Pyramid


Pyramid
    The earliest form was the Step Pyramid, and the first example was built by *Imhotep for King *Djoser, at the beginning of the Third Dynasty. The true pyramid form reached its zenith with *Cheops' monument at Giza, which dates to the Fourth Dynasty. With the decline of the kingship towards the end of the Old Kingdom, the pyramid was discontinued, although it was revived in the Middle Kingdom. The rulers of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty reintroduced it in its final form, in their southern kingdom. Essentially, the pyramid was a royal burial-place; it was probably also regarded as a place of ascension to permit the king to join his father Re (the sun-god) in the sky. It formed part of a complex that also included a Valley Temple, Causeway and Mortuary Temple.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
   Greek name for the four-sided, triangular-shaped monument that marked the burial of kings from the Old Kingdom to the Middle Kingdom. Rulers from Dynasty 1 and Dynasty 2 were buried in mudbrick mastaba tombs, but during Dynasty 3 a new architectural form in stone was evolved ascribed according to legend to the vizier Imhotep for his master, Djoser. The stone step pyramid at Saqqara consisted of a series of six mastabas placed on top of each other covering the burial chamber beneath. The tomb complex also included a mortuary temple and other ritual buildings. This type of complex was used during the course of the dynasty, but at the beginning of Dynasty 4, the true pyramid with its pyramidion capstone was created for Snefru at Meidum and later Dahshur. The pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure at Giza represent the high point of pyramid construction. Each of these pyramids had a mortuary temple associated with it, as well as a valley templereached by water and connected to the main pyramid by a dry causeway. The tombs of the queens in small pyramids and favored courtiers in mastabas surrounded the king’s tomb. Later pyramids were built on a less lavish scale with rubble cores and only one course of stone masonry on the outside, but they were highly decorated with reliefs in the temples and causeway walls and pyramid texts inscribed inside the burial chamber. Pyramid construction continued into the Middle Kingdom, although the pyramids of Dynasty 12 in the Fayum area often had a mudbrick core. At the beginning of Dynasty 18, pyramids were abandoned by rulers in favor of secluded tombs in the Valley of the Kings, but the royal mortuary temples remained, now located near the Nile, and some are of considerable size. Small mudbrick pyramids with a stone pyramidion were used to mark burials of private individuals. The use of small pyramids for royal burials with associated chapels was revived by Dynasty 25 at cemeteries near Napata and Meroe.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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