Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Pyramids, structures with square bases and triangular sides, which slope to an apex, erected at different times in various parts of the world, the most remarkable being those in Egypt. The name is Egyptian and strictly applies only to the vertical height of the building, but was used by the Greeks (who converted pir-eiu-us into pyramis) of the whole structure. The Egyptian pyramids, of which there are some 70 or 80, occur in Middle Egypt alone. There can be little doubt that their sole purpose was to commemorate the kings above whose sepulchres they stand. These monarchs belonged to the various dynasties from the 4th to the 12tb, and lived between 4000 and 2000 B.C. The first step in the construction of the pyramids, which were invariably built during the lifetime of those. for whom they were intended, was the excavation of the gable-roofed, subterraneous chamber designed to hold the sarcophagus. When it was finished horizontal layers of roughly-hewn blocks of stone, with some mortar, were placed over it, the opening through which the sarcophagus was to descend being left uncovered. The rubbly character of the pyramids gradually increased, till eventually the greater part consisted of mud bricks; but even the latest specimens retained the outer casing of highly-finished stone work which completed the structure. In most cases this has now disappeared, having been either destroyed by foreign invaders or carried away to erect buildings in the Egyptian towns. The faces of the pyramids look towards the cardinal points, the entrance to the passage which leads to the sepulchral chamber being either in the northern face or in the ground in front of it. The way through the passages was barred by portcullises, the secret of opening which was probably known to the priests alone. The sepulchral chamber is sometimes situated within the body of the pyramid, instead of underneath it, and sometimes there is more than one, as, for example, in the great pyramid of Gizeh, the internal arrangements of which are quite exceptional.