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The Colossus of Rhodes (Ancient Greek: ὁ Κολοσσὸς Ῥόδιος, romanized: ho Kolossòs Rhódios Greek: Κολοσσός της Ρόδου, romanized: Kolossós tes Rhódou)[a] was a statue of the Greek sun-god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name, by Chares of Lindos in 280 BC. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was constructed to celebrate the successful defence of Rhodes city against an attack by Demetrius Poliorcetes, who had besieged it for a year with a large army and navy. According to most contemporary descriptions, the Colossus stood approximately 70 cubits, or 33 metres (108 feet) high – approximately the height of the modern Statue of Liberty from feet to crown – making it the tallest statue in the ancient world.[2] It collapsed during the earthquake of 226 BC, although parts of it were preserved. In accordance with a certain oracle, the Rhodians did not build it again.[3] John Malalas wrote that Hadrian in his reign re-erected the Colossus,[4] but he was mistaken.[5] According to the Suda, the Rhodians were called Colossaeans (Κολοσσαεῖς), because they erected the statue on the island.
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[6] In 653, an Arab force under Muslim general Muawiyah I conquered Rhodes, and according to the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor,[7] the statue was completely destroyed and the remains sold;[8] this account may be unreliable.[9] Since 2008, a series of as-yet-unrealized proposals to build a new Colossus at Rhodes Harbour have been announced, although the actual location of the original monument remains in dispute.[10][11] Siege of Rhodes[edit] Main article: Siege of Rhodes (305–304 BC) In the early fourth century BC, Rhodes, allied with Ptolemy I of Egypt, prevented a mass invasion staged by their common enemy, Antigonus I Monophthalmus. In 304 BC a relief force of ships sent by Ptolemy arrived, and Demetrius (son of Antigonus) and his army abandoned the siege, leaving behind most of their siege equipment. To celebrate their victory, the Rhodians sold the equipment left behind for 300 talents[12] and decided to use the money to build a colossal statue of their patron god, Helios. Construction was left to the direction of Chares, a native of Lindos in Rhodes, who had been involved with large-scale statues before. His teacher, the sculptor Lysippos, had constructed a 22-metre-high (72-foot)[13] bronze statue of Zeus at Tarentum.
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Construction[edit] Timeline and map of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, including the Colossus of Rhodes Construction began in 292 BC. Ancient accounts, which differ to some degree, describe the structure as being built with iron tie bars to which brass plates were fixed to form the skin. The interior of the structure, which stood on a 15-metre-high (49-foot) white marble pedestal near the Rhodes harbour entrance, was then filled with stone blocks as construction progressed.[14] Other sources place the Colossus on a breakwater in the harbour. According to most contemporary descriptions, the statue itself was about 70 cubits, or 32 metres (105 feet) tall.[15] Much of the iron and bronze was reforged from the various weapons Demetrius's army left behind, and the abandoned second siege tower may have been used for scaffolding around the lower levels during construction.
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Philo of Byzantium wrote in De septem mundi miraculis that Chares created the sculpture in situ by casting it in horizontal courses and then placing "...a huge mound of earth around each section as soon as it was completed, thus burying the finished work under the accumulated earth, and carrying out the casting of the next part on the level."[16] Modern engineers have put forward a plausible hypothesis for the statue's construction, based on the technology of the time (which was not based on the modern principles of earthquake engineering), and the accounts of Philo and Pliny, who saw and described the ruins.[17] The base pedestal was said to be at least 18 metres (59 feet) in diameter, and either circular or octagonal. The feet were carved in stone and covered with thin bronze plates riveted together. Eight forged iron bars set in a radiating horizontal position formed the ankles and turned up to follow the lines of the legs while becoming progressively smaller. Individually cast curved bronze plates 1.5 metres (60 in) square with turned-in edges were joined together by rivets through holes formed during casting to form a series of rings.
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The lower plates were 25 millimetres (1 in) in thickness to the knee and .mw-parser-output .frac{white-space:nowrap}.mw-parser-output .frac .num,.mw-parser-output .frac .den{font-size:80%;line-height:0;vertical-align:super}.mw-parser-output .frac .den{vertical-align:sub}.mw-parser-output .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px}20 millimetres (3⁄4 in) thick from knee to abdomen, while the upper plates were 6.5 to 12.5 millimetres (1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in) thick except where additional strength was required at joints such as the shoulder, neck, etc.[citation needed] Archaeologist Ursula Vedder has proposed that the sculpture was cast in large sections following traditional Greek methods and that Philo's account is "not compatible with the situation proved by archaeology in ancient Greece."[16] The Standing Colossus (280–226 BC)[edit] After twelve years, in 280 BC, the statue was completed. Preserved in Greek anthologies of poetry is what is believed to be the genuine dedication text for the Colossus.[18] .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0} Αὐτῷ σοὶ πρὸς Ὄλυμπον ἐμακύναντο κολοσσὸν τόνδε Ῥόδου ναέται Δωρίδος, Ἀέλιε, χάλκεον ἁνίκα κῦμα κατευνάσαντες Ἐνυοῦς ἔστεψαν πάτραν δυσμενέων ἐνάροις. οὐ γὰρ ὑπὲρ πελάγους μόνον κάτθεσαν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν γᾷ, ἁβρὸν ἀδουλώτου φέγγος ἐλευθερίας· τοῖς γὰρ ἀφ' Ἡρακλῆος ἀεξηθεῖσι γενέθλας πάτριος ἐν πόντῳ κἠν χθονὶ κοιρανία.
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To you, O Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus, when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom and independence. For to the descendants of Herakles belongs dominion over sea and land. Collapse (226 BC)[edit] Artist's conception from the Grolier Society's 1911 Book of Knowledge Further information: 226 BC Rhodes earthquake The statue stood for 54 years until a 226 BC earthquake caused significant damage to large portions of Rhodes, including the harbour and commercial buildings, which were destroyed.[19] The statue snapped at the knees and fell over onto land. Ptolemy III offered to pay for the reconstruction of the statue, but the Oracle of Delphi made the Rhodians fear that they had offended Helios, and they declined to rebuild it.[citation needed] Fallen state (226 BC to 653 AD)[edit] The remains lay on the ground for over 800 years, and even broken, they were so impressive that many travelled to see them.
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The remains were described briefly by Strabo (64 or 63 BC – c. 24 AD), in his work Geography (Book XIV, Chapter 2.5). Strabo was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Strabo is best known for his work Geographica ("Geography"), which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known during his lifetime.[20] Strabo states that: The city of the Rhodians lies on the eastern promontory of Rhodes; and it is so far superior to all others in harbours and roads and walls and improvements in general that I am unable to speak of any other city as equal to it, or even as almost equal to it, much less superior to it.
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It is remarkable also for its good order, and for its careful attention to the administration of affairs of state in general; and in particular to that of naval affairs, whereby it held the mastery of the sea for a long time and overthrew the business of piracy, and became a friend to the Romans and to all kings who favoured both the Romans and the Greeks. Consequently, it not only has remained autonomous but also has been adorned with many votive offerings, which for the most part are to be found in the Dionysium and the gymnasium, but partly in other places. The best of these are, first, the Colossus of Helius, of which the author of the iambic verse says, "seven times ten cubits in height, the work of Chares the Lindian"; but it now lies on the ground, having been thrown down by an earthquake and broken at the knees. In accordance with a certain oracle, the people did not raise it again. This, then, is the most excellent of the votive offerings (at any rate, it is by common agreement one of the Seven Wonders).
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[21] Pliny the Elder (AD 23/24 – 79) was a Roman author, a naturalist and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and a friend of emperor Vespasian. Pliny wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia (Natural History), which became an editorial model for encyclopedias. The Naturalis Historia is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge. Pliny remarked: But that which is by far the most worthy of our admiration, is the colossal statue of the Sun, which stood formerly at Rhodes, and was the work of Chares the Lindian, a pupil of the above-named Lysippus; no less than seventy cubits in height. This statue fifty-six years after it was erected, was thrown down by an earthquake; but even as it lies, it excites our wonder and admiration. Few men can clasp the thumb in their arms, and its fingers are larger than most statues. Where the limbs are broken asunder, vast caverns are seen yawning in the interior.
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Within it, too, are to be seen large masses of rock, by the weight of which the artist steadied it while erecting it.[22][23] Destruction of the remains[edit] The ultimate fate of the remains of the statue is uncertain. Rhodes has two serious earthquakes per century, owing to its location on the seismically unstable Hellenic Arc. Pausanias tells us, writing ca. 174, how the city was so devastated by an earthquake that the Sibyl oracle foretelling its destruction was considered fulfilled.[24] This means the statue could not have survived for long if it was ever repaired. By the 4th century Rhodes was Christianized, meaning any further maintenance or rebuilding, if there ever was any before, on an ancient pagan statue is unlikely. The metal would have likely been used for coins and maybe also tools by the time of the Arab wars, especially during earlier conflicts such as the Sassanian wars.[9] The onset of Islamic naval incursions against the Byzantine empire gave rise to a dramatic account of what became of the Colossus.
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In 653, an Arab force under Muslim general Muawiyah I raided Rhodes, and according to the Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor,[7] the remains of the statue constituted part of the booty, being melted down and sold to a Jewish merchant of Edessa who loaded the bronze onto 900 camels.[8] The same story is recorded by Bar Hebraeus, writing in Syriac in the 13th century in Edessa[25] (after the Arab pillage of Rhodes): "And a great number of men hauled on strong ropes which were tied around the brass Colossus which was in the city and pulled it down. And they weighed from it three thousand loads of Corinthian brass, and they sold it to a certain Jew from Emesa" (the Syrian city of Homs).[26] Ultimately, Theophanes is the sole source of this account, and all other sources can be traced to him.[27] As Theophanes' source was Syriac, it may have had vague information about a raid and attributed the statue's demise to it, not knowing much more. Or the Arab destruction and the purported sale to a Jew may have originated as a powerful metaphor for Nebuchadnezzar II's dream of the destruction of a great statue.
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[28] Given the likely previous neglect of the remains and various opportunities for authorities to have repurposed the metal, as well as the fact that, Islamic incursions notwithstanding, the island remained an important Byzantine strategic point well into the ninth century, an Arabic raid is unlikely to have found much, if any, remaining metal to carry away. For these reasons, as well as the negative perception of the Arab conquests, L. I. Conrad considers Theophanes' story of the dismantling of the statue as likely propaganda, like the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.[9] Posture[edit] The Colossus as imagined in a 16th-century engraving by Martin Heemskerck, part of his series of the Seven Wonders of the World The harbour-straddling Colossus was a figment of medieval imaginations based on the dedication text's mention of "over land and sea" twice and the writings of an Italian visitor who in 1395 noted that local tradition held that the right foot had stood where the church of St John of the Colossus was then located.[29] Many later illustrations show the statue with one foot on either side of the harbour mouth with ships passing under it.
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References to this conception are also found in literary works. William Shakespeare's Cassius in Julius Caesar (I, ii, 136–38) says of Caesar: Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, and we petty men Walk under his huge legs and peep about To find ourselves dishonourable graves Shakespeare alludes to the Colossus also in Troilus and Cressida (V.5) and in Henry IV, Part 1 (V.1). "The New Colossus" (1883), a sonnet by Emma Lazarus written on a cast bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903, contrasts the latter with: The brazen giant of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land While these fanciful images feed the misconception, the mechanics of the situation reveal that the Colossus could not have straddled the harbour as described in Lemprière's Classical Dictionary. If the completed statue had straddled the harbour, the entire mouth of the harbour would have been effectively closed during the entirety of the construction, and the ancient Rhodians did not have the means to dredge and re-open the harbour after construction.
