Egyptian Mythology

Egyptian Religion and Mythology

What were the pyramids?

Pyramids were elaborate tombs for powerful kings. One scholar referred to them as “resurrection machines”—places grand enough to assure the resurrection of kings into the other world. The shape of the pyramids has to do with a common belief that the earth emerged originally from a primeval mound. The pyramids were, in a sense, then, models of the cosmos. With a point reaching up to the sun, they recall the great sun god, and their gradually expanding sides represented the rays of the life-sustaining sun on earth.

The first pyramid, the step pyramid at Saqqara, was built in about 2750 B.C.E. by King Djoser. More pyramids were built somewhat later during the reigns of Sneferu and Khafra. The great pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), built in about 2650 B.C.E.–one of the wonders of the ancient world—stands out above all the others.


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