CHAPTER 4

THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN NAME FOR OBELISK

An obelisk has three parts. The top is called a pyramidion. It was covered in a precious metal, usually translated as Electrum -- that's a mixture of gold and silver, and I suggest that a pyramid had the same shape as the top of the obelisk and also had a precious metal covering near the top because that's where the Immortals were said to be. Below the pyramidion on the obelisk was the shaft or pillar. At the foot of the obelisk was the base, or mount:



The ancient Greek word 'obelisk' could mean little spit:



But obelisks are thousands of years older than ancient Greece, and have nothing to do with roasting meat. If the classical Greeks were referring to Egyptian obelisks they must have meant it with a sense of humour because a 350 ton 70 feet high obelisk is no little spit.

The ancient Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphs. Here's what they wrote for obelisk:

Loaf of bread.

Strainer or placenta

Wave or movement

These symbols looked like this:



Apparently these symbols aren't pictures of the meaning, Scholars tell us they vocalized the sound. So, the loaf of bread is a 'Tr' sound, the strainer is a 'khr' sound, and the wave is an 'n' sound. They didn't use vowels, so we have 'Tr khr n' that some scholars today call tekhen. To show what it's about the ancient Egyptians put an obelisk at the end. Present day scholars call that a determinative. It looked something like this in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs:



So all we know is 'tr khr n' is about an obelisk -- and that's not much help.

The pyramidion at the top of the obelisk, the most sacred part where the Immortals were said to be, was called BenBen. Here's the hieroglyph for Ben:



The idea of the BenBen being very sacred seems to go back more than 5,000 years. This was a sophisticated civilization and I suggest there was a picture reference as well as sound in hieroglyphs that far back and the leg in Ben meant something like our word travel. We know the wave could mean movement, so then we have:



Now let's review what the ancient Egyptians have told us about obelisks. First, it would be helpful if you have read the preceding episodes in this series, and at least The Immortals, which gives substantial evidence from writings in ancient cultures that there were in earliest civilized times real live superior beings on this planet. They are stated by early writers to have had super-human power. Their subject humans called them their gods and goddesses. In these episodes, following Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, I have called them the Immortals.

The ancient Egyptians said Re was the head of their pantheon of Immortals, and that his symbol was the obelisk. By carving huge obelisks they have demonstrated perhaps the size and most likely the shape of obelisks. The obelisks were closely associated with their worship of the Immortals. It's probable that there was some kind of metal shield at the top of whatever a standing obelisk was meant to represent. I don't think we should jump to conclusions and say it was a heat shield although that is one possibility. It appears the Egyptians show pictorially that Immortals came and went from the pyramidion or upper or front section of an obelisk. It further seems that the Egyptians associated the obelisk with Immortal travel. If you stand beside an obelisk and look up at it you get a sense of its power. I suggest the ancient Egyptians were intending to convey the awesome power of the obelisk in their statuary representations. But whatever the obelisk was meant to represent, none of this Egyptian information describes an obelisk in action if it was something more than a statue. Fortunately there were other literate ancient societies and we need to consult them to learn more about the obelisk.

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