Thursday, August 4, 2011

More from Giza

After meeting Frank again at Giza, Polly and I spent the last two days trying to hunt the smarmy Limey down.  Unfortunately, we have little to show for our efforts. I must concede defeat this time.  I pray upon the ankh-giving solar disk that neither Polly nor I will ever have to cross paths with that pompous macaroni and his slanderous accusations again.  Da kommt einem der Kaffee hoch!

Some of what we saw at the Giza Necropolis:

The Great Sphinx



Well, look at that.  They finally dug out أبو الهول‎.  The last time I saw this particular monumental sculpture, it was mostly buried in the sand.  Probably constructed during the reign of Khafra (ca. 2558–2532 B.C.) from a natural geological formation, the mysterious structure has fascinated visitors since Classical antiquity.  Visible between its front paws is the famous Dream Stele erected by Thutmose IV (1401 B.C.), which reads:

"Now the statue of the very great Khepri rested in this place, great of fame, sacred of respect, the shade of Ra resting on him. Memphis and every city on its two sides came to him, their arms in adoration to his face, bearing great offerings for his Ka. One of these days it happened that prince Thutmose came travelling at the time of midday. He rested in the shadow of this great god. [Sleep and ] dream [took possession of him] at the moment the sun was at zenith. Then he found the majesty of this noble god speaking from his own mouth like a father speaks to his son, and saying: "Look at me, observe me, my son Thutmose. I am you father Horemakhet-Khepri-Ra-Atum. I shall give to you the kingship [upon the land before the living]....[Behold, my condition is like one in illness], all [ my limbs being ruined]. The sand of the desert, upon which I used to be, (now) confronts me; and it is in order to cause that you do what is in my heart that I have waited."

(From Shaw, 2000, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Ian Shaw, Ed., Oxford University Press 2000.)

The Khufu Ship

A funeral barge fit for a king











Dating to about 2500 B.C., this solar barge may have served as transport for the mummified body of the Pharaoh Khufu.  Kamal el-Mallakh discovered the 43.6 m by 5.9 m boat in 1954, which owes its excellent preservation to having been sealed in a pit of bedrock.  The museum currently housing the barge opened in 1982.

Pyramid of Khafre

Looking up I saw a horizon of Stone










Personally, of all the pyramids at Giza, I am most fond of this one.  The Pharaoh Khafre wanted a tomb as glorious as that of Khufu but, for reasons of respect, could not make his grander than Khufu's.  Therefore, Khafre had his tomb built on higher ground, giving the impression that his was taller.  This is what we Germans like to call, "Gewinnen auf einer Technik."  At the summit of this mountain of stone, some of the original limestone casing remains intact, most having been stolen and recycled for other building projects long ago.  Polly and I did manage to take a gander inside, but we did not stay long.  The burial chamber is undecorated and uncomfortably hot, owing to the body heat and moisture from the constant stream of visitors.  My expert academic expertise leads me to suspect that the ancient Egyptians may have skimped on designing a suitable ventilation system owing to the funerary nature of the structure.

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