The literature review comprises of two parts. One part is written from credible online books and periodicals. This part of the literature review is comprised of ancient Egyptian information on ancient Egyptian tombs and temples while the second part of the literature review is written from other online sources such as journals and articles on the great Egyptian sphinx. The literature review aims at first exploring ancient Egyptian architecture with emphasis on architecture that dates back to 5000 B.C (Silverman 115). The first part discuses the great sphinx as a mystery monument in Egypt by utilizing credible book sources like Alexander Badawy in ancient Egyptian architecture and ancient Egypt by David Silverman. The sources highlight how ancient Egyptians in history created the most spectacular architectural works to this day.
Among the most notable and famous achievements of Ancient Egyptians architecture are their Egyptian pyramids. The design size and structure of the Egyptian pyramids reveals spectacular skills practiced by ancient builders. The literature review will aim at focusing on these great tombs and monuments for the kings among other spectacular Egyptian architectural works. The Egyptians beliefs are noted to have influenced most architectural designs. For instance, Badawy states that, "the belief that the king's soul would continue to govern the affairs of the Egyptian people after death influenced the building of tombs." (Badawy 10).
The tombs were thus built in a manner that ensured that the king and the queen would continue to enjoy blessings from the gods. The preservation of bodies was also influenced by these beliefs. For instance, they Egyptians preserved the body of the pharaoh's by mummification. They generally built pyramids to protect the pharaoh's soul ancient architectural buildings like the pyramid acted as symbols of hope, because they assured unity between the pharaoh's and the gods. The literature review will thus explore the pyramids, tombs, mastabas and temples as the main architectural works in ancient Egypt (Silverman 23).
This study utilizes two data sources as the sole literature review data sources. The two sources include online books written by well renowned authors in the field of ancient Egyptian architecture. This will ensure that all data acquired from the books is credible. Periodicals on ancient Egyptian architecture are also utilized as credible sources in the literature review because this study will utilize the most current findings of ancient Egyptian periodicals. The second data source is from other online sources such as journals and articles on ancient Egyptian architecture. The journals and articles utilized are carefully chosen from reliable archeological websites to ensure accuracy and credibility of the data.
Egyptian architecture dates back as far from B.C. 5000 to the Christian era in the first century. The beginning of primitive architecture was composed of paddled reeds and clay and sun baked bricks. This is seen in the monumental style of granite and stone. The Egyptians adopted an architectural style of laying bricks in a concave manner to ensure greater security. They improved the stability of the walls by tilting all the wall structure inwards for both the clay covered reeds and the bricks in concave shape. Many scholars argue that the Egyptians architectural style was lead by instinct. The surface decorations of Egyptian masonry walls are believed to have been derived from the many pictures that scratched the early plastered and mud walls (Badawy 38).
Egyptian columns also had a distinct style which is believed to have originated from a vegetable origin. There is one unique column that is believed to have been reproduction of many stones made from reeds and them bound together to form of a bud (Badawy 41). The famous and unique brick vaults are also believed to have been constructed without temporary support or centering however they were only used in constructing utilitarian structures. The famous Egyptian monumental architecture was basically composed of a columnar style that was mostly used on tombs, pyramids and temples. Egyptian architecture thus proceeded along uninterrupted traditions until necessity required a change in construction methods or materials used. It is impressive how Egyptian architecture has lasted for many years.
Examples of Egyptian Architecture
a. The great sphinx
The Great Sphinx is an example of a mystery laden monument in Egypt. The great sphinx is located near and is the most famous of the mystery-laden monuments of Old Egypt. For centuries the great sphinx was hidden by the desert sand, until it was visible in 1816 A.D. by Caviglia who unearthed it. The date of the great sphinx whose purpose is still a mystery is speculated around the reign of Cheops before B.C. 3700. The great sphinx was then repaired by Chephren who was Cheops successor (Arnold 54).
The Sphinx is in a semi-recumbent lion for with a human head representing Horus who was the god of the sun. The great sphinx stands at 65 feet tall and 150 feet in length. The face is approximately 13 feet wide with a mouth that is 8 feet. The monument has suffered mutilation over the years with the first ever incident dating back to the Mahometan invasion. The Sphinx is now recognized as a symbol of an insoluble problem and chances of unveiling the mystery are still very slim in the future (Arnold 58).
Alexander Badawy. Architecture in ancient Egypt and the near east, M.I.T. press, 1996.
Arnold D., The encyclopedia of ancient Egyptian's architecture. Journal of the
American research centre of Egypt. 29: 51-66, 1992.
David P. Silverman, Ancient Egypt. Oxford university press, 2003.
John Gardner Wilkinson, The Architecture of Ancient Egypt, BiblioBazaar publishers, 2010.