Sphinx Around the World

By pjain      Published Aug. 28, 2020, 9:57 p.m. in blog Geo-Politics   

Sphinx - What can we conclude

Body of a Lion - Strong theme

Egyptian Sphinxes usually wore a head hood that I think is basically a Lion mane that aligns with the lion body they possess.

Others have instead said it is a nemes (head-dress) as worn by Pharaohs. This seems to back as Pharoah based theory. But it could be said that perhaps they copied holy Sphinx instead.

It has a human head - male or female

Examples exist of sphinxes with human faces but surrounded by a lion’s mane, particularly from Nubia, and in the New Kingdom the head was sometimes that of a ram and representative of Amun.

Greek Sphinx have female heads but no mane - which makes sense as female lions dont, even if they have lion's bodies.

Divine half-animal half-man theme -Meaning Different variations

While the basic half-animal half-man theme is pretty common as an indicator of divine nature.

Jackal headed

  • Anubus, etc. are the reverse of Sphinx ie body of a man and head of an animal.

Ram Headed Sphinx

Herodotus called the ram-headed sphinxes Criosphinxes

VITAL: Hawk Headed Garuda, Sphinx - Horus, Horon

The falcon had been worshipped from earliest times as a cosmic deity whose body represents the heavens and whose eyes represent the sun and the moon.

Egyptian Hawk myths

  • Hawk headed Horus. Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis, the divine child of the holy family triad. He is one of many gods associated with the falcon. His name means "he who is above" and "he who is distant". Horus is depicted as a falcon wearing a crown with a cobra or the Double Crown of Egypt.

When Horus was a infant, his father was killed by Osiris' brother Seth. To keep her son from being harmed, Isis hid Horus in the marshland of the Nile, where she protected him from the poisonous snakes, scorpions, crocodiles and wild animals. As he grew up, he learned to ward off danger and became strong enough to fight Seth and claim his rightful inheritance, the throne of Egypt.

As a result, Horus is associated with the title of kingship, the personification of divine and regal power. Kings believed they were descended from Horus, who was considered to be the first divine king of Egypt.

The hooded cobra (uraeus), which the gods and pharaohs wore on their foreheads, symbolizes light and royalty. It is there to protect the person from harm.

Herodotus called the hawk-headed ones Hieracosphinxes.

  • Eagle/Hawk headed Garuda of the Indians ~200 BC-100 AD - derivative of Vishnu mythology

Garuda - coopted to boost Vishnu about 100 BC

Interestingly Garuda similarly to Horus eats the evil snakes - the Nagas.

Solar Worship as Common Themes - Crossover of Falcon-Lion

The lion has long been a symbol associated with the sun in ancient Near Eastern civilizations.

  • Egyptian Ra - Pharoah surname and Lion mane as headress

  • 2600 BC - Colin Reader has proposed that the Sphinx was the focus of solar worship in the Early Dynastic Period, before the Giza Plateau became a necropolis in the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2134 BC) wherein images depicting the Egyptian king in the form of a lion smiting his enemies occur.

  • 1400 BC - Later on in the New Kingdom, the Sphinx became more specifically associated with the sun god Hor-em-akhet (Hellenized: Harmachis) or "Horus-at-the-Horizon". Pharaoh Amenhotep II (1427–1401 or 1397 BC) built a temple to the northeast of the Sphinx nearly 1000 years after its construction and dedicated it to the cult of Hor-em-akhet.

  • 1250 BC - Ramesses II the Great is supposed to have been protected by the great falcon god of Horon. is supposed have undertaken a second excavation of the Sphinx. In a excavation of San el Hagar in Canaan, a statue of

Sphinx, Narasimha and Garuda of Anatolia, Indo-Aryans and Greeks

What, Where

Sphinx is a Guardian serves God - Garuda like Hanuman

Garuda (Sanskrit: गरुड़ Garuḍa; Pāli: गरुळ Garuḷa) is a legendary bird or bird-like creature in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faith.

