The Great Sphinx Of Ancient Egypt English Language Essay

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Over 4, 500 years ago, an impressive creature was carved out of limestone on the Giza Plateau, Egypt. This large animal is called the Great Sphinx, complete with a lion's body and a human's head. After being buried in the sand for many years, it was uncovered, and its grandiose height and width were revealed (Dunn 2, 3). The sphinx was also given many other names found in the earliest forms of Egyptian writing (Butler 3). The Great Sphinx is a stone figure surrounded by loads of history, myths and characteristics that make up its meaning.

What is the Great Sphinx? The body is about 65 feet tall and 200 feet in length. The face of it is 13 feet wide and its eyes are 6 feet high (TourEgypt 3). In comparison to Ancient Greek sphinxes, who were females with wings, Egyptian sphinxes were males. There are small traces of red paint on the cheeks; evidence of its once bright color. Although the nose and beard are missing and its face is battered, the expression is able to be read. The watchful eyes and smile are easily seen (Berg 8, 10). The possible reason for the missing nose and beard is stated in Christopher Berg's article. "There are several stories explaining the Sphinx's famous missing nose; one is that it fell off when Napoleon's archaeologists were investigating the statue; another is that the Mameluke army used the Sphinx for target practice, and a lucky artillery shot blew it off. Neither of these tales are true. The nose was probably removed in the 8th century AD by a Sufi who considered the Sphinx a blasphemous idol, but all that can be said for certain, based on the tool marks that remain, is that it was deliberately pried off with chisels."

The face is possibly that of Khafre, a pharaoh from the fourth dynasty who built one of the largest pyramids on the Giza triad. Its face could also be that of Khafre's older brother or another pharaoh down the line of ancestors. Different names given to the Sphinx back in the ancient Egyptian times include Hor-em-akht (Horus in the Horizon), Bw-How (Place of Horus) and Ra-horakhty (Ra of Two Horizons). Horus was one of the oldest and most significant gods in the religion of ancient Egypt. This deity was the patron god of living Pharaohs, rulers, law, war, young men and others. Horus was often depicted as a falcon-headed man (most commonly), a falcon, a lion with the head of a falcon or a sphinx. Horus was worshipped widely throughout Egypt and there were many stories and myths told about him.

The sphinx ages back to the kings of the 4th Dynasty, maybe even to an older time (Gray 10). The "Sphinx Stela", an inscription on the Sphinx that dated back to 1400 BC, is the oldest evidence that is given for the date.

What is the history and origin of the Sphinx? People in that time period represented their pharaohs as lions because of their physical strength. The Sphinx was developed as a result of this high view they had of their leaders (Trifter 1). Also, a lot of other Egyptian kings worshiped the Great Sphinx because they didn't know where it came from (Berg 2). It lived most of its history covered in sand. The first uncovering of the Sphinx was by Thutmose IV, as it was stated on the "Sphinx Stela." "The pharaoh Thutmose IV, sleeping beneath the head of the statue, was told in a dream to dig up the body of the Sphinx. In reward he was told he would be made a great king. Thutmose immediately began digging up the Great Sphinx, restoring it to its former glory." The next time it was restored was not until the 20th century (Butler p. 2, para. 4, 5).

As for the origin of sphinxes in general, it is suggested that they came from the Babylonians or other races before the idea was adopted from the Egyptians. Another theory suggests the Babylonians took it from the Egyptians. The Babylonians believed of a flood from the Persian Gulf that marked the beginning of the world and was ruled by the great creatures called sphinxes. Because of the Nile's annually flooding, it is believed that the Babylonians could have had a similar flood. That would raise this theory in both places, Egypt and Babylon. Besides the Great Sphinx, other statues and sculptures of different types of sphinxes were found. This leads to the theory that the Sphinx of Giza was not the first of its kind (Nichols 108).

Underneath the Great Sphinx is a series of tunnels, doorways, stairs and even a circular temple. The passageways into the tunnels are outside and to the side of the Sphinx, possibly meaning the Sphinx was built after the underground construction, or perhaps even before. Also, a secret subway is thought to be snaked underground, connecting Khafre's pyramid and the Sphinx. Because Khafre built the pyramid close by with chambers and passageways, the Sphinx was thought to be built similarly. These interior chambers and tunnels inside the Sphinx were searched for, but only a few passages with dead ends were found.

Erosion is a popular discussed piece of information over the Sphinx. The head of the creature is disproportionate to its body. This definitely has something to do with the erosion because the Egyptians always made their sculptures and statues with as much perfection and symmetry as possible. Some parts of the body give evidence for wind erosion. Other parts look as if it was eroded by water. In addition, its body is very much so eroded, whether in natural occurrences or not. Its head on the other hand, is not. This suggests rain fall that pooled around its upper body while covered in sand. Also, a flood could have had a part in the erosion, but this is not for sure. It is also made up of different kinds of sandstone and limestone which affected the rate and kind of erosion (Orcutt 7). Whatever the reality of the results of erosion, the Sphinx has surely been altered in its form over the many years of its life.

