Napoleon's troops shot the nose off the Sphinx in 1798: for fun because they were racist hooligans both of the above British troops shot the nose off the Sphinx during: World War I World War II German troops shot the nose off the Sphinx during World War II. Greener goes on to say: "this exonerates the artillerymen of Napoleon Bonaparte, who have the popular reputation of having used the nose of the Sphinx as a target." The nose and ears are mentioned specifically as having been damaged at this time. Napoleon, a practical man, fired a few cannon balls at its face. He came with the metal, damaged the nose to tell the people that this is a stone and not a god. See full Kirkus review, HERE. He is said to have hired some men to smash off the Sphinx's nose as she was still worshipped as a false god. This image (above) and written account (a part of Dr. Freeman's collection) is from the 1803 issue of Universal Magazine. 00:02:18:05 NARRATOR: According to this theory, a fanatical dervish named Mohammed Sa'im al-Dahr was responsible. The exhibition “testifies to ancient Egyptian artifacts’ political and religious functions — and the entrenched culture of iconoclasm that led to their mutilation,” the article explains. Get updates from Godzooks: The Faith in Facts Blog delivered straight to your inbox. In 1378 CE, Egyptian peasants made offerings to the Great Sphinx in the hope of controlling the flood cycle, which would result in a successful harvest. The Great Sphinx of Giza, commonly referred to as the Sphinx of Giza or just the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature. It would be even larger (though less iconic) if it had something that most other statues do: a nose! The CNN article explains that, “‘The consistency of the patterns where damage is found in sculpture suggests that it’s purposeful,” Bleiberg said, citing myriad political, religious, personal and criminal motivations for acts of vandalism. The Debunker: Did Napoleon's Soldiers Shoot Off the Sphinx's Nose? It is believed that the Sphinx’s nose was broken during one of the French military battles near Giza, during the French campaign in Egypt in 1798. European visitors to Egypt prior to Napoleon's expedition had already discovered the vandalism to the Sphinx. Edward Bleiberg, who oversees ancient Egyptian and other art collections at New York’s Brooklyn Museum, told CNN that the question he most frequently encounters from visitors is: Why are the statues’ noses broken? But why destroy a statue’s nose? Outraged by this blatant show of devotion, Sa'im al-Dahr destroyed the nose and was later executed for vandalism. A poll conducted on the Internet found that fully 21% of respondents believed Napoleon was responsible for the Sphinx's missing nose. The answer has a lot to do with religion. This image (above) and written account (a part of Dr. Freeman's collection) is from the 1803 issue of Universal Magazine.What is most intriguing is that Denon does not mention any damage to the nose or lips of the Sphinx. Then the figure was used as a target for the guns of the Mamluks." In 1380 A.D. the Sphinx fell victim to the iconoclastic ardor of a fanatical Muslim ruler, who caused deplorable injuries to the head. [From: Sommers, Cecil. An interesting article in cable news purveyor CNN’s online Style feature gives some insight into why this curious defacement happened so routinely in history. He did not like that. Statues and reliefs were once viewed as “a meeting point between the supernatural and this world,” and a conduit for the transmission of divine power to human beings. A statue’s spirit can no longer breathe if its nose is broken off, in other words. Most people know of Egypt’s ancient Great Sphinx monument and its famous missing nose. ", "I think you answered your own question with your title. It’s a fascinating hypothesis to explains the legions of noseless statues in the world, and it is even borne out in the tale about what purportedly happened to the nose of the Sphinx in Giza.