Let us take a look at something from the approach of someone who has no Anthropology training to speak of and instead considers themself a social scientist. I took a quick survey of my co-ed fraternity and I began with a simple ideal for this survey: put down the first word you thing of when you read the word Egypt. Out of the 100 members, a total of 63 forms were submitted to me with 35 being female and 36 male. Out of those forms, the results were not surprising with a staggering 60 people responding with Pyramid as the word that they most associate with Egypt.
I conducted this survey Monday afternoon after our discussion of The Great Pyramid of Kofu sparked my interest in the subjects once again. The Pyramid is seen as the defining image of Egypt for many reasons. It is one of the of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, being both the oldest and the only remaining of these wonders and is a magnificent feat of engineering and study to this day serving to awe tourists and visitors with it’s beauty and size. Oddly though, these aren’t what drew me to The Great Pyramid however. What drew me in was its depictions in other media such as movies, cartoons, and comic books. I consider myself a die hard geek and so I recall The Great Pyramid in dozens of depictions ranging from Giant Robot, spaceship, living being, or being built by wizards, aliens, or ancients monsters.
Beginning with one of my favorite depictions of the pyramid was its depiction in the television shows Power Rangers Zeo. The great pyramid in actuality is the great robot known as Pyramidas that was able to fire massive laser beams, fly, and transform into it’s massive battle mode complete with arms and a face. However to most 90’s kids who were on the geekier side of the fence the most famous image of the pyramid came from the show Yu-gi-oh, in which the main character possessed a magical necklace shaped like a pyramid that contained the spirit of an Egyptian Pharaoh that allowed him to become the great king of games, a master strategist. He promptly used these ancient magical powers to play card games and stop ancient monsters (it was a simpler time). The final scene I would like to present is of the movie Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, in which the most powerful and evil Robot was actually fueled by a power beacon that it had hidden in the top of The Great Pyramid.
What is interesting to consider though is that one theme is present in the three example listed as well other depictions of Pyramids in popular culture: the theme of Power. Pyramidas was the strongest robot in the show, the evil robot in Transformers was the strongest in that, and the magical amulet in Yu-Gi-Oh was said to contain great power of the Pharaoh. If memory serves the pyramids were built as a sign of the Pharaoh’s power and authority and it would seem that from its modern depictions the Pyramid is still viewed as a sign of great power and authority some thousands of years later.