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Where is the nose of the Great Sfinx?
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Psusennes III
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:07 pm    Post subject: Where is the nose of the Great Sfinx? Reply with quote

Does anyone know the answer to this question?
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We briefly discussed this in another Sphinx thread called "Rain." An old theory is that the nose of the Sphinx was shot off by Napoleon and his army, by a cannon. This is quite unlikely, considering Napoleon, when he invaded Egypt at the end of the 18th Century, went to great efforts first to equip his military expedition with almost 170 scientists, historians, and artisans for the sole purpose of studying the land they meant to conquer. Much more likely is either the Muslims or the Copts. I favor the latter myself. Both groups were driven by the compulsion to destroy many of the statues, monuments, and reliefs of the ancients, which they regarded as pagan and heretical. The Copts were especially enthusiastic in this pursuit. Goodness knows how many wonderful edifices and relics were damaged or destroyed by these early zealots!
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still leaves the question of where the nose is now though.

In little pieces between his front paws??? I have never heard of fragments of the nose being found.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Still leaves the question of where the nose is now though.


I did rather dizzily forget the question, didn't I? #Silly

To my knowledge nothing of the nose has ever been found. But consider the number of times the sand has been cleared from the Sphinx just in the past couple of hundred years, and it's no wonder nothing remains. People weren't very careful with their "excavating" in the old days.

Maybe they should consult a plastic surgeon and give the Sphinx a prosthetic?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't he already have prosthetic front paws? Shocked

They had false beards, now a false nose?....
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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They had false beards, now a false nose?....


Perhaps solid gold, to reflect the splendor of the desert sun. Even the nasal drip would be regal.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sphinx also had a beard, and that has been put in the British museum.

Maybe a bit of a nose job on the sphinx would be good, provided it doesn't end up looking like Michael Jackson's! Wink

I thought the Copts were more proud of their country's history (even their ancestry, as many believe the Copts are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians-I know this is controversial but kmt-sesh told me this...) than the Muslims? And I thought they even incorporated some of the ancient religion's symbolism into their own brand of Christianity (eg the ankh based cross, the Isis inspired Madonna statues etc)
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a story? Theory? That an Arab farmer, angry at what he perceived as an affront to Allah (depiction of a man) attacked the Sphinx and hacked off the nose with a chisel and crow-bar.
Other than being an interesting story, there is no real evidence for it being fact, EXCEPT that the Sphinx does show chisel marks at the base of where the nose would be if still there.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isisinacrisis wrote:
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I thought the Copts were more proud of their country's history (even their ancestry, as many believe the Copts are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians-I know this is controversial but kmt-sesh told me this...)


That the Copts of the early common era were the descendants of the ancient Egyptian civilization is well established. But Christianity had already taken root in Egypt certainly well before 313 CE, when it was recognized as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine. If you follow the tradition, then St. Mark brought Christianity to Egypt as early as about 49 CE. We know Christianity was firmly established there by 451 CE, because that's when the Christians of Egypt broke on doctrinal grounds from the Roman Catholic Church, after the Council of Chalcedon; thereafter we segregate the Egyptian Catholics with the term Copt. And in 535 CE, Emperor Justinian decreed that Christianity was the one and only religion in the Roman Empire, and signaled the fate of the old ways by closing the last functioning Egyptian pagan temple--that of Isis on the island of Philae.

I mention all of this simply to underscore how firmly rooted Christianity was in Egypt when the common era was still new. Christianity caught on like wildfire throughout Egypt, as it has for the same reasons all over the world: it is a religion that appeals to the poor, and most of the Egyptian population was always humbly poor. By all accounts the early Copts were devoutly and zealously committed to their new religion, and inevitably and unfortunately the same thing happened that has happened down through time, the world over: the early Christians of Egypt judged all things un-Christian as pagan and heretical. Something erected for the worship of a false god was purely blasphemous and required destruction. False idols had to be leveled and erased.

Osiris II wrote:
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There is a story? Theory? That an Arab farmer, angry at what he perceived as an affront to Allah (depiction of a man) attacked the Sphinx and hacked off the nose with a chisel and crow-bar.


Goodness, that was one ambitious farmer! Imagine the work it would take for a lone man to remove something the size of the Sphinx's limestone nose. Perhaps he had lots of sons and called them all to help. I hadn't heard that one before, Osiris II, but it's as conceivable as many other theories. I wasn't trying to make light of your contribution. I just got a chuckle out of imagining a determined grizzled farmer hacking away all alone at the giant nose, as the sun sets in the horizon.

