

The Pyra­mids of Giza are lo­cated to the south of the Nile Delta and the south­west of Cairo. They are lo­cated on the west bank of the Nile River. Mem­phis and its Ne­crop­o­lis—the Pyra­mid Fields from Giza to Dahshur were in­scribed on the UNESCO World Her­itage List in 1979. There were 96 pyra­mids that were built in an­cient Egypt, ac­cord­ing to cur­rent re­search. On Jan­uary 3, 1993, the di­rec­tor of the Egyp­tian ar­chae­o­log­i­cal and cul­tural relics bu­reau an­nounced: “An­other pyra­mid has been found in the re­gion of Giza, the most sig­nif­i­cant ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­ery in the world, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of pyra­mids to 96.” These mas­sive stone struc­tures, which were built be­tween 2700 BC and 2500 BC, still look im­pres­sive. Plac­ing the mas­sive stones so well could be dif­fi­cult even with to­day’s cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy.

Mem­phis, An­cient Egyp­tian Cap­i­tal

Mem­phis sits on the south­ern tip of the Egyp­tian Nile Delta in a sub­ur­ban vil­lage 32 kilo­me­tres south of Cairo. It was the cap­i­tal of an­cient Egypt for more than 800 years af­ter 3100 BC and was the most mag­nif­i­cent city in the world at that time.

Menes, who was the first pharaoh, united an­cient Egypt and founded Mem­phis. Egypt had pre­vi­ously been di­vided into Up­per Egypt in the south­ern val­ley and Lower Egypt in the north­ern delta. Both were roughly bor­dered by present-day Cairo. Up­per Egypt wor­shipped the fal­con god Haroeris. White was an im­por­tant colour, and its

kings wore white crowns. Lower Egypt wor­shipped the god of bees and co­bra god­dess. Red sym­bol­ised the area, and its kings wore red crowns. Menes, who was born in Up­per Egypt, was the head of a tribe. He was am­bi­tious, brave and wise in the ways of bat­tle. He grad­u­ally united Up­per Egypt and an­nexed Lower Egypt, unit­ing the coun­try. To con­sol­i­date his rule over Lower Egypt, Menes founded the city of Mem­phis at the junc­tion of the val­ley and the delta. Mem­phis later be­came the po­lit­i­cal, mil­i­tary and re­li­gious cen­tre of an­cient Egypt. Mem­phis ex­pe­ri­enced many vi­cis­si­tudes and fi­nally was de­stroyed in the sev­enth cen­tury. The only sur­viv­ing relics of Mem­phis to­day are the tem­ples built dur­ing Rame­ses II, the Tem­ple of Apis, the re­mains of palaces of the 26th Dy­nasty and the an­cient pharaohs’ pyra­mid tombs. The three fu­ner­ary struc­tures for Fourth Dy­nasty (2575–2465 BC) kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure are the most fa­mous.

Pyra­mids, Mys­te­ri­ous Places of Eter­nity

In an­cient Egypt, peo­ple be­lieved they could reach an af­ter­life as long as their corpses were em­balmed and en­shrined. At that time, the sun god Ra was re­garded as the na­tional god of Egypt. The pharaoh was con­sid­ered the “son of Ra” and had supreme power. The pharaohs con­sid­ered tomb con­struc­tion to be very im­por­tant. They would spend years or even decades build­ing a mau­soleum. The pyra­mids were the pharaohs’ tombs. In the fifth cen­tury BC, 2,000 years af­ter the com­ple­tion of the Great Pyra­mid of Giza, the fa­mous an­cient Greek his­to­rian Herodotus went to Egypt. In his book His­tory, he wrote that “the pyra­mids are tombs,” ac­cord­ing to their lo­cal lore. The Pyra­mid In­scrip­tion states, “The sky shines its light to you so that you can soar into the sky.” It is some­times be­lieved that all an­cient Egyp­tian knowl­edge was in­cor­po­rated into the con­struc­tion of the pyra­mids at the dawn of hu­man civil­i­sa­tion, when what were con­sid­ered the per­ma­nent res­i­dences of the pharaohs were be­ing made.

