There was a new development with the advent of the third Dynasty , not so much in the social structure as in the philosophical and religious area. While in the early , dynastic period the royal tomb was closely connected with an affirmation of earthly power , of which like the palace , it was an outer expression , with the third Dynasty the tomb also become a symbol of the divinity of the pharaoh of his survival in the afterlife , of his celestial power that went beyond death and could be used to benefit , the entire country .

In order to express these new ideas , Imhotep , the high chancellor and architect if king Netierykhet ” Djoser” , as he was caned by the beginning of the New Kingdom , designed a mastaba for the king , which he later decided to elevate with a series of superimposed mastabas , thus was born the step pyramid of Saqqara , which symbolized a stairway reaching up toward heaven or lowered from heaven to earth , to permit the heavenly ascent of the pharaoh . This was an idea which was expressed at various times in the pyramid texts , the collection of formulas and invocations carved in the pyramids , starting in the fifth Dynasty and developing into the Coffin texts and the book of dead .

Djoser pyramid

It is not known whether Djoser was truly the first king of the third Dynasty , but it is certain that he was the first to use the step pyramid to express the new concept of royalty , thus initiating the age of the pyramids . Due to the lack of written sources , little is actually known of the details of the rituals celebrated at the time of the third Dynasty it appears clear , nevertheless , that within the framework of the new concept of royalty expresses during this period the pyramid and its annexes were i harmony with the rites which had recently begun , including the celebratory ceremony known as the debased “Sed festival ” with its ritual runs which regenerated the forces the king , ensuring that his power , thus the unity of the country , would be maintained .

Two innovations introduced during this period were the construction the funerary temple where the cult the divine pharaoh was practiced , the Serdab , a completely sealed row which contained a large statue of pharaoh and was Connected to the outside only through a small fissure . This statue was the equivalent of the king himself and permitted the dead pharaoh to be present , allowing him to communicate with outside world through the holes in the holes in the walls and thus benefit from sacrifices offerings and fumigations .

The four successors to Djoser also adopted the concept of the pyramid tomb , and seven more smaller pyramids were constructed during third Dynasty in addition to these royal pyramids . Located in middle and upper Egypt , near large pre-dynastic sites , the function of these structures is unknown . In provinces , however , they could be symbolic representations of royal power in the provinces .

Under the reign of Sneferu , the pharaoh of the fourth Dynasty , the pyramid took on its final form as a expression of the increasingly great importance given to the solar cult associated with the cult of the pharaoh , a concept which would continue to develop and would lead to the construction of sun temples during the fifth Dynasty . As religious thought developed , it was no longer considered necessary to have a celestial stairway , for the steep sides of the pyramid , a materialization of the rays of the sun in tile stone , also permitted the pharaoh to make his heavenly ascent .

Sneferu modified the step pyramid that Huni , the last king of the third Dynasty , had built in Meidum , about 60 km south of Cairo , and covered it with a new outer layer . In Dahshur , some 50 km north of Meidum , he also had a pyramid built for himself the so-called south pyramid or Bent pyramid , in which there is a curious change in the inclination of its faces , which decreases by over 100 starting at about the upper third of the pyramid . It is not known why the architects of Sneferu made this change , but it may be surmised that following signs of structural collapse it was decided to reduce the weight of its structures .

Meidum pyramid

Starting in the period of Sneferu , pyramids also acquired other , annexes which would be perfected during the later pyramids of the fourth Dynasty , the satellite pyramid for ” the Queen ” , together with the valley temple , and the processional ramp that connected the pyramid to a funerary temple . At the end of the third Dynasty , the great changes both in philosophy and religion and in the architecture of the pyramids had consolidated , and construction techniques had been refined the foundations had been laid for the construction of the great pyramids of Giza .

The pyramids of the pharaohs of the fourth Dynasty reached a level of perfection in architectural style which was never equaled thereafter . They were distinguished by gigantic forms , the use of enormous blocks of carefully cut rock , and completely developed adjoining structures , the funerary temple , satellite pyramids , the processional ramp and the valley temple .

Around the end of the fourth Dynasty , during the period of Menkaure , pyramids began to grow smaller . This tendency became increasingly evident during the fifth Dynasty due not only to changes in religious concepts , and perhaps primarily , to political and economic changes , which probably included a weakening of royal power and the need for a decrease in public spending . The pyramids of the fifth Dynasty are in fact not as large and are built of smaller , hastily cut blocks and inexpensive materials such 35 local limestone , all of which factors contributed , to the relatively , short life span of these structures .

At the end of the fifth Dynasty , under king Unas reign , an important innovation took place that would also characterize , the pyramids of the sixth Dynasty . Although the architectural style did not change and the size remained modest , the so-called pyramid texts begin to appear on the walls of the funerary chambers .

A great change in architectural style can be seen in the pyramids of the middle kingdom , due to the generalized of unfired brick to construct the nucleus of the pyramid , which was later covered with slabs of high quality limestone . Similarly , the size of the pyramids increased once again , although never rivaling the pyramids built during the fourth Dynasty . The funerary chambers also became more , complex and most important , the funerary temple began to increase in size , reaching its apogee in the pyramid of Amenemhat III at Hawara , which can be considered the last great pyramid built in Egypt . After this period , in fact only very few small pyramids continued to be built until the thirteenth Dynasty , when this type of royal tomb vanished for good making way for the great rock tombs typical of the New Kingdom.

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