Herodotus on The Pyramids // The Histories 440 BC // Ancient Greek Primary Source

published on July 28, 2020

To overtime of ramzan itis Egypt so the priests told me was in always well governed and greatly prospered but Cheops who was the next king brought the people to utter misery for first he shut up all the temples so that none could sacrifice there and next he compelled

All the Egyptians to work for him appointing some to drag stones from the quarries in the Arabian mountains to the Nile and the stones being carried across the river in boats others were charged to receive and drag them to the

Mountains called in Libyan they worked in gangs of a hundred thousand men each gang for three months for ten years the people were afflicted in making the road where on the stones were dragged the making of which road was to my thinking

A task but a little lighter than the building of the pyramid for the road is five furlongs long and ten fathoms broad and raised at its highest to height of eight fathoms and it is all of stone polished and Carvin with figurines the

Ten years aforesaid went to the making of this road and of the underground chambers on the hill whereon the pyramids stand these the King meant to be burial places for himself and the compass them with water bringing in a

Channel from the Nile the pyramid itself was twenty years in the making its base was square each side 800 feet long and it's height is the same the hole is of stone polished and most exactly fitted there is no block of less than thirty

Feet in length this pyramid was made like a stairway with tiers or steps when this its first form was completed the workmen used levers made of short wooden logs to raise the rest of the stones they heaved up the blocks from the

Ground onto the first tier of steps when the stone had been so raised it was set on another lever that stood on the first tier and a lever again drew it up from this tier to the next it may be that there was a new lever on each tier of

The steps or perhaps there was but one leave and that easily lifted which they carried up to each tearing turn when they had taken out the stone I leave this uncertain both ways being told me

But this is certain that the upper part of the pyramid was the first finished off then the next below it and last of all the base and the lowest part there are writings on the pyramid in Egyptian characters showing how much was spent on

Purges and onions and garlic for the workmen and so far as I well remember the interpreter when he read me the writing said that 1600 talents of silver had been paid now if that is so how much must needs have been expended on the

Iron with which they worked and the workman's food and clothing seeing that the time aforesaid was spent in building and the hewing and carrying of the stone in the digging out of the underground parts was as I suppose the business of

Long duration and so evil a man was a UPS but for lack of money he made his own daughter to sit in a chamber an exact payment how much I I know not for they did not tell me this she they say doing her father's bidding

Was minded to leave some memorial of her own and demanded of everyone who sought intercourse with her that he should give one stone to set in her work and of these stones was built the pyramid that stands mid most of the three over

Against the Great Pyramid each side of it measures 150 feet Cheops reigned so the Egyptians said for fifty years at his death he was succeeded by his brother schefren who bore himself in all respects like cherubs Chephren also

Built a pyramid of less size than his brothers I have myself measured it it has no underground chambers nor is it entered like the other by a canal from the Nile but the river comes in through a built passage and in circles an island

In which they say Cheops in self lies this pyramid was built of the same bigness as the other saved it falls 40 feet short of it in height it stands near to the Great Pyramid the lowest layer of it is variegated Ethiopian

Stone both of them stand on the same ridge which is about a hundred feet high Chephren he said rained for 56 years thus they reckoned that for a hundred and six years Egypt was in great misery and the temples so long shut were never

Opened so much do the people hate the memory of these two kings that they do not greatly wish to name them and call the pyramids after the Shepherd philetus who then pastored his flocks in this place

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