Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snap Shot: Colossi of Memnon

Al Ahram Weekly (Mohamed El Hebeishy)

SOME 1,000-tonne twin statues have been standing firm for more than 3,400 years at the entrance of the Theban Necropolis. Mohamed El-Hebeishy takes off the shroud around the Colossi of Memnon.

Amenhotep III ruled for about 40 years during the 18th Dynasty, his reign forever remembered as one of the most prosperous and stable of Ancient Egypt. With no major military activities save one expedition into Nubia, his was a diplomatic rule. International diplomacy thrived during Amenhotep's era with foreign trade substantially increased, with an augmented number of Egyptian goods being found on the Greek mainland. Speaking of monuments, Amenhotep III undertook a grandiose makeover of Karnak Temple, not to mention the mortuary temple he built for himself on the West Bank at Thebes. Though it was the largest and most lavish among Egypt's temples, it was built too close to the flood plains, so it was already in ruins by the 19th Dynasty.

See the above page for more details and and an accompanying photograph (rather good - the colours are rich, one of the statues is enclosed in scaffolding and there is a hot air balloon in the background).

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