The Egyptian Sphinx, aka the Great Sphinx of Giza, leaves a huge mystery to anyone who sees it. Although it has been established that the gigantic statue was created by man, it is still not clearly identified why it was built. Some say ancient people built it due to mythological beliefs and to pay homage to a supreme deity. Meanwhile, others say that the rulers of the past forced slaves to build it for their own satisfaction even if many people have died to construct it. Others just think the existence of the Egyptian Sphinx is alien in nature altogether.
Still, many people of today believe that the Egyptian Sphinx is a historical treasure regardless of the reason why it was built. Although its existence is difficult to understand, many locals are happy that is just does.
Overall, the Egyptian Sphinx is a mystery but there is more to that than just its existence. Here are some other quirky details about the giant statue that you probably didn't know and will blow you away.
15 The Egyptian Sphinx Is The Oldest Statue
The Egyptian Sphinx is believed to be the oldest statue ever built in human history. Although its actual creation is still undetermined, its age seems to be way far in the past compared to other statues discovered. However, even if it is the oldest statue, it is not the oldest Sphinx. Apparently, even if the Egyptian Sphinx is dated during Khafre's rule, there were already Sphinx found that demonstrate his half-brother and sister that are much older than the Egyptian Sphinx.
14 The Egyptian Sphinx Is The Biggest Rock Statue
Although the Egyptian Sphinx is not the oldest representation of the Sphinx, it is the oldest statue nonetheless, it is also the biggest monolith statue on the face of the earth. The Egyptian Sphinx stands tall at 66 feet and has a length of 241 feet. With this, it is amazing how ancient people were able to carve out this massive monument. Hence, what is even more amazing is the motivation to build this.
The Egyptian Sphinx is truly a mystery that is still yet to be solved.
13 Over The Years, The Egyptian Sphinx Had Different Names
The Egyptian Sphinx has been in existence for so many years and over those years, it came with different names. Apparently, it was not always called the Egyptian Sphinx. For instance, in 1400 BC, the massive monument was called "statue of the very great Khepri." The reason for this was that because Thutmose IV slept beside it and had visions of the god Horem-Akhet-Khepri-Re-Atum, which revealed that he was Thutmose's father and in order to be a true ruler, he needed to clear the sand in the area of the monument.
Later on, the Egyptian Sphinx was called "Horem-Akhet" or "Horus of the Horizon." Other names for it included "balhib" and "bilhaw".
12 It Used To Be Buried In Sand
The Egyptian Sphinx spent a great deal of time buried in the sand due to the shifting sands of the desert where it is located. Since it has been around for a long time, it has experienced some of the harshest desert weathers, which has buried it, especially its body, under the sand. The first restoration of the statue on record due to being buried in sand happened in the 15th century. It was an effort by Thutmose IV.
After 3 millennia, the statue got buried in the sand again. In the start of the 19th century, even the arms of the Egyptian Sphinx were under the sand. The statue was excavated and restored again in the 1920s.
11 There Was A Time When It Lost Its Crown
Due to sand shifting and many restoration efforts in the 1920s, there was a point in time when the Egyptian Sphinx lost its crown. Moreover, the famous statue also experienced intrusive damage on its head and neck back then. Hence, in 1931, the Egyptian government poured an all-out effort to bring back the original look of the statue. However, these efforts produced more bad than good due to their use of soft limestone. An accident due to this restoration happened in 1988 when a 700-lb piece of the shoulder fell. Good thing, no one got hurt. To fix this, a massive restoration effort was done later on.
10 The Sphinx And Its Missing Nose
Contrary to what many believe that Napoleon Bonaparte was the reason behind the Egyptian Sphinx's missing nose, it was debunked by many documents. The Sphinx's nose has been missing for a quite some time and people have been blaming Napoleon for blasting it away. However, earlier sketches show that the Sphinx's nose had already been missing before Napoleon was born. Moreover, there were historical documents found that say devout Sufi Muslim Muhammad Sa'im al-Dahr was the one who destroyed the Sphinx's nose. This was to weaken the worship of the giant statue.
9 The Egyptian Sphinx Used To Have Colors
At present, it is hard to believe that the Egyptian Sphinx used to be colorful. The giant statue is now tan. It is almost color-less when seen with its sandy surroundings. However, it has been observed that the Egyptian Sphinx was wrapped in different colors back in the day. It can be noticed that it still has some red paint on its face. It also has splashes of blue and yellow on its body. Therefore, experts believe that the original look of the statue was in vibrant colors. However, with time and the conditions in the desert, the colors disappeared, leaving only a few traces as reminders.
