What most people call a true cone - a two-dimensional shape (usually a rectangle in this case) extended upwards and tapered to a point. In the mathematical sense, it refers specifically to a cone with a square as its base, though all you perverts often refer to "triangular pyramids" and the like. At least the Egyptians were nice enough to keep the base as accurate of a square as possible.

On a related note, a strict pyramid is not a platonic solid, whereas an equilateral triangular cone (i.e. tetrahedron) can be (although it requires that the base be equilateral and its extruding line segment be orthogonal to the base and with a length exactly right to make the sides also equilateral - not so easy to compute as one might think).

What started as a paper magazine in 1993 is now an Internet-only venture. Pyramid covers computer gaming. Actually, it's a front for the magazine's publisher: Steve Jackson Games. Therefore, the mag tends to cover games such as GURPS, In Nomine, Car Wars, Illuminati: New World Order, Ogre, and Knightmare Chess--all Steve Jackson Games creations.

However, games from all genres and all companies are covered in the publication. Editorial columns, interviews, and previews can all be found here. There is a yearly subscription fee to access the site.

An Alan Parsons Project album from 1978, when they were still doing concept albums. It's about, as the title suggests, the pyramids:

From the rise and fall of an ancient dynasty, to the quest for a key to unlock the secrets of the universe, this album seeks to amplify the haunting echoes of the past and explore the unsolved myseries of the present. Pyramid... the last remaining wonder of the ancient world.

The concept is carried through the album pretty well, although at times it's hard to see the connection between the lyrics and anything vaguely related to pyramids.Musically, the album is reminiscient of I Robot, although there are hints of the more straight-forward musical style on later Alan Parsons Project records.

Released in 1978 on Arista
Produced by Alan Parsons
All songs by Alan Parsons & Eric Woolfson.

Side 1:

Voyager (instrumental) (2:24)
What Goes Up (3:31)
The Eagle Will Rise Again (4:20)
One More River (4:15)
Can't Take It With You (5:06)

Side 2:

In The Lap Of the Gods (instrumental) (5:27)
Pyramania (2:45)
Hyper-Gamma-Spaces (instrumental) (4:19)
Shadow Of A Lonely Man (5:34)
First try and picture the description that evilandi gave you for the general shape. The earliest pyramids differ in some ways to the later ones. I am going to focus on the famous pyramids at Giza none of those other crappy pyramids (just kidding).

Just as a little background thing, there are three big pyramids at Giza and the smallest is the pyramid of Menkaure, the middle one is the pyramid of Khafre, and the largest is the pyramid of Khufu, or Cheops (kee-ops) in Greek. Many old textbooks still have all the Greek names in them.

Early Pyramids

A pyramid is a grave, located in a necropolis of many other graves. Although the graves of the poor were seperated by walls, they were still part of the same necropolis. What is now considered to be the first pyramid of Egypt is the pyramid of king Sozer (the "s" was originally pronounced like the "z" in "zebra" but now it is pronounced like the "j" in "judge" and is commonly spelled "Djoser". By the way, feel free to /msg me with any spelling errors you find.) This pyramid was created apporximately 100 years before the ones at Giza of which the biggest was made in around 2551 B.C. So Sozer's was around 2651 B.C. Anyways, the original graves made by Egyptians were called Mastabahs. They were just big boxes in sort of a rectangular shape. The first pyramids were made for kings and were basically designed like several mastabahs stacked on top of eachother, each one diminishing in size as the height grew. Then these big clunky roofs were diminished into actual steps as a fashion thing. Later, during the fourth dynasty, many changes were made. The stepped pyramids were built stepped for the purpose of building but then later filled in. They put a shiny, pearly limestone finish on but about all of it has been stripped away except for on the pyramid of Khufu, possibly because it's the tallest. It's only left on the top. Anyways, we see the smooth-sided pyramid first in the fourth dynasty. Originally the kings and other dead people were buried under the pyramid, far under the ground but in the 4th dynasty the kings nd queens were buried inside the actual pyramid. This was to help them harness the power of the pyramid (we'll go into that later) and to stop grave-robbers. There were always several tunnels that were fake tombs to trick "tomb-raiders" but really never worked (except surprisingly for king Tutankhamen who's tomb is about the best-preserved we've ever found). One king in the 1500s who's name escapes me, was so paranoid about grave-robbers that he removed the old kings from their tomb and hid them away in a secret place. They kept the underground fake tunnels but the real burial chamber was inside the pyramid.

The Power of the Pyramid

Stupid people, based on the Egyptian mythology, have concluded that the actual shape of the pyramid was what preserved the mummies when in fact it was three things.
  • The entrances (which were located a bit high up on the pyramid wall) were sealed off after the king and/or queen was inside all good and cozy so it was pretty unchanging in there.
  • The dry, arid desert that the pyramids were in was very "corpse-friendly" or atleast when mummified

Anyways, people believed that they could use the power of the pyramid to preserve household items like razor blades and such. That didn't work out too well but I've seen it popping up here and there today.

