About Maximapedia

Pym, John

PYM, JOHN (1584-1643), English statesman, was the son and heir of Alexander Pym, of Brymore, Somersetshire, a member of an ancient family which had held this seat in direct male descent from the time of Henry III. He matriculated as a commoner at Broadgates Hall (now Pembroke College), Oxford, in 1599, and entered the Middle Temple in 1602. He acquired a sound knowledge of the law, and became receiver-general of the king's revenue for Wilts., thus gaining a valuable insight into business and finance. He was returned to parliament as member for Calne in 1614 and again in 1621. He at once became conspicuous in the struggle between Crown and parliament. To the committee appointed to consider the state of religion he made his first great speech on the 28th of November 1621. He held fast to the Elizabethan principle that the Roman Catholics should be subjected to disabilities, not because of their religion, but because of their politics. He, therefore, moved that a special commission for the suppression of recusancy should be appointed, and that an association, after the model of those formed under Elizabeth, should be entered into for defence of the king's person and for the execution of the laws concerning religion. Pym supported Sir Edward Coke in the remonstrance on the prevailing discontents, and was a chief promoter of the petition which incurred James's violent displeasure, and of the Commons' answer defending their privileges, which was afterwards torn from the records by the king's own hand. On the dissolution of parliament which immediately followed, Pym, with other "ill-tempered spirits," was arrested in January 1622, and was confined first to his house in London, and then to Brymore. He associated himself with the party of Francis, 4th earl of Bedford, was returned for Tavistock in 1624, and represented this borough in all the ensuing parliaments. He supported Eliot in urging war against Spain for the defence of Protestantism and the Palatinate, and showed throughout his career, as far as his attention was ever directed to foreign policy, a steady inclination in favour of France.

In the parliament of 1625 he continued his campaign against the Roman Catholics, and drew up with Sir Edwin Sandys the articles against them, and the petition to the king for the direct execution of the penal laws. In the parliament of 1626 he was the chief mover, in April, in the prosecution of Richard Montagu, who had advocated Romish doctrines. On the 8th of May he was manager of Buckingham's impeachment, when it was his special duty to press articles ix., x., xi., relating to the improper distribution of rewards and honours. In the third parliament of Charles I., in 1628, Pym overruled Eliot in deciding that Buckingham's impeachment should now be subordinated to the struggle on general grievances. He zealously pushed on the Petition of Right, resisting on the 20th of May the clause added by the Lords to safeguard the king's " sovereign power," declaring that " he knew not what it was." On the gth of June he carried up to the Lords the impeachment of Roger Manwaring, and delivered a famous speech in which he expounded the fundamental principles which guided his policy.

" Histories," he said, " are full of the calamities of whole states and nations .... [when] one part seeks to uphold the old form of government and the other part to introduce a new . . . But it is equally true that time must needs bring about some alterations. . . . Those things only are eternal which are constant and uniform. Therefore it is observed by the best writers on this subject, that those commonwealths have been most durable and perpetual which have often reformed and recompensed themselves according to their first institution and ordinance."

On the nth of June he joined in the attack upon Buckingham, whom he regarded as the " cause of all these grievances." On the 27th of January 1629 he was reporter of the committee on religion, and declared that convocation was dependent upon parliament. He again, in February 1629, differed from Eliot, who treated the dispute about tonnage and poundage as a point of privilege, declaring that " the liberties of this house are inferior to the liberties of the kingdom," and desiring to deal with it on higher ground as a breach of law and the constitution. He took no part in the subsequent disturbance in the house, and his name is not mentioned as actively resisting Charles's arbitrary government during the eleven years which followed the dissolution. At this period the state of public affairs may well have appalled the most hopeful and the most patriotic, but there seems no sufficient authority for the belief that Pym, with Hampden and Cromwell, actually embarked for New England and were prevented from sailing by orders from the government. An allusion, however, to a similar plan formed " by some very considerable personages," " diverted by a miraculous providence^" is made in a sermon by Thomas Cave in 1642. Pym himself was directly interested in the colonies, being patentee of Connecticut and Providence, and of the latter company also treasurer, and there can be little doubt that like other leaders of the opposition during this period, he regarded America as a possible refuge.