Hindus

  • He is variously the vehicle mount (vahana) of the Hindu god Vishnu,

Garuda is described as the king of birds and a kite-like figure.[5][6] He is shown either in zoomorphic form (giant bird with partially open wings) or an anthropomorphic form (man with wings and some bird features). Garuda is generally a protector with power to swiftly go anywhere, ever watchful and an enemy of the serpent.[1][6][7] He is also known as Tarkshya and Vynateya.

Buddhism

  • Garuda was a dharma-protector and Astasena in Buddhism

Jains

  • Yaksha of the Jain Tirthankara Shantinatha.

Sphinx in Indo/Greek tradition had Wings

--- Anatolia, Persian and Phoenician : Mythology- 9500 BC

The sphinx is also present in the art and sculpture of the Mycenaean, Assyrian, Persian and Phoenician civilizations.

--- India: Garuda

Garuda is a legendary bird or bird-like creature in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faith. He is variously the vehicle mount (vahana) of the Hindu god Vishnu.

Narasimha Mythology

--- Greek representation of Sphinx

While Egypt Sphinx is a male, in ancient Greek culture the creature had the head of a woman.

In ancient Greek tradition, the sphinx’s head is a merciless female, killing and eating all those who cannot answer its riddle.

2000 BC - Minoan and Mycenaean

The earliest Greek sphinxes were present in the art of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures from the early second millennium BC. The earliest examples are found on clay relief plaques used to decorate pottery vessels and on beaten gold dress ornaments from Minoan Crete.

Later, three-dimensional sphinxes were similarly added to clay vessels and a surviving fresco from Pylos also depicted the mythical creature. In the 13th century BCE there are examples of pottery found in Cyprus (but probably manufactured on the Greek mainland) with painted sphinxes in silhouette, often in pairs and positioned heraldically. Sphinxes were also a popular subject for Mycenaean ivory carvings, usually in the form of plaques and small, lidded boxes.

1200 BC Bronze Age - Greeks had Trade ties with Egypt

In the Bronze Age, the Hellenes had trade and cultural contacts with Egypt.

1100 BC Sea Peoples devastation in Mideast

400 BC Pervasive Sphinx

Before the time that Alexander the Great occupied Egypt, the Greek name, sphinx, was already applied to these statues. The historians and geographers of Greece wrote extensively about Egyptian culture.

Sphinx of Egypt - 2500 BC ?

Basic Facts

It is a statue with the body of a lion, and head of a human.

Sphinxes were first created by the Egyptians and usually wore a nemes (head-dress) as worn by Pharaohs. This seems to back as Pharoah based theory. But it could be said that perhaps they copied holy Sphinx instead.

The height from the lowest of the steps was found to be one hundred feet, and the space between the paws was found to be thirty-five feet long and ten feet wide. Here there was formerly an altar; and a stele of Thûtmosis IV was discovered, recording a dream in which he was ordered to clear away the sand that even then was gathering round the site of the Sphinx.[

It is a majestic monument shrouded in mystery as the oldest, largest and strangest monuments ever carved by human hands.

Connection to Giza Pyramids

It is adjacent to the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, in Giza, Egypt is the largest Sphinx in the world.

  • It is carved on the west bank of the Nile River
  • Sphinx faces eastwards AWAY from the pyramids - is it possible the pyramids were built in already holy/worshiped area

Location, Maps

  • Deep Water-like erosion indicates either submerged or exposed to large amounts of rainfall

Buried DEEP in Sand

  • It is buried DEEP in the sand - comparing photos above, you can see the height of sand covers most of the body. This is much below the level of the pyramids. The interesting part is that by the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt, the statue was older than old, already damaged and covered in sand.

Engineering Marvel for Ancient Society

Formed from blocks of carved limestone, it is a 240-foot-(73-m) marvel of architectural and engineering skill.

Archaeologists have long debated how a civilization some 4,500 years ago could manage to transport such building materials of such weight and size from quarries so far away.

The enclosure surrounding the Sphinx is made of huge blocks, and the builders had to move these blocks quite a distance to build the enclosure. Even using a crane with one of the largest booms in the world, the task still could not be accomplished.