The mystery of the Great Sphinx is a debated subject as it involves why, how and for who it was built. The exact purpose for its existence is not known. It was possibly a guardian statue, or a memorial to a Pharaoh or god, or in some cases, it was even thought to be an astronomical observation device (Gray 15). In the book "The Sphinx Mystery", the author, Robert Temple, talks about the purpose for the Sphinx. He believes that originally, the Sphinx was a statue of the ancient Egyptian deity called Anubis. Instead of a lion, it was shaped like a dog. Anubis was the protector of the underworld, which the author believed was right at Giza. This information would link to the location of the Sphinx, as it sits in that same area (Coppens 3). The Sphinx was also thought to be the image of a god or even goddess, representing the worshiped idol of the place and time period. Since other sphinxes of different kinds have been found, the theory is that each of them represented a god of their own place and time (Hastings 768). Not only this, but some believe it was guarding a tomb or tombs from evil forces. This theory is not as known and used as other ones, but still, a possibility. Some researchers have even suggested that the Sphinx originated from Africans living in Egypt and did not originate from Egyptians at all.

As for the builder, the common theory is that it was Khafre, the builder of a huge pyramid close by. Other theories suggest Khafre's father, brother or older kings building it. During the reign of Khafre, Egypt was a prosperous place and many things were developed including the Sphinx. This time period could easily tie in with the construction of this great creature. Also, the time of Khafre's older brother (another possible builder of the Sphinx) was in similar condition. As for the construction, the Sphinx was carved right out of the limestone bedrock by many workers of the Pharaoh of that time. Considering the lack of modern tools, this project would have required many laborers and very challenging work. The leftover rock was most likely used for other projects such as temples or pyramids (Butler p. 2, para. 1, 2).

The Great Sphinx was an incredible creature built long ago, during ancient Egyptian times. Sitting in the Giza Plateau, it watches over the surrounding pyramids and in some theories, acts as a guardian. Representing a pharaoh and his deities, it was worshiped as a god itself at times. The builder and the date of construction are not valid facts, but many ideas are presented. Even though this great creature lived most of its life being eroded and covered by sand, it stands proud and tall, continuing to watch over its land. Many continue to marvel at its awesome form and mysterious origins.

Works Cited

Butler, Allen. "A History of the Great Sphinx of Giza." Associated Content - Associatedcontent.com. Allen Butler, 2 Feb. 2006. Web. 2 Oct. 2010. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/19568/

a_history_of_the_great_sphinx_of_giza.html?cat=37>.

Dunn, Jimmy. "The Great Sphinx." InterCity Oz, Inc - Interoz.com - Web Publishers, Marketers and Designer - Where the Web Leads. 1996. Web. 2 Oct. 2010. http://interoz.com/egypt/sphinx.htm.

Gray, Martin. "Great Sphinx." Sacred Sites: Places of Peace and Power. 1983-2009. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. http://www.sacredsites.com/africa/egypt/great-sphinx.html.

AKNsolutions.com. "The Great Sphinx." Egypt Travel, Tours, Vacations, Ancient Egypt from Tour Egypt. 1996-2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. <http://www.touregypt.net/ sphinx.htm>.

Ghaz, Mr. "The Long Lived Lion: How The Great Sphinx Survived The Sands of Times | Trifter." Trifter | Travelers Sharing Hotel, Travel, Flight and Destination Tips. 28 Mar. 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. <http://trifter.com/africa/egypt/the-long-lived-lion-how-the-great-sphinx-survived-the-sands-of-times/>.

Berg, Christopher. "The Sphinx." Mazes, Educational Puzzles at Amazeing Art. 2001-2004. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. <http://www.amazeingart.com/seven-wonders/sphinx.html>.

Bayuk, Andrew. "Guardian's Sphinx." Guardian's Egypt Main Gate. 1995-2005. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. <http://www.guardians.net/egypt/sphinx/>.

Coppens, Phillip. "The Sphinx Mystery." Philip Coppens.com. Web. 27 Oct. 2010. <http://www.philipcoppens.com/sphinxmystery.html>.

Orcutt, Larry. "A Chamber Beneath the Sphinx?" Catchpenny Mysteries of Ancient Egypt. 2000. Web. 30 Oct. 2010. <http://www.catchpenny.org/chamber.html>.

Nichols, John. "The Gentlemen's Magazine." Vol. 92. 1822. 2 Nov. 2010.

Hastings, James. "System of Synthetic Philosophy." Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Vol. 22. Edinburgh: [s.n.], 1908. Print.

