The Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx is an important part of Egyptian culture and history.  The Great Sphynx has the head of a person and the body of a lion.

Ancient Egyptian Gods

When the Sphinx was built, it was built to have a head of a god or a pharaoh.  Since pharaohs were the leaders of the land, they were considered to be gods.

Why Was the Great Sphinx Built? 

The Great Sphinx was built because the Ancient Egyptians believed that the statues could be built to protect certain areas that were important.  The Great Sphinx was meant to protect the temples and the tombs of the pharaohs in the area.

Ancient Egyptian Sphinx

There were many Sphinx statues that were built but the most famous one is the one that guards the tombs of Giza.  This Sphinx is called the Great Sphinx of Giza.  The Great Sphinx of Giza is the oldest statue that exists in the world.

Some historians believe that the Great Sphinx was carved out of stone and sand in 2500 B.C. and that it has the head of Pharaoh Khafra.

Which Way Does the Great Sphinx of Giza Face?

The Great Sphinx looks towards the sunrise as it protects the pyramid tombs.

What is the Size of the Great Sphinx?

The Great Sphinx is over 240 feet long and over 20 feet wide.  It also is over 60 feet high.  Even the features on the face are large with the eyes being over 6 feet tall and the nose was 5 feet long before it broke off.

What is the Great Sphinx Made Of?

The Great Sphinx is made of bedrock.

What is Different About the Great Sphinx?

In the past, the Great Sphinx was even bigger and taller than it was before.  Since erosion has happened for years, it has changed the Great Sphinx some.  Erosion is when weather causes things to break and change.

Besides erosion causing pieces to fall off, it also changed the way the Great Sphinx looked.  In the past, the Great Sphinx was painted with bright colors such as red, blue and yellow.  The face was red, it had a long beard that was braided that was painted blue and the headdress was yellow in color.

The Nose of the Great Sphinx

As we said above, the nose of the Great Sphinx was over 5 feet long, but the nose got knocked off.  No one is really sure how this happened and there is a lot of stories and myths that are told about how the nose broke off.

Some think that the nose was knocked off by Napoleon’s army, but historians found this to be untrue.  Other people think that it happened because the Turkish soldiers shot it off.  The newest legend is that someone broke it off because they thought the Great Sphinx was evil and they wanted to break it down.  We may never really know what happened to it.

What is the Legend of the Great Sphinx?

The Great Sphinx was built during a time where there was a lot of problems happening in Egypt.  With sandstorms and wind, it caused the Sphinx to be covered with sand and the only thing that was seen was the head.

Some believe that a prince who was named Thutmose fell asleep close to the Sphinx and he had a dream that he would become pharaoh if he fixed the Great Sphinx and dug him out.  Thutmose did this and later he became pharaoh of Egypt.  Some believe this is true and others just call it a legend.

More Facts About the Great Sphinx:

  • The Greek gave the statue the name “sphinx” because they also heard a story of a sphinx that terrorized the Greeks.
  • Historians believe that the beard of the Sphinx wasn’t added until the rise of the New kingdom.
  • People in Egypt go out of their way to keep the Great Sphinx in great condition, but the weather keeps eroding it.
  • The Great Sphinx lost some of its beard and it can be seen in a museum in London.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What is the Great Sphinx?  The Great Sphinx is a large statue that is part human face and part lion body.
  2. What does the face of the Great Sphinx represent? The face of the Great Sphinx represents a god or a pharaoh.
  3. What is missing off of the Great Sphinx? The nose of the Great Sphinx is missing, and no one is sure why.
  4. Where is part of the Great Sphinx beard? Some of the beard can be seen at a museum in London.
  5. What other things changed about the Great Sphinx over the years? The paint, the nose and the beard have all changed over the years because of erosion and other reasons.