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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > September 2016 > Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts

HOW DID THE SPHINX LOSE ITS NOSE?

NASAL GAZING My sphinx has no nose. How does he smell...?

The statue of the Sphinx, a reclining lion with a human head thought to represent Pharaoh Khafre, sits on the Giza Plateau in Egypt. Sadly the 4,500-year-old Sphinx is badly weathered and is missing its nose. Popular myth suggests that the face was damaged by cannon-fire during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign of 1798–1801, but the nose disappeared long before the Emperor of France was born. In fact, close examination shows significant areas of chisel damage across the face, suggesting a deliberate attack, possibly a piece of religious iconoclasm in the 15th century or earlier.

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September 2016 issue of History Revealed.
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