First Rough Draft

Abbie Dennett

Over 4, 500 years ago, a creature was crafted out of limestone on the Giza Plateau, Egypt. This large animal is called the Great Sphinx, complete with a lion's body and a human's head (Dunn 3). After being buried in the sand for many years, it was uncovered, and its grandiose height and width were revealed (Dunn 2). The sphinx was also given many other names found in the earliest forms of Egyptian writing (Butler 3). The Great Sphinx is a stone figure surrounded by loads of history, myths and characteristics that make up its meaning.

What is the Great Sphinx? The body is about 65 feet tall and 200 feet in length. The face of it is 13 feet wide and its eyes are 6 feet high (TourEgypt 3). Although the nose and beard are missing and its face is battered, the expression is able to be read. The watchful eyes and smile are easily seen (Berg 8, 10). The sphinx ages back to the 4th Dynasty, maybe even to an older time(Gray 10). Different names given to the Sphinx back in the ancient Egyptian times include Hor-em-akht (Horus in the Horizon), Bw-How (Place of Horus) and Ra-horakhty (Ra of Two Horizons). These facts are simply characteristics of the Sphinx, not yet getting into the deeper meanings.

What consisted of the history during the time of the Sphinx? The people back in that time represented their pharaohs as lions because of their strength. Because of this, the sphinx was invented (Trifter 1). The Great Sphinx lived most of its history covered in sand. The first uncovering of the Sphinx was by Thutmose IV. "The pharaoh Thutmose IV, sleeping beneath the head of the statue, was told in a dream to dig up the body of the Sphinx. In reward he was told he would be made a great king. Thutmose immediately began digging up the Great Sphinx, restoring it to its former glory." The next time it was restored was not until the 20th century (Butler p. 2, para. 4, 5). A lot of Egyptian kings worshiped the Great Sphinx because they didn't know where it came from (Berg 2).

The construction of the Great Sphinx is obviously the base of the entire project. The purpose of the Sphinx is not known, but there are many ideas as to what that might be. Possibly a guardian statue, or a memorial to a Pharaoh or god, or in some cases, it was even thought to be an astronomical observation device (Gray 15). As for the builder, the common theory is that of Khafre, the builder of a huge pyramid close by. Other theories suggest Khafre's father or older kings built it (Bayuk 4). The process used to make the Sphinx was carving. It was carved right out of the limestone bedrock, brick by brick. The leftover rock was most likely used for other projects such as temples or pyramids (Butler p. 2, para. 1, 2).

The Great Sphinx was an incredible creature built long ago, during ancient Egyptian times. Sitting in the Giza Plateau, it watches over the surrounding pyramids and in some theories, acts as a guardian. Representing a pharaoh, it was worshiped as a god at times. The builder and the date of construction are not valid facts, but many ideas are presented. Even though this great creature lived most of its life being eroded and covered by sand, it stands proud and tall, continuing to watch over its land.

Comments: For only being this far in your writing, the number of citations seems to be disproportionately large.Organize your writing; some paragraphs are very disjointed and discuss several different topics. In several places you start to repeat yourself. See the comments in the margin.

Works Cited

Butler, Allen. "A History of the Great Sphinx of Giza." Associated Content - Associatedcontent.com. Allen Butler, 2 Feb. 2006. Web. 2 Oct. 2010. <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/19568/

a_history_of_the_great_sphinx_of_giza.html?cat=37>.

Dunn, Jimmy. "The Great Sphinx." InterCity Oz, Inc - Interoz.com - Web Publishers, Marketers and Designer - Where the Web Leads. 1996. Web. 2 Oct. 2010. http://interoz.com/egypt/sphinx.htm.

Gray, Martin. "Great Sphinx." Sacred Sites: Places of Peace and Power. 1983-2009. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. http://www.sacredsites.com/africa/egypt/great-sphinx.html.

AKNsolutions.com. "The Great Sphinx." Egypt Travel, Tours, Vacations, Ancient Egypt from Tour Egypt. 1996-2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. <http://www.touregypt.net/ sphinx.htm>.

Ghaz, Mr. "The Long Lived Lion: How The Great Sphinx Survived The Sands of Times | Trifter." Trifter | Travelers Sharing Hotel, Travel, Flight and Destination Tips. 28 Mar. 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. <http://trifter.com/africa/egypt/the-long-lived-lion-how-the-great-sphinx-survived-the-sands-of-times/>.

Berg, Christopher. "The Sphinx." Mazes, Educational Puzzles at Amazeing Art. 2001-2004. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. <http://www.amazeingart.com/seven-wonders/sphinx.html>.

Bayuk, Andrew. "Guardian's Sphinx." Guardian's Egypt Main Gate. 1995-2005. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. <http://www.guardians.net/egypt/sphinx/>.

