The most famous talking statue of the past is the “colossus of Memnon”, The towering Colossi of Memnon are among the most impressive of the ancient monuments that dot the West Bank of the Nile at Luxor. the sandstone colossus still rising over 65 feet in front of Luxor city the ancient Thebes, Erected in the fourteenth-century b.c, these two immense figures of Amenhotep III sat in front of the mortuary temple of the king.
Following an earthquake in 27 b.c. the northernmost of the colossi collapsed, and, at sunrise, began to produce an eerie musical sound that early Greek travelers interpreted as the mythical half-mortal Memnon calling out to his mother Eos, goddess of the dawn. Visitors came from far and wide to hear the song, including the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Empress Sabine, who had to wait several days before the statue called out to them in a.d. 130. The bust was restored in the Roman period and mounted on huge sandstone blocks. According to legend, Septimius Severus (r. 193-211 a.d.), seeking to repair the colossus, inadvertently silenced it forever. It was from this strange phenomenon—thought to have been caused by a daily rise in heat and humidity
For about two centuries, at dawn, when the sun rays touched the statue, a plaintive sound came out of the stone. The 108 epigraphs carved on the legs of the colossus, together with the words of Strabo, Tacitus, and Pausanias, are the reliable witnesses of the phenomenon. Up to now, among the various hypotheses, the most common ascribes the sound to natural causes, such as the temperature, the rarefaction of the air, and so on. The results of recent researches give a new interpretation of the fact. A careful exam of the chronology of the epigraphs confirms that the death of Antinous, Hadrian’s favorite, has to do with the secret of the statue.
Unfortunately, today, apart from the Colossi, practically nothing remains of the temple, because it stood right next to the floodplain of the Nile, with its annual floods constantly corroded its foundations. The huge complex was already in a state of decay when the pharaohs still reigned in Egypt, who probably used the stone blocks of the temple for other buildings. Only the two large statues were spared, although they were in a serious state of conservation..it was the Greeks who baptized the giants with the name of Memnon, an Ethiopian king who bravely fights a defense of Troy, eventually dying at the hands of Achilles. The hero was the son of Eos, the goddess of dawn, who after her death cried tears of dew every morning. The sound produced by the statue was interpreted as a greeting from the dead king to the mother.
The colossi of Memnon are made of sandstone, probably from the quarries at Gabal Silsilah with their pedestals and crowns they were 21.3mhigh originally monolithic, they have been damaged in the earthquake of 27 bc part of the colossus fell and was cracked. The statues show Amenhotep seated upon his throne on the sides of which the two Nile gods of upper and lower Egypt unite the two lands by tying together the lotus and the papyrus, beside the legs of each of the statues there is a small figure of queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III on the right and on the left queen Mutemua his mother.