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C.G. Fountaine 
Temple of Memnonium [Ramesseum] & Colossal Statue, Thebes 
[Photographic views taken in Egypt and Greece by C. G. Fontaine] 
1862 
  
Albumen print 
29.6 x 40.1 cm (image) 
  
The Royal Collection 
RCIN 2081577 
  
 
LL/93242 
  
View of the second court of the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Rameses II (1279-1213 BC), with its Osiris pillars. On the right-hand side lies the toppled torso of a seated colossal statue of Rameses II carved in red granite, originally around 20 metres high. The statue was known as Ozymandias colossus after a Greek transliteration by Diodorus Siculus (first century BC) of the first part of Rameses's prenomen, Usermaatre Setepenre ('Powerful one of Maat, the justice of Re is powerful, chosen of Re'), carved on the shoulder. This is said to have inspired the sonnet 'Ozymandias' by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), published in 1818. In the same year, London saw the arrival of the colossal statue of Rameses II from the Ramesseum which was later displayed at the British Museum where it is still exhibited today. At the time, the statue was known as the 'Younger Memnon' after the two colossal statues of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC), standing not far from the mortuary temple, which had been associated with Memnon since classical times (and still commonly known today as the Colossi of Memnon). The association with the Homeric character lies on the fact that an earthquake, occurred in 27 BC, damaged the northern colossus, creating a sort of flaw in the stone which started producing a characteristic whistling sound each morning and which was interpreted as Memnon singing to Eos, his mother, the goddess of the dawn. The statue was repaired in the third century and the phenomenon stopped occurring. As a result of the association of the colossi with Memnon, though, the whole are was known as Memnonia and the Ramesseum as the Memnonium.
 
Acquired by King Edward VII when Prince of Wales 
 

 
  
 
  
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