What was the Sphinx?
BY ROBERT TEMPLE
There has never been a satisfactory answer to what the Sphinx actually is or was. Anyone who goes to Giza can see for himself or herself that there is something ‘wrong’ with the Sphinx. It only takes an instant. The body is gigantic and the head is just a pimple. The Egyptians never did anything like that, they were always meticulous about proportions in their art. So how is it that we have this monster with a tiny head sitting there in the sand, then?
There are several other things wrong with the Sphinx. They are:
* The back is flat. Who ever saw a lion with a flat back, no big chest, and no mane?
* The Sphinx is sitting in a deep hole in the ground. Why is that? Why is it not sitting somewhere high up so that it can show off?
* There is a ruined temple right in front of the Sphinx, with a wall practically up against its nose, and no door in that wall. Why obstruct the view of the Sphinx from the front like that? And if the temple was for worshipping the Sphinx, why is there no access from the temple to the Sphinx, so that you can’t even get to it?
* The pit in which the Sphinx sits seems to be deeply eroded, as if by flows of water. What caused all that? It looks as if water has poured down the sides. On the other hand, there are no such vertical erosion patterns on the Sphinx itself, which instead has clear horizontal erosion patterns. How can these two different patterns at right angles to each other be reconciled? And what could possibly have caused either of them?
None of this makes any sense if you think about it. Of course, many people don’t think. They just gawp and move on, their brains in neutral.
But when my wife Olivia and I first saw the Sphinx many years ago, we just stood there in astonishment and both agreed that the whole thing was wrong, wrong, wrong.
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