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The Wonders of the Sun

by Aymen Ibrahem

Thus, the illumination of the sanctuary is most probably associated with this historic eclipse. A similar, fascinating phenomenon is associated with a most famous monument: the mighty Sphinx of the Giza Plateau. Twice a year, on March 21st and September 23rd (the two equinoxes), the Sun rises exactly from the east, and illuminates the face of the Sphinx (which faces the east), and sinks behind its right shoulder shortly before sunset.

In my paper 'The Alignment of the Sphinx', I have managed to show that a deep partial solar eclipse began soon after sunrise on September 23, 2546 BC (about Year 12 of the reign of Khafre, builder of the Second Pyramid at Giza and the Sphinx) and could be very probably the purpose of the east-west alignment of the Sphinx. Also I have shown that the ancient name of the Sphinx,'Hor-em-akhet' could be translated as 'Hor in the Eclipse' and not only 'Hor in the Horizon'. I am convinced now that the Sphinx represented 'The Lord of Eclipses' in Ancient Egypt. The pharaohs must have seen it as a god that delivers the Sun from the darkness of the new Moon. Strange as it does seem, it turns out that the ancient Egyptians were the only people to introduce a 'God of the Eclipses' in their myth. [See also the author's paper 'Horakhty the God of Eclipses'].

We now have two massive relics: The Sphinx (Dynasty IV, Old Kingdom) and the Great Temple of Abu Simbel (Dynasty XIX, New Kingdom), that are so oriented to face the rising Sun on days on which solar eclipses occurred. We now better understand the influence of eclipses in ancient Egypt.

Still, however, the influence of eclipses in ancient Egypt has many aspects to show . . . King Amenhotep IV (Dynasty XVIII), who soon changed his name to Akhenaten 'Servant of the Aten', and displaced the capital of the Egyptian Empire from Thebes to Akhetaten 'Horizon of the Aten', a city he built for the cult of the Aten (the Sun's disc), on the eastern bank of the Nile between Thebes and Memphis. The reason behind the choice of the location of the city has not been disclosed by archaeologists!

In my paper 'The Philosopher Pharaoh and the Total Solar Eclipse', I have proven that the location of the site of the city was chosen according to the total solar eclipse that was visible in Egypt in 1352 BC.

There has been a controversy over the period of co-regency between King Akhenaten and his father King Amenhotep III. In my paper 'An Astronomical Approach to the Puzzle of Co-regency', I provided a possible solution proving and dating this co-regency, and concluded it must have started in 1356 BC.

I have always had an idea that the Egyptian obelisks, which were principle objects in the ancient Egyptian solar cult, must be related to past solar eclipses. They could have been given as offerings to the solar gods in response to solar eclipses.

In my paper, the 'Power Stations of Queen Hatshepsut', I have shown that the the Queen erected her hefty obelisks at Karnak, which were covered much with Electrum (an alloy of gold and silver), to light the Two Lands (Upper and Lower Egypt) when it gets dark through a solar eclipse. I have also provided new translations for some terms that occurred in the texts inscribed on the obelisks such as the "Horizon of Heaven", which I translated as 'eclipse'.

In my paper 'The Charioteer and the Total Solar Eclipse', I have shown the relation between the obelisks of King Seti I and the total solar eclipse that was observable (as a very deep partial eclipse)in Egypt in 1286 BC.

In my paper 'The Emperor and the Total Solar Eclipse', I have shown the possible relation between the Lateran Obelisk (which belongs to King Thutmose III) and the total solar eclipse of 1429 BC, in which the Sun rose partially eclipsed for Egypt.

In my paper 'Eclipses and Roman Obelisks', I have shown that the Romans very possibly moved some Egyptian obelisks to Rome and Constantinople due to solar eclipses that were dramatic in both cities.

Plotting the azimuth of the rising Sun as a function of time (in days), throughout the year, yields a step pyramid, i.e., the Sun climbs from the winter solstice to the summer solstice in steps. This could have been the reason why the ancient Egyptians built step pyramids, and that was the subject of my paper 'Step by Step'.

Despite the record of the heliacal rising of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, in Year 9 of the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep I, there has been an error of 20 years in the chronology of the New Kingdom. It has not been known for sure from which city the observation was made. So, if the observing location was Memphis, we would conclude that it was 1537 BC, and if the observation was made from Thebes, it would have been definitly 1517 BC. Thus, we are not sure if Year 15 of Hatshepsut was 1484 or 1464 BC.

Fortunately enough, the obelisks of Queen Hatshepst provide the revelation!

While the obelisks of Queen Hatshepsut at Karnak describe a solar eclipse that occurred in Year 15 of the Queen's reign, I found that the text fits only the annular solar eclipse of 08/23/1464 BC. Since there were no solar eclipses visible in Egypt in 1484 BC.

Thus, Year 15 of Queen Hatshepsut is definitly 1464 BC, and, consequently, Year 9 of Pharaoh Amnhotep I is 1517 BC.

We now have an absolute chronology of the New Kingdom. The obelisks of Queen Hatshepsut served as the Rosetta Stone for the Pharoanic chronology. I named this paper: 'The Dream that Has Come True'.

Aymen Ibrahem

Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem is a young professional astronomer from Egypt, graduated in 1995. His research work is mainly on comets and archaeo-astronomy and is also a very dedicated observational astronomer, and has a good reflector telescope. Aymen can be contacted at: .

Copy rights: Aymen Ibrahem 2000.


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