The Colossi of Memnon are two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who ruled over Egypt during the Dynasty XVIII. For centuries, they were the tallest statues in the world, and today they still stand tall at over 60 feet (18 meters) each. But what’s even more impressive than their size is their history.
Colossi of Memnon are two massive monumental stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1386-1353 BCE) from the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt.
The Colossi of Memnon (Arabic: el-Colossat or es-Salamat) are two massive stone statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, which stand at the front of the ruined Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III, the largest temple in the Theban Necropolis. They have stood since 1350 BC, and were well known to ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as early modern travelers and Egyptologists.The statues contain 107 Roman-era inscriptions in Greek and Latin, dated to between AD 20 and 250; many of these inscriptions on the northernmost statue make reference to the Greek mythological king Memnon, whom the statue was then – erroneously – thought to represent.
Scholars have debated how the identification of the northern colossus as “Memnon” is connected to the Greek name for the entire Theban Necropolis as the Memnonium
Soon after its construction the temple was destroyed by an earthquake, recently dated by the Armenian Institute of Seismology to around 1200 BC, which left only the two huge colossi at the entrance still standing. These were further destroyed by an earthquake in 27 BC, after which they were partly reconstructed by the Roman authorities.
The 1200 BC earthquake also opened numerous chasms in the ground which meant that many statues were buried, some in pristine condition. These have been the subject of extensive restoration and excavation conducted by the Armenian/German archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian, who has revealed that the complex consisted of three pylons, each fronted by colossal statues, while at the far end a rectangular Temple complex consisted of a peristyle court surrounded by columns. So far four of the statues have been re-erected, with eight waiting to be re-erected, while some 200 statues or pieces of statues are in the Luxor Museum, some on display, others in store awaiting conservation