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Bennu

Was the Sphinx Originally a Ram?

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Bennu
Posted (edited)

Here's a thing I did a few months ago. Just happened to see it again when I was looking through some images so figured I might as well share it here.

Robert Temple published a theory that the Sphinx was originally a jackal called Anubis. It didn't make much sense to me, being that it's very obviously a lion body. However, I did see some ram-head sphinxes in images of the Avenue of Rams in Luxor and did some checking to see if the Sphinx head could in fact be obtained from a ram head. It looks viable to me. Just a theory of course. The Sphinx head is oddly small though, and cut-off looking, maybe because a ram's head is rather flat on top. The Sphinx looks like there wasn't quite enough material on top to get the full human head from. The beauty of this theory is that the body required no alteration at all, because it already was a lion-bodied sphinx, just ram-headed. It also had a headdress already in place, so that was convenient. Look how the human chin is right at the ram's jawline. I would say 10 to 1 odds it was originally a ram sphinx.

maat0x.jpg

 

Front view.

Ram Front.png

Edited by Bennu

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seanjo

Possible, there is a theory the head has been reworked.

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Orphalesion

No it wasn't, the head is weird because they had to work with the amount of rock that was present. Look in the other Sphinx threads for more detail. 

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Kenemet
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Bennu said:

Here's a thing I did a few months ago. Just happened to see it again when I was looking through some images so figured I might as well share it here.

Robert Temple published a theory that the Sphinx was originally a jackal called Anubis. It didn't make much sense to me, being that it's very obviously a lion body. However, I did see some ram-head sphinxes in images of the Avenue of Rams in Luxor and did some checking to see if the Sphinx head could in fact be obtained from a ram head. It looks viable to me. Just a theory of course. The Sphinx head is oddly small though, and cut-off looking, maybe because a ram's head is rather flat on top. The Sphinx looks like there wasn't quite enough material on top to get the full human head from. The beauty of this theory is that the body required no alteration at all, because it already was a lion-bodied sphinx, just ram-headed. It also had a headdress already in place, so that was convenient. Look how the human chin is right at the ram's jawline. I would say 10 to 1 odds it was originally a ram sphinx.

maat0x.jpg

 

Front view.

Ram Front.png

Short answer:  No.

The ram form that Amun has was a deity of the south... the far south... as in Nubia... before becoming a general deity over Egypt sometime in the 11th dynasty, ,which is not the same timeline. 

The cryosphynx you show is again a later artistic form.  I am not aware of any 4th dynasty or earlier forms.

Edited by Kenemet
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kmt_sesh

I agree with Kenemet. The sphinx with a ram's head is an expression of Amun, which is why you see the Avenue of Sphinxes at Luxor—Amun's ancient cult center. Amun does seem to have existed in the Old Kingdom, as we see in the Pyramid Texts, but only as a very minor deity. He did not achieve prominence until much later, and nly then did Egyptians erect monuments to him (like the ram sphinxes). By that point the Great Sphinx at Giza was already very ancient.

Anyone reading this who is not in the know but has come across Robert Temple's theme that the Sphinx started out as Anubis: you can safely discard that idea. There are reasons it never had any academic merit.

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jaylemurph
Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, kmt_sesh said:

I agree with Kenemet. The sphinx with a ram's head is an expression of Amun, which is why you see the Avenue of Sphinxes at Luxor—Amun's ancient cult center. Amun does seem to have existed in the Old Kingdom, as we see in the Pyramid Texts, but only as a very minor deity. He did not achieve prominence until much later, and nly then did Egyptians erect monuments to him (like the ram sphinxes). By that point the Great Sphinx at Giza was already very ancient.

Anyone reading this who is not in the know but has come across Robert Temple's theme that the Sphinx started out as Anubis: you can safely discard that idea. There are reasons it never had any academic merit.

Well, that's two of you wrong, then.

The Sphinx once wore the proud mein of one of Our Past Basset Masters*. The Egyptians, disheartened by their Pyramid failures, changed it, lest their errors would ever be before their eyes.

All other theories are blasphemous and may result in spankings.

--Jaylemurph

*EDIT: My research indicates his name was Hobie and he was generally recognized as a Very Good Boy.

Edited by jaylemurph
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Harte

It's plain to see in that avatar I done found for ye.

Harte

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jaylemurph
1 hour ago, Harte said:

It's plain to see in that avatar I done found for ye.

