Thursday, February 22, 2024

Colossi of Memnon

As we have been remembering our World Voyage, I have been posting about our time in Egypt.  It was a dream come true for me to stand in the sand where this ancient civilization lived!  Today I'd like to continue with our excursion in Luxor.

After visiting Valley of the Kings we continued with our group to the Colossi of Memnon.  Two large statues of the Pharoah Amenhotep III are the remains that stood guard of the Mortuary (Memorial) Temple of Amenhotep III, the largest temple in the Theban Necropolis.  Though the temple no longer stands, the very large statues still stand guard and are quite impressive to view.

The statues were known by the Greeks and the Romans and have stood here since 1350 BC!  

You can clearly see their enormous size in relation to the people viewing them. They stand 60 feet tall and weigh approximately 720 tons each.  Amenhotep III is depicted seated with his hands resting on his knees as he faces eastward.

These statues are made from quartzite-sandstone that was from an area in el-Gabal  el- Ahmar that is now modern day Cairo.  Considering that is 420 miles from Thebes that is quite a feat!  The stones were too large to ferry up the Nile so they were transported overland.

It is believed the statues were toppled by two earthquakes.  The damage is quite visible.  The Romans rebuilt them and placed them on the pedestals that we see here. 

The statues contain Greek and Latin inscriptions dating from AD 20 and 250.  References to the Greek mythical king Memnon (a hero of the Trojan War) has given the Thebes Necropolis the name, the Memnonium.  They did not know these were actually twin statues of Amenhotep III.

Though the damage is evident, of course the fact they still remain is astonishing after thousands of years of earthquakes, sand storms, and floods.

After an earthquake in 27 BC the northern statue fractured from the waist up.  It was said that afterwards the remaining lower half would "sing" usually within an hour or two of sunrise in February and March.  

The legend of the "Vocal Memnon" is said to bring luck to the listener.  We did not hear the singing, but we both certainly enjoyed seeing the Colossi of Memnon.  

It was now time for us to continue with our tour.  We have more to show you in Luxor as time permits.  Thank you so much for visiting and helping us to remember these special times, my friends.