Je n’ai trouvé aucune information précise sur son identité, si ce n’est que ce Britannique fut pasteur de Homberston et de Sileby (Leicestershire) et auteur d’un essai sur le Niger et le Nil.
Outre le fait que, selon lui, les pyramides égyptiennes avaient une fonction religieuse, en plus d’être des tombeaux, non seulement pour le roi défunt, mais “probablement pour toutes les personnes de sa famille”, il introduit, dans son exposé, tout un chapitre sur l’origine véritable et les caractéristiques architecturales des pyramides de Guizeh.
Ce n’est pas la première fois qu’au cours de l’inventaire dressé par ce blog cette question est abordée, dans le sillage des écrits de différents auteurs. Ici, la civilisation sumérienne se retrouve aux premières lignes : “(Les) faits montrent clairement que les constructeurs des structures en ruines de Babylone et des pyramides presque parfaites de Guizeh étaient guidés par les mêmes principes religieux : ils vénéraient, comme les Chaldéens, l’élément feu, et étaient probablement le même peuple.”
Il est en tout cas une différence notoire entre les pyramides de Guizeh et les ziggourats babyloniennes : alors que ces dernières étaient construites en briques, les bâtisseurs égyptiens eurent recours à la pierre (calcaire et granit). La différence, reconnaissons-le, est de … taille !
|Cliché de G et C Zangaki (1865)|
These structures consist of layers of large stones, which, especially in the great pyramid, form steps by which they may be readily ascended ; but it appears from the authority of Herodotus, that they were, when entire, so cased with stone as to present a smooth surface. This casing remains, though much broken, on the lesser pyramids, but is entirely gone from the greatest. The summit of the great pyramid is a platform thirty feet square ; of the second, six. The two large pyramids have been found to contain passages leading to rooms containing decisive evidences that they were intended for interment ; and the number of them intimates that they were intended for the reception, not of one person only, but for several, very probably all the persons of the family of the builder.
Les deux plus grandes pyramides furent également destinées à recevoir le symbole d’une divinité
Although this may be supposed to have been the principal purpose for which they were constructed, yet, like all other barrows, they were destined to receive some symbol of the god worshipped by the builder, which might sanctify the whole structure. Cells or chambers in the centres of the first and second pyramids appear to have been appropriated to this purpose. The sarcophagi still extant in each of these central chambers, are such as are well calculated to do honour to the symbol interred. What that may have been it is impossible to determine, the cell having been repeatedly rifled ; but it may be conjectured that the embalmed body of a ram, the divine symbol adopted by the builder, was deposited in the sarcophagus to insure the presence of the divine spirit in the mighty structure.
Although the mention of pyramids always leads the attention to the great pyramids of Jizeh, yet the number of similar structures situate along the western banks of the Nile is countless. The ingenious traveller Clarke exhibits forms of these which, varying from those of the British barrows, appear in all shapes, some rather whimsical, till they arrive at the vast magnitude of the mighty quadrangular structures of Jizeh.
These, as well as their pigmy concomitants, are barrows : they have had interments of animals symbolical of the divine spirit ; for bones supposed to have been bones of sacred animals have been deposited in them as sacred relics. Their bases are found, on removing the sand, to be surrounded by encompassing areas or platforms, and their summits are calculated to receive altars of sacrifice and shrines also, as with all other barrows.
Pourquoi la forme quadrangulaire des pyramides ?
Their quadrangular form, in which they differ from ordinary barrows, many of which may have become round from the decay of ages, may be ascribed to the theories of the times when an enlarged acquaintance with the different regions of the earth had led to the opinion that the earth was not a conical hill, as Adam and his immediate descendants had at first imagined, but of a square form, as the ages of later date had been led to conclude. Such were the reasons which, as in other similar instances, gave the quadrangular form to the pyramids, which, like other barrows, were temples of the gods.
|Abou Simbel (photo Marc Chartier)|
Who were the builders of the pyramids, or of what nation were Cheops, Cephrenes, and Mycerinus, kings of Egypt, to whom their construction has been assigned ? The total opposition as to form, between the pyramids, and temples known to be Egyptian structures, is so wide, as to give assurance that the pyramids were not the work of Egyptian designers.
Egyptian structures never rise to any great height, never tend to a point, but are low compared with the massiveness of their bulk, and flat, and square. The pyramids, on the contrary, like the barrow, are all the reverse of the Egyptian temple. Their height is great in proportion to their dimensions, and their form converges towards a lofty point. The Egyptian temples are adorned both within and without with hieroglyphic paintings and sculpture ; in the pyramids there are none.
