The Sea Of Theories and Mysteries Around The Great Sphinx of Egypt!
Sphinx Egypt is this legendary statue that is still surrounded by historical mysteries and majestic pharaonic secrets! With a human head and a lion’s body, this giant pharaonic guard stands highly on the pyramids plateau probably since (2613-2494 BC), performing the role assigned to it by the Pharaohs. With the strength of the lion and the wisdom of man, this 4,500year-old pharaonic hero stands with pride, prestigious stability throughout the ages to protect the pyramids of Giza royal tombs. Welcome to the majesty of The Great Sphinx of Egypt!
The hands of the ancient Egyptian carved this legendary hero from a single piece of limestone on a straight west-to-east axis with 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high from the base to the top of the head, and 62 feet (19 meters). So, The Sphinx Egypt was the largest sculpture globally for many centuries.
Until now, theories and assumptions are still being raised on it, and doubts are increasing about who had built the Great Sphinx of Egypt and what exactly the date of its construction. So what are the secrets of the great Sphinx of Egypt?
The Secret of the Real Builder of the Great Sphinx of Egypt!
Most evidence reflects that building the great Sphinx of Egypt was in the old kingdom, especially during the 4th dynasty, the pyramids builders times in ancient Egyptian history. It was the golden age of ancient Egypt and the Egyptian civilization as a whole. But who exactly was the pharaoh amid the Fourth Dynasty kings that built the Sphinx Egypt!
Scholars indicate that carving the Sphinx was during the reign of King Khufu (Cheops), the second king of the Fourth Dynasty. He was the builder of the largest and the oldest of Giza Pyramids. Other theories claim that the Sphinx Egypt was carved during the reign of King Khafre (Chaperon) about (2525 – 2532 BC). Khafre was the owner of the second pyramid of Giza and the son of King Khufu.
Did Khufu really build the Sphinx?
The theory that tend Khufu is the real builder of the Great Sphinx in Egypt is based on artistic analysis of the Sphinx features, as the face of the Great Sphinx bears more resemblance to Khufu than Khafre.
Also, this theory said that the style of the Royal headdress “Nemes” of the Sphinx covering all the head surfaces. Chefren statues had not taken this style, as the Nemes were partly pleated. It proved that Khufu was the creator of Sphinx statue. Also, the Nemes of Sphinx is free of any decorations. Although during the era of Chephren and the entire Kings afterward, the Nemes of all statues were decorated with straps to surround the forehead.
This theory goes on saying that, in the process of the pyramid of Cheops building, workers uncovered a large mass of rock considered unfitted for the pyramid complex. Therefore, they used this huge limestone rock in carving the great Sphinx of Egypt.
Also, the Sphinx painting that was erected by King Thutmose IV linking the Sphinx to Khufu. When it was discovered, its texts were damaged and incomplete, and only Khufu was mentioned, not Khafre.
This evidence has led some studies to claim that Djedefre, the elder son of Khufu (2566-2558 BCE) was the builder of the Great Sphinx in Egypt to commemorate his father, Khufu. Djedefre was the elder Khafre’s brother who tried to usurp the throne after King Khufu’s death (2589-2566 BCE). Specially when they claimed that Djedefre was the first king who had a sphinx statue. And it is the 1st royal representation in the form of a sphinx. Djedefre’s Sphinx was discovered nearby his pyramid at Abu-Rewash in Giza. But this statue is now located at Louvre Museum.
Why not Khafre is the real creator of the great statue of Sphinx despite all evidence!
Other Egyptologists, scholars, and historians claim that, Khafre is the owner of the Sphinx! The Great Sphinx is directly located in line with the Chephren pyramid and his mortuary temple. That supports the claim that Chephren was the creator of Sphinx. While some other scholars claimed that the Sphinx already existed before Khafre’s period, and when he came to the throne, the Khafre complex was purposefully designed to line up with the sculpture. So, it was oriented to the great Sphinx of Egypt rather than building the statue during or shortly after the pyramid building.
There are also analyses as per some scholars that facial features of the Sphinx’s revealed striking similarities with the statues of King Khafre.
Puzzles surrounding the statue!
A tomb of Osiris has been discovered below the Sphinx, 95 feet below the surface, bringing back speculation about its construction date. There are claims that proved that the Sphinx is much older than the 4th-Dynasty date. But others said that Amenemhat II around (1929 to 1895 B.C), was the king who had built the Sphinx, as a result of the style of the stripes on the sphinx’s headcloth.
But this theory claiming that the carving of the Sphinx was outside the Fourth Dynasty do not receive any welcome from most scholars and Egyptologists.
The Great Sphinx of Egypt over the Years!
In the era of the Old Kingdom, the Sphinx was that legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human being standing with all its might as a protector of the Royal tombs. While at the end of the Old Kingdom Sphinx began to fade into the desert sand, and it was ignored for centuries, until The Sphinx made a deal with king Thutmose IV. Had the Sphinx really pronounced?