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Also, the fallen statue would have blocked the harbour, and since the ancient Rhodians did not have the ability to remove the fallen statue from the harbour, it would not have remained visible on land for the next 800 years, as discussed above. Even neglecting these objections, the statue was made of bronze, and engineering analyses indicate that it could not have been built with its legs apart without collapsing under its own weight.[29] Many researchers have considered alternative positions for the statue which would have made it more feasible for actual construction by the ancients.[29][30] There is also no evidence that the statue held a torch aloft; the records simply say that after completion, the Rhodians kindled the "torch of freedom". A relief in a nearby temple shows Helios standing with one hand shielding his eyes, similar to the way a person shields their eyes when looking toward the sun, and it is quite possible that the colossus was constructed in the same pose.
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Silver tetradrachm of Rhodes showing Helios and a rose (205–190 BC, 13.48 g) While scholars do not know what the statue looked like, they do have a good idea of what the head and face looked like, as it was of a standard rendering at the time. The head would have had curly hair with evenly spaced spikes of bronze or silver flame radiating, similar to the images found on contemporary Rhodian coins.[29] Possible locations[edit] The old harbour entrance from inner embankment. The Fortress of St Nicholas is on right While scholars generally agree that anecdotal depictions of the Colossus straddling the harbour's entry point have no historic or scientific basis,[29] the monument's actual location remains a matter of debate. As mentioned above the statue is thought locally to have stood where two pillars now stand at the Mandraki port entrance. The floor of the Fortress of St Nicholas, near the harbour entrance, contains a circle of sandstone blocks of unknown origin or purpose.
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Curved blocks of marble that were incorporated into the Fortress structure, but are considered too intricately cut to have been quarried for that purpose, have been posited as the remnants of a marble base for the Colossus, which would have stood on the sandstone block foundation.[29] Stone foundation and partially-reconstructed temple ruins at the apex of the Acropolis of Rhodes Archaeologist Ursula Vedder postulates that the Colossus was not located in the harbour area at all, but rather was part of the Acropolis of Rhodes, which stood on a hill that overlooks the port area. The ruins of a large temple, traditionally thought to have been dedicated to Apollo, are situated at the highest point of the hill. Vedder believes that the structure would actually have been a Helios sanctuary, and a portion of its enormous stone foundation could have served as the supporting platform for the Colossus.[31] Modern Colossus projects[edit] In 2008, The Guardian reported that a modern Colossus was to be built at the harbour entrance by the German artist Gert Hof leading a Cologne-based team. It was to be a giant light sculpture made partially out of melted-down weapons from around the world.
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It would cost up to €200 million.[32] In December 2015, a group of European architects announced plans to build a modern Colossus bestriding two piers at the harbour entrance, despite a preponderance of evidence and scholarly opinion that the original monument could not have stood there.[10][11] The new statue, 150 metres (490 ft) tall (five times the height of the original), would cost an estimated US$283 million, funded by private donations and crowdsourcing.[11] The statue would include a cultural centre, a library, an exhibition hall, and a lighthouse, all powered by solar panels.[11] As of October 2018[update], no such plans have been carried out and the website for the project is offline.[33]
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The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a giant seated figure, about 12.4 m (41 ft) tall,[1] made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus there. Zeus is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. The statue was a chryselephantine sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels on a wooden framework. Zeus sat on a painted cedarwood throne ornamented with ebony, ivory, gold, and precious stones. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The statue was lost and destroyed before the end of the 5th century AD, with conflicting accounts of the date and circumstances. Details of its form are known only from ancient Greek descriptions and representations on coins. Coin from Elis district in southern Greece illustrating the Olympian Zeus statue (Nordisk familjebok) History[edit] The statue of Zeus was commissioned by the Eleans, custodians of the Olympic Games, in the latter half of the fifth century BC for their newly constructed Temple of Zeus.
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Seeking to outdo their Athenian rivals, the Eleans employed sculptor Phidias, who had previously made the massive statue of Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon.[2] The statue occupied half the width of the aisle of the temple built to house it. The geographer Strabo noted early in the 1st century BC that the statue gave "the impression that if Zeus arose and stood erect he would unroof the temple."[3] The Zeus was a chryselephantine sculpture, made with ivory and gold panels on a wooden substructure. No copy in marble or bronze has survived, though there are recognizable but only approximate versions on coins of nearby Elis and on Roman coins and engraved gems.[4] The 2nd-century AD geographer and traveler Pausanias left a detailed description: the statue was crowned with a sculpted wreath of olive sprays and wore a gilded robe made from glass and carved with animals and lilies. Its right hand held a small chryselephantine statue of crowned Nike, goddess of victory; its left a scepter inlaid with many metals, supporting an eagle. The throne featured painted figures and wrought images and was decorated with gold, precious stones, ebony, and ivory.
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[5] Zeus' golden sandals rested upon a footstool decorated with an Amazonomachy in relief. The passage underneath the throne was restricted by painted screens.[6] Pausanias also recounts that the statue was kept constantly coated with olive oil to counter the harmful effect on the ivory caused by the "marshiness" of the Altis grove. The floor in front of the image was paved with black tiles and surrounded by a raised rim of marble to contain the oil.[7] This reservoir acted as a reflecting pool which doubled the apparent height of the statue.[8] According to the Roman historian Livy, the Roman general Aemilius Paullus (the victor over Macedon) saw the statue and "was moved to his soul, as if he had seen the god in person",[9] while the 1st-century AD Greek orator Dio Chrysostom declared that a single glimpse of the statue would make a man forget all his earthly troubles.
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[10] Statue of Jupiter (Hermitage), marble and bronze (restored), following the type established by Phidias (Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg) According to a legend, when Phidias was asked what inspired him—whether he climbed Mount Olympus to see Zeus, or whether Zeus came down from Olympus so that Phidias could see him—the artist answered that he portrayed Zeus according to Book One, verses 528–530 of Homer's Iliad: [11] .mw-parser-output .verse_translation .translated{padding-left:2em!important}@media only screen and (max-width:43.75em){.mw-parser-output .verse_translation.wrap_when_small td{display:block;padding-left:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .verse_translation.wrap_when_small .translated{padding-left:0.5em!important}} ἦ καὶ κυανέῃσιν ἐπ' ὀφρύσι νεῦσε Κρονίων ἀμβρόσιαι δ' ἄρα χαῖται ἐπερρώσαντο ἄνακτος κρατὸς ἀπ' ἀθανάτοιο μέγαν δ' ἐλέλιξεν Ὄλυμπον. He spoke, the son of Cronos, and nodded his head with the dark brows, and the immortally anointed hair of the great god swept from his divine head, and all Olympos was shaken.[12] The sculptor also was reputed to have immortalised Pantarkes, the winner of the boys' wrestling event at the eighty-sixth Olympiad who was said to have been his "beloved" (eromenos), by carving Pantarkes kalos ("Pantarkes is beautiful") into Zeus's little finger, and by placing a relief of the boy crowning himself at the feet of the statue.
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[13][14] According to Pausanias, "when the image was quite finished Pheidias prayed the god to show by a sign whether the work was to his liking. Immediately, runs the legend, a thunderbolt fell on that part of the floor where down to the present day the bronze jar stood to cover the place."[7] Loss and destruction[edit] According to Roman historian Suetonius, the Roman Emperor Caligula gave orders that "such statues of the gods as were especially famous for their sanctity or their artistic merit, including that of Jupiter at Olympia, should be brought from Greece, in order to remove their heads and put his own in their place."[15] The emperor was assassinated before this could happen, in 41 AD; his death was supposedly foretold by the statue, which "suddenly uttered such a peal of laughter that the scaffolding collapsed and the workmen took to their heels."[16] In 391 AD, the Christian Roman emperor Theodosius I banned participation in pagan cults and closed the temples. The sanctuary at Olympia fell into disuse. The circumstances of the statue's eventual destruction are unknown.
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The 11th-century Byzantine historian Georgios Kedrenos records a tradition that it was carried off to Constantinople, where it was destroyed in the great fire of the Palace of Lausus, in 475 AD. Alternatively, the statue perished along with the temple, which was severely damaged by fire in 425 AD.[17] But earlier loss or damage is implied by Lucian of Samosata in the later 2nd century, who referenced it in Timon: "they have laid hands on your person at Olympia, my lord High-Thunderer, and you had not the energy to wake the dogs or call in the neighbours; surely they might have come to the rescue and caught the fellows before they had finished packing up the loot."[18][19] Photo (2005) of Phidias' workshop at Olympia Phidias' workshop[edit] The approximate date of the statue (the third quarter of the 5th century BC) was confirmed in the rediscovery (1954–1958) of Phidias' workshop, approximately where Pausanias said the statue of Zeus was constructed. Archaeological finds included tools for working gold and ivory, ivory chippings, precious stones and terracotta moulds.
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Most of the latter were used to create glass plaques, and to form the statue's robe from sheets of glass, naturalistically draped and folded, then gilded. A cup inscribed "ΦΕΙΔΙΟΥ ΕΙΜΙ" or "I belong to Phidias" was found at the site.[20] However, the inscription is widely considered to be a forgery. [21]
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The Great Pyramid of Giza[a] is the largest Egyptian pyramid and the tomb of Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khufu. Built in the early 26th century BC during a period of around 27 years,[3] the pyramid is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It is the most famous monument of the Giza pyramid complex, in the Pyramid Fields of the Memphis and its Necropolis UNESCO World Heritage Site,[4] in Giza, Egypt. It is at the most Northern end of the line of the 3 Pyramids of Giza. Initially standing at 146.6 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. Over time, most of the smooth white limestone casing was removed, which lowered the pyramid's height to the present 138.5 metres (454.4 ft). What is seen today is the underlying core structure. The base was measured to be about 230.3 metres (755.6 ft) square, giving a volume of roughly 2.6 million cubic metres (92 million cubic feet), which includes an internal hillock.
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[5] The dimensions of the pyramid were 280 royal cubits (146.7 m; 481.4 ft) high, a base length of 440 cubits (230.6 m; 756.4 ft), with a seked of 5+1/2 palms (a slope of 51°50'40"). The Great Pyramid was built by quarrying an estimated 2.3 million large blocks weighing 6 million tonnes in total. The majority of stones are not uniform in size or shape and are only roughly dressed.[6] The outside layers were bound together by mortar. Primarily local limestone from the Giza Plateau was used. Other blocks were imported by boat on the Nile: White limestone from Tura for the casing, and granite blocks from Aswan, weighing up to 80 tonnes, for the King's Chamber structure.[7] There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest was cut into the bedrock, upon which the pyramid was built, but remained unfinished. The so-called[8] Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber, that contains a granite sarcophagus, are above ground, within the pyramid structure. Khufu's vizier, Hemiunu (also called Hemon), is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid.[9] Many varying scientific and alternative hypotheses attempt to explain the exact construction techniques.
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The funerary complex around the pyramid consisted of two mortuary temples connected by a causeway (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), tombs for the immediate family and court of Khufu, including three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite pyramid" and five buried solar barges (boats). Pyramid of Menkaure (left), Pyramid of Khafre (center), Great Pyramid (right) Attribution to Khufu Clay seal bearing the name of Khufu from the Great Pyramid on display at the Louvre museum Khufu's cartouche found inscribed on a backing stone of the pyramid. Historically the Great Pyramid had been attributed to Khufu based on the words of authors of classical antiquity, first and foremost Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus. However, during the Middle Ages a other people were credited with the construction of the pyramid as well, for example Joseph (Genesis), Nimrod or king Saurid ibn Salhouk.[10] In 1837 four additional Relieving Chambers were found above the King's Chamber after tunneling to them. The chambers, previously inaccessible, were covered in hieroglyphs of red paint. The workers who were building the pyramid had marked the blocks with the names of their gangs, which included the pharaoh's name (e.g.
