Sphinx: lion or jackal

Sphinx: lion or jackalPhoto from open sources

Writer and researcher Robert Temple recently published a book The Secret of the Sphinx. This is truly a gold mine of information, a book more than five hundred hundred supplemented by rare photographs and drawings. Highly recommend for anyone with even a little interested in the largest of all Egyptian secrets. In the near the future book will prove its importance. However, many of Temple’s findings need a thorough assessment.

One of the most controversial is that the Sphinx has never been recumbent. a lion, but was a guard jackal or a dog Anubis.

Today it’s obvious that the existing head of the monument is too small compared to the body. Some modern Egyptologists believe that at some point in the distant past the Sphinx gained Pharaoh’s human face. Indeed, the whole head was cut down again in smaller sizes, perhaps instead of an ancient image an animal corresponding to the rest of the body. But was it a lion or jackal?

A photo from open sources

The first evidence of the Sphinx in the form of a lion came to us from the vast majority of Egyptian, Ptolemaic, Greek, Roman, early Christian and medieval Arabic records, as well from eyewitness accounts – numerous European travelers and scientists. However, Temple wonders how ancient stories and legends passed down through many generations, still manages to preserve the core of historical facts. He leads a few examples. Yet in a few chapters, as opposed to to a huge number of sources about the Sphinx-lion, he proclaims the fallacy of such a perception, established during millennia. If information from one set of sources is recognized for the truth, why can not others be trustworthy observations regarding the Sphinx?

Temple further states that the Sphinx may not have been at all feline because his body is too narrow in shape, and the stone back is too horizontally straight, which is more Suitable for jackal body. But the answer to the problem could be artistic constraints encountered by the ancients sculptors.

It is very likely that the Sphinx was formed from a hill convex mountain formation found in many places in the sahara-libyan the wilderness where the Giza plateau is just a small detail. South of the sphinx there is still a good example of such a hill, shapeless limestone mound surrounded by sand dunes. Clearly only clear how the Sphinx began, before it turned into some kind of animal.

However, we do not know what were the original contours of the ancient the hill. It is possible to knock out the curved back of a lion’s figure not it was possible because the surface was already flat. What we know for sure is existence in the middle of the back Sphinx vertical funeral mine. And at least one of early European sphinx researchers believed that this grave was very old, even pre-dynastic. In other words, she is already was present when the monument was cut out, and the grave was excavated at still intact hill.

Exposure measurements of the original hill determined how they were upper layers of the Sphinx are formed. As the sculptors cut down the rock around the future animal to its foundation, its figure limited by the size and shape of the hill. Intended image and was depicting a lion, only slightly thin.

Perhaps the biggest objection to Temple’s idea of Sphinx-Anubis is the existing geology of the monument. The original, stone body of the Sphinx has a certain layered appearance with few color differences. The reason is that in limestone, from whose monument was originally carved, no consistent stratification. The base is composed of soft stone (type I), and inclined body – from equally soft type II limestone. Such limestone is porous, light, flaky and very susceptible to weather. It is for this reason that the ongoing the deterioration of the body of the Sphinx caused a number of dynastic, Ptolemaic, Roman and modern restorers continuously add new masonry to the original base in an attempt save it from further erosion.

The head, in contrast, has a much harder, more compact and a heavier form of limestone with noticeable dark manifestations, identified by type III. The advantage of such a stone is that cut out, it retains its shape better for much longer time – that’s why the ancient sculptors of his have chosen. But the main inconvenience is the layer from which there was carved the whole head, very heavy. Even today’s, very smaller, head slowly crumbles softer limestone of the neck and breasts. Modern Egyptian restoration experts fear that an unbalanced head weight can shift heavy stone skull. For this reason, several builders of the past two centuries added cement collars around the neck. Awfully ugly however, they prevented the animal from “falling asleep” and losing its A closer look at the sunrise. Also, on a recent offer restore the Sphinx’s beard from parts excavated at the base and preserved in Cairo and British museums Egyptian Division Antiquities refused due to the fact that the beard can pull head forward. And this, in turn, will lead to general instability, and possibly the loss of the head itself.

A photo from open sources

Geological layers of the Sphinx

Reconstruction of the Sphinx with the head of Anubis would be impossible suicidal. The jackal made up a large head type III limestone that would crush a softer stone body. In addition, an attempt to reproduce the most distinctive Anubis’ face feature, his long face, would lead to another more stress on the weight of the whole head, which would most likely broke and fell off.

On the other hand, if the original Sphinx were a big lion with a cat’s head, then a larger skull would be entirely possible. Row small ivory carvings of the earliest dynasties depicts a traditional lion with a large head, only slightly protruding forward immediately above the front legs. In this image in the Sphinx monument, the lion’s head occupied a part of the real chest and consisted of a less heavy type II stone. A thicker front paws, in turn, would serve as structural supports on the sides heads. Heavier type III stone in such a lion configuration would be part of the mane of a lion, much better fit to the main strata wider area, and the total weight of the head was evenly distributed from its top.