Second Rough Draft

Abbie Dennett

Over 4, 500 years ago, a creature was carved out of limestone on the Giza Plateau, Egypt. This large animal is called the Great Sphinx, complete with a lion's body and a human's head. After being buried in the sand for many years, it was uncovered, and its grandiose height and width were revealed (Dunn 2, 3). The sphinx was also given many other names found in the earliest forms of Egyptian writing (Butler 3). The Great Sphinx is a stone figure surrounded by loads of history, myths and characteristics that make up its meaning. What is your thesis statement?

What is the Great Sphinx? The body is about 65 feet tall and 200 feet in length. The face of it is 13 feet wide and its eyes are 6 feet high (TourEgypt 3). There are small traces of red paint on the cheeks; evidence of its once bright color. Although the nose and beard are missing and its face is battered, the expression is able to be read. The watchful eyes and smile are easily seen (Berg 8, 10). The possible reason for the missing nose and beard is stated in Christopher Berg's article. "There are several stories explaining the Sphinx's famous missing nose; one is that it fell off when Napoleon's archaeologists were investigating the statue; another is that the Mameluke army used the Sphinx for target practice, and a lucky artillery shot blew it off. Neither of these tales are true. The nose was probably removed in the 8th century AD by a Sufi who considered the Sphinx a blasphemous idol, but all that can be said for certain, based on the tool marks that remain, is that it was deliberately pried off with chisels."

The face is possibly that of Chephren, a pharaoh from the fourth dynasty who built one of the lagest pyramids on the Giza triad. Different names given to the Sphinx back in the ancient Egyptian times include Hor-em-akht (Horus in the Horizon), Bw-How (Place of Horus) and Ra-horakhty (Ra of Two Horizons). The sphinx ages back to the kings of the 4th Dynasty, maybe even to an older time(Gray 10). "Sphinx Stela", an inscription on the Sphinx that dated back to 1400 BC, is the oldest evidence that is given for the date. These facts are simply characteristics of the Sphinx; not yet getting into the deeper meanings.

What is the history of the Sphinx? People in those days represented their pharaohs as lions because of their physical strength. The sphinx was developed as a result of this high view they had of their leaders (Trifter 1). Also, a lot of other Egyptian kings worshiped the Great Sphinx because they didn't know where it came from (Berg 2). It lived most of its history covered in sand. The first uncovering of the Sphinx was by Thutmose IV, as it was stated on the "Sphinx Stela." "The pharaoh Thutmose IV, sleeping beneath the head of the statue, was told in a dream to dig up the body of the Sphinx. In reward he was told he would be made a great king. Thutmose immediately began digging up the Great Sphinx, restoring it to its former glory." The next time it was restored was not until the 20th century (Butler p. 2, para. 4, 5).

The mystery of the Great Sphinx is a debated subject as it involves why, how and for whom it was built. Chambers and tunnels underneath the Sphinx were thought to exist, but this is also a mystery. Its purpose is not known. Possibly a guardian statue, or a memorial to a Pharaoh or god, or in some cases, it was even thought to be an astronomical observation device (Gray 15). In the book, "The Sphinx Mystery", the author, Robert Temple, talks about the purpose for the Sphinx. He believes that originally, the Sphinx was a statue of the ancient Egyptian deity called Anubis. Instead of a lion, it was shaped like a dog. Anubis was the protector of the underworld, which the author believed was right at Gizeh, which would also make sense for the location of the Sphinx (Coppens 3). As for the builder, the common theory is that it was Khafre, the builder of a huge pyramid close by. . Other theories suggest Khafre's father or older kings built it. Because of Khafre's pyramid, which contains two chambers, the Sphinx was also thought to have an entrance or a chamber. Only three entrances were found, but they were dead ends (Orcutt). The Sphinx was carved. It was carved right out of the limestone bedrock. The leftover rock was most likely used for other projects such as temples or pyramids (Butler p. 2, para. 1, 2).

The Great Sphinx was an incredible creature built long ago, during ancient Egyptian times. Sitting in the Giza Plateau, it watches over the surrounding pyramids and in some theories, acts as a guardian. Representing a pharaoh, it was worshiped as a god at times. The builder and the date of construction are not valid facts, but many ideas are presented. Even though this great creature lived most of its life being eroded and covered by sand, it stands proud and tall, continuing to watch over its land. Comments: Looks like you are still having an issue with getting to a full five pages. In your "works cited", I don't see any reference to hard (library) books, nor to a National Geographic magazine. Again, suggestions to lengthen this would include comparing to other sphinxes around the world (I believe I have heard of something similar somewhere, but the location escapes me just now), and further relating it to one of the nearby pyramids. Try Googling "Babylonian Sphinx" for starters.

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