The Library of History

Page 33

Page 33 degrees by the Hands of Men. Some of the Egyptians tell wonderful things, and invent strange Fables concerning these Works, affirming that the Mounts were made of Salt and Salt-Peter, and that they were melted by the Inundation of the River, and being so dissolv'd, every thing was washt away but the Building it self. But this is not the Truth of the thing; but the great multitude of Hands that rais'd the Mounts, the same carry'd back the Earth to the Place whence they dug it; for they say there were Three Hundred and Sixty Thousand Men imploy'd in this Work, and the Whole was scarce compleated in Twenty Years time.

When this King was dead, his Brother Cephres succeeded him, and reign'd Six and Fifty Years: Some say it was not his Brother, but his Son Chabryis that came to the Crown: But all agree in this, that the Successor, in imitation of his Predecessor, erected another Pyramid like to the former, both in Structure and Artificial Workmanship, but not near so large, every square of the Basis being only a Furlong in Breadth.

Upon the greater Pyramid was inscrib'd the value of the Herbs and Onions that were spent upon the Labourers during the Works, which amounted to above Sixteen Hundred Talents.

There's nothing writ upon the lesser: The Entrance and Ascent is only on one side, cut by steps into the main Stone. Although the Kings design'd these Two for their Sepulchers, yet it hapen'd that neither of them were there buri'd. For the People being incens'd at them by the reason of the Toyl and Labour they were put to, and the cruelty and oppression of their Kings, threatned to drag their Carkases out of their Graves, and pull them by piece-meal, and cast them to the Dogs; and therefore both of them upon their Beds commanded their Servants to bury them in some obscure place.

After him reign'd Mycerinus (otherwise call'd Cherinus) the Son of him who built the first Pyramid. This Prince began a Third, but died before it was finish'd; every square of the Basis was Three Hundred Foot. The Walls for fifteen Stories high were of black Marble like that of Thebes, the rest was of the same Stone with the other Pyramids. Though the other Pyramids went beyond this in greatness, yet this far excell'd the rest in the Curiosity of the Structure, and the largeness of the Stones. On that side of the Pyramid towards the North, was inscrib'd the Name of the Founder Mycerinus. This King they say detesting the severity of the former Kings, carried himself all his Days gently and graciously towards all his Subjects, and did all that possibly he could to gain their Love and Good Will towards him; besides other things, he expended vast Sums of Money upon the Oracles and Worship of the Gods; and bestowing large Gifts upon honest Men whom he judg'd to be injur'd, and to be hardly dealt with in the Courts of Justice.

There are other Pyramids, every Square of which are Two Hundred Foot in the Basis; and in all things like unto the other, except in bigness. It's said that these Three last Kings built them for their Wives.

It is not in the least to be doubted, but that these Pyramids far excel all the other Works throughout all Egypt, not only in the Greatness and Costs of the Building, but in the Excellency of the Workmanship: For the Architects (they say) are much more to be admir'd than the Kings themselves that were at the Cost. For those perform'd all by their own Ingenuity, but these did nothing but by the Wealth handed to them by descent from their Predecessors, and by the Toyl and Labour of other Men.

Yet concerning the first Builders of these Pyramids, there's no Consent, either amongst the Inhabitants or Historians. For some say they were built by the Kings before mention'd, some by others.

As that the greatest was built by Armeus, the Second by Amasis, and the Third by Inaronas: But some say that this last was the Sepulcher of one Rhodopides, a Curtesan, and was built in remembrance of her, at the common Charge of some of the Governors of the Provinces, who were her Amours.

Bocchoris was the next who succeeded in the Kingdom, a very little Man for Body, and of a mean and contemptible Presence; but as to his Wisdom and Prudence far excelling all the Kings that ever were before him in Egypt.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books