Historical context, Mythology and Documentation of Egypt's Sphinx

For the Egyptians, the Sphinx was a guardian creature was seen as benevolent, and the heads of the statues were often carved in the likeness of pharaohs.

  • The Sphinx has been worshiped for thousands of years.
  • BUT, there is no a single written record that tells us anything about the Great Sphinx of Giza

  • Is it a Pyramid-like tomb, or does it watch over the necropolis of Giza like some silent sentinel from a forgotten age.

4500 BC Nabata Culture

Nabata Neolithic Astronomical Structures. In 1998, in another area of the Sahara called Nabata, a Neolithic settlement was discovered with astronomical structures built with huge stones, like the Sphinx. The Nabata structures are fascinating in their astronomic accuracy, and date to approximately 4500 b.c. If Neolithic cultures can build structures such as these, why not a Sphinx?

2500 BCE Pharoah Cheops

1850 BC Amenemhet II face recarved theory

Robert K. G. Temple proposed the Sphinx was originally a statue of the jackal god Anubis, the God of the Necropolis, and that its face was recarved in the likeness of a Middle Kingdom pharaoh, Amenemhet II. Temple bases his identification on the style of the eye make-up and style of the pleats on the headdress.

18th Dynasty, Sea Peoples Link

The 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt (1550-1292 BCE. – Capital: Thebes/Akhetaten) ushered in the New Kingdom by defeating and expulsing the Hyksos and North/South i.e. Two Lands were reuinted.

Thutmose III was the greatest military pharaoh ever, his reign is seen as a high point of the dynasty. Many of the pharaohs of the dynasty were buried in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes. Several diplomatic marriages are known to have been arranged.

1400 BC King Thutmose IV excavated Sphinx and made repairs

At some unknown time the Giza Necropolis was abandoned, and drifting sand eventually buried the Sphinx up to its shoulders.

The interesting part is that the Sphinx was older than old, already damaged and covered in sand.

There is a story that in the Eighteenth Dynasty, Tuthmosis IV, when he was a mere prince, went on a hunting expedition and fell asleep in the shadow of the Sphinx. Whilst asleep he dreamt that the Sphinx spoke to him and promised that he would become king if he cleared the sands that had accumulated around the feet of the statue.

The first documented attempt at an excavation dates to c. 1400 BC, when the young Thutmose IV (1401–1391 or 1397–1388 BC) gathered a team and, after much effort, managed to dig out the front paws.

He placed a granite slab, known as the Dream Stele, inscribed with the following excerpt:

. the royal son, Thothmos, being arrived, while walking at midday and seating himself under the shadow of this mighty god, was overcome by slumber and slept at the very moment when Ra is at the summit [of heaven]. He found that the Majesty of this august god spoke to him with his own mouth, as a father speaks to his son, saying: Look upon me, contemplate me, O my son Thothmos; I am thy father, Harmakhis-Khopri-Ra-Tum; I bestow upon thee the sovereignty over my domain, the supremacy over the living ... Behold my actual condition that thou mayest protect all my perfect limbs. The sand of the desert whereon I am laid has covered me. Save me, causing all that is in my heart to be executed.

Subsequently the massive statue was revered as being a solar deity called Hor-em-akhet. However, that the ancient Egyptians highly venerated the statue, which could be indicative of a previous phase of worship that predates Thutmose IV.

1279 Renovation possible under Ramesses II

Ramesses II the Great (1279–1213 BC) may have undertaken a second excavation.

Sphinx Guardian theme in Temples

By the reign of Chephren, sphinxes became more widespread and they were usually placed as guards outside temples, tombs and funerary monuments.

The Sphinx theme was expanded to form great avenues of guardian sphinxes lining the approaches to tombs and temples as well as serving as details atop the posts of flights of stairs to very grand complexes. Nine hundred sphinxes with ram heads, representing Amon, were built in Thebes, where his cult was strongest.

