The Ancient Pyramids: Enslavement Art

Avenue of the Dead. Panoramic view from the summit of the Pyramid of the Moon, with the Pyramid of the Sun on the far left. Teotihuacán, State of Mexico

As we know, there are ancient pyramids other than those in Egypt. The pyramids are scattered in different regions around the world but they were built with no knowledge of each other [1].

Cases that are known for me to explain this fact, are not satisfying. Worst of them is linked to aliens [2]. Academy is often limited by declare just a facts, mainly technical characteristic. Purpose of this short article is to explain the reason, why ancient people build pyramids around the world?

If we want to understand that reason, we need to look for it in the economic basis and in techniques of power relations. This is the essence of my thesis. Where pyramids are found, coincides with territories where was developed agriculture and production of crops. For example, in Mexico was developed maize, rise in China and wheat in Egypt. Those weren’t perishable foods, in contrast of food, from earlier epoch of humanity, where human beings subsisted on hunting and gathering. By this way it was possible to accumulate and store cereal in the long term, and it was main reason why a gift economy replaced with a market economy.

Transition from appropriation economics to production changed social structure from egalitarian to the hierarchical with its accompanying processes, as origin of private property, money, surplus value and etc. Society was split in two main classes: ruling class and the exploited.

In this kind of society, one of the best ways to increase the power of the ruling class and at the same time maintain the workers’ gene pool was to build grandiose projects like the pyramids, possible for their knowledge at this time. For sure, there is question about evolution of pyramids itself. How people came to more or less same structures. But it’s another subject of research. I just note here that “ancestors” of mentioned pyramids are related to the funeral. Funeral rituals also involved some burial constructions, but after transformation in economic field, when dependency on nature was overcome by people, these forms took very different designations such as utilization of surplus value and enhancement of power of ruling minority. Architecture became more monumental. The simple funerary works gradually developed in megaliths, burial mounds or kurgans. They had tendencies of emulate mountains, which reached its culmination in erected pyramids with access to heavenly forces or deities.

In particular, when wealth, as a result of collective work, is going in private property, distribution becomes unequally. Then, people need to work again for exchange labor in “bread” [3]. For livelihoods they’re compelled to sell their labor force. This system is known by the name of “wage slavery”. Required work, which is exchange value, can be any type, from making luxurious things for rich, to absurdity [4]. Exactly that fore-said type of work creates surplus value.

But it has huge importance why was work of slaves used for [5] . For example, an irrigation system might be useful work for people and it differs from the work of slaves that reproduce slavery. People can dig irrigation canals in condition of equality, on principle of consensus, but no one would wish useless toil, as pulling boulders.

The mission of pyramids as visible side, of course was religious and it was legitimation of given social structure. Religion, with sacralization, personification and mystification of natural phenomenas [6], served to preserve the basic principles of hierarchical society. It works like a patriotism in our time. On this ground formation of icon of evil is easy. There is a state of perpetual war between the nations. Which in turn causes waste of labor force without improving standard of living.

Pyramids in different places had various functions, such as tombs or temples, sometimes combined as astronomical tools, but they coincides with main points in their goal: psychological and physical domination over the population.

As for the question asked at the beginning of this essay about the fact how the isolated civilizations from each other actually achieved the same results, answer is just example of parallel evolution. But those mentioned civilizations had a different end. For example, Egyptian civilization went a degeneration way, instead of progressive evolve, because power strives to fix existing reality, where it catches privileges. But we know, the system, which actively resists progressive changes, is doomed to death and destruction. Egyptian people were revolting [7] for the demand of change in society, but they hadn’t had enough energy for reaching real changes. According to recent evidence, unlike Egyptian people, a collapse of Teotihuacan (ancient Mesoamerican city near to modern Mexico City) seemed to cause an internal uprising against the ruling class [8]. However, we cannot observe their further evolution, because European colonialists bring to an end the way of evolution of indigenous Population of the America.

Vepkhvia Mania

School Teacher in Biology and Visual Arts

Georgia, Zugdidi, 2019


[1] Infographycs

[2] Erich von Däniken – Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past, 1968

[3] Peter Kropotkin – The conquest of bread, 1892

[4] David Graeber – Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, 2018

[5] 20 000 men built the Great Pyramid of Giza, most of them skilled laborers – not slaves, but my minimum definition of slavery is forced work that is possible in wage labor.

[6] For example El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán. This pyramid has a 365 steps. Which is equal to the number of days of the year.

[7] Records of the strike in Egypt under Ramses III, c1155BC. Translated by Paul J. Frandsen in Editing Reality: The Turin Strike Papyrus Sarah Israelit-Groll, Studies in Egyptology, Vol.1, Jerusalem 1990, Magnes Press, Hebrew University

[8] Cooperation and tensions in multiethnic corporate societies using Teotihuacan, Central Mexico, as a case study, Linda R. Manzanilla. Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 México D.F., Mexico. Edited by Joyce Marcus, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and approved February 18, 2015 (received for review November 10, 2014)

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