Q:

Why are pyramids shaped like triangles?

A:

Quick Answer

Some archaeologists believe pyramids are shaped like triangles to allow the pharaoh's spirit to climb to the sky or that the sloping sides represent the sun's rays. Another theory is that a pyramid was the easiest shape to build or that it simply represents a burial mound.

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Full Answer

Egyptian pyramids have long been a source of mystery and, in fact, the Pyramid of Giza is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. While no clue was left behind as to the reason for the triangle shape, archaeologists are able to make some educated guesses. Some believe that the pyramid shape is representative of the mound of creation. Egyptians believed that the Earth was created on an island, which they named the mound of creation. The pyramids rising up out of the flat desert might signify this belief.

It is well-documented by artifacts found in pyramids that Egyptians revered their dead and wanted to make the transition to the afterlife as easy as possible. This is why some believe that the pyramids are shaped in such a way to allow easy passage from this life to the next. The sun was another important part of Egyptian beliefs. To honor and please their sun god, some archaeologists believe that the pyramids sides represent the rays of the sun.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why were the pyramids built?

    A:

    The pyramids of Egypt were built as tombs for ancient pharaohs. Because they were considered both human and divine, pharaohs were believed to become mediators between gods and humans after death. Since a part of the spirit supposedly remained with the body, the entombed body was mummified and surrounded with objects needed in the afterlife, including furniture, food and gold.

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  • Q:

    Was the construction of the pyramids a mistake?

    A:

    Pyramids, far from being a mistake, evolved naturally from earlier flat-topped mastaba tombs. They symbolized the setting and rising sun, a symbol of rebirth after death. However, the peculiarly angled sides of King Sneferu's pyramid were due to a mathematical error.

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  • Q:

    Why did Egyptians stop building pyramids?

    A:

    It is not definitively known why the ancient Egyptians stopped building pyramids. Well-known structural engineer and Egyptian construction specialist Peter James theorizes that the Egyptians quit building pyramids because they quickly began showing cracks and imperfections. James believes that these imperfections in the pyramids are caused by what the Egyptians thought were improvements in construction techniques.

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  • Q:

    When were the first Egyptian pyramids built?

    A:

    The Edfu pyramid is the oldest pyramid in Egypt that has been discovered as of 2015, and it is believed to have been built sometime between 2637 and 2589 B.C. The Edfu pyramid is constructed with three steps, and it is 42 feet high.

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