How to create legends… Statue of Memnon as a model by Dr. Reda Abdel-Rahim

In his famous book The Universe, gods and humans L'univers, Les Dieux, Les Homes; Recits Grecs Des Origins, Pierre Fernand proceeds from his definition of the myth as appearing in the form of a story coming from time immemorial –outside the space of time we live - since it may have existed even before the narrator told it.In this sense, it comes to the point that it does not come from an individual invention or from a creative imagination, but from transmission and memory.


This close connection with memory brings the myth closer to poetry, which merges in its ancient and primitive manifestations with the March of the formation of the legend, and also today the poem exists only when tongues circulate it. They have to be memorized in secret through silent words that belong to inner speech. This explains to us that the great Greek myths came from the lips of such great poets as Homer, Hesiod, Pindarus and Ovid.


So a legend can only live if it is told from generation to generation in the midst of everyday life. The conditions for the existence and continuity of the myth, therefore, are summarized in three words: memory, oral and heritage.


Here comes the hypothesis of myth-making introduced by Claude Levi-Strauss, to recognize that every story told is the production of a person. As soon as the lips of the first narrator leave to fall into the oral heritage, or at least until they receive the test of the mouths and ears of others, and during the oral journey, that is, through the non-stop chain of narrators, the traditional story acquires a more regular structure, which gives the tale (myth) a greater symbolic dimension - the fact that the Greek called myth a sacred word - Levi-Strauss sums it up by saying personal works are all myths by force, but it is their collective adoption that determines their mythical dimension when necessary.


So how can the audiobook be trusted? It is impossible to give it confidence, especially when it comes to immemorial eras, then it is necessary to remain silent, these novels are a support for the historian in his study of the Social, Psychological and Moral conditions of a nation, and they are an expression of the underlying deep psychology that does not resemble clothing or food, but represent spiritual characteristics that are not seen with the naked eye, so they are one of the basic studies in historical documents, which the historian should resort to in writing history.


It was built by Amenhotep III (1405 - 1367 BC.M) his huge funerary temple, which was named”sheshbet Amun " north of Malqata south of the city of Thebes, and Merneptah demolished it when constructing his own temple, leaving from the first temple only the two majestic statues erected on both sides of the edifice, representing King Amenhotep III sitting, each nineteen meters high, carved from one block of sandstone.


The fertile Greek imagination was inspired by myths about the fresh musical sounds that were heard every morning from the two statues lying on the edge of the desert showing the city of Thebes and they called the statues the statue of Memnon... As for why this name is special and what's the secret of the sweet music that comes out of the two statues every morning, this is what we will look for together in this article.


The legend says that "Memnon" was attacking the people of the city of Troy. He and an army of Ethiopians against the Greeks, and he was killed by the Greek hero Achilles, but his mother “EOS”- the Greek goddess of the twilight of Dawn - picked up his body from the battlefield, and called the god “Zeus “to grant him eternity.The tears that fell from her eyes on him became the dew point that appears every morning at the dawn of the sun, which is a pure Egyptian religious idea that humans have emerged from the tears of the creator, and this is not evidenced by the fact that the words tears and human are the same in the ancient Egyptian language.


And we return to another version of the legend that “Memnon” was a man of Ethiopian origin and that before he went to Troy he came to Egypt and according to the new myth that arose around the two statues, we know that the fresh musical sounds that were heard every morning at sunrise are the tones of this hero welcoming his mother when the sun rises in the pink sky.


The fact of the matter is that in the year 27 BC, an earthquake occurred that destroyed some of the ruins of the city of Thebes and smashed the northern statue of Memnon, it broke in half, and its upper half fell, and this earthquake followed by the fracture was the opening of a new era in the fame of this monument, as after this cracking, passers-by heard early in the morning a musical sound emanating from the broken statue, as Strabo, for example, went to the place of the two statues to listen to this strange sound, and he could not convince himself because of this phenomenon and said:


It is possible to be convinced of anything more than to believe that such stones can make a sound, but little by little this phenomenon was associated with Greek mythology and during the early years of the first century AD, the western land of Thebes bore the name memnoia in Greek documents, and this new local name was given to the statue of Amenhotep III and is now an example of the image of the hero Memnon.


In the second century AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian made a tour to Thebes to listen to this voice, and years after his visit, the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus came to visit this statue and was pleased with it so much that he took it and ordered to repair what was demolished from it, so he installed the upper part in its place and thus appeared in its true form, but unfortunately, this repair marked the disappearance of this voice, and then it remained silent forever, and since that time the statue has lost the secret of its fame, many visitors turned away from him, and the two statues fell into oblivion.


The question remains after the above presentation: why are they grateful not to Heracles or even Alexander the Great, and what's the secret of those voices?

The fact is that when the guides explained the antiquities to the early Greek travelers, they got confused talking about the “prophet of Maat-RA”, which is the nickname of Amenhotep III, and they pronounced it after correcting”Memoria” Memnonia, roughly speaking, the corruption of the belief that the huge statue located to the North is of the hero “Memnon”, the leader of the Ethiopian teams killed by Achilles during the Trojan War, and that his tomb is said to be located under the statue.


As for the secret of these sounds, science - which refuted that myth - according to a natural phenomenon recently proven in the temples of Edfu and Karnak that the stones vibrate during changes in humidity or heat that accompany the sunrise, and it is believed that the sound that was coming out of it was the effect of dew and the first rays of the sun on the sandstone of the statue.

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