Mountains of the Pharaohs

Mountains of the Pharaohs

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The great pyramids of Giza have intrigued humanity for thousands of years. Questions about the construction and the purpose of these majestic monuments have existed since the middle period of ancient Egyptian civilization, but recent cutting-edge research has uncovered information about how and why they were built. In Mountains of the Pharaohs, Zahi Hawass, a world-renowned archaeologist and the official guardian of Egypt’s timeless treasures, weaves the latest archaeological data and an enthralling family history into spellbinding narrative. Nearly five thousand years ago, the 4th Dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom reigned over a highly advanced civilization. Believed to be gods, the royal family lived amid colossal palaces and temples built to honor them and their deified ancestors. Hawass brings these extraordinary historical figures to life, spinning a soap opera–like saga complete with murder, incest, and the triumphant ascension to the throne of one of only four queens ever to rule Egypt. The magnificent pyramids attest not only to the dynasty’s supreme power, but also to the engineering expertise and architectural sophistication that flourished under their rule. Hawass argues that the pyramids—including the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the only one of the Seven Wonders of the World still standing—were built by skilled craftsmen who took great pride in their work. Mountains of the Pharaohs is an unprecedented account of one of civilization’s greatest more

Product details

  • Hardback | 213 pages
  • 160 x 231.1 x 20.3mm | 453.6g
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc
  • Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0385503059
  • 9780385503051
  • 1,938,263

Review Text

Update on some of Egypt's most awe-inspiring antiquities, focusing on the pyramids and Sphinx at Giza.As much as has been gleaned of the purpose and methods of the ancient Egyptians who erected the massive structures on the Giza plateau in the 4th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom (beginning around 2613 b.c.), much speculation remains. Who better, then, to speculate than Hawass (Curse of the Pharaohs, 2004, etc.), secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, who has been working at the site for nearly 20 years? (The U.S.-educated author, however, takes care to credit foreign archaeologists for their significant discoveries and theories.) The kings themselves, principally the three generations of Sneferu, Khufu (known in Greek as Cheops) and Khafre, quite possibly viewed these architectural wonders both as lasting monuments and as a kind of spiritual space shuttle from which an entombed monarch's spirit would be launched to join the gods among the circumpolar stars that obsessed the ancient astronomers, there to become gods themselves and play a role in maintaining the blessings of Egypt. These extraterrestrial aspirations, Hawass points out, made astronomical and dimensional precision key concerns of the builders: The Great Pyramid is aligned within one degree of true north and is perfectly square at the base within a few centimeters. Beyond the still-sketchy knowledge of intricate royal rites (even the rules for succession to the kingship remain unclear), much new information has been obtained through excavation of the burial and housing sites of those who worked as craftsmen and laborers. These are the "ordinary people" who, Hawass insists, were not slaves (particularly not Jewish slaves) but peasant volunteers doing a civic duty, often on rotation from their inundated farms at times of flooding. Arrays of recently unearthed bake ovens and brewing vessels attest to the vast support system that gave rise to the pyramids.Debunks myths and adds more intrigue to the Giza legacy. (Kirkus Reviews)show more