Pyramids and Ziggurats

Topics: Ancient Egypt, Pyramid, Egypt Pages: 3 (884 words) Published: July 15, 2005
There are many similarities (and differences) between Ancient Egyptian Pyramids, Mesopotamian ziggurats, and the pyramids of Pre-Columbian South America. All of them had major significance for their peoples cultures and religious beliefs, as well as having historic significance today. The greatest parallel between all of these ancient skyscrapers is that they were made for the upper echelons of these now defunct civilizations.

The Egyptians built the most of these cultures. Over 90 royal pyramids were produced between roughly 2500 BC – 1500 BC. A daunting task considering that most of these pyramids were built nowhere near the supplies needed to make them. Giant stones were used, over a million for each pyramid and most stones weighed about 2 tons. The pyramids were basically gigantic tombs for kings and queens. They were seen as gateways between earth and the afterlife. The Egyptians believed that the dead royalties' spirit could leave the body and travel through the sky with the sun each day. When the sun set in the west, the royal spirits settled into their pyramid tombs to renew themselves. The mummified body would be placed in these tombs surrounded by important earthly possessions and hieroglyphs telling their stories. Surrounding the pyramids were mortuary temples where mummification took place and where priest preformed rituals. The pyramids' form evolved over the years when they were built, from a step design to the now synonymous sleek triangle. The largest and most famous pyramid is that of King Khufu, in Giza, which is one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, and the only one left.

Paralleling the pyramids in Egypt were the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia (meaning between two rivers, the Tigress and Euphrates) began making these structures around roughly 2000 BC. They were made of bricks that they produced on the building's work site. There were sun-dried bricks to make up the solid inside of the ziggurat, and there...

Bibliography: MSN Encarta Online Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia Britannica Online
Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia
Ancient Egypt Magazine Online, Online Magazine
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