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http://www.hotforwords.com to request words. Let's look at the Great Sphinx in Egypt.
Hello my dear students, today we are going to pop over to Northern Africa to a country called Egypt so that we can stop in and visit an old friend, the Great Sphinx of Egypt!
The Great Sphinx of Egypt is 260 feet long, 20 feet wide and 65 feet tall making it the largest free standing sculpture in the world, and it was carved out of a single piece of limestone! But how and when did this sphinx get built? What the heck is a sphinx in the first place? And why is it missing its nose?
HotForWords pops over to Egypt to investigate the Sphinx!
The Great Sphinx of Egypt is part of the funerary or relating to the funeral of Egyptian pharaoh Khafre, who was the builder of the second Giza Pyramid. This pyramid is built on higher ground than the other two pyramids of the Giza group, so it appears to be the tallest one of the group though it is actually between 2 to 20 feet shorter than the Great Pyramid, built by his dad.
Khafre, also known as Khafra, Chephren or Cephrenes, reigned between 2558 and 2532 BC, more than 4000 years ago! In addition to building the pyramid, it is believed that he also built the Great Sphinx.
What exactly is a sphinx?
Well, in Greek mythology as sphinx is a winged creature with the body of a lion and the head of a woman. When the Great Sphinx was excavated in Egypt, it appeared to have the body of a lion, but instead of a female head and wings this one had a male head and no wings -- so what did we decide to call it? Why, a sphinx of course! Which makes no sense... but hey. There is no record of what the Egyptians originally called the Sphinx.
Now the head of the Sphinx is believed to be the head of the pharaoh Khafre. If you look at a picture of the statue of Khafre and the Sphinx side by side, you can see the similarity.
Except for that darned nose! What happened to the nose of the Sphinx?
"You broke the nose off of the Sphinx!"
No I didn't... it just fell off..
No it didn't.. I saw you lean on it and it fell off! You're in denial!
I'm not in de nile.. denile is right over there! Show shot of the Nile river.
There are a couple legends on how the nose went missing.. one tale is that Napolean's soldiers used the Sphinx for target practice and fired a canon ball at the nose and broke it off, another tales has the Turks blowing the nose off from target practice during their rule of Egypt. These are fun tales but false because drawings of the Sphinx from before Napolean and the Turk's rule show the nose already missing.
The nose was most likely chiseled off in the late 1300s by a Sufi fanatic who was upset by the lifelike representation of a human face, something forbidden by his religion.
The Sphinx spent most of its life buried in sand and was initially restored in 1400 BC by the pharaoh Thutmose who fell asleep beneath the head and in his dream was told to unbury it and he would become king. He did so, and built a granite stela or upright stone called the Dream Stela between the two paws of the Sphinx that you can still see today. Over the years the Sphinx became buried again and it wasn't until 1925 that the Sphinx was finally dug out in its entirety.
Today, the Sphinx is one of the most amazing things you can witness in person.
For your homework, have you ever been to Egypt and if not, would you like to go?