165. Reading Skills Comprehension: Desert of Egypt

By | July 20, 2023
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Desert of Egypt

Read the passage given below.

The great Sphinx sits in the desert of Egypt, about eight miles from the capital city of Cairo. It is beside three other pyramids and is said to be guarding the three large pyramids of Giza. It is a monster truck made of rock with the head of a man and the body of a crouching lion with its forepaws extended the front.

While the body is roughly sculptured, the head of the Sphinx is carved with care. The eyes look mysterious and have a look which nobody has been able to explain. It seems to be gazing out into the desert a look of mystical superiority.

The figure of the Sphinx measures above 18 metres in height and is 57 metres long. It is believed the Sphinx was made 5000 years ago. Archaeologists are also able to tell us why the Sphinx was The one piece of evidence that points to its being built is to be found in a little chapel that is for between the paws of the large figure. This chapel has inscriptions put there by two ancient Egyptian kings. According to these writings, the Sphinx represents one of the forms of the Sun god Harmarchis Thus the purpose of the Sphinx is to keep away all evil from the cemetery around the Pyramids.

Contrary to our belief, there are many sphinxes in Egypt besides the great Sphinx of Giza. They different from this mammoth structure because their heads represent different kings of Egypt. explains why these structures are called ‘sphinx’ for the word means lord’ according to the writings of the Egyptians. In ancient religions, the king was believed to have the strength and c of various beasts. These kings acquired the strengths of various beasts by putting on the animal’s or by wearing their skins. So the carvers of Egypt made their kings in shapes that were half-human half-beast.

The idea of making sphinxes in ancient times was not confined to Egypt alone. They were also built by the kings of Assyria and Greece. In these regions, the sphinxes were slightly different from their Egyptian counterparts in that they had wings. In Assyria, these figures were usually that of male kings but in Greece, they had heads of women. The word ‘sphinx’ comes from a Greek word.

 For the Egyptians, the Sphinx held a special place just like the idea we have, of dragons. We think of dragons as huge creatures capable of much destruction but no one really believes that there are real dragons on earth.

(a)On the basis of your reading of the above passage make notes on it, using headings and subheadings. Use recognizable abbreviations (wherever necessary — a minimum of four) and a format you consider suitable. Also, supply an appropriate title to it.

(b) Write a summary of the passage in about 80 words.

Ans. (a) The Mystery of the Great Sphinx

I. Location of the Great Sphinx

(i) In the desert of Egypt & 8 miles from Cairo

(ii) alongside three other sphinxes

(iii) guarding the pyramids of Giza

 (iv) 18 m high and 57 m long

II. Physical dimensions of the Sphinx

(i)monster structure made of rock

(ii) head of a man

(iii) the body of a lion

 (iv) forepaws extended in front

(v) mysterious look in eyes, gazing into the desert

 III. Details of its structure

(i)built 5000 years ago

(ii) reason for its building inside its chapel

 (iii) rep one of the forms of the sun god Harmarchis

 (iv) keeps off evil from the Pyramids

IV. Differences from other sphinxes

(i)heads rep diff kings of Egypt

(ii) the reason behind the name

A. sphinx means lord or ruler

B. derived from sacred writings

C. The Greek origin of the word ‘sphinx

 (iii) the reason behind the name

A. kings protect their subjects

B. kings acqd strengths by wearing a party animal’s skin & clothes

C. Sphinx making not exclusive to Egypt

(i)built by kings of Assyria and Greece

(ii) These had sphinx

(iii) Assyrian sphinxes with male heads

(iv) Greek sphinxes female heads

 (v) Egyptian sphinx half beast and half man

VI. Compared to other ages

(i)can be equated to dragons from other cultures

(ii) like sphinxes, no one believes in their existence

Key to Abbreviations


&                            And

 m                         metre

Rep                      represent

Diff                      different

Acqd                   acquired 


 (b) Summary

The Great Sphinx (18 m x 57 m) located 8 miles in the desert from Cairo, alongside 3 other sphinxes, supposedly guards the Pyramids. The monster structure has a finely carved man’s head, a lion’s body, forepaws stretched forward, and mysterious eyes. Built 5000 years ago to represent the sun god Harmarchis it differs from other Egyptian sphinxes that have heads of kings representing their protective power over subjects. Sphinxes in Assyria and Greece are winged, bearing male heads in Assyria and female ones in Greece.

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