Bent Pyramid -- "Southern Shining Pyramid"
approaching the bent pyramid
The second of Sneferu's pyramids in Dashur, the Bent
Pyramid is a very obvious example of the trial-and-error
that accompanied pyramid building in the Old Kingdom.
Unlike any other pyramid in Egypt, this one has an
abrupt change in angle about 3/4 of the way up. The
lower part is very steeply sloped (52 º) while
the top part has a shallower slope. Despite the many
theories (it started to collapse, it was too hard
to build, the architect lost his nerve), there is
no real consensus as to why the pyramid is built the
way that it it.
on the road to sneferu's bent pyramid, from
In fact there is very little known about why Sneferu
built two pyramids in Dashur, less than a kilometer
apart -- and an additional pyramid at
Maidum -- all completed in his lifetime. He is
surely unique in having enough time in his life to
built three pyramids. His son, Cheops (Khufu), managed
only the single one at Giza,
grand though it is.
It is possible that the sudden collapse of Sneferu's
first pyramid, at Maidum
(also at 52 º), prompted the abrupt change in
the Bent Pyramid. Then, the imperfection of the Bent
Pyramid prompted the building of the perfect, if shallow,
One final theory -- the oddest of the bunch, I think
-- states that the pyramid was built with two angles
deliberately, to explicitly promote a sense of duality
in the pyramid. In an attempt to fulfill the "principles
of mathematical harmony and sacred geometry"
(West). I classify this in the same arena as people
who claim pyramids are mystical foci for mental powers,
or built by aliens.
the pyramid looks almost plastered, but its
the limestone casing stones
It's also possible that he was simply running a pyramid
assembly line (according to a note in Rough Guide)
so that he would leave behind a series of partially-
or fully-finished pyramids that could be used by subsequent
kings without the requisite ten or thirty years on
the throne to build their own.