mercredi 5 juin 2013

Selon George Sandys - XVIIe s. -, le Sphinx de Guizeh avait les traits d’une femme éthiopienne et était adoré comme une “divinité rurale”

Le poète anglais George Sandys (1578-1644), traducteur d’Ovide et de Virgile, entreprit en 1610 un long périple à travers l’Europe et le Moyen-Orient. Il en proposa une relation détaillée dans son ouvrage A relation of a journey begun an. Dom. 1610 : four books, containing a description of the Turkish Empire, of Aegypt, of the Holy Land, of the remote parts of Italy, and islands adjoining.
Durant son séjour en Égypte, il visita le plateau de Guizeh et proposa du Sphinx la description et l’illustration suivantes :

“Not far off from there the Colossus do stand, unto the mouth consisting of the natural rock, as if for such a purpose advanced by Nature, the rest of huge flat stones laid thereon, wrought altogether into the form of an Ethiopian woman : and adored heretofore by the country people as a rural deity.
Under this, they say, lied buried the body of Amisis. Of shape less monstrous then is Pliny’s report who affirmed the head to be hundred and two feet in compass, when the whole is but sixty feet high. The face is something disfigured by time, or indignation of the Moors detesting images. The foresaid Author (together with others) do call it a Sphinx. The upper part of the Sphinx resembled a maid, and the lower a Lion ; whereby the Egyptians disfigured the increase of the River, (and consequently of their riches) then rising when the Sun is in Leo and Virgo. This but from the shoulders upward surmounted the ground, though Pliny give(s) it a Belly : Which I know not how to reconcile unto the truth, unless the Sand do cover the remainder. By a Sphinx the Egyptians in their hieroglyphics presented an harlot, having an amiable, and alluring face ; but with all the tyranny, and rapacity of a Lion, exercised over the poor heart-broken, and voluntarily perishing lower.”

Merci à Vicky Metafora pour la restitution du texte.

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