8 It Used To Have A Beard
There has been physical evidence that the Egyptian Sphinx used to have a beard. There are remnants on its face that show it used to have one, but was removed due to erosion. Moreover, the other part of the beard that was removed is now housed at the British Museum and in the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. Still, some experts believe that the beard was not an original part of the monument but was just added later on. Even the British Museum supports this and states that the beard was possibly added on the statue after the restoration efforts done by Thutmose IV.
7 The Egyptian Sphinx Is A Nicer Counterpart To The Greek Sphinx
The Greek Sphinx, made famous in the story of Oedipus, is known for being full of tricks and deceit. In the Greek mythology, the Sphinx challenged people passing by with a riddle and those who were not able to solve it were killed. It was only when Oedipus came along and solved the riddle that they trickery of the Greek Sphinx ended.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Sphinx is much nicer. It is known to be benevolent as told by its cult following. Although it is also powerful, it is a kinder version of the Greek Sphinx.
6 No Specifics On Who Really Constructed The Monument
As we've said, although historians and experts have established that the Egyptian Sphinx was built by humans, no one really knows exactly who had it built. The experts' community is split in providing the specific time it was built, which will help determine the Pharaoh who asked for it to be built. However, a popular belief is that the monument was built during the regime of Khafre of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom way back in 2500 BC.
Another proof to this theory is the similarity of Khafre's face to the Sphinx's face, which leads many to believe that he asked it to be built in his likeness.
5 Whoever Built It, Did Not Finish It
Apparently, according to historical study, the Egyptian Sphinx was intended to be more glamorous than what it is today. From the discovery of American archaeologist Mark Lehner via aeraweb.org and Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, they found large stones and construction tools in the area. Hence, they drew the conclusion that the Egyptian Sphinx was not finished for some unknown reason.
Looks like whoever was building it, abandoned the project mid-way. Still, it is an amazing historical piece that leaves many who see it dumbfounded.
4 Those Who Built It Had A Luxurious Diet
Contrary to what many people believe that the people who built the Egyptian Sphinx were slaves and were treated as such, American archaeologist Mark Lehner discovered otherwise. Many scientists assume that the builders of the Egyptian Sphinx toiled to death and were treated badly, hence, were not fed properly. However, according to the discovery of Lehner, the builders were provided with luxurious meals. He discovered from the excavations in the surroundings of the Egyptian Sphinx that the builders had regular meals of prime cuts of beef and sheep.
3 The Egyptian Sphinx Has A Cult Following
A long time after the Egyptian Sphinx was constructed, it earned its own cult following. The main reason for this is due to Thutmose's visions while sleeping near the giant monument. Moreover, the Egyptian Sphinx was thought by many people to be a representation of a supreme being, which made it even more popular.
Back in the day, rulers even commanded the creation of temples where people could venerate the Egyptian Sphinx. Until today, the enormous statue still has a community of loyal followers.
2 The Statue Is A Focus Of Many Theories
The mystery that wraps the Egyptian Sphinx is the reason why it is front and center many theories. Even astronomical theories put it in focus, which provides claims on how the ancient Egyptians have a deep understanding of extraterrestrial concepts. American archaeologist Mark Lehner, even mentioned in his studies that the Egyptian Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza were built to harness power from the sun. In another theory, British writer Graham Hancock said that there is something mysterious with the alignment of the Egyptian Sphinx, Pyramids of Giza, Nile River, Leo and Orion constellations, and the Milky Way. However, no further explanation can be found. Also, the mystery remains a mystery.
1 Not Really A Sphinx
If we are speaking in technical terms, the Egyptian Sphinx is not really a Sphinx. By definition from Wikipedia, a Sphinx is "a winged monster of Thebes, having a woman's head and a lion's body. It propounded a riddle about the three ages of man, killing those who failed to solve until Oedipus was successful, whereupon the Sphinx committed suicide." The Egyptian Sphinx seems to not have wings, which somewhat blurs its resemblance with the definition.
Moreover, the Egyptian Sphinx has features of a male, which is opposite to the Sphinx in the story of Oedipus, which is a woman.
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