These two huge statues of Amenhotep III originally sat in front of the mortuary temple of the king. Unfortunately, this temple was destroyed throughout the centuries. It is believed that it was built of white sandstone, gold and silver. The statues show Amenhotep seated on his throne with the two Nile gods of upper and lower Egypt uniting the two lands, at his sides. It is also interesting to know that on the right of each statue appears a small figure of Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III and on the left Queen Mutemua, his mother. The colossi are made of sandstone. Part of the north colossus fell in the earthquake of 27 BC. During the Roman period, this site became very popular. Authors and travellers wrote verses on the stone.
Amenhotep III (18th Dynasty) built a mortuary temple in Thebes that was guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains now are the 23 meter (75 ft) high, one thousand ton statues of Amenhotep III. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive.
Ancient Egyptians called the southern of the two statues “Ruler of Rulers”. Later travelers called them “Shammy and “Tammy”, which may have been a corruption of the Arabic words for “left” and “right”. Today they are known locally as “el-Colossat”, or “es-Salamat”. The statues are made from carved blocks of quartzite quarried either at Giza or Gebel es-Silsila. The Northern statue depicts Amenhotep III with his mother, Mutemwia, while the southern statue is of Amenhotep III with his wife, Tiy and one of his daughters. On the sides of the statues are reliefs depicting Nile gods joining together plants symbolizing Upper and Lower Egypt.
Due to an earthquake in 27 BC, these statues became known for a bell like tone that usually occurred in the morning due to rising temperatures and humidity. Thus they were equated by the early Greek travelers with the figure of Memnon, the son of Aurora who’s mother, Eos, was the goddess of dawn. To be granted a song meant that you were very much in favor of the gods. Visitors came from miles around to hear the music, including Emperor Hadrian, in 130 A.D. The Roman emperor Septimius Severus, seeking to repair the statues in 199 AD, inadvertently silenced them forever.