History Files
 

 

Ancient Egypt

There was a Second Sphinx

The Times of India, 2 September 2007

Two Sphinxes existed on the Pyramids Plateau, according to a new study by Egyptologist Bassam El Shammaa.

El Shammaa said the famed half-lion, half man statute was an Egyptian deity erected next to another Sphinx, which has since vanished without a trace. This theory, however, is in contradiction to the general belief that a single colossal statue functioned as a guard to the pyramids.

El Shammaa said the idea of two Sphinxes is more in line with ancient Egyptian beliefs, which were mainly based on duality.

Documentary proof?

"The pyramid texts recovered at Saqqara, especially from the Wanis Pyramid, contain descriptions of the ancient Egyptian conception of how the universe was created. Basically, this concept underlined the belief in duality," El Shammaa said.

"Whenever we have to deal with the Solar cult, we should speak of one lion and one lioness facing each other, posing parallel to each other or sitting in a back-to-back position."

"The double avenue of the ram-headed Sphinxes fronting the first Karnak pylon and its counterpart of human-headed Sphinxes at the Temple of Luxor emphasise this duality, alongside other indications like the double crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, Isis, Osiris, Habtoor and Horus," elaborated El Shammaa.

He said ancient Egyptian records and mythology suggested that lightening destroyed part of the Sphinx, adding that this might be in reference to the second Sphinx, which was eliminated after a curse by the chief Egyptian deity.

Pyramid texts

"Utterance No 600 says that Atum - the 'complete one' and creator god in Ancient Egyptian mythology - created his son Shu and daughter Tefnut, shaping them as a lion and a lioness and placing each one on an extreme tip of the universe," he said.

"Shu was to take the solar disc between his jaws and hand it to his sister Tefnut who in turn would capture it between her jaws and by so doing they would achieve the full cycle of the Sun," he added.

Of course, if there really was only one Sphinx, it might help support the theory that it was constructed well before Egyptian influences could be brought to bear on it.

 

 

     
Images and text copyright The Times of India. No breach of copyright is intended or inferred.