When Did Ahmose Reign?
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||What was the motivation of the Egyptians for building the pyramids?
I am doing a research paper and I need some help. I need some good sources to find the answer of this question (What was the motivation of the Egyptians for building the pyramids?) Please cite the source. I am also looking for the different construction methods or tools that the Egyptians used for building the pyramids.
This answer is about pyramids in Egypt. Pyramids were also constructed in ancient Greece and Mesoamerica. Flat topped pyramids were constructed in ancient China.|
Pyramids in Egypt served as tombs, initially only for kings and close members of the royal family, but eventually came to be used (in much smaller forms) by the general populace.
The pyramid is thought to have developed out of the mastaba tomb. Mastaba is an Arabic word, meaning bench, which was applied to the flat-topped, slope sided superstructures of tombs. The pyramid is also thought to be associated with solar worship and the "ben-ben" stone which played a major role in sun worship and was vaguely pyramid shaped.
In the 3rd Dynasty, several mastabas were stacked forming the Step Pyramid of King Djoser. By the 4th Dynasty in the reign of Snefru attempts at building a true pyramid were underway. The pyramids of the 4th and 5th Dynasties, including those at Giza, essentially reflect the further refinement of the pyramid, the chambers within it, and the associated temple complexes. Eventually the standard style was an orientation of east to west (significant in Egyptian religion), with a pyramid temple, located directly on the east side of the pyramid, and a causeway leading to the "valley temple" located near the Nile at the edge of the cultivation.
While it is accepted by reputable Egyptologists that pyramids served as burials for kings, the exact details of the theology behind them remains unclear. One idea, popularized I believe by Dr. Mark Lehner, one of the foremost experts on Egyptian pyramids, is that pyramids served as "resurrection machines" providing all the necessary means for eternal life with the gods for the dead king.
In the late 5th Dynasty in the Pyramid of Unas at Saqqara, we have the first appearance of formal texts within the pyramid itself - the appropriately-named Pyramid Texts. These texts are somewhat esoteric and are essentially a collection of spells, stories, and guides relating to the Underworld. Initially these texts were limited to royalty. In succeeding pyramids, elements of the Pyramid Texts were included in the "Coffin Texts" of the First Intermediate and Middle Kingdom and in the "Book of the Dead" of the New Kingdom - texts available to a broad spectrum of society.
Pyramid construction continued in the Middle Kingdom - again limited to royalty, but not on the grand scale of the Old Kingdom. The last known royal pyramids located in Egypt are that of King Ahmose, founder of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom (ca. 1550 BCE) and the pyramid-cenotaph constructed for his grandmother, Queen Tetisheri. Both are located at Abydos.
In the New Kingdom, pyramids came to be part of tombs for reasonably wealthy private individuals - frequently added to the exterior portico area of rock-cut cliff tombs or appearing as architectural elements of brick constructed tombs in varous parts of Egypt.
The Napatan and Meroitic kingdoms in Nubia (modern Sudan) also used the pyramid for royal burials at sites such as El-Kurru and Nuri. While the Napatan kings ruled Egypt for a time during the 25th Dynasty and were buried in pyramids, those pyramids were located in Nubia proper.
Pyramid construction relied on highly skilled teams of workmen who were housed nearby the pyramid fields - in the Old Kingdom located in the general vicinity of the ancient capital Memphis at sites now knows as Giza, Saqqara, Meidum, and Dashur. A few pyramids in the Middle Kingdom were located near the Fayum, roughly Middle Egypt.
In addition to the full-time workmen, there was likely a seasonal labor requirement asked of the lower classes of Egyptian society - a sort of taxation, often referred to by the French term "corvee" labor. This is distinct from slavery. While the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (writing over a thousand years after the construction of the pyramids at Giza) reported that he was told the pyramids at Giza were constructed by slaves, Herodotus was wrong about any number of things in his reports and may not even have visited Egypt in person, so he is usually not taken as a realiable source.
Tools included square levels and plumb bobs, set squares, and vertical plumb bobs (which can be seen in the Cairo Museum), as well as copper blades for stone cutting, pounding stones for dressing stone blocks, and a ridged, mushroom shaped device that may have served as a sort of "proto-pulley."
For more information see, search for information at:
Lehner, Mark "The Complete Pyramids" (1997) - this text is fairly accessible and should be in your local library or can be ordered on-line.
I could only think of Hatshepsut off hand, but looking her up in Wikipedia I got the following|
"Although it was uncommon for Egypt to be ruled by a woman, the situation was not unprecedented. As a regent Hatshepsut was preceded by Merneith of the first dynasty, who was buried with the full honors of a pharaoh and may have ruled in her own right. Nimaethap of the third dynasty may have been the dowager of Khasekhemwy, but certainly acted as regent for her son, Djoser, and may have reigned as pharaoh in her own right. Queen Sobekneferu of the Twelfth Dynasty is known to have assumed formal power as ruler of "Upper and Lower Egypt" three centuries earlier than Hatshepsut. Ahhotep I, lauded as a warrior queen, may have been a regent between the reigns of two of her sons, Kamose and Ahmose I, at the end of the seventeenth dynasty and the beginning of Hatshepsut's own eighteenth dynasty. Amenhotep I, also preceding Hatshepsut in the eighteenth dynasty, probably came to power while a young child and his mother, Ahmose-Nefertari, is thought to have been a regent for him. Other women whose possible reigns as pharaohs are under study include Akhenaten's possible female co-regent/successor (usually identified as either Nefertiti or Meritaten) and Twosret. Among the later, non-indigenous Egyptian dynasties, the most notable example of another woman who became pharaoh was Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt."