The time when Sphinx spoke to announce his suffocation of sand!
There is restoration work carried out at Sphinx. That included an attempt to highlight the obliterated parts of the “dream panel” installed between the two front feet of the statue. It is the only granite part of the statue carved in this giant limestone rock. This painting is attributed to King Tuthmosis IV, who ruled Egypt in 1401 BC, and inscribed his image on it as he makes offerings and burns incense to “Ho Em Okhta,” which is the ancient name of Sphinx.
According to the translation of this panel text, Tuthmosis the Fourth narrates that he went out hunting in the Pyramids Plateau when he was a prince. This day was very hot. So he went to the Sphinx to take cover from the Sun rays. At that time, the sand was covering the Sphinx body except for its head.
Sphinx spoke to Thutmose IV during this prince nap, complaining of the sand that suffocates him at that time. So The Sphinx offered Thutmose IV, who was Amenhotep II’s son, a deal. If he agreed to clear the sand away from the statue and restore it, he would become the following pharaoh. Although Thutmose IV was not the legitimate heir of the country. But Thutmose IV took agreed to make that deal. He already had restored the great Sphinx of Egypt, and become the pharaonic king of Egypt (1400-1390 BCE). Therefore, the cult of “Ho Em Okhta” Sphinx grew up since the Thutmose IV era.
Not only tourists to be captured by the Sphinx, Thutmose IV too!
The Great Sphinx captured the imagination of travelers and explorers for thousands of years, even in ancient Egypt. specially during the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1295 BC). Even more than one king of the pharaohs visited the Sphinx, including Ramses II. Also, King Tutankhamun set up a break next to the Sphinx.
But, during that time this great statue was not named Sphinx. But, the ancient Egyptians named it Horemakht, which means “Horus in the Horizon.” So, it was as a manifestation of the Sun God. So that, king Amenhotep II (around 1427-1400 BC) built a temple next to the Sphinx statue, dedicated to the Sun god. Then, who is exactly Sphinx!
The Secret Behind the Word Sphinx is not Pharaonic!
The Horemakht style transfers through the eras with the addition of some modifications to it according to each period. We can find during the middle kingdom that the sphinx has a human head, while the ears take lion ears. lion hair replaced the usual Nemes of the Pharaohs. Statues of this era were characterized by being strict, this era’s kings too, they were distinguished by strength and strictness.
As for the other style, it is a lion’s body wearing a scarf on the shoulders. It has a human head and a straight beard. This statue is the ideal model for the Sphinx. And the style developed for a new Sphinx with a human head and human arms. This development was for technical reasons. The statues were depicted as performing work with hands or provide offerings to the gods.
During the new kingdom, the statues resembling the Sphinx developed tremendously in terms of size and shape. The sizes became small and thin. Also, they abandoned their muscles and large sizes until they looked like cats. Also they removed Sphinx claws, and replaced them with human arms.
In the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the worship of the Sphinx witnessed a great renaissance. So, the Sphinx returned to its original shape. But soon, modifications were also added to it, some of which included adding wings to the sphinx.
The Great impact on the Statues of Sphinx Shape!
Thutmose III led campaigns in Asia. There, the Sphinx appeared as the victorious that treads its enemies under its feet. In this era, the Sphinx abandoned its human head to be legendary dog head or the heads of a ram such as those at the entrance to the Karnak temple. From here, the statue of the Sphinx went outside the borders of Egypt. It reached the Greeks in 1600 BCE, naming the style of these statues Sphinx.
How the Great Sphinx in Egypt remains the oldest and the largest ever?!
The great Sphinx in Pyramids Plateau, this pharaonic protector, is the owner of the pharaonic secrets. It is the original statue, which carries a great history, and witnesses everything that took place in Egypt, the cradle of civilization. Even There is something that will catch your attention when you see this statue, a distortion in its face. Even this deformation has an interesting story!
The Secret Behind the Sphinx Nose!
Once you arrive at the giant Sphinx in Egypt, standing in complete magic, a thing will catch your attention. Where is the Sphinx’s nose? You will hear some stories narrate that Napoleon’s campaigns shot off Sphinx’s nose using a cannon when arriving in Egypt. This event occurred around the 1798 18th-century.
You will hear the name Abo Al Haul from the Egyptians, calling Sphinx. It is not obvious from where the Egyptians have this pronunciation. Perhaps they inherited it from their ancestors, the pharaohs. Or even they describe Sphinx’s job. This protector of the royal tombs, frightening any enemy with his strength. So he took this name, which means the owner of fear. That is how the Great Sphinx of Egypt is a like, a ship of pharaonic puzzles sailing in the majesty of ancient Egypt.