The Silently Sonorous Structures
Since 1350 BC, the Colossi of Memnon – two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III who reigned in Egypt during the 18th Dynasty – have been standing in the Theban Necropolis, situated west of the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor. The two 60ft-tall statues have been guarding the Theban Tomb in the valley for centuries. The Tomb is extensively damaged, especially the stone blocks in its upper side… Still, he, with his hands on his knees, is staring at the Nile! Long ago, people used to hear a sound every morning from the statue on the northern side. While some heard the sound of a torn harp, others heard the sound of wailing. People, from various places, used to visit there to witness this miracle. Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, too, visited the Theban Tomb. However, he did not hear any sound. Eager to hear the prophecy, the Emperor repaired the two statues. After that, both the statues became silent!
Memnon, the son of Tithonus and Eos and King of Ethiopia, was the hero of the Battle of Troy. He was killed by Greek warrior Achilles. Many believe that Memnon and Amenhotep III, also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent, were the same person, who had reportedly ruled over Egypt from BC June 1386 to 1349 or from BC June 1388 to December 1351, after the demise of his father Thutmose IV. There are lot of ambiguities in History and it is not advisable to be a part of the complexity. However, the most logical explanation is: Memnon was the son of Tithonus and Eos, a Titaness and the Roman Goddess of Dawn. According to Greek Mythology, he reappeared as a statue in Thebes after being defeated and slain by Achilles. Memnon used to burst into tears every morning when he saw his mother! This story became so popular that people forgot the fact that these two statues were of Amenhotep III! Those became famous as the Colossi of Memnon!
The southern city of Luxor was known as Thebes in ancient Egypt. It was a city of Art, Culture and Politics. The Karnak Temple is also situated in Luxor. The complex – comprising of a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings – was built by various Egyptian kings at different times. It may be seen that King Ramses II had got erected two huge statues of himself inside the complex during his reign. These are still intact. Also, there are two huge obelisks… one of which was built by Ramses II, while the other was constructed when Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut, the fifth Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. She was the second historically confirmed Female Pharaoh, with the first being Sobekneferu. Hatshepsut ascended the throne in BC 1478. After the death of the Queen, a stone wall was built under the order of her stepson Thutmose III to hide the pillar that she got erected! Later, an earthquake damaged the wall and the feat of the Queen came to light. Those obelisks have various images of hieroglyphics curved on them.
Most of the temples in Egypt were built on high mounds. As they are made of sandstone, many of them have been restored. While the floor is made of stones, called Courts, the top of the halls and pillars are in the shape of lotus. The roofs are decorated with stars. All the temples are east-facing so that the first sunlight of the day illuminates the pillars! Inside the temple, one can see that the walls are decorated with paintings of Pharaohs, deities, and battle-scenes…
The Karnak Temple was dedicated to Amun-Ra, the Chief of the Egyptian Gods. In the early days of the Egyptian Civilisation, he was worshipped as two separate deities. Amun was the God who created the Universe, while Ra was the God of the Sun and Light, who travelled across the sky every day in a burning boat. Amun and Ra became one God in BC 2040, as the political landscape of Egypt changed during that period, and so did the fortune of Thebes. As Thebes used to be the capital of Egypt, regionally worshipped God Amun became the most powerful deity in the country.
The two biggest temples of Ancient Egypt were situated in Luxor and Karnak, and both of them were dedicated to Amun. Interestingly, Amun was not the Lord of Thebes from the beginning! He was the regional God worshipped mainly in Hermopolis in Southern Egypt before his glory spread to Thebes. He was worshiped as the God of Wind at the region. The worship of Amun started in Thebes in BC 2000. Since the pharaohs and the rulers of Thebes used to worship Amun, it got the status of National Deity. Along with his status, the number of stories on Amun’s power, too, increased.
According to one such mythological tale, Amun was the father of Hatshepsut! He was referred to as the Hidden God… Amun was everywhere, but he could not be seen! Later, he was also considered the God of Fertility. The murals depict Amun as a man with a cloth wrapped around his head.
Amun was self-born, as it is said that he had evolved on his own… His first wife was Wosret. Later, he married Amunet and Mut. His second wife Amunet was the Goddess of the Sky. To further increase the importance of Amun, he was associated with Ra, the Sun God. Amun was not only raised to the position of Patron Deity of Thebes or to the Chief Deity of the Egyptian Empire, but he was also considered as the Father of Pharaohs! His infinite power helped the Pharaohs win battles, one after another. Indeed, Egypt is a place, with full of mystery…
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