Sounds like an interesting topic - good luck
About Egyptian Pyramids|
There are no more famous ancient sites within Egypt, or for that matter elsewhere in the world, than the Great Pyramids at Giza. They are, without question, the icon most associated with the Egypt. They have been both the main destination for tourists, and a source of imaginative thought to the world for over three thousand years.
However, there are actually over 100 pyramids in Egypt, many of which are relatively unknown to anyone who is not an ancient Egypt enthusiast. All but a very few are grouped around and near the City of Cairo, just south of the Nile Delta. Otherwise, only one royal pyramid is known in southern Egypt (at Abydos), that being the one built by Ahmose, founder of the 18th Dynasty and Egypt's New Kingdom. It may have also been the last royal pyramid built in Egypt.
Hence, major pyramids were not built throughout Egypt's ancient history. The Pyramid Age began with a burst of building, starting with the 3rd Dynasty reign of Djoser. Some of the early kings, most specifically Snefru, built more than one pyramid. Almost all of the kings added to their number through the end of the Middle Kingdom, with the possible exception of the First Intermediate Period between the Old and Middle Kingdoms. After the first Pharaoh of Egypt's New Kingdom, Ahmose, royal pyramid building by Egyptians ceased entirely. Somewhat abruptly the kings of the New Kingdom chose, rather than making their tombs completely obvious, to hide them in the hills of the West Bank of Thebes (modern Luxor).
However, smaller pyramids were constructed, for example in the Deir el-Medina necropolis, by private individuals. The Late Period Nubians who ruled Egypt also built relatively small pyramids with much steeper sides, though these were in fact constructed in Nubia itself. This tradition was carried on in Nubia after these southern rulers lost control of Egypt, and eventually, more pyramids were actually built in Nubia than Egypt, though on a much smaller scale.
Other pyramids in the world certainly exist, but their purpose, for the most part, was different than those of ancient Egypt. The most famous outside Egypt are probably those located in Mexico and to the south of Mexico, but these appear to have been built more as temples. In Egypt, all but a select few of the pyramids were built as tombs, sometimes to hold the physical body of a pharaoh (as well as other individuals), or to hold the soul of the deceased (as in the case of the small cult pyramids built next to the larger ones). Otherwise, the purpose of only a few small, regional stepped pyramids remains elusive.
While pyramids were, for the most part, tombs for the Pharaohs of Egypt, one must nevertheless question the reason that Egyptian rulers chose this particular shape, and for that matter, why they built them so large. Today, we believe that they chose the shape in order to mimic the Benben, a pyramid shaped stone found in the earliest of temples, which itself is thought to symbolize the primeval mound from which the Egyptians believed life emerged. This also connected the pyramid to Re, the Sun God, as it was he, according to some of the ancient Egypt mythology, who rose from the primeval mound to create life.
As far the great size of many of the pyramids in Egypt, we can really only surmise that the Pharaohs were making a statement about their own power and perhaps, about the glory and strength of their country. However, it should also be remembered that many of the latter pyramids were not nearly as large as the Great Pyramids at Giza (and elsewhere).
Pyramids evolved. The first of them was not a perfectly formed pyramid. In fact, the first Pyramid we believe that was built in Egypt, that of Djoser, was not a true pyramid at all with smooth sides and a point at the top. Rather, its sides were stepped, and the top of the pyramid truncated with a flat surface (as best we know). As the Egyptian pyramids evolved, there were failures as well glorious failures until finally, they got it right with what was probably the first smooth sided true pyramid built at Meidum. In fact, pyramids continued to evolve throughout their history, perhaps not always in outward appearances, but in the way that they were built and in the theology surrounding their construction. For example, towards the latter part of Egypt's Pyramid Age, Osirian beliefs seem to have had more and more impact on the arrangement and layout of the subterranean chambers.
However, soon after the first pyramids were built, their form became somewhat standardized. Royal pyramid complexes included the main pyramid, a courtyard surrounding the main pyramid, a much smaller cult pyramid for the king's soul, a mortuary temple situated next to the main pyramid, an enclosure wall and a causeway that led down to a valley temple. Some pyramid complexes included subsidiary, smaller pyramids for family members, and most were surrounded by some sort of tombs for family members.
Our thinking on pyramids has evolved considerably over the years. Many of us who are a bit older were taught that the pyramids were built using Jewish slave labor, which is a fabrication of immense proportions. Most of the pyramids were built long before the Jews made their appearance historically and currently, many if not most scholars believe they were not built using slave labor at all (or perhaps a nominal number of slaves).
Otherwise, we can also dismiss offhand alternative theories related to aliens or some lost culture being responsible for pyramid building. There is just far too much evidence, including tools, drawings, evolutionary changes, and even worker villages that rule these farfetched ideas obsolete.
However, some mysteries remain, even in some of the best well known Pyramids. The most famous of them all, the Great Pyramid of Khufu, continues, year after year, to give up a few more secrets, and there doubtless remains much to learn from these Egyptian treasures. There may even be one or more pyramids yet to be discovered.