Answered By: Rebecca Sedam
Last Updated: Mar 24, 2020     Views: 117

1858 sepia toned picture of the Great Pyramid and the Great Sphinx

People frequently type this question in the online reference search box -- presumably to see if it has been answered already.  No one ever goes so far as to actually submit the question to the Oakton Librarians.  I don't know the reason for either the repetition or the reticence.  I can, however, direct the curious person or persons to the following resources and search strategies.

For more background information, I recommend Facts on File Ancient and Medieval History Online (Oakton username & password required).  Simply search for Sphinx.  If you get impatient looking for references to the nose, you can get fewer, but more specific results with this search: Sphinx and nose. The advantage of using this database is 1.) you avoid the oft-repeated (but likely untrue) claims involving Napoleon's soldiers, and 2.) you get a citation that can be shared with your instructor, friends, neighbor, cat, or anyone else who wants to know.

To dig deeper into this topic, search Humanities International Complete (Oakton username & password required).  A subject search for Great Sphinx produces more than a couple dozen articles.  Half of these are full text.  My favorite is a Smithsonian article called "Uncovering Secrets of the Sphinx."  Examine the paragraph discussing "centuries of weathering and vandalism."

To find books in the Oakton Library Catalog, do a subject search for Great Sphinx (Egypt).  Note the call number and location for each title of interest. 

(Image Credit: The Great Pyramid and The Great Sphinx, by Francis Frith, 1858. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gilman Collection, Purchase, William Talbott Hillman Foundation Gift, 2005. Public domain.)

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