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The early part of the last century has seen contradictory opinions by various Egyptologists on whether Egyptians had entered the Great Pyramids long before the Mohammedan era. These conflicting surveys also linger on whether this entry into the Pyramids was through cunning art or some substantial knowledge of its methods of construction.
The film “Into the Great Pyramids”, answers some of these views including the culture of the people who built the Pyramids and also how they accomplished this phenomenal engineering feat. In this documentary, Egyptologist Zahi Al- Hawass reveals some of the most recent spectacles in archaeological showcasing in Egypt.
The sarcophagus which is one of Egypt’s oldest artifacts is also revealed to the whole world in one piece. The film deciphers the undergoing mythology surrounding the Great Pyramids while also giving some more insights on how the Pyramids were developed. We are therefore going to look at some aspects that come out from the film.
Evidence of Past and Present Colonialism
Historical artifacts and its disclosure define the contemporary politics in the field of Egyptology and its affiliation to European colonial powers. For instance, Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt can be seen through the drawings of the ancient tombs and monuments, along with other aspects of Egypt such as the meticulous drawings of mosques, citadel, the Pyramids, and the Sphinx, just to name a few (Wynn 49).
After the British ousted they kept the original Rosetta stone which had tremendous importance to Egypt. Various Hieroglyphs have also been found to be in French, German, and English texts.
The methods used to construction of these Pyramids greatly revolutionized the ancient architecture and so did their cultural way of life. One big finding was in Bahariya Oasis, Giza Governorate where a cosmic necropolis that dated back to the Greek-Roman period was unearthed. This Old Kingdom represented a period when Bahariya was a key wine producing and trading post for the desert caravans subsequent.
These science expeditions and innovations brought by the early European invasion can still be seen through the technological know-how in the daily lives of Egyptians, that has also facilitated some archeological findings. Some of these monumental findings have also being traced in some of these European countries such as the Cleopatra Needles, the obelisks of Alexandria that now stand in London and New York City (Wynn 55).
This historical rivalry for Egypt’s treasure by the Europeans was seen a cultural invasion that penetrated and robbed Egyptians of their own heritage, norm, and statutes which they held at heart. The withholding of some of these monuments by some European countries is seen as present day colonialism.
The Ancient Egyptian Magical/Religious World View
Through the discovery of various monuments, drawings, and paintings, the Egyptian culture is seen to have worshipped a variety of gods who were symbolic to their specific needs and signals the unambiguous ways that religion permeated and shaped culture. Figures in painting and sculpture have depicted these gods in both two-and three-dimensional forms. These gods were presumed to have magical powers that could heal or cure any problem according to their positions in the divine hierarchy.
The pre-dynastic period saw divinities taking the forms of animals that engaged in human activities such as conquering enemies. These gods were also presumed to incur curses on those who disturbed their peace or went against their will. This frustrated and stopped the efforts of some local and international treasure hunters who were swayed by this notion brought about by the unnecessary entry to these pyramids.
Both through Judaism and itself, Egypt is also believed to have played a crucial role in the amplification of Christianity. The elaboration of Christian principles may have been through a combination of a strong rejection of Egyptian practices and the growth of theological models originating from Egypt. The Christian faith believes that the pyramids were built courtesy of Israelite slaves who built it over a period of time as accounted for in the Bible.
Also through the fusion of Hebrew, Greek, and Egyptian views, early Egyptian Christianity is believed to have constituted a great influence from Mary and the saints and to the monastic life, to the nature and the adoration images of Jesus. Egypt is therefore seen globally as the cradle and birth of various religions and cultures due to the diversity of people who lived or visited as evidenced through different cultural artifacts which portrays the social life in Egypt (Steward 194-200).
The Great Pyramid is believed to have been built and accredited to Khufu who was the first King of Fourth Dynasty mainly recognized with Enoch, Seth, and Shem by many Christians (Steward 226). Khufu along with his subjects, are believed to have adopted its origin from some foreign race to Egypt which resonates well with the Christian belief that the pyramids were built by Israelite slaves.
However, this belief is rejected by Egyptians who claim that the tombs had names and epitaphs inscribed on them, which indicated that the builders were Egyptian workers who where remunerated for their labors as opposed to the assertion that the Pyramids were built by ancient Israelite slave labor.
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The film “Into the Great Pyramids” gives more insight to the cultural evidences based on its artifacts and puts rest to some baseless theories. Egypt also has rich history and discoveries which are constantly being unearthed through various technologies. From religion, technology, to the cultural- social life, Egypt is undisputedly the cradle of past and present humanity because it’s the most transversed nation in the world since time in memorial and can also be claimed to be the “mother of all origins”.
Steward, Basil. Witness of the Great Pyramid. Whitefish, Montana. Kessinger Publishing, 2003. Print.
Wynn, L. L. Pyramids & Nightclubs: travel ethnography of Arab and Western Imaginations of Egypt, from King Tut and a colony of Atlantis to rumors of sex, Orgies, urban legends about a marauding prince, and blonde Belly Dancers. Texas. University of Texas Press, 2007. Print.