In all seriousness it may well have been some forgotten Muslim cleric who ordered the "rhinoplasty," on the very grounds you suggested, but I still favor the Copts. The early Christians were notorious for the damages they committed to ancient monuments. The early Muslims certainly did their share, but they as a people were actually more scholarly about the land they had conquered, and spent much time in those long-ago days exploring tombs, wondering at the sights, dreaming up wonderful stories to explain the ancient civilization, and robbing whatever wasn't nailed down! Very Happy
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember in all the monuments and temples I visited, the vandalizm done by religious zealots (aka Copts and hermit Christians) was asttonishing. The most obvious was at Philae. There, wall sculpture of the Goddess Isis were carefully chisled out! It was very easy to see where she HAD been--the chisle-marks were confined to the shape of her image, but all detail work was gone. It was a great pity, too. Although most of the art-work at Philae was Ptolomaic, it was beautifully done.
I notice that abuse everywhere, though. Faces hacked off statues, paintings with eyes gone so the subject could not "see", painting scrathed off--all sorts of things. It really brought tears to my eyes--such lovely art disfigured by those who thought the were doing God's work, as if god would approve of such actions...
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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It really brought tears to my eyes--such lovely art disfigured by those who thought the were doing God's work, as if god would approve of such actions...


Kind of reminds me of when the Taliban destroyed those Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, in 2001 I think it was. What a horrible act. I for one am glad those ignorant little vermin were booted.
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isisinacrisis
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa, I didn't realise the Coptics were that bad!!! I've seen a picture of an Egyptian relief that was chipped away and replaced with a cross...but I've never heard of the Isis defacing you describe! That really is like the more modern example of the evil Taliban...
But one coptic website I saw claims the Copts are proud of their Egyptian heritage and even admits there are similarities between the ancient faith and their current one-and that this may be why they were drawn to Christianity...
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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But one coptic website I saw claims the Copts are proud of their Egyptian heritage and even admits there are similarities between the ancient faith and their current one-and that this may be why they were drawn to Christianity...


There's a great deal of difference in attitude and cultural cognizance between the Copts of today and the Copts of the turn of the common era. Well, that can be said about most peoples of today. But there's nothing to suggest the early Christians of Egypt had much of anything in the way of affection or respect for the pagan religion of their ancestors.

Besides, given the world's overall fascination with ancient Egypt, I doubt anyone would want to be too open about the fact that their forebearers were guilty of the damage and destruction of so many Egyptian monuments.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Copt's are also extremely against marrying outside of their faith. They proudly declare that their line is pure right back to ancient times. Whether or not this is actually true or not.....but they certainly are particularily intense and devout in their morals and beliefs. Their opinions of Muslims are probably best not repeated here!
Many proudly showed me their tattoos on their right inside wrist and cross around their necks.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2005 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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The Copt's are also extremely against marrying outside of their faith. They proudly declare that their line is pure right back to ancient times.


I've often wondered about that, how much intermarriage there may have been with Muslim peoples. The Copts are the truest descendants of the ancient Egyptians, and I had heard that they were a rather insular sect, so I'm glad you were able to verify that for me.

Quote:
Their opinions of Muslims are probably best not repeated here!


Is it not the same what opinions the Muslims have of the Copts? I've read that in Egypt the Copts--the last vestige of history's greatest ancient civilization--are very much considered a second-class people. I've always found that to be the epitome of irony.

Quote:
Many proudly showed me their tattoos on their right inside wrist...


This I'm not familiar with. Did you recognize the tattoo, Sesen? What was it? It's kind of funny, too. Most conservative Christians I know rather frown on tattooing. I like the idea myself.

Something else recently brought to my attention: Dr. Mudloff, our resident Egyptologist at the Field Museum and a man who's been traveling to Egypt for 25 years, mentioned in one of our recent hieroglyph classes that there is a form of the Coptic language still spoken on the streets by the Copts. In my own reference material the Coptic language--the descendat of ancient Egyptian--is described as a liturgical language (that is, spoken only in the masses of the Coptic churches, rather as Latin used to be spoken in the Catholic masses of the West); it is not referenced as a language still spoken conversationally. Do you know anything about this, Sesen?
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