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pyramid details

102 m x 104 m
66.5 m high
51 degree angle

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Old Kingdom
4th Dynasty


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Pyramid of Mycerinos / Menkaure

The smallest of the three pyarmids on the site belongs to Menkaure, the successor of Chephren. It was unfinished at the time of the pharaohs death, and appears to have been finished hastily by his son Shepseskaf , with a lesser attention to detail than the other pyramids. It is out of the way of the other pyramids, too -- a fifteen minute walk from the others. This is nice -- if the pyramid is open (they rotate which of the pyramids are open) , you have a good chance of being one of the few to visit.

An oracle spoke to Menkaure in a dream, telling him that he had only six years to live. He responded by staying awake around the clock to get 12 years out of his allotted six.

This pyramid is 102 x 104 m, and only 66.5 m high -- its still an awe inspiring monument. The angle of the pyramid is less than its two older siblings. it does, however, retain its original pyramidion.

The burial chamber is diferent in this pyramid than in the others, too. Instad of being in the "middle" of the pyarmid, it lies below ground level, in a granite-lined chamber. The granite sarcophagus found here was lost at sea. The interior passageway leads to an underground room, but a second passage was but beneath the first one, leading to the granite burial chamber.

The lower half of the pyramid is sheathed in Aswan granite, some of which still remain in place. Those that remain show how the facing stones would have been laid on all the pyramids -- the rough stones were laid in place, and then smoothed to the right angle.

 East of the pyramid lies Menkaure's mortuary temple, which is relatively well preserved. It is connected to the valley temple (remember that these always occurred in pairs) by a causeway that is currently buried.

Some legends attribute this smaller pyramid to a courtesan names Rhodophis, who charged each of her clients a block for the pyramid. COnsidering that there are 200,000 blocks, this is unlikely, but makes a good story.

The three smaller pyramids nearby are likely for Menkaure's queens. These smaller pyramids do not have the complex innards of the larger pyramids, and are in very poor repair.

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mortuary temple

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