Ancient Egyptian Architecture The Egyptians have survived for thousands of years, and are considered to be the hallmark of human civilization. They are the first known culture to have a stable society for such a long period of time. The reason their society was so stable is because they all believed in the same thing, which was that the gods were the first priority and that their pharaoh was a man who ascended to the level of a god. Another reason that the Egyptians survived for so long was because their architectural prowess was unmatched for thousands of year by any other civilization.
Not only do buildings and statues show us how great the Egyptian kingdom was, but it also gives us and enormous amount of insight into their culture and what they valued; and what they valued above all, and what drove them to build such monumental feats of architectural achievement was the afterlife. The afterlife was the sole reason many of Egypt greatest building were made, such as the early Masters, the Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and much more.
In Egyptian culture the gods were closely tied in with the afterlife as they decided whether or not you could pass through to the other side, so fittingly the Egyptians also build huge temples to honor their gods. All Egyptians architecture was created with a purpose, whether it be to please the gods or their kings. The Egyptians were also very avid sculptors they sculpted life size representations of their nobility and kings in their prime. Studying these sculptures and their architectural achievement can give the modern world amazing amounts of insight into their culture.
The Egyptians were so obsessed with the afterlife that they built special tombs to insure that the dead kings or nobleman’s body would not be tampered with. The early Masters were Just a functional way of burying their kings and nobility in safe place that would insure their safe passage into the afterlife. They were built on the west side of the Nile River, which to them was a symbol of death; it was the place where the sun fell into the underworld. (COM) They were not meant to be very grandiose as they were only a rectangular building with sloping sides.
They meant to be functional. Inside the burial chamber of the Master was the preserved body of the death along with tangible items from their lives such as pets, food, and furniture. They even went as far as to bury the nobleman’s or kings slaves along with the body so they have someone to serve them in the afterlife. To make the afterlife seem even more like real life the architects even had artists paint the walls of the burial chamber with real life events.
All these factors such as the slaves, food, and material good make it clear that the Egyptians not only respected the afterlife but it almost seems like they looked forward to it. The masters were very functional but they were not fit for a god, which was the status that the pharaohs and kings of Egypt had achieved, so the Egyptians replaced he masters with the pyramids. These were the functional equivalent of the masters, but they were grand enough to hold the body of a god. The most well know pyramid is The Great Pyramid of Cheeps (Chuff).
This is the largest of the three pyramids of Gaza and home to Chuff. His tombs is massive, but he is the only one in the entire tomb. This further reinforces the idea that the pyramids were built for gods, they were so grand that no one else was worthy enough to be laid to rest in it. Even Chuff’s wives were not allowed to be buried in his pyramid. They were buried in masters near his tombs. This along with the idea that Chuff was considered to be a god could also show that women were not as highly regarded as men were in ancient Egypt.
The pyramids where not only a place worthy to bury a god, but they were also a place that is worthy of praise by any architect, mathematician, engineer, or astronomer of the modern era. Chuff’s pyramid was the tallest standing structure in the world for thousands of year, not only that, but it is also the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world that is still standing. Along with those accolades the Pyramids of Gaza are also perfectly aligned with the stars. All these things give a lot of insight to into what the Egyptians valued other than Just the gods and afterlife.
Without math and science the Egyptians would not have survived for as long as they did or been capable of building such amazing structures. It is easy to conclude that they thought very highly of math, particularly geometry to put so much effort into the subject; so much effort in fact that their knowledge of the subject would be unmatched for thousands of years. Along with geometry the Ancient Egyptians valued astronomy, if they did not they would not have bothered to align the structures they build with the stars.
This interest astronomy could be because they associated their god with the heavens and paid tribute to them by building their structures in accordance with the sky, but there could also be a much simpler answer; they could have built the pyramids that way simply because they could and to show any other civilization that they were superior. Whatever the answer may be the pyramids not only showed the modern world where the Egyptians buried their kings, but it also taught them a great deal about what they cared about in terms of education.
The Egyptians were not only great architects but they were great sculptors. The best example would be The Great Sphinx at Gaza. This along with an amazing feat of Architecture is an equally amazing piece of art. The Great Sphinx of Gaza is an anthropoids, which meaner that it has the body of a lion and the head of a human, in this case the head of a pharaoh. Like most buildings made by the Egyptians the Sphinx is a tribute to the pharaoh as well as the gods, but this building had a specific purpose.
It was built behind a temple and was intended to guard the temple. This gives us a clue into how the Egyptians perceived their gods. The Egyptians didn’t hint of their gods as distant deities that ruled over them, but they thought that the resided in the world with them, and by building the Sphinx of Gaza they thought that a god would reside in the Sphinx itself and protect the temple. The sphinx doesn’t only appear in sculptures but it also appears in many paintings as well.
In most painting, like the one shown below, the sphinx is shown as a fearsome creature that is fighting and destroying its opponents. Many archeologist think that the sphinx was representative of the pharaoh and if this is true it can further explain why the Egyptians people were so loyal to their king. Another thing we can infer from this picture and the countless other paintings and sculptures of the human and animal hybrids is what the Egyptian culture thought about animals. They Egyptians regarded animals very highly and associated them with power and strength.
This is evident when you begin to pay attention to how the Egyptians depicted their gods, for example Anabas who was the god that watched over the dead and the mummification process was depicted with the body of a man and the head of a Jackal. Another example is Amman Ra the sun god who watched over all the other gods supposedly had the body a man and the head of a falcon. The Egyptians greatly respected the power of animals and that maybe the reason that their gods and pharaohs where often associated with animals.
Egypt is known for their colossal architecture, but that is not the only place that we can learn about their society from. Their minor sculptures can also tell us a great deal about how they their society functions and society was structured. For example the amount of information that can be gathered from this subculture is staggering. To begin with there were hundreds of sculptures exactly like this found in the Egyptian ruins, and the age of hose sculptures varied by hundreds of year.
This meaner that whatever these sculptures are trying to say is very meaning to the Egyptian people. The first thing you notice when you begin to examine the statue is the man’s stance. He has one leg in front of the other indicating that he is moving forward. This shows that the men were the leaders of society in Egypt. With further examination you notice that the woman’s shoulder is behind the man’s, almost as if she is hiding behind him for protection, which indicates that it was a man’s duty of protect any woman in his life whether it be his wife or sister.
You can also infer what the men and woman looked for in spouses and what the ancient Egyptian society valued. For the men they had to be physically strong and fit as represented in the sculptures. The women had to be fit and slim as well, which is different from most ancient cultures, who wanted their women to be bigger to ensure that she could birth healthy babies. Studying the sculptures left behind by the Egyptians is a great was of learning about their society. The Ancient Egyptian society is the greatest society that has ever existed.
The debility in their culture was because they all believed in the same thing and hey all acted according to their beliefs. They also built their architecture according their beliefs, the pyramids being the best example. It shows how they treated their kings who was also considered a god. It is also a great metaphor for their society. The base of the pyramid represents the slave and tip represents the pharaoh, and the middle represented the nobility and working class. It is information and representation like this that allows us to envision what their society and culture was like.