The Great Sphinx of Giza is a half-human, half-lion Sphinx statue in Egypt. But the nose of this Great Sphinx at Giza is made conspicuous by its absence. What happened to it?
Although popular legend blames Napoleon and his troops during the French campaign in Egypt (1798-1801) for having shot the nose off the Great Sphinx, in fact this story just isn’t true.
An article by Ulrich Haarmann, “Regional Sentiment in Medieval Islamic Egypt,” states that according to Makrizi, Rashidi and other medieval Arab scholars, the face of the Sphinx was vandalized in 1378 A.D. by Mohammed Sa’im al-Dahr, a “fanatical sufi of the oldest and most highly respected sufi convent of Cairo.” The nose and ears are mentioned specifically as having been damaged at this time. According to one account, Haarmann states, the residents in the neighborhood of the Sphinx were so upset by the destruction that they lynched him and buried him near the great monument he ruined.
So don’t blame Napoleon for this!