In some of the cells found in the lesser pyramids, a few hieroglyphics are to be seen, but they are on stones taken from some Egyptian temples, destroyed perhaps by the advocates of a different creed ; they are placed in the structure of the pyramid with their figures in an inverted position, as if in contempt and derision of the people that had written them.
A wide difference is also observable between the interments in the pyramids and interments properly Egyptian. This people always deposit their dead in caves and subterranean catacombs ; the builders of the pyramids buried their dead, not below, but above the earth's surface. The builders of the pyramids and of the temples of Egyptian architecture formed their structures upon principles entirely different ; the former made the raided altar the model of all their work, to the latter the altar was almost unknown. These manifold differences prove most assuredly that the people who built the pyramids were of religious principles totally different from the Egyptians. Who those builders may have been is a question of no little interest in the history, origin, and progress of sacred structures.”
Pour ne pas alourdir cette présentation, je résume à grands traits les quelques pages suivantes : l’Égypte a été envahie, à une période très reculée de son histoire, par un peuple de bergers (les Auritae) qui a asservi la population locale, en la contraignant à construire des pyramides. Les Auritae devaient leur nom au mot aur, qui signifie le feu, car ils étaient adorateurs de cet élément. Ils vouaient également un culte au bélier... alors que les Égyptiens, adeptes de l’élément eau (the aqueous principle), vouaient plutôt un culte à la vache. Cette divergence doctrinale fut, entre autres causes, à la source de la haine réciproque entre les Bergers et les autochtones égyptiens.
Et l’on retrouve ainsi l’origine, toujours selon l’auteur évidemment, du mot pyramide : “The pyramid was a geometrical figure, which received the name because it was a cone terminating in a point, like the flame of fire. (...) The name was probably given by the builders, and was a compound of pi and aur, signifying the element of fire, to which the votaries of that element did dedicate it .”
|Tour de Babel par Petr Brueghel l’Ancien (Wikimedia commons)|
L’auteur poursuit : les pyramides ont été construites par des adorateurs du soleil et du feu, pour y vénérer cet élément, la tour de Belus (Babylone) étant par ailleurs de la même inspiration :
“The form of the temple of Belus at Babylon confirms this statement. That temple, although built at a later period than the pyramids, was a structure evidently formed upon the same principles, as the following description by Herodotus will plainly shew. In the middle of a square court, inclosed by a wall each side of two stadia, and entered by gates of brass, rises a solid structure, a pyramid of cubes. The height and breadth of the lowest is one stadium. Upon this rises another of like form, and upon this others, to the number of eight. On the outsides of these cubical structures, are steps for ascending, with a recess in the midway, and seats on which the persons ascending may rest. Within the last tower is a spacious temple, and a large bed well furnished. In this temple there is no statue, but it was supposed to be the sepulchre of the god, agreeably to the doctrine commonly received, that where the body was interred, there the spirit of the departed did most commonly reside. It appears that when Cyrus and the Persians took the city, that in triumph over the Babylonians they defaced and desecrated this temple, which Strabo calls the tomb of Belus. Alexander the Great restored it, partly at the request of the Babylonians, and partly in triumph over the Persians.
|Fouilles du temple babylonien de Belus, par l’université de Pennsylvanie (1896)|
This structure was of a form more complex than the pyramids of Jizeh, but like them it constituted a quadrangular cone. The inclosing wall was in all respects similar to the inclosed areas which surround the bases of the Egyptian pyramids. The cubes of the several stories bear an evident reference to the notions entertained in early times of the form of the earth, which all sacred structures were designed to resemble. (...)
These structures had their sides facing the four cardinal points of the compass. In this they accord with the position of the pyramids of Jizeh. Like them also they were places of interment, for bones are found in several parts and cavities resembling those at Jizeh. To these facts, which clearly indicate an identity of the principle of the pyramids of both countries, it may be added, that the Babylonian ruins are such as the pyramids of Egypt would assume, had they been constructed of brick, and subjected to the storms of several thousands of years. These facts clearly show that the builders of the ruined structures of Babylon and of the almost perfect pyramids of Jizeh were a people entertaining the same principles of religion : that they were worshippers, like the Chaldeans, of the igneous element, and were very probably the same people.”