On the assembly of the Short Parliament on the 13th of April 1640, Pym was the acknowledged leader. " Whilst men gazed upon each other," says Clarendon (Hist. ii. 68), " looking who should begin (much the greater part having never before sat in parliament), Mr Pym, a man of good reputation . . . who had been as long in these assemblies as any man there living, broke the ice." On the 17th of April he made a great speech of nearly two hours, in which he enumerated the national grievances, deplored almost in the words of Bacon " the interruption of that sweete communion which ought to be betwixt the king and his people in matters of grant and supply," pointed out the practical injury inflicted on commerce and every sort of enterprise including colonial expansion by illegal and arbitrary taxation, and concluded by asking the Lords to join in finding out causes and remedies. His words made a deep impression. On the 27th of April he resisted the grant of supply, and when the Lords passed a resolution that supply should precede the discussion of grievances, Pym, as manager of the Commons, on the 1st of May, read them a severe lecture on the breach of privilege they had committed. Finally, on the 4th, it was resolved that Pym should next day petition the king to make terms with the Scots, to avoid which Charles summarily dissolved the parliament.

All the energies of Pym were now concentrated on obliging Charles to summon another parliament. He was the author of the petition of the twelve peers to the king for redress of grievances and for calling a new parliament, by the wide distribution Di which an appeal was made to the nation, and he was the promoter of the petition signed by 10,000 citizens of London. In i .any with Hampden he rode through the provinces, rousing organizing public opinion. Meanwhile Charles's attempt to implicate Pym in treasonable communications with the Scots, though there is little doubt that they existed, met with complete failure. Thus, when the king was forced to call the Long Parliament on the 3rd of November, Pym was its acknowledged or and leader. His great work was now, as he conceived it, to save the national liberties and the national religion. Clarendon (Hist. iii. 2) records some " sharp discourse " of Pym with himself at this time, " that they had now an opportunity to make their country happy by removing all grievances and pulling up the causes by the roots, if all men would do their duties." He had seen Vane's notes of Strafford's speeches at the council when he had advised the subduing of " this kingdom " by the Irish army, and on the 7th of November, after declaring to the house the dangerous designs then on foot, Pym moved for a sub-committee to examine into Strafford's conduct in Ireland. The latter's sudden arrival at London on the 9th with the intention of instantly impeaching the popular leaders of treason was met by Pym with corresponding quickness arid resolution. On the nth, after a debate of four hours in the Commons, by his directions with locked doors, he carried up Strafford's impeachment to the Lords, and by this great stroke rendered him at once powerless.

On the 16th of December he moved the impeachment of Laud, whom he joined with Strafford as conspiring to subvert the government of the kingdom, and carried up the articles to the Lords on the 26th of February 1641. He was the chief promoter of the case against Strafford, while the attempts of the queen to gain him over were without result, and on the 28th of January 1641 he brought up to the Lords the list of charges. On the 23rd of March he opened the case, when he argued that to attempt to subvert the laws of the kingdom was high treason, and delivered a violent denunciation against the fallen minister, attributing to him systematic cruelty, avarice and corruption. He soon afterwards heard of the army plot, and the necessity of destroying Strafford became more apparent. He now disclosed Vane's notes. To the attainder, which was at this stage resolved upon, he was opposed (since he dung to the more judirial procedure by impeachment), but when overruled he supported it, at the same time procuring that the legal arguments should not be interrupted. He delivered his final speech on the 13th of April, a great oratorical performance, when he again appealed to the Elizabethan political faith and to that of Bacon, who had so severely censured any action which divided the king from the nation. The man who violated this union was guilty of the blackest treason. " Shall it be treason," he asked, " to embase the King's coin though but a piece ... of sixpence . . . and not to embase the spirits of his subjects; to set a stamp and character of servitude upon them ? " Towards the end of his tremendous indictment of Strafford, Pym broke down, fumbled among his papers, and lost the thread of his argument. But his temporary failure did not diminish the force and effect of his words, all the more impressive because actually spoken in the presence of the sovereign. " I believe," wrote Baillie (Letters, i. 348) " the king never heard a lecture of so free language against that his idolized prerogative."

Attempts were now once more made to gain over Pym to the administration. He had two interviews with the king, but without result, and Charles again determined to resort to force. On the 2nd of May he endeavoured to get possession of the Tower. ' On the 3rd the Protestation, on Pym's motion, was taken by the Commons within closed doors, and afterwards circulated in the country, and on the 5th Pym disclosed the army plot. These incidents decided the struggle and Strafford's fate. The Lords immediately passed the attainder, together with the bill for making parliaments indissoluble without their own consent. Soon afterwards were swept away those institutions of Tudor growth which had become the chief instruments of oppression, the council of the North, the court of high commission, and the star chamber, .while the Crown abandoned the claim to levy customs without consent of parliament. Meanwhile Pym had also taken the lead in the religious controversy. During the dispute between the two houses on this question on the 8th and gth of February r64i, while supporting the London petition for the abolition of the bishops, he had declared his opinion that " it was not the intention of the House to abolish episcopacy or the Book of Common Prayer, but to reform both wherein offence was given to the people." This, no doubt, expressed his real intentions and policy. When, however, it became clear that the bishops were merely the nominees of the king to carry out " innovations in religion " and preach arbitrary government, Pym was easily persuaded to support their abolition, and voted in opposition to the moderate party for the Root and Branch Bill of May 1641, and again for taking away their votes in October. But in his " Vindication," published in March 1643, he especially states that his action with regard to the bishops in " no way concluded me guilty of revolt from the orthodox doctrine of the Church of England." .

