Pyramids - The First Wonder
Parker, Derek & Julia – Atlas nadprirodzených javov (Atlas of the Supernatural)
Gööck, Roland – Posledné záhady sveta (Die letzten Rätsel dieser Welt)
Zamarovský, Vojtech – Za siedmimy divmi sveta
Skutočnosť či fantázia? (Divy a záhady sveta)
Every beginning has an end, every problem has a solution but not every question has an answer. We are trying to understand the world, we are getting new information, we are posing questions and we are looking for answers. There are days when we have that kind of feeling that we understand everything, everything is clear, but also there are days when we are absolutely confused because we realize that we are only a small part of an unbelievably great complex – a part, which will never find the answers to all the things which it is interested in. The world is full of strange and inexplicable phenomena, which we ignore or we do not think about them in everyday life. However, there are still people who are not willing to get things as they are and who are searching for the meanings of these things by which they are fascinated. Although somewhere deep in their soul, they can sense that they will never find the answers. However, what if...?
THE OLDEST MYSTERY
“The most exciting architectonic idea, which cannot be exceeded.” (Goethe)
“The loftiness of the Pharaohs, which cost an unimaginable amount of money.” (Plinius)
“Everything in the world is afraid of time, but time is afraid of the pyramids.”
There are about seventy pyramids in different countries of the world. In the past, the number of them was bigger but some were destroyed by the ravages of time or buried in the sand. The oldest form of the pyramids is the so-called “gradual pyramid”, which is situated by Sakkara. Its basis is of an oblong shape (126 x 117 metres) and it is about 60 metres high. Its age?
Archeologists estimate it at about 4600 or 4800 years. But it is “The Great Pyramid” which is thought of as the first wonder of the world. It is about one hundred years younger than the gradual pyramid but it exceeds all pyramids in every way. Every side of its quadrangle basis is 234 metres long, its capacity is about 2 600 000 m3. It is even bigger than St. Paul’s Cathedral or Notre – Dame. It is built from about 2 300 000 blocks, each weighs on average 2,5 tons. As Napoleon calculated, there are so many blocks that a 30-cm wide wall could be build of it around the whole of France.
Everyone can certainly say that these numbers are unbelievable, probably no one can even imagine how a culture existing a couple of millennia before Christ was able to create such monuments. However, the answer to it all was always in front of the eyes of the next civilizations, in the form of Egyptian written texts. But there was a big problem to be solved. In the history of the world, nobody was able to decode the meaning of the mystical “symbols”, Egyptian writing (hieroglyphs) .. until the 19th century.
GETTING CLOSER .. BUT STAYING STILL TOO FAR
Nobody knew if the single signs of the Egyptian writing denoted letters, syllables, words or whole sentences; if these inscriptions are read from right to left or from left to right, from up to down or from down to up; and, of course, nobody knew the language in which the texts were written down. It was an Egyptian language but it has no connection with the language spoken in present day Egypt. Scientists did not know what vocabulary, morphology or grammatical rules it had. So it should not be very surprising that it took so long to decode this language, not used for thousands of years.
Jean François Champollion was born in 1790 on Christmas day in Figeacu, a French town. He was a genius child:
p 5 years old - he was able to write and read (he learnt it without the help of adults) when he was comparing learnt prayers with the texts in his mother’s prayer book;
p 9 years old - he spoke Greek and Latin (he learnt it from his father’s books);
p 11 years old – he read the Bible in Hebrew;
p 13 years old – he studied Arabic and Syriac :
p 15 years old – he studied Persian and dead languages of the East; and Chinese in his free time;
p 17 years old – he became a member in the Academy of Sciences in Grenoble;
He was very interested in Egypt. He studied its history, culture and language for about two decades and this helped him to decode the Egyptian language. The basis of his laborious work was a flat black stone, as big as a desk, found in 1799 near the Nile, on which there was an inscription in three different languages: in Egyptian hieroglyphs, in unknown writing and in Greek. He compared these inscriptions and he was able to define several hieroglyphs, by comparison with papyrus rolls he was then able to create a hieroglyphic alphabet and slowly and patiently find the meanings of every “hieroglyphic picture”. This was a very short description of his work but it is important to know that one man helped other scientists and put the basis of their explorations related to Egypt.
However, can the decoding of the Egyptian hieroglyphs answer all the questions related to the mysterious pyramids? Let us see...
ALL WE HAVE ARE ONLY THEORIES
The Egyptians believed in the afterlife and that death does not denote destruction of the human being but a "road" to another world. But two conditions had to be completed: 1) the body had to stay whole, and 2) the spirit had to have things important for the next life, mostly food, drinks, weapons, treasures and so on. To complete the first condition, it was necessary to mummify the body, which was a lengthy procedure. After that, the body was buried. The wealthier an Egyptian was, the wealthier tomb he had. Egyptian Pharaohs - god descendants - had the richest tombs (called mastabas), which later changed into the well-known pyramids. Until now, these were all simple facts, but a part that is more difficult takes place now. The question is: How and why were the pyramids built? There are as many theories of their purpose and of the way in which they were built, as there are stars in the sky. The first theory about its purpose (and probably the most disseminated) is the one mentioned above. This theory also says that the "underground" of the pyramid was built as the first part of the construction with the funeral chamber in its centre, which was carved into the rock and where the Pharaoh was buried after his death. Under it, other chambers were built where "important" things for the Pharaoh were put. After this, the building of the pyramid started. Probably 100,000 slaves and workers were building "The Great Pyramid" for about 5 billions working hours. The blocks were carved out of the stone quarry, and then transported from a distance of 10 - 15 kilometres by the hands of workers and put one on the other by simple machines.
p One theory says that a space visitor from another planet built „The Great Pyramid“. Sitchin, the most famous advocate of the “alien” theory, claims that the pyramids were built by inhabitants of the 12th planet of our solar system, which completes its orbit around the Sun only once every 3600 years and that these aliens, ‘Annunakis”, created mankind through genetic manipulation.
p Another “alien” theory says that the builders were part of an “Early human civilization” that ended about 6000 years ago. The Pyramids and the Sphinx are their only monuments that survived.
p Another theory says that pyramids were built as a universal system of measurement, as astronomical observatories, by the hands of the Egyptians.
WAITING FOR THE ANSWERS
This was a short survey on the history of the pyramids and of the circumstances, which led to understand the meanings of these great monuments.
Although there are still questions that were not answered (probably never will be) the fact is that whoever built the pyramids had to be very skilled because even today, it would be very difficult to build such structures by using our modern technology. If the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids, we will probably never find out how they built them. If they were built by extraterrestrial civilizations, we have to wait until they come and explain to us their method of building.
(Checked by native speaker).