Antediluvian Pyramids

Arabian sources are the first choice for mysterious legends around the pyramids. But as we have seen on the last page, we cannot trust them blindly. Although they may have a true core, they contain much fantasy around it. Other sources used in the Hitat are not much better than al-Kaisi. Most obvious are the exaggerations which are visible in comparing their descriptions with observable archaeological facts, like pyramid or stone block dimensions.
In one often used source al-Makrizi writes about 30 treasure chambers in Kaphres pyramid, containing weapons of the gods and foldable glass. Needless to say that this is one centrepiece used by alternative authors to explain some cover up and conspiracy theories. But in the same chapter Makrizi describes the interior of the pyramid as giant column hall - which definitively isn't there and has never been there. So why trust the description at all?
From those reality-challenged tales in the Hitat we can conclude another thing: most authors featured in the Hitat have never been at or inside the pyramids, and have never seen the things they describe with their own eyes, contrary to their own words ("Then I went down into the pyramid..."). An uncritical use of those stories is therefore impossible.

But there is another way to use the Hitat. If for example ALL sources name the same builder, or ALL list the same building date or the same purpose for the pyramid, we had to examine it further. And exactly this is the case, according to some writers. Because the Hitat unison claims, that

  1. the pyramids come from a time before the biblical Flood
  2. the builder is an ancient king called Saurid or Hermes
  3. Saurid and Hermes are identical with Henoch, the biblical prophet
  4. the pyramids were built with magic described in the Hitat.

This would contradict other authors like those of Herodotus. But alternative authors claim that the Arabian authors are more trustworthy, because they used "age old Arabian and Coptic sources" to compile their stories. Authors like Erich von Daeniken try to convince their readers, that the basic sources for the Hitat are far older than Herodotus - and it's no secret that Daeniken dislikes him.
But is this possible? Let's take a look at the time frame...

Well, those simple facts are not listed in alternative books. Nevertheless, if really ALL sources would say the same, there still could be some truth in it. We would have to ask ourselves, where they had their information from.
A number of scientists believe, that some flood tales date back to the end of the last ice age around 10000 BCE, when the melting of large glaciers in Europe and North America led to a rise of the water level of the oceans of about 100 meters in a few decades. So "before the flood" could mean, that the pyramids were built more than 12000 years ago. But is this really the "information in the Hitat"? To check this, I collected the vital information in several tables. Let's have a look...[1]
The page numbers listed below are from the 1968 re-issue of the translation.

First question: Does the source mention the biblical Flood? There are three possibilities:

  1. The flood is definitively mentioned in connection with pyramid building
  2. There is no mentioning of the circumstances of the pyramid building
  3. Pyramid building stories which definitively exclude a flood are told.

Stories of the last kind are called "rejects Flood" in the following table.

Table 1: Mentioning of The Flood

Source mentions Flood no mentioning rejects Flood
"The teacher Ibrahim b. Wasif Sah al-Katib"[2] X - -
"The Copts"[3] - - X
"Those who reject that the Adits conquered Egypt"[4] - X -
al-Masudi[5] - X -
"Physician Ali b.Ridwan"[6] - X -
al-Haukali[7] X - -
Abu Jakob Muhammad b. Ishak an-Nadim al Warrak[8] - - X
"The great scholar Muwaffak ad-Din Abd al-Latif..."[9] - X -
Abu l-Hasan al-Masudi[10] - - X
Abu Zaid al-Bahli[11] - X -
"Several Jemenite Arabs"[12] - - X
al-Hamadani[13] X - -
Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. Abd ar-Rahim al-Kaisi[14] - X -
Kadi Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. Salama al-Kuda[15] - - X
Ibn Ufair[16] - - X
Ibn Ufair und Ibn a-Hakam[17] - - X
Muhammad b. Abdallah b. Abd al-Hakam[18] X - -
Abdallah b. Subruma[19] - - X
Ibn Ufair[20] - - X
Abu Raqihan al-Beruni[21] X - -
al-Makrizi[22] - X -
Abu s-Salt al Andalusi[23] - X -
Abu l-Ala Ahmad b. Silaiman al-Maarri[24] - X -
Abu t-Taijib al-Mutanabbi[25] - X -
al-Makrizi[26] X - -
Ali b. al-Abbas ar-Rumi[27] - - X
Ibn Hurdabeh[28] - X -
Umara al-Jamani[29] - X -
Abd al-Wahab b. Hasan b. Gafar[30] - X -
Saif ad-Din b. Gubara[31] - X -
"Some other poet"[32] - X -
Imam Abu l-Abbas Ahmad b. Jusuf at-Tifasi[33] - - X
Sum: 32 Authors 6 15 11

