Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know the pyramid is supposed to have pointed to the north star at the time, and also that some proportions (height to width??) are in the Golden Ratio. Is there a complete list of such features, as well as any information on the history of its construction?

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by American Luke, Joe, Russell, Dan the Man, Steven Drennon Sep 24 '12 at 17:37

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1  
This is a rather broad question. Have you checked the Wikipedia article? It covers much of what you asked. As it is, this question seems overly broad. "If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much." And yes, I've seen many books written entirely about the Great Pyramid of Giza. –  American Luke Aug 2 '12 at 13:55
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Those are all facts about its construction.

The pyramids at Gisa are aligned pretty accurately north, if you are building something that big and you don't have theodolites and RTK-GPS then having a fixed star to aim at is a very easy way to get the sides parallel. If there is/was any religous significance to the Pole star I suspect it was invented by the royal surveyors.

The golden ration comes from using a survey wheel. If you lay out a line by rolling a wheel a certain number of times, and then set a height by stacking the same wheel vertically you get an angle of 51 deg or 43 degrees (depending on how many high). Then the geometry of circles gives you pi and the golden ration without you every having to calculate it.

They also knew that a 3:4:5 triangle gave a right angle (since 5^2 = 4^2 = 3^2 ) but didn't know about Pythagoras theorem in general

share|improve this answer
    
Overall I like this answer. Wasn't it the case that the entire idea of the "golden ratio" was inspired by the fact that so many human built things (quite possibly including said pyramids) were made to those proportions? –  T.E.D. Aug 3 '12 at 18:50
    
@T.E.D. - I'm not sure how sensitive the result is. A building that is 1:1.5 is too short and squat, one that is 1:1.8 is too tall. So anything around 1.62 looks good - I don't know if 1.6 or 1.65 would necessarily look too bad (although US paper size are wrong!) –  none Aug 3 '12 at 22:45
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.