The Sphinx & The Sabbath
The ancient Hebrews from the land beyond the Kush, today know as Africa, did have several interactions with Egyptians up through the centuries. The Book of Jasher (the remains anyways) chronicles their flight and endeavour in building up the great Egyptian civilisation, which mostly still lies covered deep in sand, from upper Egypt and way down into the Sudan, the so-called Nubians. Egypt did, after being aided by the Hebrews the first time, go on to enjoy the glorious heydays, categorised in different dynasties by archeologists guessing away at all kinds of time periods and frames. What is there for all to see, is that this area was indeed the land of all the gods, and Egypt was at her most glorious and breathtaking. However, all things comes must to an end.
If you happen agree with the timeline set by archeologists and egyptologists, you will quickly find yourself in fruitless arguments with atheists and agnostics alike about a vast array of timeframes, Sphinxes, historical monuments, or just arguing about other historical events. When they happened, where they happened... This is a problem because, short answer, the timeframes simply don't ad up. This leaves you to defend the Bible as historically accurate or inaccurate. Now, you are forced to defend it because it is used in this context, as a manuscript that (somehow) was collected over the years and originated in the middle east. Using the popular historical narrative way you will always come up short in these discussions. Logically and or geographically, whichever way you choose to go, it won't add up.
Now, the question that should be asked these same academics, is why on earth they are excavating ancient Israel some six thousand miles from where it actually was/is... If modern historians admit being wrong by a couple of hundred years in their calculations or even thousands, what else might have been overlooked? The rapid deterioration of organic material should be enough to raise questions on methods like Radio-carob dating. Close enough it seems is also good enough these days... Oh, did I mention that people doesn't really wanna know anyway?
Just to prove a a point of how easy history is manipulated or how fast the human mind forgets and refuses to see something hidden in plain sight. Consider the example of the evolution Sphinx and her nose. Yes I said her, which was the original intent of the Egyptian creators, the concept of goddesses was born in Egypt. Its only to strange to see that she has now become a dude, and goes by the name Pharaoh or The Sphinx. The nose, or should I say, HER nose - has a unique history and has taken several shapes over the years. A sort of evolution has indeed taken place, where the obvious conqerors have all taken artistic licenses in portraying the old monument, with their face in a way. Below you find the sketch (postcard), made by archeologist and artist Vivant Denon (1747-1825), who etched this image of the Sphinx around 1798. Now Denon makes no mention of ANY damages to the Nose or lips of the Sphinx, and writes in His own words (Denon, 1803):
"...Though its proportions are colossal, the outline is pure and graceful; the expression of the head is mild, gracious, and tranquil; the character is African, but the mouth, and lips of which are thick, has a softness and delicacy of execution truly admirable; it seems real life and flesh. Art must have been at a high pitch when this monument was executed; for, if the head wants what is called style, that is the say, the straight and bold lines which give expression to the figures under which the Greeks have designated their deities, yet sufficient justice has been rendered to the fine simplicity and character of nature which is displayed in this figure..."
Now, in case your eyesight (judgement) is somewhat afflicted, thats a Bantu nose with Bantu lips, clear Negroid features. Is it a woman though? Hard to tell from that angle. Rest assured, we are going to the bottom of that too. Lets move on to another observant Frenchman, Count Constantin de Volney (1757-1820), who seemed to know just a little bit about everything. This man embarked on a journey in 1782 where he actually spent nearly seven months in Egypt, all chronicled in his Travels through Syria and Egypt in the Years 1783, 1784, and 1785 (1787). Volney did not have sympathies for people who where pro-slavery, and did go on to make several mentions in his writings that the Egyptians where in fact black Africans. During his Egyptian spell he made clear these facts - that one of the greatest civilisations where in fact not white. To utter amazement for all his European piers, who labeled him `strange` from that day on. It didn't exactly help that the man also tried to prove that Christ had no historical existence. Perhaps he was right in that, meaning if they was looking for historical and archeological evidence for Christ in the middle east, there wouldn't be any. Because it actually didn't happen there, it all happened in Africa. Anyways, beliefs such as these has made sure Volneys brief historical mention, though he did write interesting stuff on the Egyptian civilisation (Volney, 1787:80-83):
"All the Egyptians, have a bloated face, puffed-up eyes, flat nose, thick lips – in a word, the true face of the mulatto. I was tempted to attribute it to the climate, but when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the key to the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remembered the remarkable passage where Herodotus says:
' As for me, I judge the Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are black with woolly hair...
"When I visited the Sphinx, I could not help thinking that the figure of that monster furnished the true solution to the enigma (of how the modern Egyptians came to have their 'mulatto' appearance).
"In other words, the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans. That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Greeks and Romans, must have lost the intensity of its original colour, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mold."