Well, there are 32 different sources in the Hitat (some authors are quoted several times to different topics), and only six of them (19%) are mentioning the Flood - and two of them are even identical: the one from the teacher and that from al-Makrizi (who only repeats the story in his own words, as he writes). So only 5 independent Flood stories are left.
But eleven stories (34%) are telling stories which definitively exclude a Flood, and the majority of all accounts (47%) do not even mention the existence of a Flood.
In my understanding of language "the Hitat says" means, that at least the majority of all accounts converges on one topic. And since 81% of all sources of the Hitat does not mention the Flood or a connection between the pyramids and the Flood, the basic premise is clearly wrong.

But maybe there is a correlation between age and content of the story. Maybe the older sources mention the Flood, and the younger ones "forgot" it. Some form of "lost knowledge" for example?
Graefe, the translator, lists in his preface the known biographical data of most authors. I compiled them in chronological order and noted, if the author mentions the Flood.

Table 2: The age of the sources

Author Age of the source, or
date of death (+)
Ibn Hurdabeh ca, 848 not mentioned
Abd al-Hakam + 871 once yes, once no
al-Balhi + 934 not mentioned
al-Hamdamih + 945 Yes
al-Masudi + 956 Flood free building
Ibn Haukali um 977 Yes
an-Nadim + 995 Flood free building
al-Hagib + 997 not mentioned
al-Beruni + 1048 Yes
al-Kudai + 1062 Flood free building
Ali b. Ridwan + 1068 not mentioned
Abu s-Salt + 1134 not mentioned
al-Kaisi + 1169 not mentioned
al-Jamani + 1175 not mentioned
al-Latif + 1231 not mentioned
al-Tifasi + 1253 Flood free building
Ibrahim b. Wasif-Sah um 1400 Yes
al-Makrizi um 1400 Yes
ibn Ufair um 1400 2 x Flood free building

As we see there is no age correlation and at no time an established common opinion. One author, al-Hakam, has even two contradicting opinions. The oldest Flood story is about 1300 years younger than Herodotus, and the majority of them is 100-150 years younger.

Contractor Henoch?

The next question: Who built the pyramid, or at least who gave the order to do it? We remember, The Hitat should say, that it was Henoch, the prophet (the Apokryphes dedicated to him are the "real Bible" of several alternative authors, because the late Greek story has several strange parts).

Table 3: Saurid, Henoch or who else?

