Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So Which Was it That Came First?!

Copyright © Egypt, Cradle of Civilization

Searching for an answer to this enigmatic question, I realized that getting a clear response was not going to be possible so I did my reading looking into all the theories no matter how much they made me laugh! The notion that someone can actually believe, publicly announce and expect to be taken seriously something bizarre and unsupported was beyond me. But then again I could be the one in the dark to one of the most unanswered questions in history. So which came first the Pyramids or the Sphinx?!

As a child, I remember always getting excited over the idea of going to the Pyramids. I still feel dwarfed standing at the base of Khufu and looking up. The stone block I'm standing in front of is much taller than I am! So how did they ever build such a thing? How long would it take to get to the top? You could probably see the world from up there!

Although there are records as to how and who built the Pyramids there is little to tell about the Sphinx, the largest surviving statue from the ancient world. It is sculpted out of a large limestone bedrock, a stone soft enough to yield to copper chisels and stone hammers, common Egyptian tools. The actual mystery of the Sphinx at Giza pertains to its very identity. The Sphinx has a head of a man, wearing the Egyptian headdress and a spiraling beard, and having the body of a lion, with two paws resting beneath the head and chest. It rises up 66 ft (20 m) high and the resting leonine body stretching 241 ft (73.5 m) behind. The Sphinx has been most often associated with the Pharaoh Khafre (2558–2532 B.C.), who is represented by and is presumably buried in the second largest of the three Pyramids at Giza. At least two statues of Khafre have been found that bear a striking resemblance to the face of the Sphinx.

The Sphinx at Giza faces due east with a small temple between its paws and is referred to in some Egyptian hieroglyphics as Hamachis, the god of the rising Sun. Later, Hamachis evolved into the name Hor-em-Akhet and until 1925 it was still buried up to the neck in sand.

Believed to be built during the Fourth Dynasty at the same time as the Pyramids, the date of the Sphinx still remains a controversy and even in ancient times, some sources dated it as preceding the Pyramids. It has under gone several restorations even during ancient times. After being abandoned from around 2650 B.C to 1500 B.C King Thutmose IV of the 18th Dynasty, ordered the rescue of the Sphinx from being buried by the desert sands. Ramesses II may have also performed restoration work on the Great Sphinx. But the first modern excavation project was in 1817, lead by Captain Caviglia uncovering the chest, but the Sphinx was finally dug out completely in 1925. The last of the restoration project took place as recently as 2006.

Trying to dig up information about the Sphinx unearthed a lot. Going through all of the theories, suppositions, rumors or even psychics made me realize that common logic was dry and uninteresting compared to the fascinating controversies of more ancient unknown civilizations or even aliens being responsible. Even the most recent claim by the geologists that the Sphinx dates as far back as 9000 years ago probably at the end of the Ice age was based solely on the geological evidence, rather than information from hieroglyphics or other histories. The suppositions are based around the weathering and the water erosion that the limestone has witnessed, not of the making of the actual statue.

Then there are claims of an advanced civilization that once thrived on the continent of Antarctica before it was frozen over during a global catastrophe at the end of the last Ice Age. Or of extraterrestrials coming down to earth to build this monument because mere humans where unable to accomplish such a enormous achievement. To me this seems more of an insult to all of humanity than to the ancient Egyptians that actually toiled to have there names remembered over the passing of time.

But really the most interesting of all concepts was that of a psychic Edgar Cayce! He prophesied a secret passageway leads from one of the Sphinx's paws to its right shoulder where there exists a "Hall of Records" that contains the wisdom of a lost civilization and the history of the world. During a trance he received reading that the legendary civilization of Atlantis was responsible for many of the accomplishments of ancient Egypt, claiming that the Great Pyramid and Sphinx were built by Atlanteans refugees.

The ancient Egyptians lived, and died building the Sphinx and the Pyramids, leaving behind their documentations, tools, graves and bones. Trying to find another unknown civilization to give credits to is illogical lacking common sense and denigrating to its people. The pyramids are human achievements and one of the Nova projects called "This Old Pyramid" demonstrated that it was actually attempted to construct a scaled down version of the Great Pyramid using techniques which are inscribed in ancient Egyptian temples.

About the Author:
Gawhara Hanem