The first act in the great political struggle had ended in the complete triumph of Pym. His chief care now was to defend the parliament from violence, since this was the only method of retaliation left at the king's disposal. Through the medium of the countess of Carlisle, Charles's plans were regularly disclosed to Pym. In June he heard of the second army plot, and on the 22nd he carried up the ten propositions to the Lords, requesting their concurrence in effecting the disbandment of the armies and the removal of evil counsellors. After Charles's departure for Scotland, Pym served on the committee for defence, appointed on the 14th of August, and was chairman of the committee which sat during the recess from the 9th of September to the 20th of October to watch the progress of affairs and communicate with Scotland. On the latter day letters arrived from Hampden, who had accompanied Charles, with news of the " incident," and immediate measures were taken to guard the parliament, by bringing up the train-bands. On the 30th Pym revealed his knowledge of the second army plot. On the 1st of November came news of the Ulster insurrection, which created a serious difficulty for the parliament, when it was finally declared, at Pym's instance, that if the king did not change his advisers parliament would provide for the needs of Ireland independently. On the 22nd of November Pym made a great speech on the Grand Remonstrance, of which he was the chief promoter, when he referred to plots "very near the king, all driven home to the court and popish party."

Charles returned on the 25th. He immediately substituted a force commanded by Dorset for the guard already placed at Westminster, but was compelled to withdraw it, and on Pym's motion the house appointed its own watch. Everything now pointed to the advent of a frightful catastrophe. Charles appointed Lunsford to the Tower, rejected the Grand Remonstrance and the Impressment Bill, and began to assemble an armed force. In consequence Pym urged, but unsuccessfully, on the 30th of December the summoning of the train -bands to guard the parliament, and moved the impeachment of the bishops, who had declared the proceedings of the parliament to be sinful and illegal. At the critical moment, however, Charles wavered. He renewed his offer to Pym of the exchequer on the 1st of January 1642, and this meeting with a refusal, or again drawing back himself, he determined on the impeachment of the five members on the 3rd of January. The latter had been forewarned of the king's plans, and when on the 5th he entered the House of Commons with an armed band to seize them, they had removed themselves in safety (see LENTHAL, WILLIAM) . Charles's first look on entering was for his great opponent, and he was greatly disconcerted at not finding him in his usual place. To his question " Is Mr Pym here ? " there was no answer, and nothing remained but to retreat with his mission completely unachieved.

The second act in the great national drama had thus, as the first, ended in a victory for Pym. On the nth, with the other members, he was escorted in triumph back to Westminster, and while the other four stood uncovered, Pym returned thanks from his place to the citizens. On the 25th of January he delivered a great speech to the Lords on the perils attending the kingdom, and referring to their hesitation on the subject of the militia, declared that he should be sorry that history should have to relate that the House of Peers had had no part in the preservation of the state in the present extremity of danger. The Commons ordered his speech to be printed, and it provided the chief material for the paper war between Charles and the parliament which now followed. Still endeavouring to avoid a complete breach of constitutional forms, Pym caused to be added to the resolution of the Commons on the 20th of May 1642, which declared that " the king intends to make war against the parliament," the words " seduced by wicked counsel."

When war broke out, Pym remained at headquarters in control of the parliament and executive, and on the 4th of July was appointed to the committee of safety which directed the movements of the parliamentary forces. His attitude was firm but moderate. He opposed the attempt to prevent Colepepper giving the king's message to the house on the 27th of August. On the 20th of October, upon Charles refusing to accept the petition of the parliament and advancing towards London, Pym proposed the parliamentary covenant, and that those who refused it should be " cast out of the House." He succeeded in overcoming the opposition in the city to the heavy taxation now imposed. On the roth of November, after Edgehill, he spoke in support of the negotiations for peace, at the same time warning the citizens that " to have printed liberties and not to have liberty in truth and realities is but to mock the kingdom." In February 1643 he still showed an inclination for peace, and during the negotiation of the treaty at Oxford supported the disbandment of the armies. When it was evident that peace would not be secured, he proposed in order to carry on the war an excise, hitherto unknown in England, which met with the same violent hostility afterwards aroused by Walpole's scheme. In March he published a " Declaration and Vindication " of his public conduct, in which he threw the whole blame of the appeal to arms on the opposite party, and expressed his fidelity to the Church and constitution. In May he entered, together with the other leaders, into resultless negotiations with the queen, and on the 23rd he took up her impeachment to the Lords. In June he reported on Waller's plot, which exposed the insincerity of Charles's negotiations, and on the 26th of June wrote a " sharp letter " to Essex on his inaction. In July, after the defeat at Adwalton Moor, he prevented the house from again initiating negotiations for peace, which he declared " full of hazard and full of danger," and on the 3rd of August, after having visited Essex at Kingston, persuaded him to separate himself from the peace propositions of the Lords and to march to relieve Gloucester. He thus incurred the hatred of the peace party, and on the gth of August a mob of women surrounded the house calling for Pym's destruction, and were not dispersed without some bloodshed.