Harte

Exactly.

That it even needs explaining again is sad.

Bad UM! Bad! Bad posters! Don't make me rub your collective noses in Mario Dantas' posts.

--Jaylemurph

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Bennu
Posted (edited)

Wikipedia page for "Khnum", as in Khnum-Khufu.

" Khnum. the Egyptian god Khnum was usually depicted with the head of a ram. Khnum (/kəˈnuːm/; also spelled Khnemu) was one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River."

Where did Luxor get the idea for a ram headed sphinx? From a human headed sphinx? Amun is probably the most ancient god in Egypt. The fact that he became more popular after the 4th Dynasty does not mean he was of no importance before that. If not the ram, then what form would a statue of the 4th Dynasty sun god take?

" Amun (also Amon, Ammon, Amen) is the ancient Egyptian god of the sun and air. He is one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt who rose to prominence at Thebes at the beginning of the period of the New Kingdom (c.1570-1069 BCE)." https://www.britannica.com/topic/Amon

Edited by Bennu

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Coil
Posted (edited)

https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/lenarudenko/8358342/362917/original.jpg

P1040399

 

P1040405

P1040408

P1040419

P1040421

University embankment, Saint Petersburg(former Leningrad)

Brought from Egypt somewhere in 1834, under the emperor Nicholas I)

https://lenarudenko.livejournal.com/85102.html

 

Edited by Coil

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Bennu

Granted, the Ram-headed original Sphinx theory is not the strongest theory around, but nonetheless very slightly conceivable.

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kmt_sesh
12 hours ago, Bennu said:

Wikipedia page for "Khnum", as in Khnum-Khufu.

" Khnum. the Egyptian god Khnum was usually depicted with the head of a ram. Khnum (/kəˈnuːm/; also spelled Khnemu) was one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River."

Where did Luxor get the idea for a ram headed sphinx? From a human headed sphinx? Amun is probably the most ancient god in Egypt. The fact that he became more popular after the 4th Dynasty does not mean he was of no importance before that. If not the ram, then what form would a statue of the 4th Dynasty sun god take?

" Amun (also Amon, Ammon, Amen) is the ancient Egyptian god of the sun and air. He is one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt who rose to prominence at Thebes at the beginning of the period of the New Kingdom (c.1570-1069 BCE)." https://www.britannica.com/topic/Amon

Amun is one of the oldest gods in their pantheon; I agree with you on that. As I've already written, he appears in the Pyramid Texts in a very minor context. Be reminded I never said "no importance," I stressed his minor status at that early date. But you can't look at a Wiki page and think you've figured it out. Rather, do a legitimate study of the history; take some honest time with the effort. Look carefully at the Old Kingdom state religion. Where do you see practicing cults for Amun at that time? Where are his shrines and temples? In their monuments to deities, where do the Old Kingdom monarchs appeal to Amun? In the end, you will find that all f this is absent in the Old Kingdom. Amun was not yet of significance.

In point of fact, at that early time Amun was primarily a regional god of minor repute limited to the Theban region of southern Egypt. And until around the Middle Kingdom, the Theban god Montu was clearly of more importance in that area. It wasn't undtil the Theban potentates started to come to power in the Middle Kingdom that Amun grew in status—at the same time they were elevated to prominence, they themselves elevated the status of their regional deity Amun.

Set Khnum aside. He's a good one to know for the Old Kingdom, but at this early date there was no concordance between Amun and Khnum. If you're trying to figure out how solar deities were depicted in the Old Kingdom, look at deities such as Re and Horus.

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Kenemet
13 hours ago, Bennu said:

Wikipedia page for "Khnum", as in Khnum-Khufu.

" Khnum. the Egyptian god Khnum was usually depicted with the head of a ram. Khnum (/kəˈnuːm/; also spelled Khnemu) was one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River."Where did Luxor get the idea for a ram headed sphinx?

The ram deity was an older war deity from the Nubian area.  Syncreatization accounts for a lot of the forms of the Egyptian deities.    And you're now confusing Khnum with Amun.  Those ram-headed sphinxes are Amun, not Khnum.

Quote

From a human headed sphinx? Amun is probably the most ancient god in Egypt. The fact that he became more popular after the 4th Dynasty does not mean he was of no importance before that. If not the ram, then what form would a statue of the 4th Dynasty sun god take?

Amun isn't the most ancient deity in Egypt.  That would be Horus, Hathor, and Bastet.