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: “The gang, The white crown of Khnum-Khufu is powerful”). The names of Khufu were spelled out on the walls over a dozen times. Another of these graffiti was found by Goyon on an exterior block of the 4th layer of the pyramid.[11] The inscriptions are comparable to those found at other sites of Khufu, such as the alabaster quarry at Hatnub[12] or the harbor at Wadi al-Jarf, and are present in pyramids of other pharaohs as well.[13][14] Throughout the 20th century the cemeteries next to the pyramid were excavated. Family members and high officials of Khufu were buried in the East Field south of the causeway, and the West Field. Most notably the wives, children and grandchildren of Khufu, Hemiunu, Ankhaf and (the funerary cache of) Hetepheres I, mother of Khufu. As Hassan puts it: "From the early dynastic times, it was always the custom for the relatives, friends and courtiers to be buried in the vicinity of the king they had served during life. This was quite in accordance with the Egyptian idea of the Hereafter."The cemeteries were actively expanded until the 6th dynasty and used less frequently afterwards.
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The earliest pharaonic name of seal impressions is that of Khufu, the latest of Pepi II. Worker graffiti was written on some of the stones of the tombs as well; for instance, "Mddw" (Horus name of Khufu) on the mastaba of Chufunacht, probably a grandson of Khufu.[15] Some inscriptions in the chapels of the mastabas (like the pyramid, their burial chambers were usually bare of inscriptions) mention Khufu or his pyramid. For instance, an inscription of Mersyankh III states that "Her mother [is the] daughter of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt Khufu."Most often these references are part of a title, for example, Snnw-ka, "Chief of the Settlement and Overseer of the Pyramid City of Akhet-Khufu" or Merib, "Priest of Khufu".[16] Several tomb owners have a king's name as part of their own name (e.g. Chufudjedef, Chufuseneb, Merichufu). The earliest pharaoh alluded to in that manner at Giza is Snefru (Khufu's father).[17][18][19] In 1936 Hassan uncovered a stela of Amenhotep II near the Great Sphinx of Giza which implies the two larger pyramids were still attributed to Khufu and Khafre in the New Kingdom.
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It reads: "He yoked the horses in Memphis, when he was still young, and stopped at the Sanctuary of Hor-em-akhet (the Sphinx). He spent a time there in going round it, looking at the beauty of the Sanctuary of Khufu and Khafra the revered."[20] In 1954 two boat pits, one containing the Khufu ship, were discovered buried at the south foot of the pyramid. The cartouche of Djedefre was found on many of the blocks that covered the boat pits. As the successor and eldest son he would have presumably been responsible for the burial of Khufu.[21] The second boat pit was examined in 1987; excavation work started in 2010. Graffiti on the stones included 4 instances of the name "Khufu", 11 instances of "Djedefre", a year (in reign, season, month and day), measurements of the stone, various signs and marks, and a reference line used in construction, all done in red or black ink.[22] During excavations in 2013 the Diary of Merer was found at Wadi al-Jarf.
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It documents the transportation of white limestone blocks from Tura to the Great Pyramid, which is mentioned by its original name Akhet Khufu (with a pyramid determinative) dozens of times. It details that the stones were accepted at She Akhet-Khufu ("the pool of the pyramid Horizon of Khufu") and Ro-She Khufu (“the entrance to the pool of Khufu”) which were under supervision of Ankhhaf, half brother and vizier of Khufu, as well as owner of the largest mastaba of the Giza East Field.[3] Age Modern estimates of dating the Great Pyramid and Khufu's first regnal year Author (year) Estimated date Greaves (1646)[23] 1266 BC Gardiner (1835)[24] 2123 BC Lepsius (1849)[25] 3124 BC Bunsen (1860)[26] 3209 BC Mariette (1867)[27] 4235 BC Breasted (1906)[28] 2900 BC Hassan (1960)[29] 2700 BC O'Mara (1997)[30] 2700 BC Beckarath (1997)[31] 2554 BC Arnold (1999)[32] 2551 BC Spence (2000)[33] 2480 BC Shaw (2000)[34] 2589 BC Hornung (2006)[35] 2509 BC Ramsey et al.
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(2010)[36] 2613–2577 BC The Great Pyramid has been determined to be about 4600 years old by two principal approaches: indirectly, through its attribution to Khufu and his chronological age, based on archaeological and textual evidence; and directly, via radiocarbon dating of organic material found in the pyramid and included in its mortar. Historical chronology Main article: Egyptian chronology In the past the Great Pyramid was dated by its attribution to Khufu alone, putting the construction of the Great Pyramid within his reign. Hence dating the pyramid was a matter of dating Khufu and the 4th dynasty. The relative sequence and synchronicity of events is the focal point of this method. Absolute calendar dates are derived from an interlocked network of evidence, the backbone of which are the lines of succession known from ancient king lists and other texts. The reign lengths from Khufu to known points in the earlier past are summated, bolstered with genealogical data, astronomical observations, and other sources. As such, the historical chronology of Egypt is primarily a political chronology, thus independent from other types of archaeological evidence like stratigraphies, material culture, or radiocarbon dating.
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The majority of recent chronological estimates date Khufu and his pyramid roughly between 2700 and 2500 BC.[37] Radiocarbon dating Mortar was used generously in the Great Pyramid's construction. In the mixing process ashes from fires were added to the mortar, organic material that could be extracted and radiocarbon dated. A total of 46 samples of the mortar were taken in 1984 and 1995, making sure they were clearly inherent to the original structure and could not have been incorporated at a later date. The results were calibrated to 2871–2604 BC. The old wood problem is thought to be mainly responsible for the 100–300 year offset, since the age of the organic material was determined, not when it was last used. A reanalysis of the data gave a completion date for the pyramid between 2620 and 2484 BC, based on the younger samples.[38][39][40] In 1872 Waynman Dixon opened the lower pair of "Air-Shafts", previously closed at both ends, by chiseling holes into the walls of the Queen's Chamber. One of the objects found within was a cedar plank, which came into possession of James Grant, a friend of Dixon.
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After inheritance it was donated to the Museum of Aberdeen in 1946, however it had broken into pieces and was filed incorrectly. Lost in the vast museum collection, it was only rediscovered in 2020, when it was radiocarbon dated to 3341–3094 BC. Being over 500 years older than Khufu's chronological age, Abeer Eladany suggests that the wood originated from the center of a long-lived tree or had been recycled for many years prior to being deposited in the pyramid.[41] History of dating Khufu and the Great Pyramid Circa 450 BC Herodotus attributed the Great Pyramid to Cheops (Hellenization of Khufu), yet erroneously placed his reign following the Ramesside period. Manetho, around 200 years later, composed an extensive list of Egyptian kings which he divided into dynasties, assigning Khufu to the 4th. However, after phonetic changes in the Egyptian language and consequently the Greek translation, "Cheops" had transformed into "Souphis" (and similar versions).[42] Greaves, in 1646, reported the great difficulty of ascertaining a date for the pyramid's construction based on the lacking and conflicting historic sources.
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Because of the aforementioned differences in spelling, he didn't recognize Khufu on Manetho's king list (as transcribed by Africanus and Eusebius),[43] hence he relied on Herodotus' incorrect account. Summating the duration of lines of succession, Greaves concluded the year 1266 BC to be the beginning of Khufu's reign.[23] Two centuries later, some of the gaps and uncertainties in Manetho's chronology had been cleared by discoveries such as the King Lists of Turin, Abydos, and Karnak. The names of Khufu found within the Great Pyramid's Relieving Chambers in 1837 helped to make clear that Cheops and Souphis are, in fact, one and the same. Thus the Great Pyramid was recognized to have been built in the 4th dynasty.[25] The dating among Egyptologists still varied by multiple centuries (around 4000–2000 BC), depending on methodology, preconceived religious notions (such as the biblical deluge) and which source they thought was more credible. Estimates significantly narrowed in the 20th century, most being within 250 years of each other, around the middle of the third millennium BC. The newly developed radiocarbon dating method confirmed that the historic chronology was approximately correct.
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It is, however, still not a fully appreciated method due to larger margins or error, calibration uncertainties and the problem of inbuilt age (time between growth and final usage) in plant material, including wood.[37] Furthermore, astronomical alignments have been suggested to coincide with the time of construction.[30][33] Egyptian chronology continues to be refined and data from multiple disciplines have started to be factored in, such as luminescence dating, radiocarbon dating, and dendrochronology. For instance, Ramsey et al. included over 200 radiocarbon samples in their model.[36] Historiographical record Classical antiquity Herodotus The Greek historian Herodotus was one of the first major authors to discuss the Great Pyramid. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BC, is one of the first major authors to mention the pyramid. In the second book of his work The Histories, he discusses the history of Egypt and the Great Pyramid. This report was created more than 2000 years after the structure was built, meaning that Herodotus obtained his knowledge mainly from a variety of indirect sources, including officials and priests of low rank, local Egyptians, Greek immigrants, and Herodotus's own interpreters.
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Accordingly, his explanations present themselves as a mixture of comprehensible descriptions, personal descriptions, erroneous reports, and fantastical legends; as a result, many of the speculative errors and confusions about the monument can be traced back to Herodotus and his work.[44][45] Herodotus writes that the Great Pyramid was built by Khufu (Hellenized as Cheops) who, he erroneously relays, ruled after the Ramesside Period (the 19th dynasty and the 20th dynasty).[46] Khufu was a tyrannical king, Herodotus claims, which may explain the Greek's view that such buildings can only come about through cruel exploitation of the people.[44] Herodotus states that gangs of 100,000 labourers worked on the building in three-month shifts, taking 20 years to build. In the first ten years a wide causeway was erected, which, according to Herodotus, was almost as impressive as the construction of the pyramids themselves. It measured nearly 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long and 20 yards (18.3 m) wide, and elevated to a height of 16 yards (14.6 m), consisting of stone polished and carved with figures.[47] Underground chambers were made on the hill whereon the pyramids stand.
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These were intended to be burial places for Khufu himself and were encompassed with water by a channel brought in from the Nile.[47] Herodotus later states that at the Pyramid of Khafre (located beside the Great Pyramid) the Nile flows through a built passage to an island in which Khufu is buried.[48] Hawass interprets this to be a reference to the "Osiris Shaft" which is located at the causeway of Khafre, south of the Great Pyramid.[49][50] Herodotus described an inscription on the outside of the pyramid which, according to his translators, indicated the amount of radishes, garlic and onions that the workers would have eaten while working on the pyramid.[51] This could be a note of restoration work that Khaemweset, son of Rameses II, had carried out. Apparently, Herodotus’ companions and interpreters could not read the hieroglyphs or deliberately gave him false information.[52] Diodorus Siculus Between 60 and 56 BC, the ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus visited Egypt and later dedicated the first book of his Bibliotheca historica to the land, its history, and its monuments, including the Great Pyramid.
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Diodorus's work was inspired by historians of the past, but he also distanced himself from Herodotus, who Diodorus claims tells marvelous tales and myths.[53] Diodorus presumably drew his knowledge from the lost work of Hecataeus of Abdera,[54] and like Herodotus, he also places the builder of the pyramid, "Chemmis,"[55] after Ramses III.[46] According to his report, neither Chemmis (Khufu) nor Cephren (Khafre) were buried in their pyramids, but rather in secret places, for fear that the people ostensibly forced to build the structures would seek out the bodies for revenge.[56] With this assertion, Diodorus strengthened the connection between pyramid building and slavery.[57] According to Diodorus, the cladding of the pyramid was still in excellent condition at the time, whereas the uppermost part of the pyramid was formed by a platform 6 cubits (3.1 m; 10.3 ft) high. About the construction of the pyramid he notes that it was built with the help of ramps since no lifting tools had yet been invented. Nothing was left of the ramps, as they were removed after the pyramids were completed.