Source Henoch Saurid other
"The teacher Ibrahim b. Wasif Sah al-Katib"[34] - X -
"the Copts"[35] - - "He (Saurid) was the builder of the two large pyramids at Misr, which are assigned to Saddad b. Ad; but the Copts, trusting the might of their magic, are denying, that the Adites came so far into their country."
"Those, who deny that the Adites came so far into their country"[36] - - Saddab b. Abd oder Sadat b. Adim
Abu Jakob Muhammad b. Ishak an-Nadim al Warrak[37] - - "Following several others, he (Utarid/Babylonianr Mercury/Hermes) left his country and travelled to Egypt and ruled there as king. ... After his death he was buried in the building at Misr which is known as "Abu Hirmis", and which is called by the masses "the two pyramids"."
Abu l-Hasan al-Masudi[38] - - "One of the two pyramids is the tomb of Agathodaimon, the other one is the tomb of Hermes. Between the two 1000 years elapsed, Agathodaimon was the older one."
"some Jemenite Arabs"[39] - - ... think, that in the two pyramids Saddab b. Ad and another of those early kings who conquered Egypt are buried.
Kadi Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. Salama al-Kuda[40] - X -
Ibn Ufair[41] - - ... says, referring to his teacher: Gannad (?), son of Maijad, the son of Samir(?), the son of Saddad, the son of Ad ... was king of Alexandria ... . He was the one who went to build the pyramids..."
Ibn Ufair und Ibn a-Hakam[42] - - According to everything which has been traded down, the pyramids were built at the time of Saddad b. Ad. ...
Abdallah b. Subruma[43] - - "When the Amalekites took refuge in Egypt, after they were expelled from Mekka by Dschurhum, they buit the pyramids ..."
Ibn Ufair[44] - - "Time and time again the Egyptian scholars told us: the pyramids were built by Saddad ..."
unknown author[45] - - "This are the ones which were built by the first Hermes, whom the Arabs call Idris."
Abu s-Salt al Andalusi[46] - - "the Egyptians"
Abu t-Taijib al-Mutanabbi[47] X - -
al-Makrizi[48] (Zitat unten) X X Saddab b. Ad
Ibn Hurdabeh[49] - - "I read in an old book from the Sabians, that one of the two pyramids is the tomb of Agathodaimon, and that the other one is the tomb of Hermes ... "
Imam Abu l-Abbas Ahmad b. Jusuf at-Tifasi[50] - - "The ancient Egyptians"
Sum: 17 Authors 2 3 14

Interesting. Henoch twice, Saurid three times - and only once the connection between Henoch and Saurid is made - and two times it is rejected! And 14 mentionings of other builders! And this although an alternative author told me some time ago wholeheartedly that "there is no discrepancy about the builder in the Hitat". Hm, does he have a different Hitat????
On top of the builders list is with six entries definitively Saddam b. Ad, the mythic Arabian general who conquered Egypt. And it is supported by strong arguments like that from Ibn Ufair: "Time and time again the Egyptian scholars told us: the pyramids were built by Saddad". Saddad, from around 600 AD, contradicts Flood legends. But, so some authors told me, some of those sources only say that he is buried in those pyramids, and not that he built it!
Sadly the separation between "built" and "buried in" affects only two sources - and we could discuss for eternity what really is a "builder". Since some Hitat-authors name the persons buried in them, and others name the persons who built them, and in several cases those persons are identical we can conclude, that the authors mentioning someone buried there also mean that he built them. Other interpretations would make no sense in the overall context.

Even the author of the Hitat himself, al-Makrizi, could not make up his mind and discusses some contradicting positions of the sources he used - these lines alone disprove the claim of "no discrepancy"[51]:

"There are people who say: The first Hermes, who is threefold as prophet, king and wise one (it is the one called by the Hebrews Henoch, son of Jared, son of Mahalahel, son of Kenan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam - praise with him - and that is Idris), he read in the stars that a great Flood was imminent. ...
And it is said, that the builder of the pyramids is a king with the name Saurid b. Sahluk b. Sarjak, whereas others claim that the two pyramids at al-Fustat were built by Saddad b. Ad because of a dream. But the Copts are denying that the Amalekites conquered Egypt and think, that the pyramids were built by Saurid ...

This is an important passage, because al-Marizi summarises the contradicting positions of the sources of the Hitat. Hermes/Idris/Henoch or Saurid or Saddad b. Ad. Even more interesting: obviously Hermes/Idris/Henoch and Saurid are not identical, as we are told by several authors like Erich von Daeniken. The whole chapter would make no sense otherwise. No discrepancies concerning the builder? :-o
The Hitat even lists diverging opinions from the same author or the same population group. In the introduction we can read, that the Copts deny that the Adites conquered Egypt and that Saddad b. Ad was the builder of the pyramids[52]. But here al-Makrizi writes, that the Copts name Saurid as builder. So what? No discrepancies? No, I think it's a total chaos. The only thing those passages are demonstrating is, that the authors featured in the Hitat had not the slightest idea about who built the pyramids.

