WHAT DOES THE GREAT SPHINX REPRESENT?
© Robert Bauval, 17 December 2014
Since the early 1990s I have shown that the Great Sphinx of Giza was intended to represent the zodiacal constellation of Leo at the epoch of 10,500 BC when this constellation was rising directly in front of the Sphinx due east, and that this remote epoch was regarded as the genesis of the pharaonic civilization which was known as “Zep Tepi” or “First Time”. My premise was not to claim that the Sphinx was actually built in 10,500 BC but rather that it was an astronomical marker for that remote time. The full argument of this theory was presented in a book I co-authored with Graham Hancock in 1996, Keeper of Genesis (Message of the Sphinx, in the USA).
There are only two times in the year when the constellation of Leo could be rising due east: Spring equinox and Autumn equinox. It is an observable astronomical fact that when Leo is seen due east, Aquarius would be seen due west, and vice versa i.e. when Aquarius is seen due east, Leo is seen due west. In other words that the two horizons, east and west, are somehow to be considered with the Great Sphinx. It is an observable fact that Leo will occupy both horizons, once at sunrise in the east, and once at sunset in the west, but it is only around 10,500 BC that the position of Leo would be DUE east at sunrise, and DUE west at sunset, in the general alignment of the Great Sphinx –head directed east, and hind part directed west.
In my book Keeper of Genesis, I showed that the celestial counterpart of the Sphinx i.e. Leo, was known to the ancient Egyptians as Horakhti, which means “Horus of the TWO Horizons” i.e. east and west. The ideal astronomical symbol for Horakhti would, therefore, be a merger of Leo and Aquarius, thus uniting two horizons. The ‘Leo’ part of the Sphinx is clearly its Lion body. Could the human head with the nemes (royal head-cloth) be symbolic of ‘Aquarius’? If so, was this how did the ancient Egyptians imagine Aquarius to look like?
The earliest example is found on the Dendera Zodiac, now displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Aquarius is shown as a standing man dressed as a pharaoh wearing the nemes head-cloth and the royal crown of the south. The man is holding two small water from out of which water is seen pouring.
1. The Dendera Zodiac. Note Leo and Aquarius in oppsodition, east and west.
2. Detail of Aquarius figure from Dendera Zodiac
There are several depiction of the Great Sphinx dating from the New Kingdom showing it wearing the nemes and the royal white crown.
3. A sphinx wearing the nemes head-cloth and the royal crown
4. Stela found near the Sphinx
There is, in fact, a hole on the top of the Great Sphinx’s that is thought to have been a socket to support a royal crown. Selim Hassan, who excavated at the Sphinx in 1936 believed that this might have been the case: “the hole which existed in the top of the head may have originally been a socket for the insertion of a crown of wood, stone or metal.” [Hassan, The Sphinx, 1949, p. 103]. The author and orientalist, Robert Temple, found a photograph taken in 1896 with on it a handwritten inscription at the bottom that reads: “Some successfull [sic] at the foot of the Sphinx have recently veen carried out by col. Raum. In 1896 the stone cap was discovered –the discovery seems to have been of much advance by Dean Stanley who in his travels wonders a propos of the collosal head of the Sphinx ‘what a sight it must have been when on its head was the royal crown of Egypt.’ [Temple, Robert. The Sphinx Mystery, 2009, p. 23]. Apparently colonel George Edward Raum was an American from San Francisco who came to Egypt in 1895, and excavated at the Sphinx in February 1896 when he allegedly found the ‘rock crown’.
5. The hole (now blocked) that was probably a socket to fix a royal crown
More interestingly still, almost the same figure of ‘Aquarius’ is shown on the so-called Dream Stela that stand between the paws of the Great Sphinx. The figure is the pharaoh Tutmoses IV standing in from of the Sphinx (or in opposition) who is depicted holding a small cup from which water is pouring (a second cup is also shown above his hand).
6. Detail from the Dream Stela showing the pharaoh pouring libations
My conclusion, based on the archaeological evidence and the astronomical alignment of the Sphinx leads me to concluded that the Great Sphinx is an earthly image of Hor-Akhti merging the “two horizons” occupied at the equinoxes by the zodiacal constellations Leo and Aquarius in 10,500 BC as they stood in apposition, due east and due west.
8. Zodiac showing Aquarius in the West, and Leo in the East in 10,500 BC
NOTE: The eminent Russian astronomer, Alexander Gurshtein, one time President of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) Commission for the History of Astronomy, had also suggested in 1999 that the Great Sphinx was symbolic of Leo and Aquarius, although when these constellation marked the summer and winter solstices respectively i.e around 3000 BC. He also suspected that ‘water rituals’ were involved.