How the Sphinx lost its nose

The Napoleon myth busted...


The statue of the Great Sphinx, depicting a reclining lion with a human head thought to represent Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558 – 2532 BC), 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 (1798 – 1801), but the nose appears to have gone long before the Emperor of France was even born.


In fact, close examination shows significant areas of chisel damage across the face suggesting a deliberate attack, possibly a piece of religious iconoclasm or desecration in the 15th century or earlier.