Pym had already, on the 3rd of January, proposed to the house an alliance with the Scots, and the Royalist victories now induced parliament to consent to what had before been rejected. The establishment of Presbyterianism was accepted by Pym as a disagreeable necessity, and he was one of the first to take the covenant on the 25th of September. This alliance, which was afterwards destined to have so decisive an influence on the military campaign, and was the first occasion on which the two nations had united in public action, closes Pym's great career. He was made master of the ordnance on the 8th of November, but died on the 8th of December at Derby House, where he resided. On the 15th of December he received a public funeral in Westminster Abbey, whence his body was ejected at the Restoration. A sum of 10,000 was voted by the parliament to pay Pym's debts and provide for his family. About 1614 Pym married Anne Hooke, or Hooker (d. 1620), by whom he had five children, including two sons, Alexander, who died unmarried, and Charles, who was created a baronet; this title, together with Pym's male line, became extinct in the person of Pym's grandson Charles in 1688, Brymore then passing to his sister Mary, wife of Sir Thomas Hales, Bart.

Pym had little of the Puritan in his character or demeanour. His good humour, humanity and cheerfulness in all circumstances, "his pleasant countenance and sweet behaviour," were marked characteristics; the aspersions, however, on his morals, as well as the accusations of bribery, are completely unsubstantiated and discredited. His death came as an irreparable loss to the parliamentary cause. " Since Pym died," writes Baillie (Letters, ii. 216), " not a state head among them; many very good and able spirits, but not any of so great and comprehensive a braine as to manage the multitude of weightie affaires as lyes on them." He was one of the greatest leaders that the House of Commons has produced, a most capable man of business, and indefatigable in assiduous attention to its details. He possessed great tact in influencing the conduct of the house and in removing personal jealousies on critical occasions, and he excelled as a party leader in choosing and directing the course of policy, and in keeping his followers united and organized in its prosecution, as well as in stimulating and guiding popular opinion outside in its support. The frequent appeals to the nation by protestations, oaths of association and popular petitions, were a very striking feature in Pym's policy, one of the chief sources of his strength, and new in English history. We may indeed perhaps see in these and in the canvassing of constituencies conducted by Pym and Hampden the beginnings of party government. His eloquence lay rather in the clearness of his expression and in the depth and solidity of his ideas than in the more showy arts of oratory. Much of his success as a leader was the result of the confidence inspired by his high character, his well-tried courage and resolution at critical moments, his skill and vigilance in unmasking and frustrating the designs of the opposite faction. But Pym was not only great as a party leader; he had the real instinct of construction, the true test of the statesman. This construction, he believed, in the spirit of genuine conservatism, must always be progress along the lines of natural development, and not by the methods of revolutionary or extraneous innovation. It was Pym's chief charge against Charles, Strafford and Laud that they had arrested this progress, and were thus leading the nation to rum and dissolution. Such was the theory and conviction, inherited from Bacon and passed on to Halifax and Burke, which underlay and inspired Pym's policy.

The article on Pym by S. R. Gardiner, in the Diet. Nat. Biog. with its references to authorities, must be supplemented by the same author's Hist, of England and of the Civil War. Pym's life has also been written at length by J. Forster in Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia, Eminent British Statesmen, vol. iii., and by Wood in Ath. oxon. iii. 72, who adds a list of Pym's printed speeches. His character, drawn by Clarendon, Hist. iii. 30 and vii. 409, is inaccurate and obviously prejudiced. See also J. Forster's Grand Remonstrance, Arrest of the Five Members, Life of Sir J. Eliot; Verney's Notes of the Long Parliament; Whitelocke's Memorials, (needing corroboration of other authorities); R. Baillie's Letters; Eng. Hist. Rev. xvii. 736; Rushworth's Collections; Thomason Tracts, 153 (10), 63 (8), 172 (14), 164 (3), 200 (13) (26) (37) (49) (65), 199 (24) (49), 78 (13); Somers Tracts iv. 217, 355, 461, 466; Affaniae and Deaths Sermon, by C. Fitzgeffrey; Add. MSS. Brit. Mus. 14,827; 11,692; Lords and Commons Journals. There are a large number of references to Pym in Calendars of State Papers Dom. 1619-1643, and Colonial Series 1574-1660, and in the Hist. MSS : Comm. Series; but the supposed notebook of Pym mentioned in Rep. x. app. vi. 82, has been shown by Gardiner to be that of another person (Eng. Hist. Rev., Jan. 1895, p. 105). (P. C. Y.)

