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Ancient Structures: Comparing Egyptian and Mayan Essay


The survey of ancient history is made possible by the remains of great civilisations that are now long gone. Archeologists. anthropologists. and other subjects work manus in manus to understand the yesteryear. cognizing really good that it is the key to understanding the present. Therefore. the find of pictures. artefacts. ruins and other objects that can assist decode antiquity is extremely valued. If a sherd of clayware can uncover so much about a peculiar civilisation. how much more information can be extracted from immense and good preserved construction for archeologists and historiographers?

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This is the instance with Egyptian and Mayan pyramids that miraculously survived the depredations of clip. reasonably integral. and offering so much hints to an ancient manner of life. The pyramids are modern twenty-four hours tourer attractive forces but in their flower were considered as object worthy of fear and regard. about the same manner as the Gods and deified individuals that used them. This paper will look into two great civilisations of Egypt and that of the Mayan people. The range of this survey is limited to their usage of ancient edifices that are now popularly known as pyramids.


The official site of the National Geographic pointed out that there is a classical position of pyramids. It is the form normally associated with the pyramids found in Egypt ; a monolithic construction with a square base and four triangular sides and holding a common vertex. The quadrilateral construction with a pointed top is an image that was brought to the Western universe by historiographers from Greek. and Roman Empire. When Christianity became the dominant faith in the West the thought that the boies of Israel were the 1s used to construct these prodigious constructions became portion of Christian traditional knowledge.

Recent historical plants nevertheless reveal that pyramids come in different forms and sizes. Even in Egypt the first pyramids built looked more like zikkurats or measure pyramids. The “classical” design came subsequently when the Pharaoh’s perfected the technique of constructing a four triangular sides on top of a square base. The Cheop’s pyramid considered as the greatest pyramid construction in the universe is an illustration of authoritative design. Indeed. it took some clip before ancient builders perfected the art of doing high rise constructions that began with rough hills of Earth to looming edifices tantrum for the Gods. But one time they had learned the secret of constructing one. the Egyptians went on to do a monolithic construction tantrum for a divinity such as the Pharaoah Kufu ( a. k. a. Cheops ) .

The Cheops’ pyramid was the largest pyramid of all time built. The builders used 2. 3 million rock blocks. weighing an norm of 2. 5 to 15 dozenss each ( see National Geographic. com ) . The colossal construction serves chiefly as the burial chamber of their god-king Khufu and has three burial Chamberss one believed to be for Khufu’s married woman and the other 1 for Khufu’s sacred statue. The great pyramid was the focal point in an elaborate composite that included several little pyramids and a mortuary temple.

The same construct of a complex built around a major pyramid can be seen in the Mayan pyramid-temples of ancient Americas. The pyramids found in the Mayan civilisation are similar to those that can be found in the Middle East. Just like those in Egypt. Mayan pyramids were designed and constructed utilizing sophisticated cognition of uranology and mathematics. This decision is based on the fact that the pyramids are constructed in a manner that it will aline with the stars – in the instance of Cheops it was aligned in such a manner that it would be indicating to the North Pole. Such accurate computations before the innovation of high-octane telescopes and computing machines are really impressive.
On the other side of the universe. another ancient civilisation was constructing their ain version of imperium and pyramids. They do non hold an Alexander the Great or a Julius Caesar to talk of their being and luster but still the same they built a great state in the American continent long before the clip of Columbus.

Egyptian Pyramids

As mentioned earlier. there is that “classical design” made popular by the films and historiographers who had more incentive to look into Egyptian history as opposed to that of the ancient ruins of the Mayan civilisation. But that design evolved from a more simpler earthen hill traditionally used for burying the dead. Therefore. to contract the range of this survey. a comparing will be made between two major pyramids. The Cheops’ pyramid found in Egypt and the Templo Mayor found in the American continent. The Cheops’ pyramid is a fitting representative of the luster that was Egypt. It was considered as the greatest pyramid in the universe.

