l

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What Was the Sphinx?



What Was the Sphinx?

Robert Temple, New Dawn

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.
So now after many years of work, we think we have found some answers. Naturally, any new idea about anything that ‘everybody knows’ makes conventionally thinking people enraged, and makes anti-establishment people delighted. No prizes for guessing which side I’m on.
Let me first declare my position on what has become something of an entrenched notion amongst my fellow anti-Establishmentarians. I do not believe that the Sphinx is 12,500 years old. Nor do I believe in ‘ancient rain’.
I do believe that the Sphinx is older than conventionally believed. But I do not believe it is thousands of years older, or anything of that kind.
I do believe there is water erosion at the Sphinx site, but I do not believe it had anything to do with ‘ancient rain’, nor do I believe there was anything there to be eroded at the time any ‘ancient rain’ fell.
So what is the answer, then?
The water of the Nile in those days, at the time of inundation once a year (which no longer happens because of the Aswan dam), came right up to the edge of the Sphinx Temple, where there are even quays in front. So what I believe happened was that the water of the Nile was let into the Sphinx Pit, which I now call the Sphinx Moat, by some simple water-raising devices, led along the narrow channel between the Sphinx Temple and the Valley Temple (the two structures in front of the Sphinx), and its flow was controlled by a series of sluices and water gates. The signs of these sluices and gates, with their many bolt holes and so forth, no longer exist, because new stones and cement have been laid over them. But not to worry! I took plenty of photographs of them before they disappeared, and those are all reproduced in our book. Everyone can then see it all very clearly. The reason why the temple wall is in front of the Sphinx is to act as the fourth barrier to the water. The reason why there is no door in the wall is that it would have let the water out.
The horizontal erosion on the side of the Sphinx (where it is not covered by ‘restoration stones’) is because the Sphinx was sitting in the middle of a moat filled with water. The vertical erosion on the sides of the pit, especially the south side, is because of the continual dredging of the Moat due to the windblown sand accumulating there. Every time the Moat was dredged, water poured down in torrents onto the sides, leading to vertical erosion, accentuated by the natural cavities in the limestone bedrock.
So I think the Sphinx was, amongst other things, an island!
This immediately solves the puzzle of the evidence recorded by the fifth century BCE Greek historian Herodotus, who said that King Cheops let water in from the Nile to surround an island at Giza.
Whose Head is on the Sphinx?
So we have got an island. Now what do we do with it? And why is King Cheops’s head the size of a pimple on the front of this large flat-backed lion, surrounded by water? What’s going on? But wait! Who says that is King Cheops’s head? Some say it is King Chephren’s head, but if you have ever seen Chephren’s head on that huge statue in the Cairo Museum, you know they look nothing alike at all, since Chephren has a long face and the Sphinx has a round face, just for starters, and there’s plenty else that’s not the same too.
At this point of my wonderings, I began to feel really uncomfortable. I generally know when something doesn’t fit. I may not know what does fit, but I more often know what does not. And that face is neither Cheops (not that we know what he really looked like anyway, as the only likeness of him that survives is a three inch-high ivory statuette, which could be your Uncle Tony or even your Auntie Madge for that matter) nor old Chephren Long-Face. So who is it?
It was at this point that I discovered one of those forgotten sources which keep falling into my lap, and in this case it was an article written by a German archaeologist named Ludwig Borchardt long before the Sphinx was excavated, when only its head and neck were sticking above the sand. Borchardt used to go and stand there and look at it. In those days, you could look the Sphinx in the eye and he wouldn’t even flinch, in fact he smiled back. Nowadays, he’s very stuck up, with his head high above us if we stand at his feet, so you can’t make out the details of his head all that well.
Borchardt got to thinking. He noticed that the Sphinx was wearing eye-paint stripes (no comment, pharaohs have the right to do what they like as consenting adults in the privacy of their own Sphinx Pits), and he knew that those were not worn in the period known as the Old Kingdom, when Cheops and Chephren lived. He noticed the details of the stripe patterns in the strange headdress worn by the Sphinx. The face had to be that of a pharaoh, since this headdress was the sacred religious headdress of the pharaoh known as a nemes. But Borchardt, who was head of the German Institute at Cairo and therefore knew a thing or two, realised that those stripe patterns were also not used in the Old Kingdom.
He started to do some research on nemes headdresses, and he discovered that those particular stripe patterns were only used in the Middle Kingdom period, hundreds of years later than Cheops and Chephren. He wrote this all up in technical form and published it in a distinguished scholarly periodical (in German of course, but I have translated it and it appears as an appendix to our book), and concluded that the Sphinx had been carved in the Middle Kingdom Period, not in the Old Kingdom period.
But everybody laughed at poor old Borchardt. Who ever heard of such a thing? The Middle Kingdom! Borchardt must have gone crazy! And then the Sphinx was excavated in 1926, and finally completely excavated in 1936, and it was perfectly clear to everyone that the Sphinx was much older than the Middle Kingdom. But everybody forgot that Borchardt had never seen the Sphinx’s body at the time he wrote the article, he was only talking about the head. So I have reopened the case and concluded that the head was recarved in the Middle Kingdom, just as Borchardt said, and what is more, I believe I can even identify precisely which pharaoh’s face that is. Of course, to find that out, you really need to see the book.
However, it is all very well identifying the face on the Sphinx. Some people might be satisfied just doing that. But no, it’s like watching a film noir without knowing the ending. Even if you know whodunnit, you still want to know the motive.
“Everybody knows” Herd Mentality
So what was the Sphinx before it had that guy’s face carved on it? Well, to figure that one out you have to try to figure out what the Sphinx was before that pharaoh got his chisels on it. This draws one’s attention to the flat back. “Everybody knows” that the Sphinx has the body of a lion. As soon as I hear that “everybody knows” something, I know that it must be wrong. I have a pathologically anti-herd mentality. All you have to do is tell me “everybody knows” something, and I will instantly disbelieve it. That is because crowds are always wrong. Crowds have about as much sense as a mollusc.
I started from the premise that the Sphinx was not a lion at all. Millions of people see it every year, from all over the world, and they all “know” that it is a lion. So that means that it cannot possibly be one. They “know” it is a lion because they have been told that it is a lion. The Germans were told that Hitler was their saviour and so they “knew” it, the Russians all “knew” that Stalin was like a gentle father, who would look after them. Yes, everybody, or at least everybody they knew, “knew” these things. And people also all once “knew” that the Earth was flat, and that the Sun went round the Earth. Those things were all “known.” But were they true?
If it wasn’t a lion, what was it? Well, it had to be an animal with a straight back, with no huge chest, and no mane. It also had to be an animal that crouched like that with its legs stuck out in front of it. (There is no use looking too closely at the paws, as they are completely covered in restoration stones, and have been shaped to look like “what everybody knows,” in order to re-confirm the consensus falsehood which everybody has agreed to believe in.)
The Sphinx is crouching there at the entrance to the Necropolis like a guardian. Well, there it is! It is a guard dog! The ancient Egyptians had a god called Anubis, who was a crouching wild dog, generally referred to as a jackal (although strictly speaking there were no jackals in Egypt, and Anubis was really a wild dog species which is now extinct). Anubis was the guardian of the Necropolis, the guardian of the dead, and he was often depicted in the precise position of the Sphinx – and famously in a statue found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun as well – so that his image is familiar to almost anyone who has ever had an interest in ancient Egypt.
Read more about this here
wakingtimes.com