The Egyptians believed that the god Ra was the sun and every day the pharoah (the highest priest) and al his other high priests would help Ra across the sky through a ritual he performed. A Daily Ritual of the Sun God. Anyways, they believed that Ra actually entered this little pyramid the pharoah had and Ra did the same thing for other pyramids.

The Construction of the Pyramid

A pyramid would have an entrance (maybe a few), airshafts near the top, several fake tombs and one or two real ones.Let's go with the largest pyramid, that of Khufu (or Cheops). One side of the pyramid was 775 ft. and the total are was 13 acres. It has approximately 2,300,000 blocks of stone in it, each one weighing nearly 2 and one half tons. It's amazing that you can see the connection between the precision in the art of Ancient Egyptians and the architecture. The accuracy is astounding. To make that within the king's lifetime and in time frame that they did, they would have to put in 285 blocks per day, but it would have to be even more because the pyramid was not a year-round project. They would only work during the flood season (we'll go over that later).

Myth: The pyramids were all built by many slaves; innocent people imprisoned by the evil pharaoh.

It would be tough for this one to be further from the truth although this did happen once, with king Ramses II. He did the whole thing with Moses and he enslaved the Hebrews. This is an isolated incident and it happened 1200-1500 years after the pyramids at Giza were built.

The pyramids at Giza were built by paid workers. They would only work during the flood season (which flooded the Giza up to the paws of the Sphinx for three months out of the year. Now, the flooding is different because of the climate and because of dams that were built) because during that season, the farmers had nothing to do. They could not work on their farms because they were submerged in water. So the king hired them to build his pyramid.

Not only were these workers paid, but they were paid very well. In fact, if you proved you were a diligent worker and kept it up, you could be promoted to middle management and supervise other workers (not that it would actually change your social status). We have records of the workers eating steaks of oxen that were extremely young, and not only that, they were not even of Egyptian origin so they were imported too. The workers received medical care from the state during the whole time they worked and that service was even provided to their family. It is speculated the Pharoah's own doctors were employed for the workers. After flood season, though, they went back to farming.

The workers: did not use wheels, they might have used rollers, and used sheer human force to carry stones up the pyramid. But how could they get the stoned from the rock quarry to the construction site? Well, this is kind of an interesting story and it all starts in the king's tomb chamber. Graffiti does have a purpose in history! We think that the beams above the tomb were used as support, so the stones wouldn't cave in and crush the king. The workers would take breaks and eat their steaks or whatever and talk. They would chill out and sit on the beams and write stuff on the wall. Their is this one character that no one understood though. It looks like a stick or a cane with one end curving up and a box on top of it. Well it turns out to be a sled. What you say? A sled in the desert? Yes, a sled. The stones were cut at the quarry and then they were either lifted onto a sled, or a sled was pushed under the rock while it was being cut. Either way, the stones were slid on the sled to the Nile river. But the sand would give a lot. How could they push it with so much resistance? Well, first they tried slicking down the sled with a crude oil but they soon found that all they needed was a little water. If a few tough guys gave the sled (with the stone on it) a good push then the whole thing would slide on it's own for quite a distance.

When the stone got to the Nile, it was overflowing with water and rushing at a high speed (remember they only worked during the flood season). They simply floated the stones to the around the area of the Sphinx and slid it or carried it the rest of the way. On the way up the pyramid, it was all man-power.


Archaeology started a very long time ago, in ancient times. But modern archaeology started in the 1800s. Up until about the 70s archaeologists only studied the elite class, the pharaohs, and the rich. They weren't out to learn about history. In the 20s, most of them were glorified treasure-hunters and just wanted to be rich and famous. So many things have been done by those "archaeologists" that have ruined great artifacts that it is truly disgusting to think about it. Well, the rich were not even 10% of the population and studying them did not teach much about the culture, at least not as much as studying the tombs of the commoners could do, as we have been doing lately. When you remove the artifact from it's original position or damage it then it is hard to learn many facts from it.

Commoners had good graves too. They had all the same ka images and decorations (of course, they were of much smaller proportion and they were of much less quality). We have to do our best to preserve what we have from our past.

An Original Work of BigHoliday

The new version of The $25,000 Pyramid in syndication, which debuted in Fall 2002. Pyramid is hosted by singer/actor Donny Osmond and features two contestants paired with minor celebrities (Terri Garr and Fred Willard, to name two).

The main game proceeds much like the original Dick Clark version, except that contestants must try to get 6 answers in 20 seconds instead of 7 answers in 30 seconds. Answers are given by one person reading off a laptop computer (instead of the rotating TV on the original) in a specific category. Players go back and forth choosing punny categories from a set of six, including the hidden "SUPER 6" that grants a bonus prize if the contestant gets all six answers correct. The winner after this round (with an optional tiebreaker) goes to play the pyramid for a shot at $10,000 and later an additional $15,000. A guide to the pyramid round is found in the original's node.

The game plays very similarly to the original, although the high-tech gloss manifests itself with plasma screens everywhere and a bluish color scheme evocative of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? rather than the orange shag carpet of the original. Osmond is a good host who knows when to step aside without hot dogging too much. The winners of $25,000 will come back to play in a tournament for $100,000.

