Archaeologists have uncovered a sphinx-like statue in Egypt among the remains of a shrine in an ancient temple located approximately 280 miles south of Cairo.
Though much smaller than the Great Sphinx located in Giza, Egypt, this sphinx is significant as archaeologists believe the statue is depicting a likeness of the Roman Emperor Claudius, who, upon ascension to the role, extended the empire’s rule into North Africa, according to The Associated Press.
Archaeologists unearthed a Sphinx-like statue and the remains of a shrine in an ancient temple in southern Egypt, antiquities authorities said. https://t.co/b14j5uWMuB
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 6, 2023
The shrine the statue was discovered with is composed of limestone and features a two-layer platform and a mud-brick basin dating to the Byzantine Era, the Antiquities Ministry revealed in a statement to the AP. (RELATED: Roman Spike Defenses Famously Used By Julius Caesar Unearthed For The First Time In Germany)
Uncovered alongside the sphinx-like statue, archaeologists also discovered a Roman-era stone slab with colloquial and hieroglyphic inscriptions, the AP reported. Archaeologists plan to conduct more studies on the slab which they hope will offer them more clues as to the identity behind the statue.
Ridiculed by his family as a “monstrosity of a human being, one that nature began and never finished,” some historians believe that Claudius suffered from cerebral palsy or Tourette’s, according to History.com. His handicap prevented him from seeking public office, until his nephew Caligula was assassinated by his own Praetorian guards. Those guards then named Claudius as Rome’s fourth emperor, believing him to be weak and impressionable.
Ruling from 41 to 54 A.D., Claudius is best remembered for his successful expansion of the Roman Empire, not just to North Africa and the Middle East but to Britain as well, according to History.com.