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He estimated the number of workers necessary to erect the Great Pyramid at 360,000 and the construction time at 20 years.[55] Similar to Herodotus, Diodorus also claims that the side of the pyramid is inscribed with writing that "[set] forth [the price of] vegetables and purgatives for the workmen there were paid out over sixteen hundred talents."[56] Strabo The Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian Strabo visited Egypt around 25 BC, shortly after Egypt was annexed by the Romans. In his work Geographica, he argues that the pyramids were the burial place of kings, but he does not mention which king was buried in the structure. Strabo also mentions: "At a moderate height in one of the sides is a stone, which may be taken out; when that is removed, there is an oblique passage to the tomb."[58] This statement has generated much speculation, as it suggests that the pyramid could be entered at this time.[59] Pliny the Elder During the Roman Empire, Pliny the Elder argues that "bridges" were used to transport stones to the top of the Great Pyramid.
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The Roman writer Pliny the Elder, writing in the first century AD, argued that the Great Pyramid had been raised, either "to prevent the lower classes from remaining unoccupied", or as a measure to prevent the pharaoh's riches from falling into the hands of his rivals or successors.[60] Pliny does not speculate as to the pharaoh in question, explicitly noting that "accident [has] consigned to oblivion the names of those who erected such stupendous memorials of their vanity".[61] In pondering how the stones could be transported to such a vast height he gives two explanations: That either vast mounds of nitre and salt were heaped up against the pyramid which were then melted away with water redirected from the river. Or, that "bridges" were constructed, their bricks afterwards distributed for erecting houses of private individuals, arguing that the level of the river is too low for canals to ever bring water up to the pyramid. Pliny also recounts how "in the interior of the largest Pyramid there is a well, eighty-six cubits [45.1 m; 147.8 ft] deep, which communicates with the river, it is thought".
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Further, he describes a method discovered by Thales of Miletus for ascertaining the pyramid's height by measuring its shadow.[61] Late antiquity and the Middle Ages Further information: Joseph's Granaries During late antiquity, a misinterpretation of the pyramids as "Joseph's granary" began to gain in popularity. The first textual evidence of this connection is found in the travel narratives of the female Christian pilgrim Egeria, who records that on her visit between 381 and 384 AD, "in the twelve-mile stretch between Memphis and Babylonia [= Old Cairo] are many pyramids, which Joseph made in order to store corn."[62] Ten years later the usage is confirmed in the anonymous travelogue of seven monks that set out from Jerusalem to visit the famous ascetics in Egypt, wherein they report that they "saw Joseph's granaries, where he stored grain in biblical times."[63] This late 4th century usage is further confirmed in the geographical treatise Cosmographia, written by Julius Honorius around 376 AD,[64] which explains that the Pyramids were called the "granaries of Joseph" (horrea Ioseph).[65] This reference from Julius is important, as it indicates that the identification was starting to spread out from pilgrim's travelogues.
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In 530 AD, Stephanos of Byzantium added more to this idea when he wrote in his Ethnica that the word "pyramid" was connected to the Greek word πυρός (puros), meaning wheat.[66] The Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma'mun (786–833 CE) is said to have tunneled into the side of the Great Pyramid. In the seventh century AD, the Rashidun Caliphate conquered Egypt, ending several centuries of Romano-Byzantine rule. A few centuries later, in 820 AD, the Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma'mun (786–833) is said to have tunneled into the side of the structure and discovered the ascending passage and its connecting chambers.[67] Around this time a Coptic legend gained popularity that claimed the antediluvian king Surid Ibn Salhouk had built the Pyramid. One legend in particular relates how, three hundred years prior to the Great Flood, Surid had a terrifying dream of the world's end, and so he ordered the construction of the pyramids so that they might house all the knowledge of Egypt and survive into the present.
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[68] The most notable account of this legend was given by Al-Masudi (896–956) in his Akbar al-zaman, alongside imaginative tales about the pyramid, such as the story of a man who fell three hours down the pyramid's well and the tale of an expedition that discovered bizarre finds in the structure's inner chambers. Al-zaman also contains a report of Al-Ma'mun's entering the pyramid and discovering a vessel containing a thousand coins, which just so happened to account for the cost of opening the pyramid.[69] (Some speculate that this story is true, but that the coins were planted by Al-Ma'mun to appease his workers, who were likely frustrated that they had found no treasure.)[70] In 987 AD, the Arab bibliographer Ibn al-Nadim relates a fantastical tale in his Al-Fihrist about a man who journeyed into the main chamber of a pyramid, which Bayard Dodge argues is the Great Pyramid.[71] According to al-Nadim, the person in question saw a statue of a man holding a tablet and a woman holding a mirror. Supposedly, between the statues was a "stone vessel [with] a gold cover."
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Inside the vessel was "something like pitch," and when the explorer reached into the vessel "a gold receptacle happened to be inside."The receptacle, when taken from the vessel, was filled with "fresh blood," which quickly dried up. Ibn al-Nadim's work also claims that the bodies of a man and woman were discovered inside the pyramid in the "best possible state of preservation."[72] The author al-Kaisi, in his work the Tohfat Alalbab, retells the story of Al-Ma'mun's entry but with the additional discovery of "an image of a man in green stone", which when opened revealed a body dressed in jewel-encrusted gold armor. Al-Kaisi claims to have seen the case from which the body was taken, and asserts that it was located at the king's palace in Cairo. He also writes that he himself entered into the pyramid and discovered myriad preserved bodies.[73] The Arab polymath Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (1163–1231) studied the pyramid with great care, and in his Account of Egypt, he praises them as works of engineering genius.
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In addition to measuring the structure, alongside the other pyramids at Giza, al-Baghdadi also writes that the structures were surely tombs, although he thought the Great Pyramid was used for the burial of Agathodaimon or Hermes. Al-Baghdadi ponders whether the pyramid pre-dated the Great flood as described in Genesis, and even briefly entertained the idea that it was a pre-Adamic construction.[74][75] A few centuries later, the Islamic historian Al-Maqrizi (1364–1442) compiled lore about the Great Pyramid in his Al-Khitat. In addition to reasserting that Al-Ma'mun breached the structure in 820 AD, Al-Maqrizi's work also discusses the sarcophagus in the coffin chambers, explicitly noting that the pyramid was a grave.[76] By the Late Middle Ages, the Great Pyramid had gained a reputation as a haunted structure. Others feared entering, because it was home to animals like bats.[77] Construction Preparation of the site A hillock forms the base on which the pyramid stands. It was cut back into steps and only a strip around the perimeter was leveled,[78] which has been measured to be horizontal and flat to within 21 millimetres (0.8 in).
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[79] The bedrock reaches a height of almost 6 metres (20 ft) above the pyramid base at the location of the Grotto.[80] Along the sides of the base platform a series of holes are cut in the bedrock. Lehner hypothesizes that they held wooden posts used for alignment.[81] Edwards, among others, suggested the usage of water for evening the base, although it is unclear how practical and workable such a system would be.[78] Materials The Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million blocks. Approximately 5.5 million tonnes of limestone, 8,000 tonnes of granite, and 500,000 tonnes of mortar were used in the construction.[82] Most of the blocks were quarried at Giza just south of the pyramid, an area now known as the Central Field.[83] They are a particular type of nummulitic limestone formed of the fossils of thousands of prehistoric shell creatures, whose small disc form can still be seen in some of the pyramid's blocks upon close inspection.[84] Other fossils have been found in the blocks and other structures on the site, including fossilized shark teeth.
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[85] [86] The white limestone used for the casing was transported by boat across the Nile from the Tura quarries of the Eastern Desert plateau, about 10 km (6.2 mi) to its south east of the Giza plateau. In 2013, rolls of papyrus called the Diary of Merer were discovered, written by a supervisor of the deliveries of limestone and other construction materials from Tura to Giza in the 27th year of Khufu's reign.[87] The granite stones in the pyramid were transported from Aswan, more than 900 km (560 mi) south.[7] The largest, weighing 25 to 80 tonnes, form the ceilings of the "King's chamber" and the "relieving chambers" above it. Ancient Egyptians cut stone into rough blocks by hammering grooves into natural stone faces, inserting wooden wedges, then soaking these with water. As the water was absorbed, the wedges expanded, breaking off workable chunks. Once the blocks were cut, they were carried by boat on the Nile River to the pyramid.[88] Workforce The Greeks believed that slave labour was used, but modern discoveries made at nearby workers' camps associated with construction at Giza suggest that it was built by thousands of conscript laborers.
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[89] Worker graffiti found at Giza suggest haulers were divided into zau (singular za), groups of 40 men, consisting of four sub-units that each had an "Overseer of Ten".[90][3] As to the question of how over two million blocks could have been cut within Khufu's lifetime, stonemason Franck Burgos conducted an archaeological experiment based on an abandoned quarry of Khufu discovered in 2017. Within it, an almost completed block and the tools used for cutting it had been uncovered: hardened arsenic copper chisels, wooden mallets, ropes and stone tools. In the experiment replicas of these were used to cut a block weighing about 2.5 tonnes (the average block size used for the Great Pyramid). It took four workers 4 days (with each working 6 hours a day) to excavate it. The initially slow progress sped up six times when the stone was wetted with water. Based on the data, Burgos extrapolates that about 3,500 quarry-men could have produced the 250 blocks/day needed to complete the Great Pyramid in 27 years.
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[91] A construction management study conducted in 1999, in association with Mark Lehner and other Egyptologists, had estimated that the total project required an average workforce of about 13,200 people and a peak workforce of roughly 40,000.[92] Surveys and design Comparison of approximate profiles of the Great Pyramid of Giza with some notable pyramidal or near-pyramidal buildings. Dotted lines indicate original heights, where data is available. In its SVG file, hover over a pyramid to highlight and click for its article. The first precise measurements of the pyramid were made by Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1880–1882, published as The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh.[93] Many of the casing-stones and inner chamber blocks of the Great Pyramid fit together with high precision, with joints, on average, only 0.5 millimetres (0.020 in) wide.[94] On the contrary, core blocks were only roughly shaped, with rubble inserted between larger gaps. Mortar was used to bind the outer layers together and fill gaps and joints.[6] The block height and weight tends to get progressively smaller towards the top.
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Petrie measured the lowest layer to be 148 centimetres (4.86 ft) high, whereas the layers towards the summit barely exceed 50 centimetres (1.6 ft).[93] The accuracy of the pyramid's perimeter is such that the four sides of the base have an average error of only 58 millimetres (2.3 inches) in length[b] and the finished base was squared to a mean corner error of only 12 seconds of arc.[96] The completed design dimensions are measured to have originally been 280 royal cubits (146.7 m; 481.4 ft) high by 440 cubits (230.6 m; 756.4 ft) long at each of the four sides of its base. Ancient Egyptians used seked – how much run for one cubit of rise – to describe slopes. For the Great Pyramid a seked of 5+1/2 palms was chosen, a ratio of 14 up to 11 in.[97] Some Egyptologists suggest this slope was chosen because the ratio of perimeter to height (1760/280 cubits) equals 2π to an accuracy of better than 0.05 percent (corresponding to the well-known approximation of π as 22/7). Verner wrote, "We can conclude that although the ancient Egyptians could not precisely define the value of π, in practice they used it".