The show is produced by Sony Pictures Television, and features large amounts of Sony product placement. For example, the laptops used during the preliminary rounds are all Sony VAIOs. The Plasma screens are also Sony (Sony WEGA?). By winning the Super Six category, the contestant either wins a trip or some über-cool Sony gadget like a DV camera or a minidisc player.

I've only seen a few of these episodes on my local NBC affiliate in syndication, but it's a good show. People really need to rush to get 6 answers in 20 seconds, so scores tend to be lower and there are far fewer perfect ties than the original. The "what have you been up to lately" banter given to the celebrity guests is a little more obvious but not too distracting. Overall, a nice syndicated effort and a must-see for any game show junkie.

There is a school of thought out there, propounded in the book Fingerprints of the Gods, that believes that the Great Pyramid and its partners on the Giza plain were built by a pre-Eqyptian civilization that was wiped out by the cataclysm at the end of the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago. In this theory, the ancient Eqyptians are believed to have renovated, not built, the pyramids and recarved the head of the Sphinx from a lion to a man. For example, the body of the Sphinx (but not the head) shows heavy water erosion, impossible unless it was built (actually, it wasn't built, it was carved out of the living bedrock) prior to the last time Egypt was wet, over 12,000 years ago.

The argument used is that the pyramids are too well made (we couldn't make them today with similar materials to as great a level of accuracy even if we wanted) and incorporate mathematical constants (like Pi and Phi), and too many space- and earth-related proportions, alignments, and measurements to be accidental. For example, the famous King's Chamber (which is strangely bare of any heiroglyphs or markings for something supposedly made by the ancient Egyptians) is a featureless "golden" rectangular room made of huge slabs (50 tons each) of granite, with a smaller granite box (made to such exacting accuracy for such a hard material we couldn't even make it with existing tools) that is built exactly to the same proportions, with the additional bonus that the volume of the hollow is in perfect ratio to the outside volume of the box. It is obviously a monument to the race that made it, not a crypt. No mummy or treasure was found when the King's Chamber was opened for the first time in recorded history. The various mathematical clues all point to an extremely sophisticated civilization of master engineers with phenomenal tools.

The evidence of the pyramids is usually used to bolster the arguments of the "Chariots of the Gods" theory, propounded in books such as Eric Von Daniken's. A previous civilization makes much more sense than extraterrestrials if you believe that the Pyramids are too difficult a structure for the Egyptians to have created. Another piece of evidence to support this theory is the Inventory Stela, disregarded by Egyptologists because they cannot reconcile the information on it that unequivocally states that the Sphinx existed long before the reign of the Pharaoh who supposedly built it.

We are only flies on the face of history. Civilization may be wiped out at any time, through man-made or natural disasters, or random cosmic events. We all have the desire to project our society as far into the future as possible, but the millstones of history grind slow and hard. The Pyramid builders and the carvers of the Sphinx created cultural statements in stone that have lasted for millenia.

Spacecraft as Pyamid We too have created artifacts of great complexity and cunning. They are called spacecraft. The lunar surface is littered with devices that may outlive our culture. For example, future civilizations (whatever their nature) will marvel at the remains of Apollo 11. It is made to incredibly tight tolerances out of difficult-to-manufacture materials, and is part of a transport system that managed to take its occupants and cargo sucessfully to the moon and back. Due to the airlessness of the Moon, it will probably outlast the Pyramids. Any future civilization that advances far enough to go to the moon and find the devices there will appreciate that a technically-advanced people made them and brought them to that place.

Pyr"a*mid (?), n. [L. pyramis, -idis, fr. Gr. &?;, &?;, of Egyptian origin: cf. F. pyramide.]


A solid body standing on a triangular, square, or polygonal base, and terminating in a point at the top; especially, a structure or edifice of this shape.

2. (Geom.)

A solid figure contained by a plane rectilineal figure as base and several triangles which have a common vertex and whose bases are sides of the base.

3. pl. (Billiards)

The game of pool in which the balls are placed in the form of a triangle at spot. [Eng.]

Altitude of a pyramid (Geom.), the perpendicular distance from the vertex to the plane of the base. --
Axis of a pyramid (Geom.), a straight line drawn from the vertex to the center of the base. --
Earth pyramid. (Geol.) See Earth pillars, under Earth. --
Right pyramid (Geom.) a pyramid whose axis is perpendicular to the base.


© Webster 1913

Pyr"a*mid (?), v. i. (Speculation)

To enlarge one's holding or interest in a series of operations on a continued rise or decline by using the profits to buy or sell additional amounts on a margin, as where one buys on a 10% margin 100 shares of stock quoted at 100, holds it till it rises to 105, and then uses the paper profit to buy 50 shares more, etc. The series of operations constitutes a pyramid.


© Webster 1913

Pyr"a*mid, v. t. (Speculation)

To use, or to deal in, in a pyramiding transaction. See Pyramid, v. i.


© Webster 1913

Pyr"a*mid, n. (Speculation)

The series of operations involved in pyramiding. See Pyramid, v. i.


© Webster 1913

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