The Colossi of Memnon


Before we got to the Valley of the Kings, we made a short stop to take pictures of the Colossi of Memnon. These are two gigantic statues that guard the entrance to the Valley of the Kings, They are roughly 60 feet tall and weigh about 700 tons…each.
The Colossi are made out of huge blocks of sandstone, which were transported hundreds of miles to Thebes (modern day Luxor) Most of the materials the Ancient Egyptians used were transported down the Nile by boat, but these blocks of sandstone were too heavy for that, and were transported by land. The statues were probably once identical; however they have been extremely damaged over time, and now have no real facial features at all.
At one time, an earthquake was said to have shattered one of the Colossi, after which it was reported to make strange “singing” or “musical” noises. Hearing the noises became attributed with good luck, and as the rumor spread, people flocked to hear the singing of the colossus. There are several different explanations for these noises, the most likely of which is that the cracks in the statue would trap cold air at night, and then when the sun warmed it, expel the air- creating the ‘singing’ noises.
The name of “Memnon” probably comes from the ancient Greeks. Trying to find an explanation for the strange noises, they looked into their own legends and found a story by Homer about Memnon, the son of Eos: Goddess of the dawn. Memnon was killed by Achilles but appeared after he died as the statue. Every morning, he cried at the sight of his mother, the sun, rising into the sky. So, the noises coming from the Colossus are said to be Memnon, crying out to his mother.
If the Colossi ever did sing, it doesn’t anymore, due to reconstruction that was done to try and repair the Colossus. After the repairs, it stopped making noise, probably due to the increase in weight.

Posted at 1:05 PM by Emily Pierce