Chronicle of The Pharaohs: The Reign by Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt
Egyptian civilization was one of the greatest in the ancient world, and certainly the most long lived, lasting for more than 3000 years. In the popular mind the immediate images are those of the pyramids, the great Sphinx at Giza, the enormous temples and the fabulous treasures that have been preserved in the dry sand of Egypt. But what of the peoplewho were responsible for such splendours? The ancient Egyptian pharaohs were god-kings on earth who became gods in their own right at their death. They indeed held the power of life and death in their hands – their symbols of office, the crook and flail, are indicative of this. They could command resources that many a modern-day state would be hard pressed to emulate. One has only to conjure with some statistics to realize this. For example, the Great Pyramid of
Khufu (Cheops) at Giza, originally 481 ft (146 m) high and covering 13.1 acres (5.3 hectaresL was the tallest building in the world until the 19th century AD, yet it was constructed in the mid-3rd millennium BC, and we still do not know exactly how it was done. Its base area is so vast that it can accommodate the cathedrals of Florence, Milan, St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey in London and St Peter’s in Rome, and stillhave some space left over.
The vast treasures of precious metal and jewellery that, miraculously, escaped the attentions of the tomb robbers are almost beyond comprehension. Tutankhamun’s solid gold inner coffin is a priceless work of art; even at current scrap gold prices by weight it would be worth almost £1 million ($1.5 millionL and his gold funerary mask £105,000 [$155,000). He was just a minor pharaoh of little consequence – the wealth of greater pharaohs such as Ramesses II, by comparison, is unimaginable.