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Poetry & Archeology Collide

By Harriet Staff

The Ozymandias Collossus

It’s not often we feature archeological discoveries on this humble blog. But today we’ll treat you to a wonderful moment of intersection between poetry and a recent dig in Egypt that uncovered a large statue of Pharaoh Ramses II, better known to readers of Romantic poetry as Ozymandias. A team of Egyptian and German archaeologists uncovered the 3,000 year old, 26 foot statue in the ancient city of Heliopolis, close to the ruins of Ramses II’s temple. We’ll dust off the top of the article and encourage you over to The Guardian for the rest.

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany have found an eight-metre (26ft) statue submerged in groundwater in a Cairo slum that they say probably depicts revered Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

The discovery – hailed by Egypt’s antiquities ministry on Thursday as one of the most important ever – was made near the ruins of Ramses II’s temple in the ancient city of Heliopolis, located in the eastern part of modern-day Cairo.

“Last Tuesday they called me to announce the big discovery of a colossus of a king, most probably Ramses II, made out of quartzite,” the antiquities minister, Khaled al-Anani, said at the site of the discovery.

The pharaoh, also known as Ramses the Great or Ozymandias, was the third of the 19th dynasty of Egypt and ruled for 66 years, from 1279BC to 1213BC.

He led several military expeditions and expanded the Egyptian empire to stretch from Syria in the east to Nubia (northern Sudan) in the south. His successors called him the Great Ancestor.

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s 1818 sonnet Ozymandias – which contained the line “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” – was written soon after the British Museum acquired a large fragment of a statue of Ramses II from the 13th century BC.

Click on the link, ye Mighty, and despair!

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, March 13th, 2017 by Harriet Staff.