Building the Sphinx

Along with our recent study of ancient Egypt, we built this cool model sphinx from a kit.

sphinx-puzzle-1

The instructions were non-existent.  The whole thing was kind of a puzzle with lots of pieces in 3-D.  At one point Elizabeth said, “Wow…I had no idea how hard it was for those guys who built the Great Sphinx.”  Imagine how impressed she was when I told her that their task was FAR more difficult than our own.  It was a fun and cool project even if it did take us hours!  We’re holding a vote on whether or not we should bust his nose off.  Oh, and if you want to try your hand at this, you can find this guy on Amazon.

What Is The Sphinx?

The actual great Sphinx of Giza is made of limestone and sits 241 feet long and 66 feet tall.  A fair bit bigger than our 10 inch model.  The Great Sphinx has the head of a man and the body of a lion, and has stood guard near the pyramids at Giza for centuries, though no one can quite seem to agree on exactly when this beast was built.

This is the Great Sphinx at Giza. There are hundreds of sphinx statues and reliefs from the ancient world. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans all used depictions of the sphinx in their art. Photo by Wknight94, CC license, Wikimedia.

The face of the Sphinx has been badly damaged over the centuries.  Legend has it that either the French used the Sphinx for cannon target practice during the Napoleonic wars or the British troops did during World War 1.  The story goes that the nose of the Sphinx was shot off during this target practice.  Not true though!  Photos show that the nose was missing long before WWI.  Earlier drawings also clearly show the noseless Sphinx before the Napoleonic wars.  It was probably damaged by the wind and sand and just disintegrated.

The Sphinx is wearing the classic headdress of a Pharaoh and has the beard of a god. The beard fell off.  To go see it, you’ll have to visit the British Museum in London.

Writer’s Workshop

After building and learning about the Sphinx, make up your own story about the man who decided to have this huge statue built.  Consider what his reasons may have been.  Once you’ve imagined and planned out your story, write it down and illustrate it in a booklet.  If you need ideas you can check out some of the theories about why it was built on Wikipedia . . . some of them are pretty interesting!

Unit 1-1 Free

 

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