Another argument is, that Henoch and Hermes are the same person, so that we simply can replace "Hermes" with "Henoch". But this cannot be true, either, because in the Utarid-story we can read that Hermes was a Babylonian king who came to Egypt and ruled there. And I think it is absurd to think that this Babylonian king was identical to a biblical prophet.
In fact, only ONE author claims, that Idris = Hermes is identical to Henoch. And it is clear from the passage above, that Henoch and Saurid are two different persons, and that authors like Daeniken have to decide, who they really want as "the bulder declared in the Hitat" :-)

Now you may ask "Why this tables"? Do I really think that some Babylonian king built the pyramids, or will I prove that some Arabian General planned them? No, I want to demonstrate, that none of these authors had the slightest knowledge about the real builders and that none of their claims about this topic are relevant for discussing the history of the pyramids.
The number-one-builder mentioned in the Hitat, Saddad b.Ad (who is mentioned by NO alternative author, although he is the one where we could say "The Hitat says..."), conquered Egypt in the 7th century - AD. But no one with a clear mind would believe this, although "Egyptian scholars told that time and time again".
The evidence for "The Hitat claims, that Henoch/Saurid built the pyramids before the biblical Flood" is thinner than the air on top of Mt. Everest. And compared with the archaeological evidence against it, it is hard to believe that alternative authors really feed their readers some hand picked surceoides from those Arabian texts as "forgotten historical knowledge"...

But the Hitat is not only interesting because of the things alternative authors use, but also because of the things they do not use. For example the purpose of those things. Daeniken claims, that "the Hitat says" they were storage facilities for lost knowledge, a library of wisdom. Really?.

Table 4: Purpose of te pyramids in the Hitat

Source Tomb of a king other purpose
"The teacher Ibrahim b. Wasif Sah al-Katib"[53] X -
al-Masudi[54] X -
"Der Arzt Ali b.Ridwean"[55] X -
al-Haukali[56] - Library of wisdom
Abu Jakob Muhammad b. Ishak an-Nadim al Warrak[57] X -
"Der große Gelehrte Muwaffak ad-Din Abd al-Latif..."[58] X -
Abu l-Hasan al-Masudi[59] X -
"some Jemenite Arabs"[60] X -
Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. Abd ar-Rahim al-Kaisi[61] X -
Kadi Abu Abdallah Muhammad b. Salama al-Kuda[62] X -
Ibn Ufair[63] X -
Ibn Ufair und Ibn a-Hakam[64] X -
Abu t-Taijib al-Mutanabbi[65] X -
al-Makrizi[66] X -
Ali b. al-Abbas ar-Rumi[67] X -
Ibn Hurdabeh[68] X -
Sum: 16 Authors 15 1

About half of the authors featured in the Hitat write about the purpose of the buildings, and the vast majority says: "They were tombs of kings". If there is ANY clear position in the Hitat, then it's here. But it is exactly THIS statement which I can't find in ANY alternative book. These authors pick out the single "library of wisdom"-story by al-Haukali and declare this as "general statement of the Hitat". Fascinating.

How important the knowledge of hieroglyphs for understanding Egypt, we can see by a comparison between the Hitat and Herodotus. Herodotus, who went to Egypt about 470 BCE, is the arch enemy of most alternative pyramid authors. He went to Egypt when hieroglyphics were the common used writing, about 2000 years before the Hitat was written. And although he could not read hieroglyphs by himself, he asked priests and guides to read what was written there. And although he got many things wrong and mixed up parts of the Egyptian history, he also got many things right, which we could verify by archaeological digs and for us again readable documents.
On the other hand NONE of the stories the Arabs made up about the Ancient Egyptians could be verified.

