Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Who really built the pyramids??

User avatar
LCW
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 756
Joined: August 2008
Location: Southern California

Who really built the pyramids??

Post by LCW » Fri September 26th, 2008, 4:20 pm

Reading The Heretic Queen has me wondering if Historians are agreed upon who really built the pyramids. I know pop culture holds that it was Jewish slaves but THQ suggests that Jews served in Pharoah's army, forcibly but they were paid same as all the soldiers. Then I saw on The History Channel that rather than the cruel slave/taskmaster scenario Egyptians actually had a complicated heirarchy of laborers and overseeers with health care, workers rights, etc. Is that an accepted thing in historical circles or is it a pretty new hypothesis?

Also, what about the whole "Exodus" thing? Can that be backed up with fact or is what we think we know about entirely from Christian and Jewish religious texts?
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

User avatar
Volgadon
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 654
Joined: September 2008
Location: Israel
Contact:

Post by Volgadon » Fri September 26th, 2008, 4:31 pm

As far as I'm aware of, the only source for the Exodus story is the Pentateuch.
When it comes to pyramids, nowhere in the Bible does it say that they were constructed by the Israelites! Two cities by the name of Pithom and Rameses, yes, but not a word about pyraimds.

User avatar
Alaric
Avid Reader
Posts: 428
Joined: September 2008
Location: Adelaide, Australia.
Contact:

Post by Alaric » Fri September 26th, 2008, 4:51 pm

They were probably built by slave labour of a number of ethnicities, it seems unlikely that there would only be one group of people who built the whole thing. When it comes to think like this and Stonehenge usually the most obvious answer is the probably the correct one. :p

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri September 26th, 2008, 6:04 pm

Abraham wasn't even around when the first pyramids were built. Cheops pyramid (the largest of the 3 at Gizeh) dates around 3,000 BC. The Egyptians first started with smaller step-style pyramids, then there were the three big conical ones. By the time the Hebrews were enslaved (no, not during Rameses II, they have found his tomb, no Israelite mention there, and archaeological digs in Israel have turned up Ramses II artifacts during the period of Judges, the 300 years after the exodus) during the reign of Thutmose I, the burial fashion was tombs cut into the rock.
Research and archaeology keeps bringing new things to light, but most probably the pharaoh of the exodus was Amenhotep II, Ahkenaten's grandfather. The chronology of the Exodus account also fits perfectly into what is known of Hatshepsut for being the 'pharaoh's daughter' who fished Moses out of the Nile and fostered him. She held power for 40 years. Guess how old Moses was when he had to flee Egypt? Then her son-in-law Thutmose III held power for 40 more years. Guess how old Moses was when he came back 'after the pharaoh who sought to kill him was dead?'

As to who built the pyramids, I doubt it was slave labor at all. It was much more likely to have been a religious duty, one which would gain merit for the laborer in the afterlife. The Nile valley, with its seasonal abundance, provided enough food and a pattern of leisure to allow the general population to participate in activities like pyramid construction. In other words, working on pyramids gave the Egyptians something meaningful to do during their down-time.

User avatar
donroc
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 858
Joined: August 2008
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Contact:

Post by donroc » Fri September 26th, 2008, 6:42 pm

Immnuel Velikovsky in his Worlds in Collision has an interesting theory about the "science" behind the Exodus, who was Pharoah, and the natural causes of the 10 plagues and parting of the sea of Reeds.

Also read his Oedipus and Akhnaton regarding his radical, academia distressing revised timeline of Egyptian history.

A web site devoted to his writings is The Immanuel Velikovsky Archive

Finally, as an aside, also read Sigmund Freud's Moses and Montheism, his final book, in which he postulates Moses was an Egyptian.
Image

Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6 ... annel_page

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Fri September 26th, 2008, 6:52 pm

Fascinating post, MLE. If the captivity of the Israelites was during the time of Akhenaten's grandfather, it would seem very likely that his turn to monotheism was at least in part influenced by stories about the Israelites' beliefs. This is a totally new idea for me, and I'm surprised it hasn't been used in at least a few novels (maybe it has been, but I just haven't read them). The Hatshepsut/Moses theory is an interesting one, too. If all of this indeed fits together, it would be interesting that the two most reviled Pharaohs of their times were also the two who were most friendly to the Israelites and/or their ideas!
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri September 26th, 2008, 9:50 pm

I used to have a subscription to an archaeology magazine that went over all the new discoveries in that area. It was always fascinating to see how things were developing, new theories coming up and old ones scrapped as various things were dug up. A very inexact science, but lots of fun!

Hatshepsut has always been a favorite of mine. Her 'reign' is a little confusing, since she ran things during the official reigns of her father, husband, and son-in-law (Thutmoses I, II, and III) and the record of her activities is so well-preserved because Thut III plastered over the inscriptions on monuments she made and had his own stuff put there.
If you want to take the biblical story at face value (or some variation thereof) it is interesting to note that Thutmose III was quite a conqueror, made it all the way up into Assyria and down into Libya, but his huge standing army was never mentioned after his death and his successor (not the original heir, by his recorded story) apparently sat at home and lost all the territories Dad had conquered.

Another item that came up in that magazine was the satellite pictures where they can trace roads buried in the sand and old caravan routes. This imaging technique has been used to bolster the theory that the current Mount Sinai isn't the right one, but some mountain (name forgotten) in Saudi Arabia, where a large group of people apparently made tracks for a couple generations.

User avatar
Spitfire
Reader
Posts: 212
Joined: September 2008
Location: Canada

Post by Spitfire » Sat September 27th, 2008, 2:26 am

You know, I always assumed that the Isrealites built the pyramids while they were in captivity in Egypt. But that is a good point, since the Pyramids were obviously built well before that time period, that could not have been the case. Wether it was slave labour or religious duty, I can imagine it would have taken thousands of laborours over many years to complete that project!
Only the pure of heart can make good soup. - Beethoven

User avatar
princess garnet
Bibliophile
Posts: 1574
Joined: August 2008
Location: Maryland

Post by princess garnet » Sat September 27th, 2008, 1:49 pm

The movie "The Ten Commandments" has the Israelites working on a large building project, not a pryamid though!

User avatar
donroc
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 858
Joined: August 2008
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Contact:

Post by donroc » Sat September 27th, 2008, 2:36 pm

Freud postulated that Moses was an Egyptian, likely a follower of Akhnaton's religion, and the Exodus took place during the upheaveal that followed the Pharoah's death.

Velikovsky rejected Ramses II as the pharoah of the Exodus because, in part, in his view he was too autocratic and powerful to allow so great a migration from his kingdom -- and the great catastrophies took place during a different reign.

All very interesting and controversial, to say the least.
Image

Bodo the Apostate, a novel set during the reign of Louis the Pious and end of the Carolingian Empire.

http://www.donaldmichaelplatt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6 ... annel_page

Post Reply

Return to “Ancient”