A step pyramid was built by Imhotep as part of a funerary complex during the reign of Pharaoh Djoser. It consisted of six mastabas of decreasing size; it was 63 meters tall and finished in polished white limestone. This pyramid is the central feature of a fascinating royal tomb known as the “Horizon of Eternity.”
The complex is situated 40km from Cairo in the desert necropolis of Sakkara, which is the burial ground of ancient Memphis. Imhotep was described as the inventor of the art of building in hewn stone. Although Djoser’s tomb was apparently the first Egyptian pyramid, the step pyramid is not dissimilar to the Mesopotamian ziggurats. Its purpose is thought to have been the means of guiding the soul of the dead king to his resting place among the stars, but, as David Rohl points out in his book Legends, one could think of it also as a staircase with movement in both directions – it could therefore have been intended to draw the gods down to earth.
A ten meter high wall guards the enclosure and its circumference is more than one and half kilometers. This vast protected area has 14 gateways, but human access is only gained through one. Thirteen of these gateways are dummies intended, perhaps, for the disembodied spirits of the departed.
The Mesopotamian influence does not cease with the step pyramid. Throughout the complex, use is made of symbolism that is drawn from another culture. Remarkably, columns resembling bundles of reeds are carved in stone, and stone beams look as though they are logs of wood. A carved door stands permanently ajar. Nothing within appears to have been intended for the living. It’s purpose is both to imitate a far earlier style of building, and it’s use appears to be for the spirit world to continue to perpetuate the rituals of the departed Pharaoh. On one of the false doors within the pyramid, Pharaoh Djoser is seen performing the Heb Sed.
The step-pyramid dominates the view as one steps out into the bright sunlight of the massive court-yard. A frieze of hooded cobras dominate the upper panel of the surrounding walls. The Uraeus serpent, the goddess Wadjet, the personal protector of the Pharaoh, performs her magic in this place. Encircling his head, she strikes terror into the hearts of his enemies; encircling the courtyard, she protects the sacred rituals performed there.
This strange funerary complex is an enigma. Why is a Mesopotamian structure cast in stone in the land of Egypt? What had the “square boat people” brought to this foreign land that had so influenced the culture? And what was the real purpose behind the heb sed festival that was the focal point of this desert structure.
All this will be answered in my next post.
My E book, Nimrod Twice Born, relates the inside story of an age-old conspiracy to bring Messiah to the world, and with his coming, a return to the gods.