Sphinx with Pyramids of Khafre and Menkure.
EGYPTIAN IV DYNASTY Anonymous (aka Fourth Dynasty Anonymous)
25th-24th c BCE Egyptian Egyptian Old Kingdom Architecture
(c. 2575 BCE - c. 2465 BCE)
25th-24th c BCE
Egyptian Old Kingdom
Three great pyramids were erected at Gizeh by pharaohs of the fourth dynasty: Khafre (Kephren), Khufu (Kheops), and Menkure ( Mykerinus). This might be the proper place to warn you about the variant pronunciation and spelling of Egyptian names. The names were originally written in hieroglyphics, the ancient Egyptian picture language; without some sort of phonetic script it is impossible to know how a picture was pronounced. At the end of the l8th century members of Napoleon's expeditionary force to Egypt discovered an extraordinary document known as the Rosetta Stone which contained a hieroglyphic inscription, another in what is called demotic or people's Egyptian, and a third in Greek which was easily read. Using the three inscriptions a young Frenchman, Jean François Champollion, deciphered the hieroglyphics. However, there still remained problems with transcribing the Egyptian sounds into European languages. The variance we now find in the spelling of a single name, like that of the Pharaoh Khafre, variously spelled Khafre, Kafre, Khephren, and Chephren, result from transcriptions done at various times into German, French or English. You will find similar variations in the spellings of other names, both of gods and of human beings.
After that rather long footnote, let us return to the pyramids. Here we see the pyramids of Khafre and Menkure. These majestic structures, which the ancients considered to be among the seven wonders of the ancient world, still impress the modern visitor with their grandeur. The two million blocks of stone used to construct one of the gigantic pyramids averaged two and one half tons each. One of the pyramids covered 13 acres, measured 775 feet on one side, and originally stood 48O feet high. The sides of these austere monuments are oriented to the four directions of the compass. They were all constructed as portions of large funerary complexes, which were intended to shelter the bodies of the kings and to provide places of continued devotion where offerings could be brought to sustain their spirits in the afterlife. Khafre's complex was completed by a great guardian sphinx over 150 feet long that combined his head with the body of a lion.
Egyptian Old Kingdom | Sphinx with Pyramids of Khafre and Menkure. | 2530-2460 BCE | Egyptian | Egyptian Old Kingdom