Be­fore the Third Dy­nasty of an­cient Egypt, both the princes and com­mon peo­ple were buried in mastabas, which were rec­tan­gu­lar, flat-topped tombs with sloped sides that were made of mud bricks. In the early Third Dy­nasty of the Old King­dom, King Djoser ap­pointed Imhotep to build tombs for the pharaohs. Imhotep was a tal­ented prime min­is­ter and knowl­edge­able scholar that was versed in medicine and ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign. Later gen­er­a­tions con­sid­ered him to be a god.

First, Imhotep built a large mastaba that was dif­fer­ent from the old ones. He ap­plied lime­stone to the new mastaba in­stead of dry adobe. He made it four storeys high and added two more, mak­ing it a huge stone struc­ture. It was 140 me­tres ( m) long, 128 m wide and 60 m high. The ter­raced pyra­mid was sur­rounded by a wall that was 277 m wide from east to west and 545 m long from north to south. A prayer hall, a rear prayer hall and a court­yard were con­tained within it. The over­all area was a pyra­mid com­plex, where cer­e­monies could be held.

The mustabas were cre­ated be­cause pharaohs were con­sid­ered to be god in­car­nate but were pre­vi­ously buried in the same fa­cil­i­ties as royal fam­i­lies and no­bles. The pyra­mids dif­fer­en­ti­ated the tombs of the pharaohs. Some peo­ple thought that the ter­raced ex­te­rior helped raise a pharaoh’s soul to heaven. Imhotep was born in Me­sopotamia and may have been in­spired by the high tow­ers in his home­town in an­cient Baby­lon. His pro­to­type was the start of the pyra­mids.

King Huni, the suc­ces­sor of King Djoser, had an eight-storey pyra­mid built in Mei­dum. The ter­raced edges were filled, lev­elled off di­ag­o­nally and coated with qual­ity lime­stone, form­ing a smooth pyra­mid with slop­ing sides. The pyra­mid in Mei­dum is about 92 m high, with a square base that is about 144 m long on each side. Dur­ing the Fourth Dy­nasty, pharaohs were so ar­ro­gant and ex­trav­a­gant that they built tombs at any cost, lead­ing to the three ma­jor pyra­mids. The Fifth Dy­nasty was founded by the chief priest of Ra. The scale of the pyra­mids built in the Fifth Dy­nasty was re­duced as a re­sult of the fierce op­po­si­tion of most peo­ple and fi­nan­cial con­straints. From the Sixth Dy­nasty, the cen­tralised power of pharaohs was grad­u­ally weak­ened by the suc­ces­sive in­de­pen­dence of lo­cal gov­er­nors. Fol­low­ing the na­tional dis­rup­tion of an­cient Egypt, the prac­tice of build­ing pyra­mids was on the wane.

The Great Pyra­mid of Khufu is the most well-known Egyp­tian pyra­mid. Khufu was a pharaoh dur­ing the Fourth Dy­nasty of an­cient Egypt. His pyra­mid is 146.5 m high. Each side of its base is 230 m long. It was con­structed ac­cord­ing to care­fully cal­cu­lated an­gles and lines and fea­tures pre­cise stone and earth work. Its four slop­ing sides face east, west, north and south, re­spec­tively. It is com­prised of 2.3 mil­lion boul­ders, each weigh­ing an av­er­age of 2.5 tons. The heav­i­est weighs 50 tons. All of the stones were care­fully pol­ished and stacked in a very ac­cu­rate man­ner. No ce­ment was used be­tween the stones. Thou­sands of years of earth­quakes and other dis­as­ters have not caused dam­age or de­formed it, show­cas­ing the ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy and ex­quis­ite ar­chi­tec­ture of an­cient Egypt. The Great Pyra­mid of Kh­ufa de­serves its fame as a sym­bol of the an­cient Egyp­tian civil­i­sa­tion.

