Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/458

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therefore have been a fine pole-star in its day, both because of its nearness to the pole and because of its own intrinsic brilliancy.

Of interest as this is from an academic standpoint, it becomes impressive when we learn that this prophecy about the past was contemporaneously verified and witnessed, as unconsciously as it was conclusively.

Not only was α Draconis once the pole-star, but it was actually so seen of men who have left us record of the fact. And this, too, without the slightest idea that they were dating history, and in the most dramatic manner possible. Not by carved or written inscription, not by oral tradition handed down by word of mouth, was this accomplished, but in a way at once more silent yet more sure—mutely embodied in the very core and being of a building the grandest ever erected by man. The Great Pyramid, the pyramid of Cheops, tells us this in stones that bear no character at all and only astronomy can read.

Herodotus, the "Father of History"—known also as the father of lies in what may be called the Ananias Club sense, for we are now learning that what he narrated, though seemingly unbelievable, usually turns out to be true—informs us that when he was in Egypt he was told by the priests that a long time before certain peoples had come down from the north, possessed themselves of the Egyptian power and so far affected the mind of the then King Cheops or Suphis that he forsook the Egyptian religion, caused all the temples to be closed and set to work under the stranger's direction to build a huge pyramid of stone.

The same veracious if also voracious historian goes on to say "that 100,000 men were employed for twenty years in building it; that Cheops was succeeded by his brother, Chephren who followed his pyramidal example; and that by the space of one hundred and six years all the temples of the kingdom were closed." In consequence the pious Egyptians deprived of their natural religious vents "detested the memory of these kings"; as they may well have done for other than religious motives, seeing that they were employed at forced labor on such a scale for such a length of time.

Manetho, who confirms the royal apostasy mentioned by Herodotus, gives us to suppose that we have here an invasion of the shepherd kings about the time of Abraham. Their force seems to have been intellectual, as they overturned the whole Egyptian system of things, he says, without a battle. So that they were probably Chaldeans, and the pyramids which they caused the king and his successors to construct were not Egyptian monuments at all, but embodiments of a foreign cult peculiarly distasteful to the followers of Isis and Osiris. Indeed, as we shall presently see, they were neither Egyptian nor monuments.

What they were not is plain; what they were has best been deciphered by Proctor, who has shown well nigh conclusively that their purpose was