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The Great Sphinx of Egypt

The Great Sphinx of Egypt

The Great Sphinx of Giza (or, commonly, the Sphinx) is a statue of a reclining sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, near modern-day Cairo, Egypt. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 241 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 66 feet high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom in the reign of the pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC).

The figure was buried for most of its life in the sand. King Thutmose IV (1425-1417 BC) placed a stella, inscribed with a story, between the front paws. It describes when Thutmose, while still a prince, had gone hunting and fell asleep in the shade of the sphinx. During a dream, the sphinx spoke to Thutmose and told him to clear away the sand because it was choking the sphinx. The sphinx told him that if he did this, he would be rewarded with a kingship. Thutmose carried out this request and the sphinx held up his end of the deal.

Written September 23, 2010

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