Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Anubis Crouching . . . The Great Sphinx of Gaza?


“The Great Sphinx” is the largest, oldest, and probably the most famous monumental statue in the world; yet basic facts about it are still a topic of heated debate, such as who built it, when it was constructed, and for what purpose.   The current universally accepted name was given to it about 2000 years after the date of its believed erection. Though there has been contradictory evidence and many theories over the years, the view held by modern Egyptology, by and large, is that the structure we know as the Great Sphinx was constructed in approximately 2500 BC by the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh Khafre (2575—2465 BC); however that doesn’t quite add up because . . . 

There are no writings on the Sphinx or on any of the temples connected to it suggesting that Khafre had anything to do with its construction. On the other hand, the so-called “Inventory Stele” (discovered on the Giza plateau in the 19th century) tells that the Pharaoh Khufu (2589-2566 BC), father and predecessor in title to Khafre - ordered a temple to be built alongside the Sphinx, meaning of course that the Sphinx was already there, which consequently demonstrates the it could not have been built by Khafre.

Most of the Great Sphinx’s body was sculpted from a single block of the same soft, natural limestone used to build the neighboring Pyramids and temples located in its “back yard”; only the forepaws were made separately from nearby blocks of limestone.

Perhaps the biggest oddity about the sculpture is that the head’s size is out of proportion to its body.       The possibility certainly exists that the head was re-shaped several times by succeeding Pharaohs after the first face was carved.   Some historians believe the original head was that of a ram or hawk and was re-cut into a human shape sometime later. Such explanations could easily account for the small size of the head in relation to the body, especially if the Sphinx is older than is traditionally believed.

On a related issue, the body of the Sphinx is not the body of a lion, as you have undoubtedly been taught, and it never was!  You’ve been told it was a lion primarily because of the legend deriving from a Greek mythological beast which had a lion’s body, a woman’s head, and the wings of an eagle but anyone can see that the Sphinx has no wings and if it was originally graced with the head of a female Pharaoh (there were at least 7 after all), it’s unlikely a latter day male Pharaoh would have the audacity to “deface” it.  To a lesser degree the argument can be made that the Egyptian lion-god Aker is forever at work in the sculptured depiction.

Then too, Egypt is in Africa, and you can be assured that the original sculptures were aware that a crouching lion was apt to display a sloping back.   Loins were relatively few in ancient Egypt but they did live on the edges of the desert and interestingly it was the lion-god Aker who guarded the gateway to the Egyptian underworld.    So yes, the lion was associated with death and rebirth.

However a crouching dog or Jackal denoted Anubis; in early Egypt, he was none other than the god of the dead; Anubis was often depicted as a black jackal or a black dog but he was most often portrayed as a man with the head of a jackal with “alert” ears.  Anubis supervised the embalming of bodies, received mummies into the tomb, and directed the soul to “Eternal Paradise” or “the Field of Celestial Offerings”, but most importantly he protected the dead from deception they might encounter from “netherworld” beings along the way; deception, of course, could lead to eternal death while in route to “Paradise” . . .

 . . . And since Egypts pharaohs expected to become gods in the afterlife they prepared
for the next world by erecting massive pyramid tombs for themselves, and since they had been such “privileged” individuals while among the living, they desperately needed Anubis close by to help them along the way via his many talents.  To simply be “guarded” by the lion-god Aker couldn’t have possibly fulfilled their needs; after all, the recently deceased pharaohs had plans to proceed to the Field of Celestial Offerings in short order, sooo, why bother with a guard?

Okay, but what about those pesky weathering patterns on the Sphinx that is consistent with water erosion rather than wind and sand erosion?   These patterns seemed peculiar to the Sphinx and are not found on other structures on the Giza plateau.  Trouble is, Egypt is arid today but around 10,000 years ago the land was wet and rainy.

The best answer so as to make all the puzzle pieces to this theory fit into place is provided by Non-fiction novelists and amateur Egyptologists Robert Temple who has provided photographic evidence of ancient channel gates in close proximity to the Sphinx, demonstrating that, during the Old Kingdom, the Sphinx AKA the Anubis sat surrounded by a moat filled with water; in those days it was called Jackal Lake and is referenced in the ancient Pyramid Texts (discovered in 1881)—some Egyptologist’s say the texts were composed sometime between 3100 and 3000 BC, making them the oldest sacred texts in the world — but then if the Sphinx was really sculpted 500 or more years later, it’s likely they were too.  

Temple goes even further in his observations / conclusions—in part:  “The three main pyramids and the Sphinx were part of an integral complex all designed at once. The pyramids were not built through the successive whims of a series of pharaohs, but were all designed at the same time, and the precise size and general shape of the Sphinx as Anubis was specified in relation to the three pyramids.”

Armed with this information you might think the massive sculpture we call the “Great Sphinx” was probably called the “Great Anubis” of Giza by his builders.

Sources . . .