"Just think, that this race of Black men, today our slave and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences, and even the use of speech! Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of people who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery, and questioned whether Black men have the same kind of intelligence as whites!
"In other words the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same stock as all the autochthonous peoples of Africa and from the datum one sees how their race, after some centuries of mixing with the blood of Romans and Greeks, must have lost the full blackness of its original colour but retained the impress of its original mould."
The Evolution of the Sphinx Nose
Volneys words does seem to ring true, however history teaches otherwise nowadays, but there are increasing possibilities to keep going deeper and do some digging. Treasure are to be found, with earlier images of the Sphinx, giving even more food for thought. Below these images are presented chronologically, with the earliest known sketches, mostly by European travellers from the middle ages and up towards modern times. Enjoy :)
As we move along, I want you to (continually) ask two questions:
1. Is the nose still in the current image?
2. Does the Sphinx look more like a man or more like a woman?
One of the earliest, if not the earliest image, is from Hogenberg & Brauns map Cairus quae olim Babylon (1572), which exists in various editions (various authors) with a different looking Sphinx.
This drawing of Johannes Helferich who visited the Sphinx in 1565 shows a depiction of a woman. Helferich goes on to tell in is much quoted works, kinda tales from the campfire style, secret passages and nefarious Egyptian priests scaring the trespassers half to death. His detailed writings suggest he was either or had made the acquaintance of someone who was familiar with the sight. The woodcut above was published in 1579, and seems so imply the complete opposite. The Sphinx is female and the monument itself is shown as a pear of breasts buried in the sand. Interestingly the headpiece depicted does resemble a well know Egyptian hairstyle, and Helferich himself was under the strong impression that the Sphinx herself was an image of Isis.
Jan Sommer made this unpublished image for the Voyages en Egypte des annees (1589). Sphinx, to the left of pyramid, looks female, head slightly tilted backwards and seems to have some sort of ornament on her head.
Here is the sketch made by the English poet and traveler George Sandys (1577-1644), with his engraved image of the Giza plateau. The illustrator of George Sandys travels made a better job in depicting the Sphinx. Perhaps even Sandys himself made the actual sketch in the field as the woodcut in his book is detailed enough to show erosion on the neck, with knobbly protuberances, the damage to the head-dress (hair), along with grooves and notches. Sandys illustration also avoids the classical style which in later times have gone on to ruin the many contemporary renditions of Egyptian art. The nose does seem to be there, resembling Bantu but features are fading - how about the gender, still a woman?
A drawing of the Giza Sphinx by the French aristocrat François de La Boullaye-Le Gouz (1623-68) gathered from Les Voyages et Observations (1653). Hopefully you see a woman with a flat bantu nose, and a rounded hairdo and bulky collar, which perhaps could be there attempt to render the protruding and weathered layer of the neck or quite simply it used to look more like an afro.
A drawing of the Giza Sphinx by doctor, magistrate and French aristocrat Balthasar de Monconys (1611-65) from his Journal des voyages (1665). Nose intact, it seems, with Monconys interpretation of the headdress as kind of a hairnet.
An image of the Sphinx by `African Authority` Olfert Dapper (1636-89) from his Description de l'Afrique (1665), note the two different displays of the Sphinx. Now, is the image on the left between the pyramids an image of a man or a woman?
As things progress and as they being to get ridiculous, Dutch artist and traveler Cornelis de Bruijn (1652-1727) did his engraving, found in Reizen van Cornelis de Bruyn door de vermaardste Deelen van Klein Asia (1698). So, I guess something happened here or de Bruijn was working under commission, filled in the nose or this quite possibly is simple satire... Anyways, nose is still there only, well you know...clearly the Sphinx is some white dude now...?
This image of the Sphinx is by the German geographer Johanne Baptista Homann (1664-1724), from the map Aegyptus hodierna (1724). Difficult to see, but there is a slightly feminine tint to the Sphinx (hair) and something that looks like a nose, perhaps not Bantu anymore, but there seems to still be a nose.
An engraving of the Sphinx by anthropologist (believe it or not) Richard Pocoke (1704-65) a rendering from A Description of the East and Some other Countries, Vol. I: Observations on Egypt (1743). Is the nose intact? It seems to be intact, although I would say it has deviated from the original altogether. Its now clearly a white dude, and not many feminine features are left. Pocokes account are free for all to be reading his Egyptian travels, in the 1700s, and could very easily be seen as a mimic of de Bruijns work from 1698, even the people standing beneath or sitting next to the Sphinx head. Erosion and damage seems fairly accurately record, the nose, although changed simnifically, is shown intact. So much for de Bruins satire theory. Makes you wonder if the anthropologist (specialist in human features) Pocoke actually spent more than a couple of days at the sight...makes you wonder.
