Pyramids of Giza


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Aim: The purpose of the pyramids was to help a Pharaoh reach the next life in all the wealth he had in this life. The Great Pyramid of Giza took twenty years to build, employing hundreds of thousands of workers, and that just goes to show how much the wealth and status of a Pharaoh can do. It was also the product of the Pharaoh's imagination to create a monument unlike any before. Sneferu, the father of the Pharaoh, Khufu, who built the Giza pyramids, built the first ones before him, and the tradition was taken up by his son. Carl Hoffman, a traveler with a blog on National Geographic, said of the location "To visit the Pyramids is to be struck dumb by their monumentality, their celebration of the fundamental human need to create."(Hoffman) This would go on for years more, with Khufu's son Khafre, building another pyramid next to his father's, as well as the Sphinx. Menkaura, the son of Khafre, also built a pyramid. Whether it was a competition between generations or just a human need to create and build vast monuments to themselves or the gods, it is seen here. Even after thousands of years have passed, their message is the same as it was when the last block was laid on Khufu's pyramid; that the power and wealth of a god on Earth was unlimited.

Audience: The Pyramids amaze many, if not most, of those who look upon them. However, they were made only to impress one person, and that was the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh, as well as those he wanted to impress, such as his successors, worked hard on this pyramid, as well as the many that would follow. The Pharaohs were also concerned about the after life, and the direction of the pyramid was also important. National Geographic says "On the Giza Plateau, Khufu's builders oriented his pyramid almost perfectly north."(National Geographic) He did this in order to please the gods, especially so that the sun would rise and set in exact unison with the sides of his pyramids. Ra, the god that the sun was personified in, was an inspiration for this. Khufu and his many descendants would all look to the pyramids for inspiration in many years to come.

Historical: The Great Pyramid of Giza started its construction around 2500 BC, and took 20 years for the project to be completed. The work force, consisting of 100,000 people, mostly farmers, created an engineering marvel that would be the tallest standing structure in the world for many thousands of years to come. National Geographic says of this that "It is estimated that the workers would have had to set a block every two and a half minutes"(National Geographic). The inspiration for the pyramid came from Khufu's father, and the tradition would continue on for a few hundred years. Inside are 3 burial chambers, one with the pharaoh's body, and 2 more for treasures he would use in his afterlife. Of course, this was all that the wealth of a pharaoh could do in the days of the kingdom of Egypt. Later on, his descendants would continue to do similar projects. His grandson would build a pyramid nearby, as well as the Sphinx, both major projects but possible because of the Pharaoh's status.

Cultural: The thought of the Pyramid in modern thought automatically correlates to the nation of Egypt. However, there is more to it than that. To various people, including future generations of Egyptians, it would be a significant area for them. Will Charpentier, a travel writer, says "In a similar manner, in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, the Pyramids at Giza acquired cultural significance during the Middle Kingdom, as artifacts of the “golden age.”" (Charpentier)Even future Egyptians drew inspiration from their past as their golden age. They also were an inspiration for many countries, including the US. Just as the US was in the stock market crash of the first half of the 20th century, the US set about to make public works on a massive scale. The pyramids were not much different. Both were huge projects which required out of work men and women, engineers and surveyors, laborers, artisans and masons all working together for a significant project.

Hoffman, Carl. "Pyramids at Giza". Nationalgeographic.com. February 2011. Web 31 April 2015
"National Geographic: Egypt--Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza." National Geographic: Egypt--Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.
"Pyramids of Giza". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 02 Apr. 2015
Charpentier, Will. "The Cultural Significance of an Egyptian pyramid". traveltips.usatoday.com. Web 31 April 2015