But why is Herodotus the arch enemy? Because he writes, that the three pyramids at Giza were built by the pharaohs Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinus - and this was told him by priests, who still served in the temples of Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinus. Oh, and that they were the tombs of those three pharaohs.
And why does Daeniken call Herodotus a liar? Because, so von Daeniken, Diodor had doubts about the credibility of Herodotus, and Plinius t.o. claimed 500 years after Herodotus, that no one he had met or read could tell the name of the builders. So Herodotus had to be a liar[69]. Strange logic.
Reality, however, is different. We KNOW, that Diodorus never visited the pyramids, and that he used Herodotus as his only source. And around the end of pre-Christian Egypt the use of hieroglyphs had become so uncommon, that most of the inhabitants couldn't read them anymore. The Roman history was, like the Arabian, reduced to guesswork in many cases. Although we have to thank two Romans for the first complete (but faulty) chronology of Egypt: Eusebuis and Africanus, who discussed the today lost kings list of the Egyptian high priest Manetho from around 300 BCE. And both write that the great pyramid at Giza was built by the second king of the 4th dynasty, Suphis, who Herodot had called Cheops.[70]

The evidence against Henoch or Saurid as pyramid builder and for the "orthodox" chronology is overwhelming. For example Herodot, Manetho, inscriptions in and around the pyramids, the Isis stela, the Westcar-papyrus (where we can read something about Khufu planning his pyramid) and and and...
The Henoch-story only SOUNDS credible when the authors suppress all contradicting information, not only from Herodotus, but even from the Hitat itself!

Magic building methods?

The Hitat is used for even more strange claims, which would "re-write our history". So an astonished reader asked this question on my message board :

Written by henriette on 09. September 2003 18:44:20:
I was clicking around in the net and found on the message board of the youth-A.A.S. the following - here abridged - posting:
"Erich often uses in his texts about Egyptian pyramids references to the Arab historian Al-Makrizi. He wrote in the 13th century a pyramid chapter in his Hitat, where he describes the builder, the purpose and the building methods of the Great Pyramid.
Of course he tells us totally different things than our Egyptologists tell us, so he writes that the Egyptians had parchment scrolls with spells, and when they recited those texts they could move those blocks with a weight of several tons with a single push over a distance of several dozen cubits. ..."
I am more at home in the middle ages, and know not much about Egypt, so hopefully my question is not too stupid: Is this true? Or better, is his really written in that chapter by Al-Makrizi?

The message Henriette quoted was written by an author colleague of Erich von Daeniken, who wants to re-publish the Hitat at the moment. So he should know what he is writing about...
This story is like many topics Daeniken claims for himself pre-Daeniken. A reader of our board quoted a passage by Robert Charroux from his book Rätsel der Vergangenheit:

Magic of the Egyptian priests
"They could move heavy stones without effort. In Egypt a true priest could be identified by his ability to fly through the air at will. According to an Arabian legend the Egyptians were in possession of a secret which enabled them to build their temples and pyramids. "They put sheets of papyrus under the stones, with magic spells on them, and hit the stones with a stick. The blocks rose to the air and flew the same distance a shot arrow would fly. So they reached their positions on the pyramids." Jaques Weiss confirms in his book "La synarchie", that the Egyptians used levitation to build their pyramids. A historian tells us: "We will never know what the Egyptians really knew from these forces - electricity, magnetism and anti-gravitation - because the informed ones were surrounded by a religious secret."[71]

In fact there IS one description in the Hitat which sounds a little bit like the one mentioned. But with several differences (everyone still wondering about that please rise hands...) and from he latest source used in the Hitat: that from the teacher Ibrahim b. Wasif Sah al-Katib, who was interviewed by al-Makrizi around 1400 AD - 3500 years after the building of the pyramids, and 2000 years after Herodot.
And this is what the teacher told al-Makrizi:

