The Pyramids of Egypt

By I. E. S. Edwards; John Cruikshank Rose | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE GIZA GROUP

SENEFERU'S son and successor to the throne was Khufu, better known as Cheops, the Greek form of his name (Plate 7). Inspired possibly by the magnitude of his father's constructions at Meidum and Dahshur, he chose a plateau, situated on the edge of the desert about five miles west of Giza, and erected at its north-west corner a Pyramid of even vaster dimensions. Two later kings of the IVth Dynasty, Chephren and Mycerinus, followed his example by building their Pyramids on the same plateau, a short distance to the south. Together, these three Pyramids constitute possibly the most celebrated group of monuments in the world (Plate 1).

The Pyramid of Cheops, or the Great Pyramid, marks the apogee of Pyramid-building in respect of both size and quality. Estimated in terms of cubic content, the stone assembled in the two Pyramids of Seneferu was probably almost equal to that of the Great Pyramid, but individually they fell far short of its bulk. No exact computation of the amount of hewn stone contained in the Great Pyramid is possible, because the centre of its core consists of a nucleus of rock, the size of which cannot be precisely determined. It has, however, been estimated that, when complete, the core of local stone and the outer facing of Tura limestone were composed of about 2,300,000 separate blocks, each averaging some two and a half tons in weight and reaching a maximum of fifteen tons.

Many attempts have been made by writers on the Great Pyramid to illustrate its size by comparison with other famous buildings. It has, for instance, been calculated that the Houses of Parliament and St. Paul's Cathedral could be grouped

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The Pyramids of Egypt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Plates 11
  • Drawings 13
  • Introduction 15
  • Chapter I - Mastabas 35
  • Chapter II - The Step Pyramid 45
  • Chapter III - The Transition to the True Pyramid 67
  • Chapter IV - The Giza Group 85
  • Chapter V - Pyramids of the Vth and Vith Dynasties 133
  • Chapter VI - Later Pyramids 170
  • Chapter VII - Construction and Purpose 206
  • Major Pyramids of the Old and Middle Kingdoms 243
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 253
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