The form of the sun deity of the 4th dynasty was a hawk.  The oldest solar deity is Horus; Re (Ra) is slightly younger.

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Kenemet
5 hours ago, Bennu said:

Granted, the Ram-headed original Sphinx theory is not the strongest theory around, but nonetheless very slightly conceivable.

Not even close.  The image presented in the first post has rather artfully plastered the cryosphinx over the Great Sphinx in such a way to make it plausible.  But ram-headed sphinxes have rather different proportions, as you can see if you start matching paw-to-paw and haunch-to-haunch.  You'll find that the ram's head doesn't easily convert to human.

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jaylemurph

Looks like Bennu needs a new screen name and avatar, or at least some remedial AE history. 

—Jaylemurph 

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Lord Harry

I suspect we are (thankfully) about to have another Bennu thread closed in three...two...one...

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Lord Harry
Posted (edited)

@Bennu, while Amun does receive mention, albeit briefly, in the late Fifth and Sixth Dynasty Pyramid Texts he was not an ancient deity by Egyptian standards not even close. By the time the Sphinx was being built during the early Fourth Dynasty, Amun if he was even conceived of yet, was likely a minor provincial deity worshipped exclusively in Thebes and its immediate environs.

Amun did not rise to royal prominence until the much later Twelfth Dynasty. Even by the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, Montu was the preeminent Theban deity with Amun of only secondary importance. To suppose the Fourth Dynasty Sphinx would have been constructed in the image of Amun simply reveals your lack of knowledge of ancient Egyptian history.

Edited by Lord Harry
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kmt_sesh
7 hours ago, Lord Harry said:

I suspect we are (thankfully) about to have another Bennu thread closed in three...two...one...

I think this one's safe, for now. I don't see any problems with it. And it's always fun to correct people's mistakes about ancient Egypt.

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Captain Risky
53 minutes ago, kmt_sesh said:

I think this one's safe, for now. I don't see any problems with it. And it's always fun to correct people's mistakes about ancient Egypt.

God knows we’ve been collecting yours.

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Lord Harry
Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2018 at 1:35 AM, Bennu said:

Wikipedia page for "Khnum", as in Khnum-Khufu.

" Khnum. the Egyptian god Khnum was usually depicted with the head of a ram. Khnum (/kəˈnuːm/; also spelled Khnemu) was one of the earliest Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile River."

Where did Luxor get the idea for a ram headed sphinx? From a human headed sphinx? Amun is probably the most ancient god in Egypt. The fact that he became more popular after the 4th Dynasty does not mean he was of no importance before that. If not the ram, then what form would a statue of the 4th Dynasty sun god take?

" Amun (also Amon, Ammon, Amen) is the ancient Egyptian god of the sun and air. He is one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt who rose to prominence at Thebes at the beginning of the period of the New Kingdom (c.1570-1069 BCE)." https://www.britannica.com/topic/Amon

You are making baseless assumptions. What evidence do you have to suggest Amun was an important deity or was even worshipped in any capacity during the Fourth Dynasty? 

I have heard many similar fringe theories, one in particular which suggest the internal layout of the Great Pyramid corresponds to the iconic image of Osiris and contained religious significance to that affect. This in spite of the fact that there is no evidence Osiris was worshipped before the late Fifth Dynasty.

Scholars do not make unsupported assumptions. Rather we propose hypotheses based upon a certain amount of tangible evidence. Those who make baseless assumptions only succeed in making an ass of themself.

Edited to add: Amun was never god of the air or sun. He only assumed the role of solar deity when he was merged with Re in the late 17th Dynasty as the composite god Amun-Re. Amun was originally a local fertility god and later became the god who represented the immaterial matter of the creation. His name means "the Hidden One."

Edited by Lord Harry
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Robotic Jew

I think the Sphinx was originally a rock...

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Gaden
1 hour ago, Robotic Jew said:

I think the Sphinx was originally a rock...

 It still is.

 

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Robotic Jew
Just now, Gaden said:

 It still is.

 

I made a typo...i meant THE Rock...

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Gaden
3 hours ago, Robotic Jew said:

I made a typo...i meant THE Rock...

 Can I get a piece of it?

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The Wistman
4 hours ago, Robotic Jew said:

I made a typo...i meant THE Rock...

gibraltar.jpg.f6aa7666cb40f942c4dc4a504674b750.jpg

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