Sunday, May 28, 2006

Experiencing the Great Pyramid
A feature on the Financial Times website about the Great Pyramid of Giza: "Life and death were addressed explicitly in the art of the pharaohs. The granite slab was the final resting place of Pharaoh Khufu, or Cheops, who reigned for about 23 years in the 26th century BC. He, like many non-Greeks, got a bad press from Herodotus, who charged him with prostituting his daughter to finance the building of his pyramid.
The truth, we think, is less dramatic. The Great Pyramid was built by free citizens, performing a kind of community service for the Pharaoh during the summer, when the Nile flooded. We don’t quite know how they managed to build it, but we marvel today at the drive and ingenuity required to complete the project, and at its sheer ambition. Scholars who accompanied Napoleon calculated, in typically French fashion, that the material used in the three pyramids of Giza would have served to surround the whole of France with a 3m-high wall: a heady mix of wonderment and paranoia."

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