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[98] Petrie concluded: "but these relations of areas and of circular ratio are so systematic that we should grant that they were in the builder's design".[99] Others have argued that the ancient Egyptians had no concept of pi and would not have thought to encode it in their monuments and that the observed pyramid slope may be based on the seked choice alone.[100] Alignment to the cardinal directions The sides of the Great Pyramid's base are closely aligned to the four geographic (not magnetic) cardinal directions, deviating on average 3 minutes and 38 seconds of arc, or about a tenth of a degree.[101] Several methods have been proposed for how the ancient Egyptians achieved this level of accuracy: The Solar Gnomon Method: The shadow of a vertical rod is tracked throughout a day. The shadow line is intersected by a circle drawn around the base of the rod. Connecting the intersecting points produces an east–west line. An experiment using this method resulted in lines being, on average, 2 minutes, 9 seconds off due east–west.
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Employing a pinhole produced much more accurate results (19 arc seconds off), whereas using an angled block as a shadow definer was less accurate (3′ 47″ off).[102] The Pole Star Method: The polar star is tracked using a movable sight and fixed plumb line. Halfway between the maximum eastern and western elongations is true north. Thuban, the polar star during the Old Kingdom, was about two degrees removed from the celestial pole at the time.[103] The Simultaneous Transit Method: The stars Mizar and Kochab appear on a vertical line on the horizon, close to true north around 2500 BC. They slowly and simultaneously shift east over time, which is used to explain the relative misalignment of the pyramids.[104][105] Construction theories Main article: Egyptian pyramid construction techniques Many alternative, often contradictory, theories have been proposed regarding the pyramid's construction techniques.[106] One mystery of the pyramid's construction is its planning. John Romer suggests that they used the same method that had been used for earlier and later constructions, laying out parts of the plan on the ground at a 1-to-1 scale.
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He writes that "such a working diagram would also serve to generate the architecture of the pyramid with precision unmatched by any other means".[107] The basalt blocks of the pyramid temple show "clear evidence" of having been cut with some kind of saw with an estimated cutting blade of 15 feet (4.6 m) in length. Romer suggests that this "super saw" may have had copper teeth and weighed up to 140 kilograms (310 lb). He theorizes that such a saw could have been attached to a wooden trestle support and possibly used in conjunction with vegetable oil, cutting sand, emery or pounded quartz to cut the blocks, which would have required the labour of at least a dozen men to operate it.[108] Exterior Casing Remaining casing stones on the north side of the Great Pyramid A casing stone in the British Museum[109]At completion, the Great Pyramid was cased entirely in white limestone. Precisely worked blocks were placed in horizontal layers and carefully fitted together with mortar, their outward faces cut at a slope and smoothed to a high degree. Together they created four uniform surfaces, angled at 51°50'40" (a Seked of 5+1/2 palms).
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[110][111] Unfinished casing blocks of the pyramids of Menkaure and Henutsen at Giza suggest that the front faces were smoothed only after the stones were laid, with chiseled seams marking correct positioning and where the superfluous rock would have to be trimmed off.[112] The height of the horizontal layers is not uniform but varies considerably. The highest of the 203 remaining courses are towards the bottom, the first layer being the tallest at 1.49 metres (4.9 ft). Towards the top, layers tend to be only slightly over 1 royal cubit (0.5 m; 1.7 ft) in height. An irregular pattern is noticeable when looking at the sizes in sequence, where layer height declines steadily only to rise sharply again.[113][114][115] So-called "backing stones" supported the casing which were (unlike core blocks) precisely dressed as well and bound to the casing with mortar.[citation needed] Now, these stones give the structure its visible appearance, following the partial dismantling of the pyramid in the Middle Ages.
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Amidst earthquakes in northern Egypt, workers (perhaps the descendants of those who served Al-Mamun) stripped away many of the outer casing stones,[70] which were said to have been carted away by Bahri Sultan An-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan in 1356 for use in nearby Cairo.[96] Many more casing stones were removed from the site by Muhammad Ali Pasha in the early 19th century to build the upper portion of his Alabaster Mosque in Cairo.[citation needed] Later explorers reported massive piles of rubble at the base of the pyramids left over from the continuing collapse of the casing stones, which were subsequently cleared away during continuing excavations of the site. Today a few of the casing stones from the lowest course can be seen in situ on each side, with the best preserved on the north below the entrances, excavated by Vyse in 1837. The mortar was chemically analyzed[116] and contains organic inclusions (mostly charcoal), samples of which were radiocarbon dated to 2871–2604 BC.[117] It has been theorized that the mortar enabled the masons to set the stones exactly by providing a level bed.
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[118][119] It has been suggested that some or all of the casing stones were cast in place, rather than quarried and moved, yet archaeological evidence and petrographic analysis indicate this was not the case.[120] Petrie noted in 1880 that the sides of the pyramid, as we see them today, are "very distinctly hollowed" and that "each side has a sort of groove specially down the middle of the face", which he reasoned was a result of increased casing thickness in these areas.[121] A laser scanning survey in 2005 confirmed the existence of the anomalies, which can be, to some degree, attributed to damaged and removed stones.[122] Under certain lighting conditions and with image enhancement the faces can appear to be split, leading to speculation that the pyramid had been intentionally constructed eight-sided.[123][124] Pyramidion and missing tip The pyramid was once topped by a capstone known as a pyramidion. The material from which it was made is subject to much speculation; limestone, granite or basalt are commonly proposed, while in popular culture it is often solid gold, gilded or electrum.
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All known 4th dynasty pyramidia (of the Red Pyramid, Satellite Pyramid of Khufu (G1-d) and Queen's Pyramid of Menkaure (G3-a)) are of white limestone and were not gilded.[125] Only from the 5th dynasty onward is there evidence of gilded capstones; for instance, a scene on the causeway of the Sahure speaks of the "white gold pyramidion of the pyramid Sahure’s Soul Shines".[126] The Great Pyramid's pyramidion was lost in antiquity, as Pliny the Elder and later authors report a platform on its summit.[60] Now, the pyramid is about 8 metres (26 ft) shorter than it was when intact, with about 1,000 tonnes of material missing from the top. In 1874 a mast was installed on the top by the Scottish astronomer Sir David Gill who, whilst returning from work involving observing a rare Venus transit, was invited to survey Egypt and began by surveying the Great Pyramid. His results measuring the pyramid were accurate to within 1 mm and the survey mast is still in place to this day.[127][128] Interior Elevation diagram of the interior structures of the Great Pyramid viewed from the east. The inner and outer lines indicate the pyramid's present and original profiles.
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1. Original entrance, North Face Corridor 2. Robbers' Tunnel (tourist entrance) 3, 4. Descending Passage 5. Subterranean Chamber 6. Ascending Passage 7. Queen's Chamber & its "air-shafts" 8. Horizontal Passage 9. Grand Gallery 10. King's Chamber & its "air-shafts" 11. Grotto & Well Shaft The internal structure consists of three main chambers (the King's-, Queen's- and Subterranean Chamber), the Grand Gallery and various corridors and shafts. There are two entrances into the pyramid: the original and a forced passage, which meet at a junction. From there, one passage descends into the Subterranean Chamber, while the other ascends to the Grand Gallery. From the beginning of the gallery three paths can be taken: a vertical shaft that leads down, past a grotto, to meet the descending passage a horizontal corridor leading to the Queen's Chamber and the path up the gallery itself to the King's Chamber that contains the sarcophagus. Both the King's and Queen's Chamber have a pair of small "air-shafts". Above the King's Chamber are a series of five Relieving Chambers. Entrances Original entrance The original entrance is located on the north side, 15 royal cubits (7.9 m; 25.8 ft) east of the centerline of the pyramid.
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Before the removal of the casing in the middle ages, the pyramid was entered through a hole in the 19th layer of masonry, approximately 17 metres (56 ft) above the pyramid's base level. The height of that layer – 96 centimetres (3.15 ft) – corresponds to the size of the entrance tunnel which is commonly called the Descending Passage.[80][129] According to Strabo (64–24 BC) a movable stone could be raised to enter this sloping corridor, however it is not known if it was a later addition or original. The original entrance (top-left), Robbers' Tunnel (middle-right) A row of double chevrons diverts weight away from the entrance. Several of these chevron blocks are now missing, as indicated by the slanted faces on which they once rested. Numerous, mostly modern, graffiti is cut into the stones around the entrance. Most notable is a large, square text of hieroglyphs carved in honor of Frederick William IV, by Karl Richard Lepsius's Prussian expedition to Egypt in 1842.
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[130] North Face Corridor In 2016 the ScanPyramids team detected a cavity behind the entrance chevrons using muography, which was confirmed in 2019 to be a corridor at least 5 metres (16 ft) long, and running horizontal or sloping upwards (thus not parallel to the Descending Passage).[131][132] In February 2023 the North Face Corridor was explored with an endoscopic camera, revealing a horizontal tunnel with a length of 9 metres (30 ft) and a transverse section of about 2 by 2 metres (6.6 by 6.6 ft). Its ceiling is formed by large chevrons, like those visible above the original entrance and also similar to Relieving Chambers.[133][134] Robbers' Tunnel Today tourists enter the Great Pyramid via the Robbers' Tunnel, which was long ago cut straight through the masonry of the pyramid. The entrance was forced into the 6th and 7th layer of the casing, about 7 metres (23 ft) above the base. After running more-or-less straight and horizontal for 27 metres (89 ft) it turns sharply left to encounter the blocking stones in the Ascending Passage. It is possible to enter the Descending Passage from this point but access is usually forbidden.
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[135] The origin of this Robbers' Tunnel is the subject of much scholarly discussion. According to tradition the opening was made around 820 AD by Caliph al-Ma'mun's workmen with a battering ram. The digging dislodged the stone in the ceiling of the Descending Passage which hid the entrance to the Ascending Passage, and the noise of that stone falling, then sliding down the Descending Passage alerted them to the need to turn left. Unable to remove these stones, the workmen tunneled upwards beside them through the softer limestone of the Pyramid until they reached the Ascending Passage.[136][137] Due to a number of historical and archaeological discrepancies, many scholars (with Antoine de Sacy perhaps being the first) contend that this story is apocryphal. They argue that it is much more likely that the tunnel had been carved shortly after the pyramid was initially sealed. This tunnel, the scholars continue, was then resealed (likely during the Ramesside Restoration), and it was this plug that al-Ma'mun's ninth-century expedition cleared away.
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This theory is furthered by the report of patriarch Dionysius I Telmaharoyo, who claimed that before al-Ma'mun's expedition, there already existed a breach in the pyramid's north face that extended into the structure 33 metres (108 ft) before hitting a dead end. This suggests that some sort of robber's tunnel predated al-Ma'mun, and that the caliph simply enlarged it and cleared it of debris.[138] Descending Passage From the original entrance, a passage descends through the masonry of the pyramid and then into the bedrock beneath it, ultimately leading to the Subterranean Chamber. It has a slanted height of 4 Egyptian feet (1.20 m; 3.9 ft) and a width of 2 cubits (1.0 m; 3.4 ft). Its angle of 26°26'46" corresponds to a ratio of 1 to 2 (rise over run).[139] After 28 metres (92 ft), the lower end of the Ascending Passage is reached; a square hole in the ceiling, which is blocked by granite stones and might have originally been concealed. To circumvent these hard stones, a short tunnel was excavated that meets the end of the Robbers' Tunnel. This was expanded over time and fitted with stairs.