When the Sphinx was cut down repeatedly, the lion’s head was removed, and the total the surface of the breed has decreased to existing breast sizes and front legs, while the body received a new human type III limestone stratum head. The sculptors should have been very try to proportionally reduce the lion’s head. TO Unfortunately, this metamorphosis unbalanced the newly created human sphinx skull that has since become new a problem.

It is very remarkable that the remains of the royal tablets of the First and Third dynasties very often repeat the image of the head of a lion with a mane and front paws. Presumably the rest of the lion figure was either unfinished or covered in sand. Among them is a smooth face a lion without eyes or mouth, as if its features were erased by a long erosion of the wind. If this is the actual image of the Sphinx in Giza then the time when Egypt was just emerging as a state, then this the sign clearly indicates that the monument itself is indeed much older and possibly dates back to the pre-dynastic era.

Surely the Egyptian builders of the early dynasties would not leave such an important statue in poor condition and may have tried restore it, giving the Sphinx new features. In Abu Roash, in within sight from Giza heading north, was found little sphinx attributed to the Fourth Dynasty. He has a body a lion, but a cat’s face was replaced by a woman’s face. Maybe here we are we see another reincarnation of the sphinx, about which there are many legends and stories. You can recall the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus, in the desert facing the female sphinx and deciding her deadly a riddle.

A photo from open sources

Restoration work

Temple’s statement about the Sphinx, which once looked like Anubis is not confirmed. However, he offers another evidence that somewhere on the Giza plateau was a cult a shrine dedicated to the jackal god with a large statue, possibly commensurate with the Sphinx. Temple notes, for example, that in several prominent royal mastaba or burial sites of the Fourth and Fifth dynasties that are located in the southern part of the Giza plateau have murals or reliefs depicting Anubis at the top of the sanctuary. Posted by mistake takes this statue and the sanctuary for the Sphinx and the Temple of the Sphinx. But in reality, the Sphinx is located closer to the eastern edge plateau, much lower in relief, perhaps it was not even visible from considered mastab. If there was a statue on the plateau Anubis, it was more likely to be in the southwest, higher mastab dominating this area.

Temple quotes “Pyramid Texts,” “Tomb Texts,” and others. ancient funeral records describing the mythical Earth Rostau. Many translators considered it a real place somewhere in Giza area. Some sacred texts connect Rostau with the sanctuary of Asiris, which was located near the “road” and surrounded by water, “Jackal Lake”. Temple watching others Sphinx landscape, claims that in former times the Nile annually overflowed, the floodplain reached the vicinity of the Sphinx, and along the still existing narrow canal, water surrounded itself Sphinx.

However, Temple, in its evidence of the identity of the Sphinx and Anubis mistakenly identifies the “road” mentioned in the ancients texts, like the road of the pyramid of Chefren (Hafra), which passes between the south side of the Sphinx and the moat of the Sphinx (or “Jackal Lake”). He ignores what the texts say about “roads” and “lakes” in plural, so there were more such places than one thing. By studying the appropriate places in the funeral texts, we we find that in Giza since ancient times existed several cult centers. And now the lost shrine of Anubis was only one of them.

Temple makes the main erroneous assumption that all of these cult centers one way or another connected into one whole around Sphinx. This is contrary to the texts themselves, which provide very different, even unique, descriptions for each center. By nature itself, these centers may never have united together.

Temple Anubis Shrine More Than Probably Was connected with the road of the pyramid of Mikerin (Menkaur) or third the pyramid of giza. The author notes that the only sculpture Anubis, found all over the plateau, was a small green statue of diorite excavated among the ruins of the funeral sanctuary of Mycerin on east of the third pyramid. Temple reproduces in his book NASA photo of the entire Giza plateau, where in the southern part of the plateau, next to dear Mykerin, signs of numerous walls and other structures. Excavations have not yet been carried out.

In ancient times, when the Nile spill season began, the floodplain reached the southern end of the plateau, the water approached the very edge complex Mycerin. Maybe the “Jackal Lake” was located exactly here? The funeral letters also described Anubis as “god” on top of the hill “- and if the big statue of the jackal god is really sat on a plateau, from the Nile it should have been clearly visible.

It is most likely that the missing sanctuary of Anubis and a statue, instead of being carved from a large hill like Sphinx were built by masonry. They were later dismantled, and maybe the surrounding desert consumed them when Giza came to the plateau chaos at the end of the Old Kingdom.

Joseph Robert Jochmans

Water Time Egypt Stones Pyramids

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