rson PYRAMID, the name for a class of buildings, first taken from a part of the structure, 1 and mistakenly applied to the whole of it by the Greeks, which has now so far acquired a more definite meaning in its geometrical sense that it is desirable to employ it in that sense alone. A pyramid therefore should be understood as meaning a building bounded by a polygonal base and plane triangular sides which meet in an apex. 1 Such a form of architecture is only known in Middle Egypt, and there only during the period from the IVth to the Xllth Dynasty (before 3000 B.C.) having square bases and angles of about 50. In other countries various modifications of the tumulus, barrow or burial-heap have arisen which have come near to this type; but these when formed of earth are usually circular, or if square have a flat top, and when built of stone are always in steps or terraces. The imitations of the true Egyptian pyramid at Thebes, Meroe and elsewhere are puny hybrids, being merely chambers with a pyramidal outside and porticos attached; and the structures found at Cenchreae, or the monument of Caius Sestius at Rome, are isolated and barren trials of a type which never could be revived: it had run its course in a country and a civilization to which alone it was suitable.

The origin of the pyramid type has been entirely explained by the discovery of the various stages of development of the tomb. In prehistoric times a square chamber was sunk in the ground, the dead placed in it, and a roof of poles and brushwood overlaid with sand covered the top. The 1st Dynasty kings developed a wooden lining to the chamber; then a wooden chamber free-standing in the pit, with a beam roof, then a stairway at the side to descend; then a pile of earth held in by a dwarf wall over it. By the Illrd Dynasty this dwarf wall hail expanded into a solid mass of brickwork, about 280 by 1 50 ft. and 33 ft. high. This was the maslaba type of tomb, with a long sloping passage descending to the chamber far below it. This pile of brickwork was then copied in stonework early in the Illrd Dynasty (Saqqara). It was then enlarged by repeated heightening and successive coats of masonry. And lastly a smooth casing was put over the whole, and the first pyramid appeared (Medum).

It is certain that the pyramids were each begun with a di finite design for their size and arrangement; at least this is pl.iinly seen in the two largest, where continuous accretion (such as Lepsius and his followers propound) would be most likely to be met with. On looking at any section of these buildings it will be seen how impossible it would have been for the passages to have belonged to a smaller structure (Petrie, 165). The supposition that the designs were enlarged so long as the builder's life permitted was drawn from the compound mastabas of Saqqara and Medum; these are, however, quite distinct architecturally from true pyramids, and appear to have been enlarged at long intervals, being elaborately finished with fine casing at the close of each addition.

Around many of the pyramids peribolus walls may be seen, and it is probable that some enclosure originally existed around each of them. At the pyramids of Gizeh the temples attached to these mausolea may be still seen. As in the private tomb, the false door which represented the exit of the deceased person from this world, and towards which the offerings were made, was always on the west wall in the chamber, so the pyramid was placed on the west of the temple in which the deceased king was worshipped. The temple being entered from the east (as in the Jewish temples), the worshippers faced the west, looking towards the pyramid in which the king was buried. Priests of the various pyramids are continually mentioned during the old kingdom, and the religious endowments of many of the priesthoods of the early kings were revived under the Egyptian renaissance of the XXVIth Dynasty and continued during Ptolemaic times. A list of the hieroglyphic names of nineteen 1 The vertical height was named by the Egyptians pir-em-us (see E. Revillout, Rev. Eg., 2nd year, 305-309), hence the Greek form pyramis, pi. pyramid*! (Herod.), used unaltered in the English of Sandys (1615), from which the singular pyramid was formed.

1 For figures of geometrical pyramids see CRYSTALLOGRAPHY, and for their mensuration see MENSURATION.

of the pyramids which have been found mentioned on monuments (mostly in tombs of the priests) is given in Lieblein's Chronology, p. 32. The pyramid was never a family monument, but belonged like all other Egyptian tombs to one person, members of the royal family having sometimes lesser pyramids adjoining the king's (as at Khufu's); the essential idea of the sole use of a tomb was so strong that the hill of Gizeh is riddled with deep tomb-shafts for separate burials, often running side by side 60 or 80 ft. deep, with only a thin wall of rock between; and in one place a previous shaft has been partially blocked with masonry, so that a later shaft could be cut partly into it, macled with it like a twin-crystal.

