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Origin and Significance of the Great Pyramid

C. Staniland Wake

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This short book examines the great pyramid and goes through the different theories as to it's existence. Subjects include early Egyptian civilisation, the astronomical theory, the tomb theory, the religious theory and the worship of Seth and the serpent.

This book has 53 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1882.

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Excerpt from 'Origin and Significance of the Great Pyramid'

THE GREEKS of the time of Alexander the Great were so impressed with the magnitude or splendour of certain edifices, that they spoke of them as the seven wonders of the world. Among these, the first place was given to the Pyramids of Egypt, and pre-eminently to those of Ghizeh, which are situate a few miles from Cairo, and in the neighbourhood of ancient Memphis. The Pyramids of Ghizeh form a group of nine, consisting of three large ones, known as the Pyramid of Cheops, or the Great Pyramid; that of Cephren; and that of Mycerinus, which is inferior in size to either of the others. The six other pyramids of the Ghizeh group are much smaller, and arc supposed to be the tombs of female relatives of the kings who constructed the larger ones. From the term "Great" applied to the largest pyramid, it might be thought that it far exceeds in size any of the others. As a fact, however, the Pyramid of Cephren is not very much smaller than that of Cheops, which was about 756 feet square at the base and 480 feet high, as against 707 feet 9 inches the extreme length of the sides, and 454 the height, of the Second Pyramid. Moreover, the construction of the two pyramids was, according to Col. Vyse, carried on upon the same principles. This is true more especially of the general design and external characters of the buildings, which in their internal features, however, differ considerably. The position of the chambers, and the inclination of the passages of the Great Pyramid are exceptional, and, judging from these peculiarities and from certain scientific facts supposed to be embodied in it, several modern writers have affirmed that the design for the Great Pyramid must have been derived from an inspired source. The originator of this theory was John Taylor who in 1859, published a book on the subject and as in recent years it has attracted considerable attention, chiefly through its adoption by the author of "Life and Work at the Great Pyramid," Prof. C. Piazzi Smyth, the Astronomer Royal of Scotland, and as the scientific facts on which it is based are admittedly true, it is necessary to consider the theory.

In the first place, the Great Pyramid is said to embody in its form and proportions certain facts as to the size and shape of the earth. Thus, John Taylor says that the builders of the Great Pyramid "imagined the earth to be a sphere, and as they knew that the radius of a circle must bear a certain proportion to its circumference, they built a four-sided pyramid of such a height in proportion to its base that its perpendicular would be the radius of a sphere equal to the perimeter of the base." This shape is supposed to have reference to an important astronomical fact, seeing that "the vertical height of the Great Pyramid multiplied by 10 to the 9th power (109) tells the mean distance of the sun from the earth—that is, one thousand million times the pyramid's height, or 91,840,000 miles." Moreover, the Great Pyramid is thought to supply a standard of linear measure, based on the length of the polar axis of the earth. Assuming this length to be 500,500,000 of our inches, the 500 millionth of that axis (omitting fractions) will be one inch. Of these inches, 25 or 25.025 of our inches would form a cubit or longer standard, the ten millionth part of the semi-axis of the globe in length, which is the measure of the sacred cubit of the ancient Hebrews. This cubit of 25 earth inches is contained in each side of the Great Pyramid as many times as there are days in the year, and the inch itself "is contained separately and independently in the entire perimeter of the Great Pyramid's base just one hundred times for each day of the year." The inch is also said to be the "representative of a year in the reckoning of the passage floor lines as charts of history, also in the diagonals of the pyramid's base taken as a measure of the precessional cycle."

The Great Pyramid is found, moreover, to furnish an important weight and capacity measure having relation to the mean density or specific gravity of the earth. These earth-measures are said to be reproduced in the Coffer preserved in the large or so-called King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid, the internal capacity of which vessel is just four times the measure of an English quarter of wheat. The Great Pyramid was thus, according to the holders of the inspiration theory, originally designed as a perfect and complete metrological monument. This conclusion is thought to be supported by the great astronomical knowledge possessed by the builders, who were aware, not only of the shape and rotatory motion of the earth, but also of its distance from the sun. They were able, further, to do what was found so difficult up to a comparatively recent date—to fix with precision the position of the four cardinal points, as is shewn by the fact that the pyramid stands due North, South, East, and West.

The Great Pyramid is thus seen to be an important astronomical monument, and it is no less remarkable in relation to certain chronological facts. It is supposed to perpetuate the great cycle founded on the precession of the equinoxes. This siderial year is equal to 25,868 of our years, and the two diagonals of the pyramid's base taken together are said to measure just the same number of inches. It is thought, moreover, that by means of this cycle the date of the erection of the pyramid can be ascertained. Assuming that the long narrow downward passage leading from the entrance was directed towards the pole star of the pyramid builders, astronomers have shown that in the year 2,170 B.C. the passage pointed to Alpha Draconis, the then pole star, at its lower culmination, at the same time that the Pleiades, particularly Alcyone, the centre of the group, were on the same meridian above. This relative position of Alpha Draconis and Alcyone being an extraordinary one, as it could not occur again for a whole siderial year, it is thought to mark the date of the building of the Great Pyramid. It should be mentioned, however, that the date named is not the only possible one. Mr. Richard A. Proctor the astronomer, after stating that the Pole-star was in the required position about 3,350 B.C., as well as in 2,170 B.C., says "either of these would correspond with the position of the descending passage in the Great Pyramid; but Egyptologists tell us there can absolutely be no doubt that the later epoch is far too late." He adds: If then we regard the slant passage as intended to bear on the Pole-star at its sub-polar passage, we get the date of the pyramid assigned as about 3,350 years B.C., with a probable limit of error of not more than 200 years either way, and perhaps of only fifty years."

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