Modern Egypt Theme even under Islam

Other Egyptian Sphinxes

Besides the Great Sphinx, other famous Egyptian sphinxes have been found.

  1. Bearing the head of the pharaoh Hatshepsut, with her likeness carved in granite, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

  2. The alabaster Sphinx of Memphis, currently located within the open-air museum at Memphis site.

Age Mystery of Egyptian Sphinx

Standard Sphinx hypothesis - Based on Age of Khafre Giza Pyramids

It has long been believed by most archaeologists and Egyptologists that the Great Sphinx was built about 4,500 years ago during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre. However, while this is the basis of the 2500 BC dating - it is purely circumstantial - Khafre could simply be a devotee of the Sphinx not its constructor!

In front of the Sphinx stands a stela, dated to 1,400 BC on a vertical stone slab, with an inscription containing Khafre's name, but the text around it has eroded and flaked off. The inscription is known to be from the reign of King Thutmose IV (1425-1417 b.c.), and the part that is legible tells of the repairs made to the Sphinx in Thutmose's time. The Giza plateau, where the Sphinx is located, also contains the Khafre pyramid and the Khafre Temple, and a causeway connecting the Pyramid and the valley runs along the outer wall of the Sphinx. Several statues of Khafre were found buried in temple in front of the Sphinx. No one knows what the stela actually said regarding Khafre's involvement with the Sphinx. The inscription could have simply described repairs made by Khafre and Thutmose.

Erosion Based Theory

Others contest saying it is twice as old - and Khafre was not responsible for building the Great Sphinx but instead built Giza around already existing Sphinx.

Effects of erosion upon their structures Wind and water wage in an endless war on stone, slowly wearing it away with an incessant assault. Water from rainfall and windblown sand leave different types of marks on surfaces they wear down.

According to this erosion based estimate, at one period in its existence, it spent more than 700 years beneath the surface of the desert. The theory suggests that Khafre did not build the Sphinx, but simply unearthed it.

  • There is deep erosion or "scoring" on the surface of the Sphinx, so some scientists claim the scoring is more water-based - to an era when climate itself was very different.
  • Rocks eroded by wind-blown sand have a ragged, sharp appearance.
  • Rocks eroded by water have smoother, undulating erosion patterns, resulting in wide fissures.

The last time there was sufficient precipitation in the region that may have left a mark on the Sphinx was between 9,000 and 7,000 BC, which means that the Sphinx could be between 11,000 and 9,000 years old, effectively redating the foundation of Dynastic Egypt.

NILE FLOODS? Egyptologists argue that the water erosion on the Sphinx could have been caused from the Nile floods that occur in the area, but Schoch contends that if that were the case, the floods would have undercut the monument from its base. Instead, the heaviest erosion appears at the top of both the Sphinx and the walls enclosing it.

If the older age is accurate, it could suggest the existence of an ancient race with the technological skill to erect such a monument.

One problem is the Sphinx was constructed from materials similar to that of the nearby pyramids and other structures. If it had been built at the same time as these other monuments, would it not share similar erosion marks?

Researchers

  1. In the early 1990s, the American writer and independent Egyptologist John Anthony West and producer of his 1993 television program, Mystery of the Sphinx. He posed the question of erosion that launched the Sphinx controversy. His ideas were derived from works of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1962), an earlier Egyptologist and mathematician, West found de Lubicz's references to water erosion on the Sphinx. He has joined with geologist Robert Schoch, who has also been researching the age of the Sphinx with West since 1990

  2. Facial Recognition of Sphinx face. The standard theory of Egyptologists believe that the face of the Sphinx is that of Khafre. To examine this possibility, West enlisted the help of Frank Domingo, a specialist in facial analysis for the New York City police. Using computer technology, Domingo compared the face of the Sphinx to a face on a statue of Khafre in a Cairo museum. The results strongly suggested that the face on the Sphinx was not Khafre's, and Domingo went on to comment that the facial features on the Sphinx are very consistent with those of the people of Africa. Interestingly enough, the Zulu tradition holds that their people once inhibited the Sahara "when it was green."

References


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