|Historical Timeline |
of Ancient Egypt Joseph, Egypt
& The Hyksos
Tutankhamen & Akhenaton
Ancient Egyptian Religions
The Pyramid Puzzle
Vivant Denon etched the image of the Sphinx of Giza around 1798, prior to its defacement. This image and written account (a part of Dr. Freeman's collection) is from the 1803 issue of Universal Magazine. From that same magazine, here is the written account in Denon's own words, "...Though its proportions are colossal, the outline is pure and graceful; the expression of the head is mild, gracious, and tranquil; the character is African, but the mouth, and lips of which are thick, has a softness and delicacy of execution truly admirable; it seems real life and flesh. Art must have been at a high pitch when this monument was executed; for, if the head wants what is called style, that is the say, the straight and bold lines which give expression to the figures under which the Greeks have designated their deities, yet sufficient justice has been rendered to the fine simplicity and character of nature which is displayed in this figure...". The Sphinx of Giza image is from the Joel A. Freeman Black History Collection.
In 1787, a Frenchman who visited Egypt for the first time expressed amazement that the Egyptians – whose civilization was greatly admired in Europe – were not White! "All the Egyptians," wrote Count Constantine de Volney, "have a bloated face, puffed-up eyes, flat nose, thick lips – in a word, the true face of the mulatto. I was tempted to attribute it to the climate, but when I visited the Sphinx, its appearance gave me the key to the riddle. On seeing that head, typically Negro in all its features, I remembered the remarkable passage where Herodotus says:
'As for me, I judge the Colchians to be a colony of the Egyptians because, like them, they are black with woolly hair...' "In other words, the ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans. That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Greeks and Romans, must have lost the intensity of its original color, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mold."
Count de Volney then made an observation that still applies today in the debate about how much racial truth our children and other children will be taught in the public schools: "Just think," de Volney declared incredulously, "that this race of Black men, today our slave and the object of our scorn, is the very race to which we owe our arts, sciences, and even the use of speech! Just imagine, finally, that it is in the midst of people (i.e., Americans) who call themselves the greatest friends of liberty and humanity that one has approved the most barbarous slavery, and questioned whether Black men have the same kind of intelligence as whites!"