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The Pyramids of Egypt

The Mirror, Saturday, November 16, 1822.

The various travellers who have visited these wonderful remains of antiquity assert, that in magnitude they far surpass any thing the imagination can conceive; nor is the surprise of the beholder on viewing the stupendous whole any way diminished by the appearance of the component parts, which are on a corresponding scale, and occasion wonder that human efforts could have elevated the pondrous masses of solid stone of which they are composed to so great a height, and disposed them in a regular order, unassisted, as may naturally be supposed, at that early period, by powerful machinery. The French traveller Denon and others have observed that the sublime effect produced by the appearance of such immense objects is in some degree rendered less from not being placed near to others where their bulk might be estimated by comparison. This may doubtless be the case, for the eye judges by comparison, as is evident in almost every instance; and if it were possible to place St. Paul's or the Monument by the side of the Pyramids, an opportunity would then be obtained of forming a correct idea of the astonishing size of those justly celebrated wonders of the world.

Those who have not been exposed to the dangers and inconveniences of a long journey through sandy deserts infested with hordes of ferocious plundering Arabs, may, however, be able to form a comparative idea (here at home) of the magnitude of these ancient structures from the following circumstance. In the reign of James I. Lord Chancellor Bacon and others obtained a commission for laying out and new building Lincoln's Inn Fields, and the celebrated architect Inigo Jones was employed on that occasion. He is said to have taken the measurement of the base of the great Egyptian Pyramid as the size of the area of the projected square; so that, if the building covers a piece of ground of the same extent as Lincoln's Inn Fields, the mind may comprehend in some degree the immensity of this one monument of human labour, the height being stated as between 6 and 700 feet. 

To the above account, which has been sent us by a correspondent, we add the following dimensions of the Great Pyramid according to different authors.

The height according to


Width of one of its sides. French feet.

Herodotus is 800 800
Strabo 625 600
Diodorus Siculus 600 & a fraction


Pliny ... 708
Le Bruyn 616 704
Prosper Alpinius 625 750
Thevenot 520 682
Nebuhr 440 710
Greaves 440 648


The number of layers of stone which form it, is estimated by

Greaves 207
Maillet 208
Albert Licessenstein 260
Pococke 212
Belon 250
Thevenot 208



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