History’s Greatest Mysteries


Book Details

Author  Charles River Editors
Publisher  Charles River Editors
Publication Date   July 15, 2013
Pages  39


*Includes pictures of the Sphinx and important people and events in its history.
*Discusses the theories about its age, construction, and purpose.
*Covers the archaeological and cultural history of the Sphinx.
*Includes footnotes and a Bibliography.
*Includes a Table of Contents.

“It is the antiquity of the Sphinx which thrills us as we look upon it, for in itself it has no charms. The desert's waves have risen to its breast, as if to wrap the monster in a winding-sheet of gold. The face and head have been mutilated by Moslem fanatics. The mouth, the beauty of whose lips was once admired, is now expressionless. Yet grand in its loneliness, – veiled in the mystery of unnamed ages, – the relic of Egyptian antiquity stands solemn and silent in the presence of the awful desert – symbol of eternity. Here it disputes with Time the empire of the past; forever gazing on and on into a future which will still be distant when we, like all who have preceded us and looked upon its face, have lived our little lives and disappeared.” – John Lawson Stoddard, 1898

One of the oldest and most famous statues of the world, the Great Sphinx at Giza has fascinated people for thousands of years. While the sphinx was a well known mythological creature among various ancient civilizations, the Egyptian statue that is now most famously associated with the creature is full of mysteries that have been endlessly debated throughout the centuries and continue to be hotly contested among scholars.

The famous “Riddle of the Sphinx”, told by Sophocles in his play Oedipus Rex in the 5th century B.C., characterized the sphinx as a clever and powerful creature, and even today young kids learn about the story. But the mysteries of the Egyptian statue were discussed even among the ancient Romans; Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman author and philosopher killed in Pompeii during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., wrote in his Natural Histories that contemporary Egyptians considered the Sphinx a “divinity” and "that King Harmais was buried in it".

Nearly 2,000 years later, people still wonder about the origins of the statue, but most believe it was constructed around the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C. As anyone who has seen the statue is now aware, it has suffered weatherization damage, and even the sources of the damage has been debated and turned into the stuff of legend, as evidenced by the story of Napoleon’s French soldiers shooting off the Sphinx’s nose. In conjunction with that, there are mysteries over the archaeological history of the statue, including whether the ancient Egyptians themselves attempted to excavate the Sphinx and clear the sands that were beginning to cover it up.

The Great Sphinx at Giza continues to be a source of endless fascination and mystery, but everyone can agree that it is a marvelous and interesting structure. History’s Greatest Mysteries: The Sphinx comprehensively covers the facts, mysteries, and theories surrounding the ancient statue and the mythological creature the statue was modeled after. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about the Sphinx like you never have before, in no time at all.

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