Throughout Ancient history a large spectacle that always attracts the attention of historian and archaeologists are the pyramids. This is for many reasons such as the significance they play in religion, daily life and probably the most engrossing is how commonly it reoccurs over again throughout different cultures in history. From the most well-known and oldest the pyramids of Giza built in 2584 BC to Assyrian Pyramids in 721-701 BC.
The pyramids of Giza are by far the most well known in the world. They are a symbolism of the mighty Egyptian empire. They stand in the sandy deserts of Egypt reflecting on the prodigious accomplishments and achievements in medicine, agriculture, architecture and engineering. The pyramids built by the Egyptians are an incredible feat of architecture, organisation and engineering. It took well over 20 years for a large pyramid to be built. Although they were built nearly 4,500 years ago Egyptologist, archaeologists and historians all around the world are still fascinated yet perplexed because we are still not 100% sure of how they were built. Yet we still undermined the ingeniousness behind these incredible structures. When building the pyramids it was not as easy as cutting the pyramid shape out of a large mass of rock, plans took years to be made, craftsmen, scribes, and builders were all needed to help create tools to cut out of the quarries and then transported to Giza across the Nile to the site of the pyramid. Other than the actual structure itself an aspect that is extremely impressive is the location of where it was built. The pyramids face correlates exactly due north towards the polar or northern star. Egyptians believed this housed the soul of Osiris one of their gods. This helps to bring into light the significance of the pyramid in this particular culture. The design and purpose of the pyramid has strong connections and parallels to the Egyptian religion and the afterlife. All the separate entrances into the pyramids aligns with a separate star constellation that is congruent with their religion and the belief in the afterlife. Because of the significant role the afterlife plays in the life of this culture this helps to explain why the structures were built as almost a gate way to the afterlife for the Pharaoh. The architectural feat of the Egyptians displayed by Khufu, Khafre and Menkawre is just one of the many cultures and empires to incorporate this design into their buildings.
Another culture that used pyramids in their architecture was a Central American tribe, the Mayans. The Mayans are well known for their high intellectual advances in mathematics and astronomy. One of the many achievements was their complicated system of measuring time. They devised a Calender of 365 days which we now use today. The particular type of pyramids design the Mayans used is known as step pyramids. They were crafted from local limestone and usually painted red. The colour red played an important role in their religious beliefs. They believed that to favour and sustain the gods they had to give offerings and sacrifices. In particular blood was an essential key component in these religious ceremonies. Mayan’s would sacrifice their own blood willingly by piercing their skin with thorns. The significance of the pyramid structure in their culture and society paralleled with two key components. The first is the social ladder. The Mayan king or leader was at the top and was often buried in the pyramids. Priests and warriors also often owned and lived in smaller pyramids. They were used as a tool of status. The other was the religious values this was because of the how it was largely incorporated into their culture. This is reflected by the colour, shape of the pyramid, the significance the king and high priest played in their culture and society.
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