The Great Sphinx of the Giza Plateau

On the Giza plateau stands the one and only great sphinx. The Sphinx was carved from the bedrock of the Giza plateau, the Sphinx is a mysterious marvel from the days of ancient Egypt. With the body of a lion and the head of a king or god, the sphinx has come to symbolize strength and wisdom.

From the north side of the Sphinx reveals the proportion of the body to the head. It would appear as though the head is small in proportion to the body. Because of the changing desert terrain, the body of the Sphinx has been buried over the past several thousand years. Most recently in 1905, the sand has been cleared away to expose the magnitude and beauty of the entirety of the Sphinx. The paws themselves are 50 feet long while the entire length is 150 feet. The head is 30 feet long and 14 feet wide. Because certain layers of the stone are softer than others, there is a high degree of erosion that has claimed the original detail of the carved figure.

Although the head of the Sphinx is badly broken in some places, traces of the original paint can still be seen near one ear. Originally it is believed that the Sphinx was painted and was quite colorful. Since then, the nose and beard have been broken away. The nose was the unfortunate victim of target practice by the Turks in the Turkish period. It is often erroneously assumed that the nose was shot off by Napoleon’s men, but 18th century drawings reveal that the nose was missing long before Napoleon’s arrival.

In between the paws of the Sphinx is a stela, now called the “Dream Stela”, which is inscribed with a story. The 18th Dynasty story tells of the time that Thutmosis IV fell asleep under the Sphinx which was covered to the neck in sand. Thutmosis had a dream that the Sphinx spoke to him and promised that if he would free the Sphinx from the sand, Thutmosis would be destined to become king of Egypt.

During the 18th Dynasty, Thutmosis IV probably did clear the Sphinx at that time. But it is more likely that the story about the dream was created for a ancient propaganda story to help prove the legitimacy of the king. This type of story could support the validity of a kingship, asserting and assuring the power of the pharaoh as designated by the gods, or in this case, the Sphinx itself.

About 12500 years ago the great sphinx was built carved right from the bedrock of the Giza plateau. Built with the head of a pharaoh and the body of a lion its meant to show power strength and wisdom, but it was destroyed in the 18th century by napoleons men but still stands to this very day because of its authority and stability.

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