Above are the two drawings of danish explorer and naval captain Frederic Louis Norden (1708-42), published in his travels in 1755, which included these two images of the Sphinx. Front view, is where the nose seems to have suddenly disappeared, and what gender is the depiction now? Hard to tell really..
Side view shows that the nose is definitely gone. Does any other historical engravings prior to 1800 reveal the loss, at this detail, of the nose? I haven't found any. This image if often exhibited when trying to prove other egyptological or archeological theories. Which often results in a leaving out this `inconvenient` image.
This painting of the Sphinx by sculptor, painter, architect and archeologist Louis-Francois Cassas (1756-1827) from about 1790, shows something remarkable... the nose is back again...! How? Have no idea. Sphinx does however look slight more female, although even less Bantu than before.
A side view of Denons etching of the Sphinx, from 1798, which shows the (Bantu) nose intact and something that resembles a female afro. Vivant Denon, who joined Napoleons expedition to Egypt as an archeologist and artist, published in 1802 his sketches of Egyptian monuments and artefacts in Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte (1802).
This interesting painting of the Sphinx by the Italian-German artist Luigi Mayer (1755-1803), shows the head of the Sphinx (left 1st. Ed) and to the right (2nd. Ed). In the collection Views from Egypt (1801), from the actual original drawings of Sir Robert Ainslie (1730-1812), taken during his embassy to Constantinople undertaken by Luigi Mayer, engraved under the direction of engraver Thomas Milton (1743-1827). This image is now in the Overstone Library, Reading University Library. So then, is the nose intact? Yes it appears so. Features are definitely female or, kinda Masai looking, slim face but long forehead with a powerful jawline. Beneath is Luigi Mayer image from an article. Now, from the year 1809 an onwards the Sphinx was to be depicted rather masculine and without a nose and no (visible) lips.
The Great Sphinx of Giza in the series of volumes called Description de l'Egypte (1809), Book 15 (1822), Volume V - Planches : Antiquités (1823). These columns where the extensive compilation of the field repots, sketches and descriptions made by members of Napoleons scientific team during the expeditions in Egypt. As you can see the nose is gone and features (cheeks) now look way more masculine than the previous image.
Another drawing from Description de l'Egypte (1809), Book 15 (1822), Volume V - Planches : Antiquités (1823), when the Sphinx was seen by Napoleons troops, largely buried in sand. In 1817 its chest was uncovered by egyptologist and explorer Giovanni Battista Cavaglia (1770-1845), it was going to take another 119 years before the famous French egyptologist Èmile Baraize (1874-1852) where to excavated the Sphinx completely in 1936. Nose looks to be gone and features are difficult to asses.
On the right is the Scottish painter David Roberts (1796-1864) famous work of the Sphinx from 1839. And the nose is definitely gone, also partially excavated. Feminine features now seem gone as well, and looking more like the face of a man. Below are rare views, by same painter, also a dust-storm painting.
The Sphinx at Giza rear view Dust-storm at the Sphinx at Giza
From the photographic collection of the New York Library, from 1849. taken by colonel Howard Vyse (1784-1853) shows the Sphinx, under excavation lead by Cavaglia. In the sand dune around the Sphinx has opened up in front of the chest (breasts) and around the left shoulder, revealing the front paws and the chapel between the forelegs.
English astronomer Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900) took this photograph of the Sphinx in 1865, and conclusive photographic evidence correlates that the nose and lips have been damaged or altered somewhat. Features are anyones guess by now really. Although, if you know the outset and use Denons rendering as the starting point, it is still possible to see the original Bantu woman.
On the left is the painting of sculptor Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) with none other than Napoleon mounted on his horse standing in from of the Sphinx. The nose is still missing and gives little insight into its former glory.
A photo by an unknown author, taken of the Sphinx, with some dude standing inside the remains of the cape (afro) on the left side. Nose and lips either eroded or damaged for all to see.
A rather famous crowd sits in front of the ancient monument and the Giza Necropolis, a few of them being egyptologist Auguste Mariette (1821-81), politician Luís Pedreira do Couto Ferraz (1818-86), Don Teresa Cristina (1822-89) also nicknamed `Mother of the Brazilians`, Emperor Dom Pedro II (1825-91) the last ruler of Brazil. In M. Delie & E- Bechards De Volta a Luz (1871). Not much to note on this photo, other than the streak of celebrities, each one posing their very best old school selfie-style. No nose or lips.
Here you can see the Sphinx of Giza, partially excavated, with two pyramids in the background. From De l'Égypte et de la Nubie (1878).
A photo, probably by Beniamino Facchinelli (1839-96), dated between 1873 and 1895, from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.