USU 1320: History and Civilization
©Damen, 2013
A Guide To Writing in History and Classics
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The word "pyramid" seems, in fact, to have been a Greek word in origin, not an Egyptian one. While the original meaning of pyramis is not entirely clear, one ancient authority tells us it was "a small baked biscuit." Apparently, the Greeks had a type of bread which, when cooked, rose to a point and thus looked somewhat like a pyramid. It is, no doubt, a sign of the classical Greeks' contempt for these magnificent monuments—which was concealed amazement, really—that they attached such a name to them. But, if the reason for giving these structures such an insulting name seems clear, the reason the name caught on and displaced the Egyptian name(s) for the "pyramids" is not. Perhaps, one day an Egyptian tour guide pointing to the Pyramids said to a visiting Greek, "Got any of those back home?," to which the Greek responded, "Yeah, we call them ‘biscuits.' And we eat them for breakfast." If so, for all the damage done to the Pyramids over time, one could argue they've suffered nothing worse than their name.

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