Silver gelatin on
23.5 x 29.5 cm
Epigraphic Survey, Oriental Institute,
University of Chicago
Ozymandias Colossus at the Ramesseum.
This is a photograph of the
second, or "festival," court of the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of
Ramesses II, called by the ancient Egyptians "The Temple of Millions of
Years United with Thebes." Classical travellers referred to the temple,
already much quarried away, both as the "Tomb of Ozymandias" and as the
"Memnonium." It was Jean-François Champollion who correctly identified the
ruins as those of Ramesses's mortuary temple and coined the name
"Ramesseum." On the right lies the toppled torso of a seated colossal
statue of Ramesses II carved in red granite, called the Ozymandias
colossus, originally about 20 meters high and weighing roughly 1,000 tons.
Ozymandias is a Hellenized form of the prenomen of Ramesses II,
Usermaatra. Shelley's famous poem "Ozymandias" appears to have been
inspired by Diodorus Siculus's description of this Ramesseum colossus.