"They had leaves of paper with writings on it, and after a stone had been broken and worked in the quarry, they put those papers on the block and could then move the stone with a single push over a distance of 100 Sahm (ca. 300 m); they repeated this until the stone was on the pyramid."[72]

Nothing about levitation or movement through the air here or anywhere else. Charroux has fantasised - just like our young-A.A.S.-guy about the recanted prayers or the scrolls (= rolled up papers, not single leafs). Strange, because he should KNOW the Hitat when he wants to re-publish the book. No, I am no more wondering about it.
Aside from that description, there are two more about the building process. One from Ali B. Ridwan (died 1068), who describes a ramp technique with a "slit in the pyramid", which sounds a bit like modern integral-ramp-ideas[73], and one from al-Masudi (died 956), who among other things wrote:

"It was common to build pyramids like a staircase, with large steps. When it was completed, the sides were smoothed from top to bottom by hammering away the steps.
It was an artful method and it required strength, stamina and the will to obey to orders."[74]

By the way: "Smoothing from top to bottom" is also mentioned by Herodotus, and belongs to the lines alternative Hitat-users don't like about him... :-)
There are several more general description of the pyramid building in the Hitat, but without details. But with the exception of the youngest source of the Hitat, none mentions any magic activities connected with it.
While it is true that al-Makrizi among other things "tells us totally different things than our Egyptologists tell us", it is again not the general message of the Hitat that it was done this way. Alterno-science at its best!

[1] The page numbers refer to the 1968 reprint of Graefes Das Pyramidenkapitel des Hitat from 1968
[2] Graefe, Hitat, p. 49
[3] ibd. p. 50
[4] ibd. p. 56
[5] ibd. p. 57
[6] ibd. p. 59
[7] ibd.
[8] ibd. p. 61
[9] ibd. p. 62
[10] ibd. p. 63
[11] ibd. p. 65
[12] ibd.
[13] ibd. p. 66
[14] ibd. p. 67
[15] ibd. p. 69
[16] ibd. p. 72
[17] ibd. p. 73
[18] ibd.
[19] ibd.
[20] ibd. p. 74
[21] ibd.
[22] ibd.
[23] ibd. p. 75
[24] ibd.
[25] ibd. p. 76
[26] ibd. p. 77
[27] ibd. p. 78
[28] ibd. p. 80
[29] ibd. p. 86
[30] ibd. p. 87
[31] ibd.
[32] ibd.
[33] ibd.
[34] ibd. p. 49
[35] ibd. p. 50
[36] ibd. p. 56
[37] ibd. p. 61
[38] ibd. p. 65
[39] ibd.
[40] ibd. p. 69
[41] ibd. p. 72
[42] ibd. p. 73
[43] ibd.
[44] ibd. p. 74
[45] ibd.
[46] ibd. p. 75
[47] ibd. p. 76
[48] ibd. p. 77
[49] ibd. p. 85
[50] ibd. p. 87
[51] ibd. p. 77
[52] ibd. p. 56
[53] ibd. p. 49
[54] ibd. p. 57
[55] ibd. p. 59
[56] ibd.
[57] ibd. p. 61
[58] ibd. p. 62
[59] ibd. p. 63
[60] ibd. p. 65
[61] ibd. p. 67
[62] ibd. p. 69
[63] ibd. p. 72
[64] ibd. p. 73
[65] ibd. p. 76
[66] ibd. p. 78
[67] ibd.
[68] ibd. p. 80
[69] Däniken, Sphinx, p. 168 ff
[70] Manetho, Fr. 14 (Aegyptiaca) and Fr. 16 Syncellus
[71] Charroux, Robert; Phantastische Vergangenheit, Paris 1963 / München 1965 p. 188
[72] Graefe, Hitat, p. 52
[73] ibd. p. 57f
[74] ibd. p. 64
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