Sphinx, in Egypt archaeologists have discovered one that smiles

Sphinx, in Egypt archaeologists have discovered one that smiles


Good news from ancient Egypt: in the governorate of Qena, in the south of the country, a limestone statue representing a smiling sphinx was found. The announcement came from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, which also dedicated a post on Facebook to the discovery: “During excavation work in the area east of the Dendera temple, in the Qena governorate, archaeologists have a statue of one of the Roman emperors in the form of a sphinx,” reads the post on the ministry account. The site where the discovery was made is located 450 kilometers from Cairo, the country's capital. The face of the sculpture, according to the scholars who carried out the excavations, would be that of the emperor Claudius, in office from 41 to 54 AD. C. , married to Messalina and conqueror of Britain, who throughout his life has never visited Egypt. However, according to an ancient custom, the Roman emperors were represented by the Egyptians as if they were pharaohs.

The sphinx found by archaeologists

CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA / ipa-agency.netAgain in this case, in fact, the emperor was portrayed in the form of a sphinx, with his own face and the body of a lion: the pharaohs, in fact, were represented in this way precisely to indicate the power of the sovereign and the descent from the god Ra. From Greek mythology comes the story of the riddle of the sphinx, according to which the being presented a riddle to those who wanted to enter the city of Thebes. Precisely for this myth the word sphinx is often used to indicate enigmatic people, who have an inscrutable expression. Claudius' head in this depiction is covered by the nemes, the headdress of the pharaohs. On the emperor's forehead, on the other hand, a uraeus would be represented, the sacred snake symbol of supreme power.

The Egyptian Museum goes digital

Even one of the most famous Italian cultural institutes has ridden the wave of Egyptomania, the passion for ancient Egypt that unites young and old. Thanks to the collaboration with Wikimedia and Creative Commons, the Egyptian Museum of Turin has also led to the digitization of 2,300 of the 40,000 exhibits kept in the museum. Following the launch of this initiative, born in 2022, the images of the works kept in the museum will be accessible free of charge on Wikimedia using the Creative Commons licenses, together with data relating to the chronology, the origin of the finds and the materials with which they are made. It is not the first initiative of this type that the Egyptian Museum, one of the most avant-garde among the Italian institutions on digitization and on the theme of Open Access, is using to bring visitors closer to its heritage: before the pandemic, the institute gave starting at the Turin Papyrus Online Platform , winner of the Heritage award / Europa Nostra award 2020 in the research category, which contains high-resolution photographs, descriptions and transcripts of a part of the 700 manuscripts and over 17 thousand papyrus fragments.

In 2021, however, the museum embarked on the process of digitizing the historical photographic archive, which houses 45,000 works divided into glass plates and on celluloid, nineteenth- and twentieth-century prints, slides, which document a time span between the second half of the 19th century and the very first years of the 2000s and which documents in images the Italian archaeological missions from 1903 to 1937 in 14 locations in Egypt, which brought over 30,000 finds to Turin. The digital photographic historical archive was awarded the Open Culture Italy Museum prize, created by the International Council of Museums (Icom-Italy), Wikimedia Italy and Creative Commons Italy. Lastly, we recall that Wikimedia Italia has launched All the museums on Wikipedia, the initiative that aims to invite 3,000 Italian cultural institutions to collaborate with Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, accompanying them in the development of an Open Access Policy and in the publication of images and documents with free tools and licenses.

Powered by Blogger.