The usual construction of pyramids is a mass of masonry composed of horizontal layers of rough-hewn blocks, with a small amount of mortar; and this mass in the later forms became more and more rubbly, until in the Vlth Dynasty it was merely a cellular system of retaining walls of rough stones and mud, filled up with loose chips, and in the Xllth Dynasty the bulk was of mud bricks. Whatever was the hidden material, however, there was alway* on the outside a casing of fine stone, elaborately finished, and very well jointed; and the inner chambers were of similarly good work. Indeed the construction was in all cases so far sound that, had it not been for the spite of enemies and the greed of later builders, it is probable that every pyramid would have been standing in good order at this day. The casings were not a mere " veneer " or " film," as they have been called, but were of massive blocks, usually greater in thickness than in height, and in some cases (as at South Dahshur) reminding the observer of horizontal leaves with sloping edges.

Inside of each pyramid, always low down, and usually below the ground level, was built a sepulchral chamber; this was reached in all cases by a passage from the north, sometimes beginning in the pyramid face, sometimes descending into the rock on which the pyramid was built in front of the north side. This chamber, if not cut in the rock altogether (as in Menkaura's), or a pit in the rock roofed with stone (as in Khafra's), was built between two immense walls which served for the east and west sides, and between which the north and south sides and roofing stood merely in contact, but unbonded. The gable roofing of the chambers was formed by great sloping cantilevers of stone, projecting from the north and south walls, on which they rested without pressing on each other along the central ridge; thus there was no thrust, nor were there any forces to disturb the building; and it was only after the most brutal treatment, by which these great masses of stone were cracked asunder, that the principle of thrust came into play, though it had been provided for in the sloping form of the roof, so as to delay so long as possible the collapse of the chamber. This is best seen in the pyramid of Pepi (Petrie), opened from the top right through the roof. See also the Abusir pyramids (Howard Vyse) and the king's and queen's chambers of the great pyramid (Howard Vyse, Piazzi Smyth, Petrie). The roofing is sometimes, perhaps usually, of more than one layer; in Pepi's pyramid it is of three layers of stone beams, each deeper than their breadth, resting one on another, the thirty stones weighing more than 30 tons each. In the king's chamber (Gizeh) successive horizontal roofs were interposed between the chamber and the final gable roof, and such may have been the case at Abu Roash (Howard Vyse).

The passages which led into the central chambers have usually some lesser chamber in their course, and are blocked once or oftener with massive stone portcullises. In all cases some part, and generally the greater part, of the passages slopes downwards, usually at an angle of about 26, or r in 2. These passages appear to have been closed externally with stone doors turning on a horizontal pivot, as may be seen at South Dahshur, and as is described by Strabo and others (Petrie). This suggests that the interiors of the pyramids were accessible to the priests, probably for making offerings; the fact of many of them having been forcibly entered otherwise does not show that no practicable entrance existed, but merely that it was unknown, as, for instance, in the pyramids of Khufu and Khafra, both of which were regularly entered in classical times, but were forced by the ignorant Arabs.

The pyramids of nearly all the kings of the IVth, Vth and Vlth Dynasties are mentioned in inscriptions, and also a few of later times. The first which can be definitely attributed is that of Khufu (or Cheops), called " the glorious," the great pyramid of A A ORIGINAL MASTABA. "~11 ^f SCALE I wen TO 100 TEET. FIG. I. Pyramid of Medum (Meidoun).

Gizeh. Dad-ef-ra, who appears next to Khufu in the lists, had his pyramid at Abu Roash. Khafra rested in the pyramid now known as the second pyramid of Gizeh. Menkaura's pyramid was called Of the architectural peculiarities of some particular pyramids some notice must now be given. The pyramid of Medum (figs. I, 2) was the first true pyramid. It was begun as a mastaba, AA, like other such tombs, such as that of King Neter-khet at Beyt Khalaf. This mastaba was then enlarged by heightening it and adding a coating, and this process, repeated seven times, resulted in a high stepped mass of masonry. Such had been made before, at the step pyramid of Saqqara ; but for the first time it was now covered with one uniform slope of masonry from base to top, and a pyramid was the result. The chamber is peculiar for being entered by a vertical shaft in the floor. The great pyramid (fig. 3) of Gizeh (Khufu's) is very different in its internal arrangements from any other known. The pyramid covers upwards of 13 acres, and is about 150 ft. higher than St Paul's Cathedral. As compared with St Peter's, Rome, it covers an area vyhich is as 29 to II, or nearly three times as much, and it is SO'fti higher. The greater number of passages and chambers, the high finJsh of parts of the work, and the accuracy of construction all distinguish it. The chamber which is most normal in its situation is the subterranean chamber; but this is quite unfinished, hardly more than begun. The upper chambers, called the " king's " and " queen's," were completely hidden, the ascending passage to them having been closed by plugging blocks, which concealed the point where it branched upwards out of the roof of the long descending passage. Another passage, which in its turn branches from the ascending passage to the queen's chamber, was also completely blocked up. The object of having two highly-finished chambers in the mass may have been to receive the king and his co-regent (of whom there is some historical evidence) and there is very credible testimony to a sarcophagus having existed in the queen's chamber, as well as in the king's chamber. On the details of construction in the great pyramid it is needless to enter here; but it may be stated that the accuracy of work is such that the four sides of the base have only a mean error of six-tenths of an inch in length and 12 seconds in angle from a perfect square. 1 FIG. 2. Pyramid of Medum.