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Mayan Pyramids

At this point all similarities between the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids ends. The Egyptian pyramids. no affair how big and enforcing are nil more than really expensive mausoleums. While Mayan pyramids on the other manus are a combination of temple. communion table. and observatory for uranology all rolled into one. This sentiment is taken from a close reading of Carrasco’s work where one can happen the undermentioned averments. “The Egyptian pyramids were fundamentally tombs for the Pharaoh and their households. While they are brilliant to look at and are monumental in the extreme. they were ceremonially of import as interior architecture and non fundamentally phases for ongoing public rituals” ( 1998. p. 21 ) .

Carrasco adds that for the Mayan race the accent was on the public show of rites. calendrical rhythms. imperial show that goes on and on every bit long as the Sun rises and sets their manner of life revolves around this construction. John Armstrong Crow describes how the Mayan people utilized the pyramids to increase spiritual ardor and he wrote. “…the temple capped the sub-structure and was the apogee of a harmonious series of go uping planes. calculated to increase the semblance of tallness by stressing the effects of mechanical position. When a great spiritual emanation ascended the stepss of a temple the consequence must hold been colossal. for the witnesss below were witting merely of the monolithic acclivity vanishing into space” ( 1992. p. 58 ) .

Indeed. the Mayan pyramids are at the centre of spiritual life in the ancient lands of the Mayan people. But it is non merely a topographic point to offer supplications. incense or even carnal forfeit ; its intent is for a more ghastly undertaking and it is to cast the blood of worlds in order to offer it to their Gods. This possibly the ground why the Spaniards who subsequently came to suppress this portion of the Americas will non give them so much as a leeway in the passage from their old faith to that of their vanquishers. The ferociousness of the human forfeit will be explained much further in the undermentioned pages. Harmonizing to Michael Smith. the cardinal thought of Aztec faith was that the Gods sacrificed themselves so that world can populate a better life and he adds:

In one myth the Gods threw themselves into a immense fire to crate the the Sun ; in another they spilled their ain blood to make people. These myths established a debitor relationship between world and the Gods – a debt that could be repaid merely through offerings of human blood and life. Human forfeit and bloodletting. besides known as auto-sacrifice. were primary signifiers of ritual…” ( 2003. p. 192 ) .

With this belief profoundly ingrained in their mind the demand to fulfill their Gods is a really powerful force that dictates the manner they should populate their lives. It is difficult to conceive of priests immersing petroleum flint knives into the thorax of unwilling victims. And so after the deadly blow the priest practiced in the art of human forfeit like an expert immerse his custodies into the chest pit and pulls out the bosom. After offering it to their Gods the still beating musculus is discarded merely every bit mindlessly as the now decapitated organic structure of the forfeit.


In the survey of ancient history. the find of the pyramids. particularly those that can be found in the Mayan universe of antiquity is a enormous beginning of information. These superstructures evidently offer more information than a 100s of broken sherds of clayware. These constructions. which are good preserved is really helpful in supplying a window to the yesteryear as compared to mere ruins of ancient civilisations. The find of pyramids in the ancient American continent is really important in understanding how ancient people think and behave. It is now clear that ancient work forces and adult females do non hold inferior mind. In fact. the modern head can non happen easy replies to the inquiry of how they were able to construct these monolithic constructions without the usage of heavy equipment and other sophisticated machines.

Furthermore. they are non merely adept builders and have more than adequate cognition of advanced technology rules they are besides knowing in the scientific discipline of uranology. This people made it possible for modern twenty-four hours dwellers of this planet to bask the usage of redstem storksbills and calendars. It is now easier to read the seasons. lunar/solar equinoxes etc. because of their pioneering attempts. This leads to the following realisation that pyramids are non merely centres of spiritual activities but besides served as ancient observatories that allowed the priests to analyze configurations and the motion of the Earth.

