A granite slab erected between the extended arms of the Sphinx tells the story, or rather the prophecy, that led to King Thutmosis VI’s coronation in 1401 BC as the eighth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. It started with a young prince out hunting on the Giza plateau when he grew tired in the heat of the desert sun.
He came upon the head of the Great Sphinx, with the rest of the statue buried under the desert sand. He fell asleep under its shadow and heard the voice of the Sphinx “like the words of a father for his son, saying, ‘Look at me, see me, my son Thutmosis. I am your father, Horemakhet-Khepri-Atum, and I shall give you sovereignty on earth, above all the living ones.”
The sphinx promised him the earth in its entirety, and that he would wear the white and red crown upon the throne of Geb (the Egyptian god of the earth).
Armed with the power of such a dream, Thutmosis IV took it upon himself to claim his throne and fulfil the prophecy, despite the fact that he was not the rightful heir and was not named crown prince by his father Amenhotep II. However, that did not stop his pursuit of the throne.
After his coronation, he ordered the excavation of the Sphinx as a sign of his gratitude. Some scholars believe that Thutmosis IV usurped power from his brother and commissioned the Dream Stele as a form of justification for his seizure.
The Dream Stele
The Dream Stele stands at 144cm, 40cm wide and 70cm thick. King Thutmosis IV ordered that it would be placed between the Sphinx’s arms as documentation of his dream. Throughout history, several replicas have been made and distributed worldwide for study, and the text has been translated into several languages.
The main text of the stele, adapted from the translation by Kurt Sethe, reads:
“Now then, the great statue of Khepri was lying in this place, great of power and powerful of majesty, the shadow of Re resting upon it. The estates of Hwt-Ka-Ptah (the temple of Ptah — Memphis) and all the neighbouring cities come to it, their arms raised in adoration before him, carrying many offerings for his Ka. One of those days, it so happened that prince Thutmosis came, passing by at the time of midday and he sat down in the shadow of this great god. Sleep seized him, a sleep at the time when the sun was at the zenith, and he found the Majesty of this noble god speaking with his own mouth, like the words of a father for his son, saying: “Look at me, see me, my son Thutmosis. I am your father, Horemakhet-Khepri-Atum, and I shall give you sovereignty on earth, above all the living ones. You shall wear the White and the Red Crowns upon the throne of Geb, the hereditary prince. The earth shall be yours in its length and width, (all) that the Eye of the Lord-of-All illuminates. The food of the Two Lands shall be yours, and the great tributes of every foreign land, (your) lifetime will be a time, great in years. My face is yours, my heart is yours as you are a protector to me, for my (present) condition is like one that is in need, all my limbs (are) dismembered as the sands of the desert upon which I lie have reached me. So run to me, to have that done which I desire, knowing that you are my son and my protector. Come forth, and I shall be with you, I shall be your leader.”