The Great Sphinx of Giza

Does Robert Temple's book The Sphinx Mystery: The Forgotten Origins of the Sanctuary of Anubis have any support in the academic community?

For those of you unfamiliar with his theory, here's a quote from his Sphinx Mystery website:

Robert Temple reveals that the Sphinx was originally a monumental Anubis, the Egyptian jackal god, and that its face is that of a Middle Kingdom Pharaoh, Amenemhet II, which was a later re-carving. In addition, he provides photographic evidence of ancient sluice gate traces to demonstrate that, during the Old Kingdom, the Sphinx as Anubis sat surrounded by a moat filled with water-called Jackal Lake in the ancient Pyramid Texts-where religious ceremonies were held. He also provides evidence that the exact size and position of the Sphinx were geometrically determined in relation to the pyramids of Cheops and Chephren and that it was part of a pharaonic resurrection cult.

So, was the Sphinx originally an Anubis re-carved into Amenemhet II?

enter image description here

  • 26
    wow, visually, that's certainly compelling just based on the proportions of the head to the paws.
    – Doug T.
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 16:11
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    Very interesting idea -- to think that the ancients wouldn't carve into it like they have everything else makes little sense. Many of the statues/monuments we see today have been restored to their 'former glory' by restoration groups. It's all due to ancient/modern people defacing and using stone for their own building material -- It's a proven fact. I could see this as entirely probable. As stated earlier the proportions match correctly, on top of Anubis making complete sense for the time and period of it's supposed construction. Great post.
    – Xezuka
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 19:12
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    Considering that he did not submit his work to a peer-reviewed paper and that his other book is about aliens from Sirius B (reviewed as "The whole Dogon legend of Sirius and its companions is riddled with ambiguities, contradictions, and downright errors"), I would be extremely skeptical of his claims.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 21:29
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    @Sklivvz I am extremely skeptical of his claims, but some of his reasoning seems like it could be legit. For instance: the references to a "Jackal Lake" and the water erosion at the base of the statue, how the Anubis is protector of the dead vs the placement of the pyramids/tombs, how the "look" of the Anubis head seems to fit, and the disproportional size of the head to the body. I know this person is not necessarily an expert, but I'm just interested to see if this has ever been considered by the academic community. Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 21:36
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    In the bottom picture (profile of sphinx and anubis) it 'feels' like it would be impossible to support the jackal's snout using a cantilever made from quarried stone. I don't think the soft sandstone could be extended that far without snapping (consider the cracked lintels in the great pyramid). A harder stone might work, but the Egyptians of that era did not have tools that could have carved it.
    – oosterwal
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


One explanation to consider in terms of the proportion, is the geology of the Sphinx itself. There are large fissues running through the Sphinx in the bottom two layers of limestone from which the Sphinx is carved. One of these runs right across the thinnest part of the body of the Sphinx, it would have prevented a proper shaping of the rump, so they may have instead lengthened the statue to make a good finish.
(Mark Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, page 127)

I also note there's another crack running from the base of the neck of the Sphinx down to the ground.

(source: aeraweb.org)

  • 2
    Another possible explanation for why the proportions may be off is that as they were building it they may have realized the base wouldn't hold a head as large as initially planned. It took so long to make these monuments that it was not unlikely that engineering knowledge would increase during construction, and changes would be made. The "Bent pyramid" is an example of monument that was probably changed radically during the construction process. Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 17:47
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    What about the point about the time period of the headdress versus the time period of the body? Is there any validity in that claim (It was claimed that the period of the specific pharoah headrdess is newer than the base of the Sphinx)? Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 20:50
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    I'd be suspicious of the claim, though I'd need to see on what basis they date the style of the base. Khafre was from the Old Kingdom, before that you have pre-Dynastic Egypt.
    – Mike
    Commented Apr 10, 2011 at 21:05
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    I fail to see how this relates to the question. So what if there's cracks in it? Why would being unable to carve the rump area well lead to extending the forepaws (which I assume was the point of the quote)? I think the point you're trying to make is to explain away the outsize paws, but that doesn't really address the question.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jun 7, 2012 at 15:05
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    @setec Those are all reasons to argue that the claim in the original question is valid, and I encourage you to post your own answer based on that (if you have any supporting research). The point of my comment was that this answer makes a seemingly irrelevant point which includes none of what you just said.
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 13:11

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