The Great Sphinx, one of the great monuments of Egyptian and Greek art, is a mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human being. According to historians, the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt was supposed to have been constructed around 2,500 B.C.
Apart from the mythological features and salient aspects of the great art, the Great Sphinx of Giza is also considered to be the symbol for being one of the most wanton acts of vandalism in the history. Why is it so? The Great Sphinx of Giza, as we now see it, has its nose broken and the face disfigured due to absence of the nose.
Historical records and study in to the glorious past of our ancient people, unfortunately, are not sanctum sanctorum and unfortunately, some errors do creep in mistakenly or out of curiosity to add pleasure.
The recording of the events related to the disfiguring of the nose of the mythological structure, the Great Sphinx of Giza, is also one such mistake, new evidence available with the archeologists reveal.
A British traveler, who visited the Great Sphinx, some time around 1737, drew a sketch of the Great Sphinx with the nose intact, but unfortunately failed to include the other details related to the Great Sphinx that would have been at that time due to erosion. Thus the image drawn by the British Traveler in 1737 had the nose intact, leading to the suspicion that the traveler used some artistic license for pleasing the picture.
Subsequent images of the Great Sphinx with a disfigured nose led to the belief that the nose was only disfigured after 1737, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops were victimized for the act of vandalism. Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops campaigned in Egypt during 1798, and stories were made that the troops used the Great Sphinx for target practice and in the process blasted off the nose.
New discoveries of archeologists reveal that the nose of the Great Sphinx was disfigured in the 15th century itself. A Muslim historian, Muhammad al-Husayni Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi, recorded that a religious leader ordered that the nose of the Great Sphinx disfigured, as an act of punishment to the Egyptians who had indulged in cult practices, especially in front of the Great Monument of Sphinx.