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The passage continues to descend for another 72 metres (236 ft), now through bedrock instead of the pyramid superstructure. Lazy guides used to block off this part with rubble to avoid having to lead people down and back up the long shaft, until around 1902 when Covington installed a padlocked iron grill-door to stop this practice.[140] Near the end of this section, on the west wall, is the connection to the vertical shaft that leads up to the Grand Gallery. A horizontal shaft connects the end of the Descending Passage to the Subterranean Chamber, It has a length of 8.84 m (29.0 ft), width of 85 cm (2.79 ft) and height of 91–95 cm (2.99–3.12 ft). A recess is located towards the end of the western wall, slightly larger than the tunnel, the ceiling of which is irregular and undressed.[141] Subterranean Chamber Subterranean Chamber (looking west) in 1909 with rubble from the Pit Shaft excavation still filling the chamber. Subterranean Chamber (looking south) with Pit Shaft in the floor and blind corridor entrance. The Subterranean Chamber, or "Pit", is the lowest of the three main chambers and the only one dug into the bedrock beneath the pyramid.
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Located about 27 m (89 ft) below base level,[80] it measures roughly 16 cubits (8.4 m; 27.5 ft) north-south by 27 cubits (14.1 m; 46.4 ft) east-west, with an approximate height of 4 m (13 ft). The western half of the room, apart from the ceiling, is unfinished, with trenches left behind by the quarry-men running east to west. A niche was cut into the northern half of the west wall. The only access, through the Descending Passage, lies on the eastern end of the north wall. Although seemingly known in antiquity, according to Herodotus and later authors, its existence had been forgotten in the Middle Ages until rediscovery in 1817, when Giovanni Caviglia cleared the rubble blocking the Descending Passage.[142] Opposing the entrance, a blind corridor runs straight south for 11 m (36 ft) and continues with a slight bend another 5.4 m (18 ft), measuring about 0.75 m (2.5 ft) squared. A Greek or Roman character was found on its ceiling with the light of a candle, suggesting that the chamber had indeed been accessible during Classical antiquity.[143] In the middle of the eastern half is alarge hole called a Pit Shaft or Perring's Shaft.
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The uppermost part may have ancient origins, about 2 m (6.6 ft) squared in width and 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in depth, diagonally aligned with the chamber. Caviglia and Salt enlarged it to the depth of about 3 m (9.8 ft).[144] In 1837 Vyse directed the shaft to be sunk to a depth of 50 ft (15 m), in hopes of discovering the chamber encompassed by water that Herodotus alluded to. It is slightly narrower in width at about 1.5 m (4.9 ft). No chamber was discovered after Perring and his workers had spent one and a half years penetrating the bedrock to the then water level of the Nile, some 12 m (39 ft) further down.[145] The rubble produced during this operation was deposited throughout the chamber. Petrie, visiting in 1880, found the shaft to be partially filled with rainwater that had rushed down the Descending Passage.[146] In 1909, when the Edgar brothers' surveying activities were encumbered by the material, they moved the sand and smaller stones back into the shaft, leaving the upper part clear.[147] The deep, modern shaft is sometimes mistaken to be part of the original design.
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Ludwig Borchardt suggested that the Subterranean Chamber was originally planned to be the burial place for pharaoh Khufu, but that it was abandoned during construction in favour of a chamber higher up in the pyramid.[148] Ascending Passage The upper two granite plugs in the Ascending Passage, seen from the end of the Robbers' Tunnel The Ascending Passage connects the Descending Passage to the Grand Gallery. It is 75 cubits (39.3 m; 128.9 ft) long and of the same width and height as the shaft from which it originates, although its angle is slightly lower at 26°6'.[149] The lower end of the shaft is plugged by three granite stones, which were slid down from the Grand Gallery to seal the tunnel. They are 1.57 m (5.2 ft), 1.67 m (5.5 ft) and 1 m (3.3 ft) long respectively.[149] The uppermost is heavily damaged, hence it is shorter. The end of the Robbers' Tunnel concludes slightly below the stones, so a short tunnel was dug around them to gain access to the Descending Passage, since the surrounding limestone is considerably softer and easier to work.
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Most of the joints between the blocks of the walls run perpendicular to the floor, with two exceptions. Firstly, those in the lower third of the corridor are vertical. Secondly, the three girdle stones that are inserted near the middle (about 10 cubits apart) presumably stabilize the tunnel.[150] Well Shaft and Grotto Grotto (left) accessed through the broken wall of the Well Shaft (right) The Well Shaft (also known as the Service Shaft or Vertical Shaft) links the lower end of the Grand Gallery to the bottom of the Descending Passage, about 50 metres (160 ft) further down. It takes a winding and indirect course. The upper half goes through the nucleus masonry of the pyramid. It runs vertical at first for 8 metres (26 ft), then slightly angles southwards for about the same distance, until it hits bedrock approximately 5.7 metres (19 ft) above the pyramid's base level. Another vertical section descends further, which is partially lined with masonry that has been broken through to a cavity known as the Grotto.
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The lower half of the Well Shaft goes through the bedrock at an angle of about 45° for 26.5 metres (87 ft) before a steeper section, 9.5 metres (31 ft) long, leads to its lowest point. The final section of 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) connects it to the Descending Passage, running almost horizontally. The builders evidently had trouble aligning the lower exit.[151][80] The purpose of the shaft is commonly explained as a ventilation shaft for the Subterranean Chamber and as an escape shaft for the workers who slid the blocking stones of the Ascending Passage into place. The Grotto is a natural limestone cave that was likely filled with sand and gravel before construction, before being hollowed out by looters. A granite block rests in it that likely originated from the portcullis that once sealed the King's Chamber. Queen's Chamber Axonometric view of the Queen's Chamber The Horizontal Passage links the Grand Gallery to the Queen's Chamber. Five pairs of holes at the start suggest the tunnel was once concealed with slabs that laid flush with the gallery floor.
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The passage is 2 cubits (1.0 m; 3.4 ft) wide and 1.17 m (3.8 ft) high for most of its length, but near the chamber there is a step in the floor, after which the passage increases to 1.68 m (5.5 ft) high.[80] Half of the west-wall consists of two layers that have atypically continuous vertical joints. Dormion suggests the entrances to magazines laid here and have been filled in.[152] The Queen's Chamber is exactly halfway between the north and south faces of the pyramid. It measures 10 cubits (5.2 m; 17.2 ft) north-south, 11 cubits (5.8 m; 18.9 ft) east-west,[153] and has a pointed roof that apexes at 12 cubits (6.3 m; 20.6 ft) tall.[154] At the eastern end of the chamber is a niche 9 cubits (4.7 m; 15.5 ft) high. The original depth of the niche was 2 cubits (1.0 m; 3.4 ft), but it has since been deepened by treasure hunters. Shafts were discovered in the north and south walls of the Queen's Chamber in 1872 by British engineer Waynman Dixon, who believed shafts similar to those in the King's Chamber must also exist.
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The shafts were not connected to the outer faces of the pyramid or the Queen's Chamber; their purpose is unknown. In one shaft Dixon discovered a ball of diorite, a bronze hook of unknown purpose and a piece of cedar wood. The first two objects are now in the British Museum.[155] The latter was lost until recently when it was found at the University of Aberdeen. It has since been radiocarbon dated to 3341–3094 BC.[156] The northern shaft's angle of ascent fluctuates and at one point turns 45 degrees to avoid the Great Gallery. The southern shaft is perpendicular to the pyramid's slope.[155] The shafts in the Queen's Chamber were explored in 1993 by the German engineer Rudolf Gantenbrink using a crawler robot he designed, Upuaut 2. After a climb of 65 m (213 ft),[157] he discovered that one of the shafts was blocked by a limestone "door" with two eroded copper "handles". The National Geographic Society created a similar robot which, in September 2002, drilled a small hole in the southern door only to find another stone slab behind it.
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[158] The northern passage, which was difficult to navigate because of its twists and turns, was also found to be blocked by a slab.[159] Research continued in 2011 with the Djedi Project which used a fibre-optic "micro snake camera" that could see around corners. With this, they were able to penetrate the first door of the southern shaft through the hole drilled in 2002, and view all the sides of the small chamber behind it. They discovered hieroglyphics written in red paint. Egyptian mathematics researcher Luca Miatello stated that the markings read "121" – the length of the shaft in cubits.[160] The Djedi team were also able to scrutinize the inside of the two copper "handles" embedded in the door, which they now believe to be for decorative purposes. They additionally found the reverse side of the "door" to be finished and polished, which suggests that it was not put there just to block the shaft from debris, but rather for a more specific reason.
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[161] Grand Gallery Grand Gallery (with modern walkway up the middle) The Grand Gallery continues the slope of the Ascending Passage towards the King's Chamber, extending from the 23rd to the 48th course (of stones), a rise of 21 metres (69 ft). It has been praised as a "truly spectacular example of stonemasonry".[162] It is 8.6 metres (28 ft) high and 46.68 metres (153.1 ft) long. The base is 4 cubits (2.1 m; 6.9 ft) wide, but after two courses – at a height of 2.29 metres (7.5 ft) – the blocks of stone in the walls are corbelled inwards by 6–10 centimetres (2.4–3.9 in) on each side.[80] There are seven of these steps, so, at the top, the Grand Gallery is only 2 cubits (1.0 m; 3.4 ft) wide. It is roofed by slabs of stone laid at a slightly steeper angle than the floor so that each stone fits into a slot cut into the top of the gallery, like the teeth of a ratchet. The purpose was to have each block supported by the wall of the Gallery, rather than resting on the block beneath it, in order to prevent cumulative pressure.
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[163] At the upper end of the Gallery, on the eastern wall, is a hole near the roof that opens into a short tunnel by which access can be gained to the lowest of the Relieving Chambers. The floor of the Grand Gallery has a shelf or step on either side, 1 cubit (52.4 cm; 20.6 in) wide, leaving a lower ramp 2 cubits (1.0 m; 3.4 ft) wide between them. There are 56 slots on the shelves, with 28 on each side. On each wall, 25 niches have been cut above the slots.[164] The purpose of these slots is not known, but the central gutter in the floor of the Gallery, which is the same width as the Ascending Passage, has led to speculation that the blocking stones were stored in the Grand Gallery and the slots held wooden beams to restrain them from sliding down the passage.[165] Jean-Pierre Houdin theorized that they held a timber frame that was used in combination with a trolley to pull the heavy granite blocks up the pyramid.
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At the top of the gallery, there is a step onto a small horizontal platform where a tunnel leads through the Antechamber, once blocked by portcullis stones, into the King's Chamber. The Big Void In 2017, scientists from the ScanPyramids project discovered a large cavity above the Grand Gallery using muon radiography, which they called the "ScanPyramids Big Void". Key was a research team under Morishima Kunihiro, a professor at Nagoya University, that used special nuclear emulsion detectors.[166][167] Its length is at least 30 metres (98 ft) and its cross-section is similar to that of the Grand Gallery. Its existence was confirmed by independent detection with three different technologies: nuclear emulsion films, scintillator hodoscopes, and gas detectors.[168][169] The purpose of the cavity is unknown and it is not accessible. Zahi Hawass speculates it may have been a gap used in the construction of the Grand Gallery,[170] but the Japanese research team state that the void is completely different from previously identified construction spaces.
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[171] To verify and pinpoint the void, a team from Kyushu University, Tohoku University, the University of Tokyo and the Chiba Institute of Technology planned to rescan the structure with a newly developed muon detector in 2020.[172] Their work was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.[173] Antechamber A diagram of the Antechamber The last line of defense against intrusion was a small chamber designed to house portcullis blocking stones, called the Antechamber. It is cased almost entirely in granite and is situated between the upper end of the Grand Gallery and the King's Chamber. Three slots for portcullis stones line the east and west wall of the chamber. Each of them is topped with a semi-circular groove for a log, around which ropes could be spanned. The granite portcullis stones were approximately 1 cubit (52.4 cm; 20.6 in) thick and were lowered into position by the aforementioned ropes which were tied through a series of four holes at the top of the blocks. A corresponding set of four vertical grooves are on the south wall of the chamber, recesses that make space for the ropes.
