Account of Cheops

Herodotus describes Cheops (also known as Khufu) and his building of the Great Pyramid in Book 2, Chapter 124-127 of “Histories”:

Cheops’ Tyranny:

Herodotus portrays Cheops as a tyrannical ruler who oppressed his people to build the pyramid.

“Cheops brought the country into all sorts of misery. He closed all the temples, and, being desirous of knowing how many loaves the people consumed, ordered every Egyptian to bring him a certain number daily, from which the amount was ascertained.”.

Histories, Book 2, 2.124

Construction of the Pyramid:

According to Herodotus, Cheops forced labor upon the Egyptians to build the Great Pyramid.

“He compelled his subjects to labor for him, some to drag stones from the quarries in the Arabian mountain to the Nile, and others to receive them and transport them to the mountain of Libya.”

Histories, Book 2, 2.124

Duration of Construction:

Herodotus provides a timeline for the construction, claiming it took 20 years to build the pyramid.

“The pyramid itself was twenty years in building; its base is a square of eight hundred feet each way, and its height the same.”.

Histories, Book 2, 2.124

Sacrifices and Exploitation:

Herodotus mentions that Cheops even resorted to extreme measures, such as the prostitution of his daughter, to fund the construction.

“Cheops…having exhausted his treasures, was compelled to make his daughter enter a brothel and charge for her favors.”.

Histories, Book 2, 2.126

Cheops’ Successor:

Herodotus states that Cheops was succeeded by his brother Chephren, who also built a pyramid, but was less oppressive.

“After Cheops, his brother Chephren reigned over Egypt. He too followed the same practices.”.

Histories, Book 2, 2.127
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