Napoleon was an influential force in the birth of Egyptology. Accompanying his troops, were also engineers, surveyors, artists and archaeologists, who were required to document the great ruins of the ancient Egyptian civilisation. This led to an explosion of interest in all things Egyptian throughout Europe at the time; an interest that has never waned.
Regardless of the myths that abound, Napoleon was not responsible for the destruction of the Sphinx’s nose. According to legend, Napoleon ordered his troops to aim at the nose for target practice. In actual fact, the nose was most likely removed by a Sufi, named Sa’im al-dahr, in 1378. The reason for this disfigurement was a response to the continuing Sphinx worship that many Egyptians at the time still practiced. In Islam, idol worship is disallowed. A recent event that echoes this, was the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
The inner sanctum of the Pyramids drew Napoleon in, like so many before him and since. After exploring the chambers of Khufu’s Great Pyramid, Napoleon requested to be left alone in the King’s Chamber. When he finally emerged, he is reported to have been extremely shaken and shocked by something within. When asked what had happened, he refused to discuss it and insisted that the incident never be spoken of again.
A friend, who visited Napoleon in his final days, asked him to tell him the secret of that day. Napoleon was ready to speak, but then shook his head and declined. Enigmatically, he responded, ‘No, what’s the use. You’d never believe me.’
Much fanciful speculation has been written about what occurred. Some have suggested that Napoleon was given a vision of his future.
Interestingly, myth also speaks of Alexander the Great spending a night within the chamber. Although, this has never been substantiated, it is very likely that Alexander would have visited the Pyramids, during his brief period in Egypt.
In his autobiography, the great occultist, Aleister Crowley reported a strange event that occurred within the Pyramid, with his wife, Rose, in 1904.
‘The King’s Chamber was aglow as if with the brightest tropical moonlight. The pitiful dirty yellow flame of the candle was like a blasphemy, and I put it out. The astral light remained during the whole of the invocation and for some time afterwards, though it lessened in intensity as we composed ourselves to sleep. For the rest, the floor of the King’s Chamber is particularly uncompromising. In sleeping out on rocks, one can always accommodate oneself more or less to the local irregularities, but the King’s Chamber reminded me of Brand; and I must confess to having passed a very uncomfortable night. I fear me dalliance had corrupted my Roman virtue. In the morning the astral light had completely disappeared and the only sound was the flitting of the bats.’
Shortly afterwards in Cairo, Rose began to channel an entity called Aiwass, which provided Crowley with his occult magnum opus, The Book Of Law. Over three days, he scribbled down the magickal instructions as they were communicated to him. From this point on, Crowley followed the dictum: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’
Did Napoleon and Crowley’s strange experiences within the King’s Chamber actually happen? Perhaps, within, great ancient secrets await for those receptive enough to gain access. However, it is also highly possible that both these men of extreme personality became intoxicated by the tantalising mystery that surrounds the Pyramids. Quite clearly, the Pyramids were built with the spiritual in mind, but the reality of the experiences that both men had, is but theirs alone.