" the upper," being at the highest level on the hill of Gizeh. The lesser pyramids of Gizeh, near the great and third pyramids, belong respectively to the families of Khufu and Khafra (Howard Vyse). The pyramid of Aseskaf, called " the cool," is unknown, so also is that of Userkaf of the Vth Dynasty, called the " holiest of buildings." Sahura's pyramid, the north one of Abusir, was named " the rising soul," much as Neferarkara's at Abusir was named " of the soul." Raenuser's pyramid, " the firmest of buildings," is the middle pyramid of Abusir. The pyramid of Menkauhor, called " the most divine building," is somewhere at Saqqara. Assa's pyramid is unidentified; it was " the beautiful." Unas not only built the mastaba Farun, long supposed to be his pyramid, but had a pyramid called " the most beautiful of buildings " at Saqqara, which was opened in 1881 (see Recueil des travaux, by M. Maspero, iii., for those opened at Saqqara). In the Vlth Dynasty the " pyramid of souls," built by Ati (Rauserka), is unknown. That of Teta, " the most stable of buildings," was opened at Saqqara in 1881, as well as that of Pepi (Rameri), " the firm and beautiful." The pyramids of Rameren, " the beautiful rising," and of Neferarkara, " the firm life, " are unknown. Haremsaf's pyramid was opened at Saqqara in 1881. Of the last two kings of the Vlth Dynasty we know of no pyramids. In the Vllth or VHIth Dynasty most probably the brick pyramids of Dahshur were erected. In the Xlth Dynasty the pyramid, " the most glorious building," of Mentuhotep II. is at Deir el Bahri, and the mud pyramid of one of the Antef kings is known at Thebes. In the Xllth Dynasty the pyramids, the " lofty and beautiful " of Amenemhat I. and " the bright " of Usertesen II., are known in inscriptions, while the pyramid of Senusert I. is at Lisht, that of Senusert II. is at Illahun, that of Senusert III. at Dahshur (N. brick), and the brick pyramid at Howara is of Amenemhat III., who built the adjoining temple.

The second pyramid of Gizeh, that of Khafra, has two separate entrances (one in the side, the other in the pavement) and two From Vyse's Pyramids of Ghizeh.

FIG. 3. Section of Great Pyramid.

1 With respect to the construction of this and other pyramids, see Howard Vyse; on measurements of the inside of the great pyramid and descriptions, see Piazzi Smyth ; and on measurements in general mechanical means, and theories, see Petrie.

chambers (one roofed with slabs, the other all rock-hewn), these chambers, however, do not run into the masonry, the whole bulk of which is solid so far as is known. This pyramid has a part of the original casing on the top; and it is also interesting as having the workmen's barracks still remaining at a short distance on the west MC Ir, long chambers capable of housing about 4000 men. The great bulk of the rubbish from the work is laid on the south side, forming a flat terrace level with the base, and covering a steep rock escarpment which existed there. The waste heaps from the great pyramid were similarly tipped out over thecliff on its northern side.

Thus the rubbish added to the broad platform which set off the i ranee of the pyramids; and it has remained undisturbed in s, as there was nothing to be got out of it. The third pyramid, that ol Menkaura, was cased around the base with red granite for the sixteen lowest courses. The design of it has been enlarged at one bound from a small pyramid (such as those of the family of Khiifu) to one eight times the size, as it is at present, the passages 1 therefore to be altered. But there is no sign of gradual t enlargement: the change was sudden, from a comparatively n to a large one. The basalt sarcophagus of this pyramid jrnamented with the panel decoration found on early tombs, unlike the granite sarcophagi of the two previous pyramids, which are plain. Unhappily it was lost at sea in 1838.

An additional interest belongs to the third pyramid (of Menkaura) owing to its chamber being ceiled with a pointed arch (fig. 4).

But it is not a true arch, the stones being merely cantilevers opposite to each other, with the underside cut to the above form (see fig. 5).