The equally solemn Pyra­mid of Khafre also fea­tures pre­cise de­sign sim­i­lar to the Great Pyra­mid of Kh­ufa. It looks larger than the Great Pyra­mid of Kh­ufa be­cause it was built on higher ground. The Pyra­mid of Khafre is 215.7 m wide on each side of its base and is 143.6 m high. It is made of lime­stone and gran­ite. The re­main­ing an­cil­lary build­ings are well pre­served and look spec­tac­u­lar, in­clud­ing the up­per and lower tem­ples. The sphinx is lo­cated nearby. It has a hu­man face and lion’s body, and was carved from a huge rock. It is about 20 m high, 60 m long and has about 15-m-long claws. It re­sem­bles the hu­manoid sphinx in Greek mythol­ogy, so it is known as the sphinx by west­ern­ers. The small­est of the Great Pyra­mid of Giza is the Pyra­mid of Menkaure at the south end. It is 66.5 m high and the sides of its base are 108.7 m.

Mys­ter­ies of the Pyra­mids

The pyra­mids are ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­pieces and have al­ways been sub­jects of in­tense re­search, from the build­ing ma­te­ri­als that were used to their in­ter­nal struc­tures. Peo­ple have won­dered how a huge stone higher than a per­son and a weight of about 2,500 kilo­grams was mined, trans­ported and stacked into po­si­tion. It is thought that the stone came from three parts of Egypt. The stone used in the in­te­rior of the pyra­mids came from nearby sand­stone in the desert near Giza. Lime­stone was trans­ported from the east bank of the Nile River for the ex­te­rior. The gran­ite used in the pas­sages and main tomb ar­eas came from Aswan, 960 kilo­me­tres away. Ev­ery year when the Nile River flooded, huge barges freighted rocks down the river’s up­per reaches. In or­der to trans­port the stone from the bank of the Nile River to the con­struc­tion site of a pyra­mid, the Egyp­tians paved a slop­ing road with gravel. Work­ers were di­vided into small groups and de­liv­ered the mas­sive stones. They were even­tu­ally put into po­si­tion with the aid of levers, rollers and heavy rope made from reeds. Skilled crafts­men worked on the site for years, while green hands, who were mostly farm­ers and slaves, usu­ally worked on the project for three months a year in batches of 100,000 peo­ple.

In 2000, French sci­en­tist Joseph Davi­dovits posited that the blocks that make up the Great Pyra­mid of Giza were not carved stone but are mostly a form of lime­stone con­crete or man-

made stone. He came up with this idea af­ter chem­i­cal anal­y­sis and the aid of a mi­cro­scope. Davi­dovits said it was hard for peo­ple to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween the mix­ture and nat­u­ral stone be­cause it is very solid. He also men­tioned the fact that he found a strand of hu­man hair that is about 2.5 cen­time­tres long in­side, which is very per­sua­sive. The only ex­pla­na­tion is that it fell from a worker when con­crete was be­ing mixed. Some sci­en­tists be­lieve that Davi­dovits’ ideas are cred­i­ble. Mod­ern ar­chae­o­log­i­cal stud­ies have shown that hu­mans knew how to make con­crete thou­sands of years ago.

The shape of the pyra­mids was seen as a su­per­nat­u­ral source of power or en­ergy. It was said to be able to gen­er­ate a kind of in­tan­gi­ble and spe­cial en­ergy in­side, known as “pyra­mid en­ergy.” The shape was said to en­able the pyra­mid to store a mys­te­ri­ous en­ergy in­side that can de­hy­drate bod­ies quickly and ac­cel­er­ate mum­mi­fi­ca­tion. If a rusted metal coin is put in the pyra­mid, it was said to soon turn golden. If a cup of fresh milk is put into the pyra­mid, it was said to still be fresh af­ter 24 hours. And if a per­son had a headache or toothache, they can go to a pyra­mid and feel bet­ter within an hour.

