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1km from New Qurna

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travelogue 2/13


new kingdom
dynasty XVIII
amenhotep III

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mummification museum
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colossi of memnon
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Colossi of Memnon

These two enormous sandstone statues are just sitting by the side of the road on the West Bank of the Nile. They originally fronted the enormous temple of Amenhotep III (in the 18th Dynasty), but hte temple has been destroyed.

The northern statueis a represnetation of Amenhotep III and his mother Mutemwia. The southern statue includes his wife Tiy and one of this daughters The two statues are known colloquially as 'Shammy' and 'Tammy', a bastardizatin of the arabic words for left and right.. They are actually called el-Colossat or el-Salamat. The seated statues are 23m (75 feet) tall) and weigh about 1000 tons each.

It was the Greeks who associated them with Memnon, son of the Goddess of the Dawn. The northern statue cracked in an earthquake in 27 BCE and afterwards, it "sang" each morning at sunrise -- to be granted a song meant that you had found favor with the gods. The emporor Hadrian came to Egypt to hear the statues in 130 CE, but they were "repaired" in 199 CE and never sang again.


The statues are barely recognizable as figures -- and they arecovered in graffiti over nearly every part of the statue that ancient tourists could reach. Roman and Greek graffiti are easy to find.


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