Sphinx of King Amenemhet III

May 14, 2022

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo displays the sphinx of King Amenemhet III, who ruled in the Middle Kingdom, 12th dynasty. This is one of seven sphinxes of Amenemhat III that were found in Tanis in the eastern Delta.

Sphinx of King Amenemhet III. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.
Sphinx of King Amenemhet III. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The sphinx has the head of the king and the body of a lion, symbolizing the vitality and power of the pharaoh.

Amenemhet III reigned for 45 years (ca. 1859-1813 BC), which included a long coregency with his father Sesostris III. Dr. Douglas Petrovich states:

The major project of his reign was the reclamation of more arable land in the Fayyum by manipulating the water level of Lake Moeris, which led to his veneration in the Fayyum. His long and peaceful reign is viewed as the time when the MK [Middle Kingdom] reached its cultural peak. He also strengthened the border at Semna and enlarged some of the fortresses, in addition to constructing a large temple to Sobek at the site of Crocodilopolis, in the Fayyum.

(Origins of the Hebrews, p. 13).

Petrovich identifies Sesostris III (ca. 1878-1840 BC) as the pharaoh of the famine at the time Joseph (Ibid., 29). The patriarch Jacob’s death is dated as 1859 BC (Ibid., cf. Andrew E. Steinmann, From Abraham to Paul, p. 74). “Amenemhet III ascended the throne as coregent with his father in ca. 1860/59 BC, which took place either just before so soon after Jacob’s death” (Petrovich, 29).

Click photo for larger view.

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