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FIG. 1.

Although [they say] it seems almost monstrous to suggest that a pyramid was built for the disposal of the royal placenta, yet this is the only purpose that can be suggested for the unquestionable second pyramids of some Egyptian kings.3

In the Baganda account there is mention of embalming the body of a king, of the construction of a rather pretentious tomb (incipient pyramid), of a temporary separate abode for the placenta, of the assumption that the king still lived, of the appointment of officials for attendance on him, as in Egypt, where, in addition, the function of feeding the ghosts of kings became the hereditary function of certain families.

FIG. 2.

Psychologically this situation is the same among the Egyptians and the Baganda. The superior magnificence of the Egyptian practice, the stepping up of a hut to a pyramid would be dependent only on income, which in the case of Egyptian kings was represented by the fact that the construction of the temple balances at Heliopolis for weighing Egyptian income required 212 pounds of gold and 461 pounds of silver, and that the pyramid of Gizeh, covering thirteen acres of ground, contains 2,300,000 blocks of limestone, each weighing about two and a half tons, weighs altogether 5,750,000 tons, and its building required the labor of 100,000 men over a period of about twenty years.1

FIG. 3.

The question of the place of origin of this practice, whether in Egypt or Uganda, will be discussed in the chapter on the diffusion of patterns.

2 [This translation was later corrected by Sethe to read, "the king’s afterbirth."]

3Seligman, C.G.n/an/an/an/a, and M.A.Murrayn/an/an/an/a, "Note upon an Early Egyptian Standard," , 11: 171.

1 Breasted, J. H., "The Origins of Civilization," Sci. Monthly, 10: 90.

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Chicago: Man. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024,

MLA: . Man., Vol. 11, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: , Man.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from