Books and articles about the Great Sphinx of Giza

A chronological list of some books and articles about the Great Sphinx of Giza available to read and/or download online. The books are arranged chronologically with the oldest first. Where a book has been translated, the book has been listed chronologically by the date it was written by the original author. So, for example, Pliny's Natural History is chronologically the earliest dating to the 1st century CE and is listed first although the translation dates to 1855. If the account is a travelogue or excavation report that was published many years after the text was written I have attempted to place the text based on the date of the excavation or expedition.

Further articles and books can be found in the online library of the Giza Archives a project provided by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Digital Giza Library part of the Giza project at Harvard University.

1st Century CE

Book 36, Chapter 17 - The Egyptian Sphinx in The natural history of Pliny (Volume 6) (1855) by Pliny the Elder; Bostock, John, translator; Riley, Henry T, translator

A brief but early discussion of the Great Sphinx dating to the 1st century CE.

13th Century CE

Relation de l'Egypte (1810) by Antoine Isaac Sylvestre de Sacy, p179-180

A French translation of Abd Al-Latif's 1220CE account of Egypt, often used as proof that the nose of the Great Sphinx was still intact in the early 13th century CE

15th Century CE

DE LA STATUE NOMMÉE "LE TERRIBLE" in Description topographique et historique de l'Égypte, traduite en français par V. Bouriant. 1re et 2e partie (1886) by Al-Maqrizi and V. Bouriant

French translation of a 15th century text by Al-Maqrizi that recounts details of the defacement of the Great Sphinx

Les saintes pérégrinations de Bernard de Breydenbach, 1483 (1904) by Bernhard von Breydenbach and F Larrivaz. p59

Discusses the great Idol of Isis which is considered to be a reference to the Great Sphinx.

16th Century CE

Cosmographie de Levant (1556) by F. André Thevet, p154-155

Perhaps the earliest European depiction of the Great Sphinx accompanies the text in the style of a Greco-Romano portrait.

Kurtzer und warhafftiger Bericht von der Reiss aus Venedig nach Hierusalem (1582) by Johannes Helffrich, no page numbers are provided but the section relating to the Great Sphinx, which Helffrich refers to as Imago Isidis, can be found here.

17th Century CE

A relation of a journey begun An: Dom: 1610. (1621) by George Sandys p131-132

There is also a depiction of the Great Sphinx on p128

Les voyages et observations du Sieur de La Boullaye-Le-Gouz, gentil-homme angevin (1653) by François de La Boullaye-Le-Gouz, p361-362

The text has an accompanying caricature of the head of the Sphinx.

Journal des voyages de monsieur de Monconys (1665) by Balthasar de Monconys p185

The text entions that the nose and chin have been damaged. Also has a crude caricature of the head of the Sphinx.

Of the Sphinx, in The Present state of Egypt, or a New relation of a late voyage into that kingdom performed in the years 1672 and 1673 (English Edition 1678) by F. Vasleb [Wansleben]

Description de l'Afrique (1686) by Olfert Dapper p65-66

Contains a foldout illustration of the Giza plateau where the Great Sphinx is represented twice: once as a colossal Greco-Romano bust and once as a female Sphinx.

Reizen van Cornelis de Bruyn (1698) by Cornelis de Bruyn p197-199

18th Century CE

Travels in Egypt and Nubia (1757 English Edition) by Frederik Ludvig Norden, p127

Originally published posthumously in 1755 based on observations and illustrations Norden made during his travels in 1737-38. Contains the earliest detailed depictions of the Great Sphinx that confirm the absence of the nose (the illustrated plates can be seen online in the French edition of 1795, Plates 45-47)

A description of the East, and some other countries, (1743) Pococke, Richard p46

Contains one of the earliest references to the cavity towards the tail end of the Great Sphinx. There is an illustration of the Sphinx's head on plate 17

Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte, pendant les campagnes du général Bonaparte Vol. 2 (1802) by Vivant Denon, Appendix p.xi, Appendix

Denon's records from Napoleon's Egyptian campaign at the end of the 18th century CE.

Denon's depiction of the Great Sphinx, Plate 20 from a series of prints provided separately with Volume 1, can be seen at this link.

see also Volume 1, p98

19th Century CE

ON EXCAVATIONS BY CAPT. CAVIGLIA, IN 1816, BEHIND, AND IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF, THE GREAT SPHINX. in The museum of classical antiquities : being a series of essays on ancient art (1860) by Edward Falkener, J.E. Wood, and Benjamin Reed Davies

Art. VIII.- Observations relating to some of the Antiquities of Egypt, from the Papers of the late Mr. Davison. Published in Walpole's Memoirs. 1817., London Quarterly Review (1818) Vol xix

Relating Caviglia's Excavations at the Great Sphinx including details of many of the Greek inscriptions found.

LE GRAND SPHINX DE MEMPHISin Recueil des inscriptions grecques et latines de l'Égypte Vol II (1842) by Letronne, Antoine Jean

Details of the Greek and Latin inscriptions uncovered by Caviglia at the Great Sphinx in 1817.

THE SPHINX. AN ACCOUNT OF M. CAVIGLIA'S EXCAVATIONS IN 1818 TAKEN FROM THE PAPERS OF THE LATE MR. SALT. in Operations Carried on at the Pyramids of Gizeh in 1837 With an Account of a Voyage Into Upper Egypt and an Appendix Vol 3 (1842) by Howard Vyse

Travels along the Mediterranean, and parts adjacent Vol.I (1822) by Robert Richardson p153-157

Le Sérapéum de Memphis (1882) by Franc̦ois Auguste Ferdinand Mariette, p91-100, Grand Sphinx de Gyzèh.

An appendix (in French) includes a discussion of Mariette's brief excavations in 1853 at the Great Sphinx including the rear chamber.

Modern Egypt Vol 1 (1843) by John Gardner Wilkinson

General Discussion of the current understanding of the Great Sphinx in 1843

DENKMÄLER AUS AEGYPTEN UND AETHIOPIEN (1849-1859) by Carl Richard Lepsius

A comprehensive illustrated record of Lespius's travels through Egypt from 1842-45

20th Century CE

Title Image from A relation of a journey begun An: Dom: 1610. (1621) by George Sandys