Which came first, cake or pyramid?

News that Egypt’s pyramids are to be scanned by radiation brings to mind an odd suggestion about where the word came from.

We get both “pyramid” and “obelisk” from Greek, in which obelisk also means skewer, and pyramid can be a kind of bun or cake, probably made of wheat flour and honey.

So it is sometimes said that Greek visitors named these grand Egyptian monuments in fun, like London’s Gherkin and Cheese-grater, after familiar little items.

This is certainly true for obelisk. It has an excellent pedigree as a Greek word quite independent of Egypt.

Obelos (“roasting-spit”) is in Homer’s Iliad, and both it and obeliskos (“little spit”) were used as names for money.

Read more: BBC News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

twenty + two =