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This of class leads to another decision that the priests are non merely spiritual work forces versed in the religious linguistic communication of their twenty-four hours but they are besides adept mathematicians and talented uranologists. In order to to the full appreciate their endowment 1 has to acquire an in-depth analysis of the design and lay-out of the pyramid composite which harmonizing to some resemble the ordered layout of the solar system.

But more significantly the pyramids are the chief conduit between the physical existent and the religious. In the ancient universe. high-rise constructions fire up the imaginativeness of their poets. builders. holy work forces. and national leaders. A high-rise construction is non merely a testament to great technology techniques and admirable edifice accomplishments. it besides an look of piousness towards their Gods who live in the celestial spheres. Therefore. in order to near them or in order to be closer to them pyramids must be built to offer the human spirit and human organic structure to the all powerful being populating above the Earth.

There are countries in the planet that boasts of astonishing pyramid constructions. In both topographic points one can detect good preserved edifices from antiquity lifting more than a 100 pess from the land. These constructions play an of import function in both Egyptian and Mayan civilisations. But both states differ in their use of pyramids. The above-named treatment was able to demo that the pyramids in the old Mayan Civilization had far more utilizations for their pyramids as compared

It is through their use of the pyramid that can assist people in the modern universe understand what these ancients value most. With respects to the Egyptians usage of an expensive construction to bury a dead swayer speaks volumes of what they believe will go on to the Pharaoh in the after life. The Egyptian swayers are convinced that they will govern once more on the other side as Osiris King of the Dead.

On the other side of the universe. the Aztecs use their pyramid in a different manner. The pyramids found in the Americas are used for human forfeits. And once more this pattern is rooted in their spiritual belief that they owe their lives to their Gods. But alternatively of populating a rigorous moral codification to delight their Gods. they alternatively sacrificed others – sooner their enemies or members of neighbouring folks – to demo their piousness to their warrior-god. This survey made it clear that the Egyptians do non hold a monopoly to the technology techniques necessary to construct high-rise constructions. It is besides made clear that the design of the pyramids and its usage depended much on the spiritual beliefs of the ancients.

It is merely unfortunate that even with all the scholarly work and attempt poured into the analysis of both Egyptian and Mayan civilisations there is still no easy reply to the inquiry on how precisely did the ancients constructed a complicated construction with really limited resources. In the instance of the Mayan pyramids the enigma is non merely in the building of their brilliant pyramid-temples and their cognition of uranology it is besides the inquiry on why they all of a sudden disappeared. go forthing a olympian metropolis in ruins. It is good to cognize that the remains of these two civilisations are here to remain and that the following coevals of archeologists and scientists are welcome to examine the secrets of the pyramids one time once more.

Carrasco. D. ( 1998 ) . Daily Life of the Aztecs: Peoples of the Sun and Earth. Westport. Connecticut:
Greenwood Press.
Crow. J. A. ( 1992 ) . The Epic of Latin America. Calcium: University of California Press.
Dupre. J. ( 2002 ) . From Pyramids to Skycrapers: Building in the Americas. New York:
Benchmark Education Company.
National Geographic. Introduction to Pyramids. Available from:
& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. nationalgeographic. com/pyramids/pyramids. hypertext markup language & gt ; Retrieved 10 December
Smith. M. ( 2003 ) . The Aztecs. Malden. Ma: Blackwell Publishing.
Zuravicky. O. ( 2004 ) . Researching Pyramids Around the World. New York: The Rosen Publishing
Group. Inc.

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Ancient Structures: Comparing Egyptian and Mayan Essay



The survey of ancient history is made possible by the remains of great civilisations that are now long gone. Archeologists. anthropologists. and other subjects work manus in manus to understand the yesteryear. cognizing really good that it is the key to understanding the present. Therefore. the find of pictures. artefacts. ruins and other objects that can assist decode antiquity is extremely valued. If a sherd of clayware can uncover so much about a peculiar civilisation.

2018-10-22 10:59:39
Ancient Structures: Comparing Egyptian and Mayan Essay
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