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The Antechamber has a design flaw: the space above them can be accessed, thus all but the last block can be circumvented. This was exploited by looters who punched a hole through the ceiling of the tunnel behind, gaining access to the King's Chamber. Later on, all three portcullis stones were broken and removed. Fragments of these blocks can be found in various locations in the pyramid (the Pit Shaft, the Original Entrance, the Grotto and the recess before the Subterranean Chamber).[151] Axonometric view of the King's Chamber King's Chamber The King's Chamber is the upmost of the three main chambers of the pyramid. It is faced entirely with granite and measures 20 cubits (10.5 m; 34.4 ft) east-west by 10 cubits (5.2 m; 17.2 ft) north-south. Its flat ceiling is about 11 cubits and 5 digits (5.8 m;19.0 ft) above the floor, formed by nine slabs of stone weighing in total about 400 tons. All the roof beams show cracks due to the chamber having settled 2.5–5 cm (0.98–1.97 in).[174] The walls consist of five courses of blocks that are uninscribed, as was the norm for burial chambers of the 4th dynasty.
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[175] The stones are precisely fitted together. The facing surfaces are dressed to varying degrees, with some displaying remains of bosses not entirely cut away.[174] The back sides of the blocks were only roughly hewn to shape, as was usual with Egyptian hard-stone facade blocks, presumably to save work.[176][80] Sarcophagus Sarcophagus in the King's Chamber The only object in the King's Chamber is a sarcophagus made of a single, hollowed-out granite block. When it was rediscovered in the Early Middle Ages, it was found broken open and any contents had already been removed. It is of the form common for early Egyptian sarcophagi, rectangular in shape with grooves to slide the now missing lid into place with three small holes for pegs to fixate it.[177][178] The coffer was not perfectly smoothed, displaying various tool marks matching those of copper saws and tubular hand-drills.[179] The internal dimensions are roughly 198 cm (6.50 ft) by 68 cm (2.23 feet), the external 228 cm (7.48 ft) by 98 cm (3.22 ft), with a height of 105 cm (3.44 ft). The walls have a thickness of about 15 cm (0.49 ft).
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The sarcophagus is too large to fit around the corner between the Ascending and Descending Passages, which indicates that it must have been placed in the chamber before the roof was put in place.[180] Air shafts In the north and south walls of the King's Chamber are two narrow shafts, commonly known as "air shafts". They face each other and are located approximately 0.91 m (3.0 ft) above the floor, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) from the eastern wall, with a width of 18 and 21 cm (7.1 and 8.3 in) and a height of 14 cm (5.5 in). Both start out horizontally for the length of the granite blocks they go through before changing to an upwards direction.[181] The southern shaft ascends at an angle of 45° with a slight curve westwards. One ceiling stone was found to be distinctly unfinished which Gantenbrink called a "Monday morning block". The northern shaft changes angle several times, shifting the path to the west, perhaps to avoid the Big Void. The builders apparently had trouble calculating the right angles, resulting in parts of the shaft being narrower. Now, they both commute to the exterior.
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If they originally penetrated the outer casing is unknown. The purpose of these shafts is not clear: They were long believed by Egyptologists to be shafts for ventilation, but this idea has now been widely abandoned in favour of the shafts serving a ritualistic purpose associated with the ascension of the king's spirit to the heavens.[182] The idea that the shafts point towards stars or areas of the northern and southern skies has been largely dismissed as the northern shaft follows a dog-leg course through the masonry and the southern shaft has a bend of approximately 20 centimetres (7.9 in), indicating no intention to have them point to any celestial objects.[183] In 1992, as part of the Upuaut project, a ventilation system was installed in both air shafts of the King's Chamber.[183] Relieving chambers Relieving Chambers above the King's Chamber, Smyth 1877 Above the roof of the King's Chamber are five compartments, named (from lowest upwards) "Davison's Chamber", "Wellington's Chamber", "Nelson's Chamber", "Lady Arbuthnot's Chamber", and "Campbell's Chamber".
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They were presumably intended to safeguard the King's Chamber from the possibility of the roof collapsing under the weight of stone above; hence they are referred to as "Relieving Chambers". The granite blocks that divide the chambers have flat bottom sides but roughly shaped top sides, giving all five chambers an irregular floor, but a flat ceiling, with the exception of the uppermost chamber which has a pointed limestone roof.[184] Nathaniel Davison is credited with the discovery of the lowest of these chambers in 1763, although a French merchant named Maynard informed him of its existence.[185] It can be reached through an ancient passage that originates from the top of the south wall of the Grand Gallery.[184] The upper four chambers were discovered in 1837 by Howard Vyse after discovering a crack in the ceiling of the first chamber. This allowed the insertion of a long reed, which, with the employment of gunpowder and boring rods, opened a tunnel upwards through the masonry.[186] As no access shafts existed for the upper four chambers – unlike Davison's Chamber – they were completely inaccessible until this point.
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Numerous graffiti of red ochre paint were found covering the limestone walls of all four newly discovered chambers. Apart from leveling lines and indication marks for masons, multiple hieroglyphic inscriptions spell out the names of work-gangs. Those names, which were also found in other Egyptian pyramids like that of Menkaure and Sahure, usually included the name of the pharaoh for whom they were working.[187][13] The blocks must have received the inscriptions before the chambers became inaccessible during construction. Their orientation, often side-ways or upside down, and their sometimes being partially covered by blocks, seems to indicate that the stones were inscribed before being laid.[188] The inscriptions, correctly deciphered only decades after discovery, read as follows:[13] "The gang, The Horus Mededuw-is-the-purifier-of-the-two-lands."Found once in relieving chamber 3. (Mededuw being Khufu's Horus name.)"The gang, The Horus Mededuw-is-pure" Found seven times in chamber 4. "The gang, Khufu-excites-love" Found once in chamber 5 (top chamber). “The gang, The-white-crown-of Khnumkhuwfuw-is-powerful” Found once in chambers 2 and 3, ten times in chamber 4 and twice in chamber 5. (Khnum-Khufu being Khufu's full birth name.)
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Pyramid complex See also: Giza pyramid complex The Great Pyramid is surrounded by a complex of several buildings, including small pyramids. Temples and causeway Remains of the basalt floor of the temple at the east foot of the pyramidThe Pyramid Temple, which stood on the east side of the pyramid and measured 52.2 metres (171 ft) north to south and 40 metres (130 ft) east to west, has almost entirely disappeared. Only some of the black basalt paving remains. There are only a few remnants of the causeway which linked the pyramid with the valley and the Valley Temple. The Valley Temple is buried beneath the village of Nazlet el-Samman; basalt paving and limestone walls have been found but the site has not been excavated.[189][190] East cemetery The tomb of Queen Hetepheres I, sister-wife of Sneferu and mother of Khufu, is located approximately 110 metres (360 ft) east of the Great Pyramid.[191] Discovered by accident by the Reisner expedition, the burial was intact, although the carefully sealed coffin proved to be empty.
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Subsidiary pyramids On the southern end of the east side are four subsidiary pyramids The three that remain standing to almost full height are popularly known as the Queens' Pyramids (G1-a, G1-b and G1-c). The fourth, smaller satellite pyramid (G1-d), is so ruined that its existence was not suspected until the first course of stones and, later, the remains of the capstone were discovered during excavations in 1991–93.[192] Boats A restored Khufu ship was once displayed at the Giza Solar boat museum and is now relocated to the Grand Egyptian Museum. Main articles: Khufu ship and Solar barque Three boat-shaped pits are located east of the pyramid. They are large enough in size and shape to have held complete boats, though so shallow that any superstructure, if there ever was one, must have been removed or disassembled. Two additional boat pits, long and rectangular in shape, were found south of the pyramid, still covered with slabs of stone weighing up to 15 tons. The first of these was discovered in May 1954 by the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh. Inside were 1,224 pieces of wood, the longest 23 metres (75 ft) in length, the shortest 10 centimetres (0.33 ft).
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These were entrusted to a boat builder, Haj Ahmed Yusuf, who worked out how the pieces fit together. The entire process, including conservation and straightening of the warped wood, took fourteen years. The result is a cedar-wood boat 43.6 metres (143 ft) long, its timbers held together by ropes, which was originally housed in the Giza Solar boat museum, a special boat-shaped, air-conditioned museum beside the pyramid. The boat is now in the Grand Egyptian Museum.[193][194] During construction of this museum in the 1980s, the second sealed boat pit was discovered. It was left unopened until 2011 when excavation began on the boat.[195] Pyramid town A notable construction flanking the Giza pyramid complex is a cyclopean stone wall, the Wall of the Crow.[196] Mark Lehner discovered a worker's town outside of the wall, otherwise known as "The Lost City", dated by pottery styles, seal impressions and stratigraphy to have been constructed and occupied sometime during the reigns of Khafre (2520–2494 BC) and Menkaure (2490–2472 BC).
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[197][198] In the early 21st century, Lehner and his team made several discoveries, including what appears to have been a thriving port, suggesting the town and associated living quarters, which consisted of barracks called "galleries", may not have been for the pyramid workers after all, but rather for the soldiers and sailors who used the port. In light of this new discovery, as to where then the pyramid workers may have lived, Lehner suggested the alternative possibility they may have camped on the ramps he believes were used to construct the pyramids, or possibly at nearby quarries.[199] In the early 1970s, the Australian archaeologist Karl Kromer excavated a mound in the South Field of the plateau. It contained artefacts including mudbrick seals of Khufu, which Kromer identified with an artisans' settlement.[200] Mudbrick buildings just south of Khufu's Valley Temple contained mud sealings of Khufu and have been suggested to be a settlement serving the cult of Khufu after his death.[201] A worker's cemetery used at least between Khufu's reign and the end of the Fifth Dynasty was discovered south of the Wall of the Crow by Hawass in 1990.
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[202] Looting Authors Bob Brier and Hoyt Hobbs claim that "all the pyramids were robbed" by the New Kingdom, when the construction of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings began.[203][204] Joyce Tyldesley states that the Great Pyramid itself "is known to have been opened and emptied by the Middle Kingdom", before the Arab caliph Al-Ma'mun entered the pyramid around 820 AD.[136] I. E. S. Edwards discusses Strabo's mention that the pyramid "a little way up one side has a stone that may be taken out, which being raised up there is a sloping passage to the foundations". Edwards suggested that the pyramid was entered by robbers after the end of the Old Kingdom and sealed and then reopened more than once until Strabo's door was added. He adds: "If this highly speculative surmise be correct, it is also necessary to assume either that the existence of the door was forgotten or that the entrance was again blocked with facing stones", in order to explain why al-Ma'mun could not find the entrance.
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[205] Scholars such as Gaston Maspero and Flinders Petrie have noted that evidence for a similar door has been found at the Bent Pyramid of Dashur.[206][207] Herodotus visited Egypt in the 5th century BC and recounts a story that he was told concerning vaults under the pyramid built on an island where the body of Khufu lies. Edwards notes that the pyramid had "almost certainly been opened and its contents plundered long before the time of Herodotus" and that it might have been closed again during the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt when other monuments were restored. He suggests that the story told to Herodotus could have been the result of almost two centuries of telling and retelling by pyramid guides.[45]
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The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus[a] (Ancient Greek: Μαυσωλεῖον τῆς Ἁλικαρνασσοῦ; Turkish: Halikarnas Mozolesi) was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC in Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, an Anatolian from Caria and a satrap in the Achaemenid Empire, and his sister-wife Artemisia II of Caria. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythius of Priene.[1][2] Its elevated tomb structure is derived from the tombs of neighbouring Lycia, a territory Mausolus had invaded and annexed c. 360 BC, such as the Nereid Monument.[3] The Mausoleum was approximately 45 m (148 ft) in height, and the four sides were adorned with sculptural reliefs, each created by one of four Greek sculptors: Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros, and Timotheus.[4] The Mausoleum contained total 400 freestanding sculptures.[5] The mausoleum was considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that Antipater of Sidon identified it as one of his Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was destroyed by successive earthquakes from the 12th to the 15th century;[6][7][8] it was the last surviving of the six destroyed wonders. The word mausoleum has now come to be used generically for an above-ground tomb.