The dis­cov­ery of the con­cept of pyra­mid en­ergy dates back to the early 20th cen­tury. A French­man named An­toine Bo­vis who was en­thu­si­as­tic about su­per­nat­u­ral sci­ence headed for Egypt in 1930. Dur­ing the visit to a pyra­mid, he en­tered the King’s Cham­ber and ob­served that a dead cat and a moth did not de­com­pose. Their bod­ies dried out, al­though the air in the King’s Cham­ber was al­ways hu­mid. When Bo­vis came back, he im­me­di­ately made a pyra­mid model us­ing card­board. The base was 0.9 m wide on each side. He aligned the pyra­mid so that its base lined up with the east, west, north and south, re­spec­tively. He then put a cat’s body in the same place as in the King’s Cham­ber, which was one-third of the way up from the bot­tom. He found that the cat’s body mum­mi­fied within days. He then ex­per­i­mented with pieces of meat and eggs and found that no mat­ter what was put in, it would not rot. He pub­lished the re­sults of his re­search about the se­cret power of the pyra­mid.

Karel Dr­bal, a ra­di­ol­o­gist from Cze­choslo­vakia, also kept ex­per­i­ment­ing to learn more about pyra­mid en­ergy. He once put a ra­zor blade in a pyra­mid model and found that the blade be­came sharper. Af­ter sev­eral tests, the re­sults were the same. In 1949, Dr­bal ap­plied for a pyra­mid knife sharp­ener patent in Prague, which was the cap­i­tal of Cze­choslo­vakia. It took ten years of ef­fort be­fore in­ven­tion 91304 was ap­proved.

Dr­bal worked at a ra­dio re­search in­sti­tute, where he could learn about the world’s cut­ting- edge tech­no­log­i­cal in­tel­li­gence and make full use of equip­ment and ap­pa­ra­tuses in the in­sti­tute. He also ap­plied ra­dio, radar and other elec­tro­mag­netic con­cepts to his ex­per­i­ments to study vi­bra­tions in­side pyra­mid mod­els made from in­su­lat­ing straw­board. He stud­ied the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the waves, the earth’s mag­netic field and the blade. He hy­poth­e­sised that elec­tro­mag­netic waves from the sun con­cen­trated the earth’s mag­netic field in the pyra­mid model and sharp­ened the blade. In his patent fil­ing, he claimed that the space in­side a pyra­mi­dal struc­ture cre­ated an au­to­matic re­newal move­ment. The en­ergy pro­duced in the pyra­mi­dal space came from the grav­i­ta­tional, elec­tric, mag­netic and elec­tro­mag­netic fields of the uni­verse and the earth.

There are many won­der­ful facts about the pyra­mids. For ex­am­ple, the en­trance tun­nel of the Great Pyra­mid of Khufu faces Po­laris, and it is vis­i­ble from any­where in the tun­nel. The Nile Delta is in­cluded very pre­cisely in ex­ten­sions of di­ag­o­nals from the pyra­mid’s base. An ex­ten­sion of a bi­sec­tion of the square is just enough to bi­sect the delta. If this bi­sec­tor is length­ened, it forms a meridian and would form the long­est pos­si­ble cir­cle around the earth. It would di­vide the earth into two equal parts. The square of the pyra­mid’s height is ex­actly equal to the area of the tri­an­gle on each side of the pyra­mid. If the perime­ter of the bot­tom four sides of the pyra­mid is di­vided by the twofold the height of the pyra­mid, it com­putes pi (the ra­tio of a cir­cle’s cir­cum­fer­ence to its di­am­e­ter) very pre­cisely. Its height mul­ti­plied by a bil­lion is the dis­tance be­tween the sun and the earth. These facts sug­gest that the an­cient Egyp­tian un­der­stand­ing of math and sci­ence was quite ad­vanced and far be­yond what most peo­ple re­alise. The mys­ter­ies of the pyra­mids have not been fully de­ci­phered. It is hoped that more can be learned about the an­cient Egyp­tian civil­i­sa­tion by way of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and con­stant ex­plo­ration.

A mastaba in Mem­phis

Pyra­mids in Egypt

Relief with of­fer­ings and bear­ers

Pyra­mid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx

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