Colossi of Memnon


Little remains of the once impressive Amenhotep’s memorial temple. The two imposing statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III were erected to guard the entrance of Amenhotep’s memorial temple.
Two shorter figures are carved into the front throne alongside his legs: these are his wife Tiy and mother Mutemwia. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapy.

It is said that after an earthquake (recorded by Strabo) in 27 BC, part of the northern colossus collapsed and from then on, each morning at sunrise, the statue produced a strange sound. This is why early Greek and Roman gave the statue the name of “Memnon”. Memnon was a hero of the Trojan War who sang to his mother each morning at dawn. Scientists now think that this sound was caused by air passing through pores in the stone as it was warmed in the sunlight. In the third century AD, Septimius Severus attempted to repair the damaged northern statue and the strange sound stopped and was never heard again.
Archaeologists believe that the temple was quickly ruined by repeated plundering and because, unlike other monuments, it was located within the floodplain of the Nile. The limestone that the Egyptians used in construction was eroded away by centuries of exposure to the annual floodwaters.