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The Ozymandias Colossus

The Ozymandias Colossus

C & G Zangaki, 19th century


Dimensions: 21.5 x 28 cm

Framed dimensions: 36 x 44 cm


This fallen figure of Ramesses II lies in the Ramesseum, the pharaoh's mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile opposite Luxor. It was famously the inspiration for Shelley's poem 'Ozymandias', the name coming from the cartouche on the shoulder (just visible here) which was transliterated by Diodorus into Greek as 'Ozymandias'. This colossal statue would originally have stood 19 metres high. A native figure gives a sense of scale.


The Zangaki brothers were two Greek photographers working out of Port Said and Cairo in the 1870s-1890s. Their photographs of historic and ancient Egypt, though produced primarily for the flourishing European tourist trade, are highly prized by historians and collectors for their insights into life at the time and the condition of monuments often newly discovered.


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