Farther south are the pyramids of Abusir, described in the work of Colonel Howard Vyse, and since excavated by the Germans. Next come those of Saqqara. The construction of the step-pyramid or cumulative mastaba has been noticed above; its passages are very peculiar and intricate, winding around the principal chamber, which is in the centre, cut in the rock, very high, and with a tombchamber built in the bottom of it, which is closed with a great plug of red granite, a circular stopper fitting into a neck in the chamber roof. A doorway faced with glazed tiles bearing the name of King Neter-khet of the Illrd Dynasty existed here; From Vyse.

FIG. 4. Sepulchral Chamber, Third Pyramid.

the tiles were taken to Berlin by Lepsius. The other pyramids of Saqqara are those of Unas, Pepi, Haremsaf, etc. They are distinguished by the introduction of very long religious texts, covering the whole inside of the chambers and passages ; these are carefully carved in small hieroglyphics, painted bright green, in the white limestone. Beyond these come the pyramids of Dahshur, which are in a simple and massive style, much like those of Gizeh. The north pyramid of Dahshur has chambers roofed like the gallery in the great pyramid by successive overlappings of stone, the roof _ i to unit rising to a great height, with no less than eleven projections on each side. The south From Vyse. pyramid of Dahshur has still the greater part FIG. 5. Section of its casing remaining, and is remarkable for of Sepulchral Cham- being built at two different angles, the lower ber, Third Pyramid, part being at the usual pyramid angle, while the upper part is but 43 . This pyramid is also remarkable for having a western passage to the chambers, which w.is carefully closed up. Beyond the Memphitic group are the scattered pyramids of Lisht (Senusert I.), lllahun (Senusert II.), and Howara (Amenemhat III.), and the earliest pyramid of Medum (Sneferu). lllahun is built with a framework of stone filled up with mud bricks, and Howara is built entirely of mud bricks, though cased with fine stone like the other pyramids.

The first two closely agree to the proportion of 7 high on 11 base, approximately the ratio of a radius to its circle. And on dividing the base at Medum by n the modulus is 515-64, and the base of Khufu-5-ii is 824-44. These moduli are 25 cubits of 20-625 a "d 40 cubits of 20-611 ; so it appears that the form was of the same type, but with moduli of 25 and 40 cubits respectively.

Beyond these already described there are no true pyramids, but we will briefly notice those later forms derived from the pyramid. At Thebes some small pyramids belong to the kings of the Xlth Dynasty ; the tomb-chamber is in the rock below. The size is under 50 ft. square. These are not oriented, and have a horizontal entrance, quite unlike the narrow pipe-like passages sloping down into the regular pyramids (see Manette, in Bib. arch, trans, iv. 193). In Ethiopia, at Gebel Barkal, are other so-called pyramids of a very late date. They nearly all have. porches; their simplicity is lost amid very dubious decorations; and they are not oriented. They are all very acute, and have flat tops as if to support some ornament. The sizes are but small, varying from 23 to 88 ft. square at Gebel Barkal and 17 to 63 ft. square at Meroe. The interior is solid throughout, the windows which appear on the sides being useless architectural members (see Hoskin s Ethiopia, 148, etc.). The structures sometimes called pyramids at Biahmu in the Fayum have no possible claim to such a name; they were two great enclosed courts with sloping sides, in the centres of which were two seated statues raised on pedestals high enough to be seen over the walls of the courts. This form would appear like a pyramid with a statue on the top; and a rather similar case in early construction is shown on the sculptures of the old kingdom. Obelisks then were single monuments (not in pairs) and stood in the midst of a great courtyard with sides sloping like a mastaba; such open courtyards on a small scale are found in the mastabas at Gizeh, and are probably copied from the domestic architecture of the time.

On the vexed question of inscriptions on the pyramids it will suffice to say that not one fragment of early inscription is known on the casing of any pyramid, either in situ or broken in pieces. Large quantities of travellers' " graffiti " doubtless existed, and some have been found on the casing of the great pyramid ; these probably gave rise to the accounts of inscriptions, which are expressly said to have been in many different languages.

The mechanical means employed by the pyramid-builders have been partly ascertained. The hard stones, granite, diorite and basalt were in all fine work sawn into shape by bronze saws set with jewels (either corundum or diamond), hollows were made (as in sarcophagi) by tubular drilling with tools like our modern diamond rock-drills (which are but reinvented from ancient sources, see Engineering, xxxvii. 282). The details of the questions of transport ana management of the large stones remain still to be explained.

See Colonel Howard Vyse, Operations at the Pyramids (1840); Professor C. Piazzi Smyth, Life and Work at the Great Pyramid (1867) ; W. M. Flinders Petrie, Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, (1883).

(W. M. F. P.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | GDPR