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Conquest[edit] In the 4th century BC, Halicarnassus was the capital of a small regional kingdom of Caria within the Achaemenid Empire on the western coast of Asia Minor. In 377 BC, the nominal ruler of the region, Hecatomnus of Milas, died and left control of the kingdom to his son, Mausolus. Hecatomnus, a local dynast under the Persians, took control of several of the neighboring cities and districts. After Artemisia and Mausolus, he had several other daughters and sons: Ada (adoptive mother of Alexander the Great), Idrieus, and Pixodarus. Mausolus extended his territory as far as the southwest coast of Anatolia, invading, in particular, the territory of Lycia, remarkable for its numerous monumental tombs such as the Tombs at Xanthos, from which he took his inspiration for his mausoleum.[3] Artemisia and Mausolus ruled from Halicarnassus over the surrounding territory for 24 years. Mausolus, although descended from local people, spoke Greek and admired the Greek way of life and government. He founded many cities of Greek design along the coast and encouraged Greek democratic traditions.[citation needed] Mausolus (casting from the Pushkin Museum).
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Mausolus decided to build a new capital, one as safe from capture as it was magnificent to be seen. He chose the city of Halicarnassus. Artemisia and Mausolus spent huge amounts of tax money to embellish the city. They commissioned statues, temples and buildings of gleaming marble. In 353 BC, Mausolus died, leaving Artemisia to rule alone. As the Persian satrap, and as the Hecatomnid dynast, Mausolus had planned for himself an elaborate tomb. When he died the project was continued by his siblings. The tomb became so famous that Mausolus's name is now the eponym for all stately tombs, in the word mausoleum.[citation needed] Artemisia lived for only two years after the death of her husband. The urns with their ashes were placed in the yet unfinished tomb. As a form of sacrifice, the bodies of a large number of dead animals were placed on the stairs leading to the tomb, and then the stairs were filled with stones and rubble, sealing the access.
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According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the craftsmen decided to stay and finish the work after the death of their patron "considering that it was at once a memorial of his own fame and of the sculptor's art''.[citation needed] Construction of the Mausoleum[edit] Reconstitutions of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. It is likely that Mausolus started to plan the tomb before his death, as part of the building works in Halicarnassus, so that when he died, Artemisia continued the building project. Artemisia spared no expense in building the tomb. She sent messengers to Greece to find the most talented artists of the time. These included Scopas, the man who had supervised the rebuilding of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The famous sculptors were (in the Vitruvius order): Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas, and Timotheus, as well as hundreds of other craftsmen. The tomb was erected on a hill overlooking the city. The whole structure sat in an enclosed courtyard. At the center of the courtyard was a stone platform on which the tomb sat. A stairway flanked by stone lions led to the top of the platform, which bore along its outer walls many statues of gods and goddesses.
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At each corner, stone warriors mounted on horseback guarded the tomb. At the center of the platform, the marble tomb rose as a square tapering block to one-third of the Mausoleum's 45 m (148 ft) height. This section was covered with bas-reliefs showing action scenes, including the battle of the centaurs with the lapiths and Greeks in combat with the Amazons, a race of warrior women.[citation needed] On the top of this section of the tomb thirty-six slim columns, ten per side, with each corner sharing one column between two sides; rose for another third of the height. Standing between each pair of columns was a statue. Behind the columns was a solid cella-like block that carried the weight of the tomb's massive roof. The roof, which comprised most of the final third of the height, was pyramidal. Perched on the top was a quadriga: four massive horses pulling a chariot in which rode images of Mausolus and Artemisia.[citation needed] History[edit] Colossal statues of a man and a woman from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, traditionally identified as Mausolos and Artemisia II, around 350 BC, British Museum.
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Modern historians have pointed out that two years would not be enough time to decorate and build such a complex and extravagant building. Therefore, it is believed that construction was begun by Mausolus before his death or continued by the next leaders.[9] The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus resembled a temple and the only way to tell the difference was its slightly higher outer walls. The Mausoleum was in the Greek-dominated area of Halicarnassus, which in 353 was controlled by the Achaemenid Empire. According to the Roman architect Vitruvius, it was built by Satyros and Pytheus who wrote a treatise about it; this treatise is now lost.[9] Pausanias adds that the Romans considered the Mausoleum one of the greatest wonders of the world and it was for that reason that they called all their magnificent tombs mausolea, after it.[10] It is unknown exactly when and how the Mausoleum came to ruin: Eustathius, writing in the 12th century on his commentary of the Iliad, says "it was and is a wonder".
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Because of this, Fergusson concluded that the building was ruined, probably by an earthquake, between this period and 1402, when the Knights of St John of Jerusalem arrived and recorded that it was in ruins.[10] However, Luttrell notes[11] that at that time the local Greeks and Turks had no name for – or legends to account for – the colossal ruins, suggesting a destruction at a much earlier period. Many of the stones from the ruins were used by the knights to fortify their castle at Bodrum; they also recovered bas-reliefs with which they decorated the new building. Much of the marble was burned into lime. In 1846, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe obtained permission to remove these reliefs from the Bodrum.[12] At the original site, all that remained by the 19th century were the foundations and some broken sculptures. This site was originally indicated by Professor Donaldson and was discovered definitively by Charles Newton, after which an expedition was sent by the British government. The expedition lasted three years and ended in the sending of the remaining marbles.
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[13] At some point before or after this, grave robbers broke into and destroyed the underground burial chamber, but in 1972, there was still enough of it remaining to determine a layout of the chambers when they were excavated.[9] This monument was ranked the seventh wonder of the world by the ancients, not because of its size or strength but because of the beauty of its design and how it was decorated with sculpture or ornaments.[14] The mausoleum was Halicarnassus' principal architectural monument, standing in a dominant position on rising ground above the harbor.[15] Jar of Xerxes I[edit] .mw-parser-output .hatnote{font-style:italic}.mw-parser-output div.hatnote{padding-left:1.6em;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .hatnote i{font-style:normal}.mw-parser-output .hatnote+link+.hatnote{margin-top:-0.5em}Main article: Jar of Xerxes I .mw-parser-output .tmulti .multiimageinner{display:flex;flex-direction:column}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow{display:flex;flex-direction:row;clear:left;flex-wrap:wrap;width:100%;box-sizing:border-box}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle{margin:1px;float:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .theader{clear:both;font-weight:bold;text-align:center;align-self:center;background-color:transparent;width:100%}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbcaption{background-color:transparent}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-left{text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-right{text-align:right}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .text-align-center{text-align:center}@media all and (max-width:720px){.mw-parser-output .tmulti .thumbinner{width:100%!important;box-sizing:border-box;max-width:none!important;align-items:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow{justify-content:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle{float:none!important;max-width:100%!important;box-sizing:border-box;text-align:center}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .tsingle .thumbcaption{text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .tmulti .trow>.thumbcaption{text-align:center}}Jar of Xerxes I from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.Detail of the inscription in Egyptian: "The great king Xerxes". A jar in calcite or alabaster, an alabastron, with the quadrilingual signature of Achaemenid ruler Xerxes I (ruled 486–465 BC) was discovered in the ruins of the Mausoleum, at the foot of the western staircase.
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[16] The vase contains an inscription in Old Persian, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Elamite:[16][17][18] .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0} 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 𐏐 𐏋 𐏐 𐎺𐏀𐎼𐎣 ( Xšayāršā : XŠ : vazraka) "Xerxes : The Great King."— Old Persian inscription on the Jar of Xerxes, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.[17] Such jars, of Egyptian origin, were very precious to the Achaemenids, and may therefore have been offered by Xerxes to Carian rulers, and then kept as a precious object.[18] In particular, the precious jar may have been offered by Xerxes to the Carian dynast Artemisia I, who had acted with merit as his only female Admiral during the Second Persian invasion of Greece, and particularly at the Battle of Salamis.[19][17][16] The jar testifies to the close contacts between Carian rulers and the Achaemenid Empire.[16][17] Dimensions and statues[edit] Timeline and map of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, including the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus Much of the information that has been gathered about the Mausoleum and its structure has come from the Roman polymath Pliny the Elder. [20] He wrote some basic facts about the architecture and some dimensions.
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The building was rectangular, not square, surrounded by a colonnade of thirty-six columns. There was a pyramidal superstructure receding in twenty four steps to the summit. On top there were 4 horse chariots of marble. The building was accented with both sculptural friezes and free standing figures. "The free standing figures were arranged on 5 or 6 different levels."[9] We are now able to justify that Pliny's knowledge came from a work written by the architect. It is clear that Pliny did not grasp the design of the mausoleum fully which creates problems in recreating the structure. He does state many facts which help the reader recreate pieces of the puzzle. Other writings by Pausanias, Strabo, and Vitruvius also help us to gather more information about the Mausoleum.[21] According to Pliny, the mausoleum was 19 metres (63 ft) north and south, shorter on other fronts, 125 metres (411 ft) perimeter, and 25 cubits (11.4 metres or 37.5 feet) in height. It was surrounded by 36 columns. They called this part the pteron. Above the pteron there was a pyramid on top with 24 steps and equal in height to the lower part.
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The height of the building was 43 metres (140 ft).[22] The only other author that gives the dimensions of the Mausoleum is Hyginus a grammarian in the time of Augustus. He describes the monument as built with shining stones, 24 metres (80 ft) high and 410 metres (1,340 ft) in circumference. He likely meant cubits which would match Pliny's dimensions exactly but this text is largely considered corrupt and is of little importance.[21] We learn from Vitruvius that Satyros and Phytheus wrote a description of their work which Pliny likely read. Pliny likely wrote down these dimensions without thinking about the form of the building.[21] A number of statues were found slightly larger than life size, either 1.5 metres (5 ft). or 1.60 metres (5.25 ft). in length; these were 20 lion statues. Another important find was the depth on the rock on which the building stood. This rock was excavated to 2.4 or 2.7 metres (8 or 9 ft) deep over an area 33 by 39 metres (107 by 127 ft).[22] The sculptures on the north were created by Scopas, the ones on the east Bryaxis, on the south Timotheus and on the west Leochares.
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[21] The Mausoleum was adorned with many great and beautiful sculptures. Some of these sculptures have been lost or only fragments have been found. Several of the statues' original placements are only known through historical accounts. The great figures of Mausolus and Artemisia stood in the chariot at the top of the pyramid. The detached equestrian groups are placed at the corners of the sub podium.[21] The semi-colossal female heads they may have belonged to the acroteria of the two gables which may have represented the six Carian towns incorporated in Halicarnassus.[23] Work still continues today as groups continue to excavate and research the mausoleum's art. A fragmentary horse from a colossal four-horse chariot group which topped the podium of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Relief of an Amazonomachy from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Coinage of Mausolus as Achaemenid dynast of Caria. Head of Apollo facing/ Zeus Labrandos standing, legend ΜΑΥΣΣΩΛΛΟ ("Maussollo"). c. 376–353 BC.[24] The ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Later history of the Mausoleum[edit] Bodrum Castle The Castle from the south-east The Mausoleum overlooked the city of Halicarnassus for many years.
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